How to get the best car insurance in Illinois
You might think that the minimum car insurance coverage in every state is the same. The reality is that minimum coverage, rules and driver rights are left up to the states themselves.
To legally drive in Illinois, you’re required to carry liability insurance. But unlike many other states, you’re also required to carry uninsured motorist insurance, which helps pay for medical bills that are the result of an accident caused by a driver with little or no insurance. Compare car insurance in Illinois from minimum requirements and driving laws to the best rates.
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Average car insurance costs in Illinois
When it comes to car insurance, Illinois comes in below the national average, with most drivers paying something in the range of $1,100 to $1,250 annually for their coverage. So if you’re looking for standard car insurance in Illinois and you’re between 25 and 60, you can expect to pay a price in that ballpark for your policy.
However, because so many different factors can affect a driver’s car insurance rates, you could still wind up paying a bit less or a lot more than $1,200 a month. Here’s a handful of those factors:
- Age. Young drivers under 25, as well as seniors, will pay more for car insurance. When it comes to risk and insurance rates, the older you get, the lower your car insurance rates will tend to be, until you reach a certain age.
- Gender. Men can often expect higher premiums. This is sometimes further modified by age and marital status. The differences in cost between men and women mostly disappear by the age of 35.
- Type of car. Luxury and sports cars are almost always more costly to insure than sedans and minivans. This is for several reasons, but mostly because fast cars tend to be driven fast, putting these cars and their drivers at a higher risk for accidents.
- Location. Some parts of Chicago put your vehicle at an elevated risk of theft or vandalism, which you can counter by parking the car in a locked or supervised garage. And if you live out in the country, you’re likely to pay less than someone living downtown on Michigan Avenue. Rural drivers almost always pay less than urban drivers, because accident risk is lower where there are fewer other cars on the road.
- Claims history. The more car insurance claims you’ve made in the past, the higher your premiums will generally be.
- Driving record. The more violations you have on your driving record, the more you can expect to pay for your car insurance. If you’re notorious for speeding, driving under the influence or trying to start a drag race at every red light, your insurer will likely know about it and raise prices accordingly.
- Credit score. Studies show that if your credit score is low, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident.
- Typical driving habits. Your typical distance driven, how often you get behind the wheel and where you drive all play a part in your car insurance prices.
Cheapest car insurance in Illinois
|Company||Average annual rate||Learn more|
Compare Illinois car insurance
State minimum requirements in Illinois
Depending on where you live, you face varying minimum requirements for car insurance. In Illinois, you can’t legally drive unless you carry liability insurance that includes at least:
- $20,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
- $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
- $20,000 property damage liability coverage per accident.
- To see the requirements of other states, take a look at minimum coverage by state.
When shopping for car insurance, you may see these liability limits written as 20/50/20.
Some 20 states mandate that its drivers also carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which protects a driver if they’re involved in an accident with another driver that isn’t adequately covered by an car insurance policy. Illinois is one of those states, requiring:
- $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person.
- $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident.
What optional car insurance can I get?
To give you extra protection and peace of mind, many car insurance providers in Illinois offer optional coverage that includes:
- Comprehensive and collision. Pays for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident or by something other than an accident — for instance, a fire or vandalism.
- Gap coverage. If an accident totals a car you’re financing or leasing, this coverage pays the difference between what your insurer will cover and the remainder of your existing loan or lease.
- Medical and funeral. Helps cover medical bills or funeral costs after an accident, no matter who’s at fault.
- Rental reimbursement. Helps pay for a rental car if one is needed after an accident.
- Towing and labor. Provides reimbursement for emergency roadside assistance that’s necessary after an accident.
What if I can’t afford insurance or can’t get approved for coverage?
If you aren’t able to get car insurance on your own, the state offers the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan. The IAIP assigns you a provider, with risks shared among companies writing policies within the state.
What happens if I’m caught driving without insurance in Illinois?
If you’re in an accident or stopped by the police, and you’re unable to provide proof of car insurance, you risk stiff fines and even the revocation of your license and registration.
When driving in Illinois, you’re legally required to have proof of current insurance and vehicle registration in your car at all times. And state law now allows motorists to pull up digital versions of this ID on any smart device to prove coverage.
|First offense||Second offense||Third & subsequent offense|
|Fines & penalties||$500 – $1,000||$500 – $1,000||$1,000 plus $2,500 if you’re involved in an accident|
|License & registration suspension||Suspended for 3 months with $100 reinstatement fee||Suspended for 3 months with $100 reinstatement fee||Suspended for up to 4 months with $100 reinstatement fee|
For any offense — your first, third or fifth — you’ll pay another $1,000 for driving with suspended plates due to an insurance violation. You may also be required to provide proof of financial responsibility — also called an SR22 — for up to three years.
What do I need for proof of insurance in Illinois?
As of 2014, the state of Illinois allows you to display your insurance info on a smartphone or tablet. Otherwise you’ll need your physical insurance card, which should be sent by your provider when your policy begins.
Uninsured drivers in Illinois
About 13% of all drivers in Illinois are believed to be uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This is only slightly above the national average of 12.5%, but you still may want to look into uninsured motorist insurance to make sure you’re completely protected from the risks of an accident with someone who isn’t properly insured.
Can I buy temporary insurance in Illinois?
Yes, you can. You might need coverage for a short period for a borrowed car or rental car. It’s perfectly legal to purchase short term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.
Your best option might be to call your current insurance provider or an online provider to find out your options. You can also find a policy that lets you cancel for no or low fees, and transfer to a more long term option when you’re ready.
Illinois car insurance companies
Drunk driving laws in Illinois
Illinois is harsh on drunk driving, and holds its drivers to the same standards found nationwide — that is, a BAC limit of 0.08% for normal motorists and 0.04% for commercial drivers. Although the legal limit is 0.08% for most drivers, you can still be charged with impaired driving if your BAC is 0.05% or higher. After your first DUI, the minimum imprisonment is five days or 240 hours of community service.
|First conviction||Second conviction||Third conviction||Fourth & subsequent conviction|
|License suspension||2 years for drivers under age 21 and 1 year for drivers over 21||At least 5 years for 2 convictions in 20 years||At least 10 years||Revoked for life|
|Over 0.16 BAC||At least $500 fine & 100 hours of community service||At least $1,250 fine & 2 days imprisonment||At least $2,500 fine & 90 days imprisonment||At least $5,000 fine|
|With passenger under 16||Imprisonment up to 6 months, at least $1,000 fine up to $2,500 if child is injured and 25 days of child-related community service||Imprisonment of 2 days and at least $1,250 fine up to $5,000 if child is injured||At least $25,000 fine and 25 days of child-related community service||At least $25,000 and 25 days of child-related community service|
Illinois DUI statistics
According to information from the state of Illinois, drunk driving accidents make up approximately 25% of all traffic fatalities in the state each year. This is a large part of why more than 90% of all DUI convictions in Illinois result in a loss of driving privileges.
In Illinois, the typical DUI arrest looks like this:
- Driver is male. Men account for 75% of all drunk driving arrests, an average that holds true through most of the country.
- Driver BAC is 0.16% or higher. About 60% of all DUI arrests involve drivers who are more than a little over the limit — erratic driving and small mistakes or violations, such as rolling stops or lane changes without signaling, are common reasons to pull over these drivers.
Note: Driving with a BAC of 0.16% or higher will get you an aggravated DUI, which is a felony charge — considerably more severe than a standard DUI, which is normally considered a misdemeanor crime.
- Driver is younger than 24. This age group typically has the largest number of DUI convictions: about 12 per every 1,000 drivers, or 1.2%.
- Driver is arrested at night. The vast majority of DUI arrests in Illinois occur between 11pm and 4am on a weekend.
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Illinois?
Yes, you can get SR-22 insurance in Illinois. You might need an SR-22 if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or have too many violation points on your driving record. SR-22 tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get back behind the wheel.
What happens after an accident in Illinois?
You don’t want to wait until an accident to learn the steps necessary to ensure an easy car insurance claim in the event of one. Here’s a brief list of steps you’ll want to take immediately after that fender bender or something more.
- Stay safe and calm. Confirm that all drivers, passengers and bystanders are OK. If anybody is hurt or requires assistance, immediately call 911.
- Notify your insurance provider. After you’ve confirmed that everybody is safe, call your insurance agent to report the accident. Your agent will walk you through the process of supplying the information necessary to get the claims ball rolling.
- Document the accident. Protect your claim by recording the full names and of police officers and any witnesses at the scene. Take pictures of each car involved from different angles, and talk to any witnesses you might be able to contact for more information later.
- Exchange information. Get the full name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Note the drivers’ car type, color, model and license plate number, as well as the exact location of the accident.
Who’s at fault after an accident in Illinois?
Illinois is not one of the 12 states that requires drivers to carry no-fault insurance. In states without no-fault coverage, insurance claims are typically paid out:
- If you’re injured in an accident caused by another driver. The at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage could help reimburse your medical expenses up to policy limits.
- If you’re injured in an accident you cause. Your medical payments coverage, if you have it, could help reimburse your medical expenses up to your limits.
Illinois is a tort state, which means if you’re at fault for an accident in the state, you’re required to pay the medical expenses of any victim of your accident. Further, victims have the right to pursue compensation for lost wages and “pain and suffering” — the legal term for physical and emotional stress that’s the result of an injury.
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Illinois?
In Illinois, you must report an accident to the police if anybody is hurt or killed or if there’s more than $1,500 in damages to any party involved in the accident or $500 in damages if any vehicle involved is not covered by insurance.
To report a car accident in Illinois:
- Notify the police by the fastest available means of communication at the scene.
- Complete and submit the online Illinois Motorist Report within 10 days of the date of your accident.
If you fail to report an accident, the state can punish you by suspending your license. If you provide false information on an accident report, you face a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
To drive in Illinois, you’ll need to purchase both liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to remain legal or face fines, suspensions and a possible jail stint.
To get the best coverage for your needs, carefully research your car insurance options when driving in Illinois. And to learn more about car insurance in general, from the laws in different states to where you can find the best rates and discounts, visit our comprehensive guide to car insurance coverage.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Illinois
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