Minimum requirements and how to get the best cheap car insurance in Illinois
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Getting the best auto insurance in Illinois
You might think that the minimum car insurance coverage required for your friends and family in another state is the same you’ll need for your own. The reality is that minimum coverages, 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/underinsured motorist insurance, which helps pay for medical bills that are the result of an accident caused by a driver with little or no insurance.
When driving in the Prairie State, 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.
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.
Nearly all states require registered drivers to carry specified minimum liability insurance. And if you’re financing or leasing your car, you could be required to buy additional collision and comprehensive coverage as part of your finance agreement.
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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.Drivers under 25 — and especially male drivers under 25 — are believed by the insurance industry to be at high risk for car accidents. This means 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.
Driving experience.L platers and P platers typically pay more, which often compounds the effect of age on premiums.
Type of car.You might think screaming down the highway in a red Corvette sounds like fun, and you’re probably right, but 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.
Occupation.People who have long commutes or who drive around all day for work — say, outside sales representatives or transporters — can expect higher premiums. However, many professionals who drive a lot have work vehicles, or else have car insurance coverage through their employers to cover their mileage when they’re on the clock.
Marital status.Single people are seen by insurers as less stable than their married counterparts. If you get married, you’ll see your premiums decrease right away.
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.Like it or not, nearly all auto insurance providers use your credit score to help calculate your risk before arriving at a policy cost. This is because multiple independent studies indicate that if your credit score is low, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident. While providers in Illinois will use your credit to help determine your rate, there are a few states where car insurance providers aren’t allowed to do that — California, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
Other drivers.Only certain people will be approved to drive the car, and all of them impact the cost. Even the world’s safest driver will get a substantial price hike by listing another less-safe driver on the policy.
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.
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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.
To give you extra protection and peace of mind, many car insurance providers in Illinois offer optional coverage that includes:
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.
Auto insurance providers for drivers in Illinois
Rates last updated April 27th, 2018
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.
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.
A note about uninsured drivers
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. To learn more about this kind of coverage, visit our guide.
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.
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.
Fourth & subsequent conviction
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
Additional 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.
What is an SR-22?
Sometimes called a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, an SR-22 is a form provided by your car insurance company to confirm that you have liability coverage. If you have no driving-related violations on your driving record, you likely do not need this form.
Can I get this kind of 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?
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?
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.
Uninsured drivers in Illinois
Illinois requires all drivers in its state to carry auto insurance — even uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage — for their registered vehicles. Yet about 13% of drivers in Illinois are uninsured — which is slightly higher than the 12.6% national average.
To fully protect yourself from other drivers who are uninsured, it might be worth the extra cost to purchase uninsured motorist protection coverage. To learn more about this kind of coverage, check out our guide on the topic.
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.
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Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Illinois
To register your car, visit your nearest Illinois Vehicle Services Department. You’ll need to submit your vehicle title, proof of insurance, an odometer disclosure statement and completed Form VSD 190 — Application for a Vehicle Transaction, along with a fee to process your registration, title and taxes.
Car insurance providers and policies vary, but it’s possible for your car insurance rates to go up if you file a claim. Some providers offer accident forgiveness programs that ensure your premium stays the same after your first accident. But in many cases, a claim on your policy raises your risk profile — and, in turn, your rates.
Yes, your car insurance has the right to cancel your policy at any time. But most providers reserve cancellation for policyholders who file multiple claims in a short time or engage in risky driving behaviors that result in multiple tickets or DUI/DWIs. You will typically receive notice from your car insurance company before it cancels your policy.
When talking about car insurance, your deductible is the out-of-pocket expense you’ll pay for repairs to your vehicle under comprehensive or collision coverage. If your deductible is $1,000 and your claim totals $3,000, you pay the $1,000 and your insurance provider pays the $2,000 difference. Typically the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly rate.
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