In the state of Illinois every vehicle that is registered with the DMV must comply with state car insurance regulations in order to be legally drivable on public roads. The basis of these regulations can be found in the state’s minimum coverage requirements which stipulate that a vehicle must be insured with minimum amount of certain types of liability coverage. Currently, the state of Illinois has these limits set at $20,000 of individual bodily injury coverage, $40,000 of total bodily injury coverage and $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. Because Illinois is an at-fault state, which means the person responsible for an accident is also financially liable for any injuries or damages that are caused by the accident, the liability coverage required by the state so that a driver will not have to bear the financial responsibility if they are involved in an accident that is their fault. The bodily injury coverage required by the state will help pay for injuries to other parties and the property damage coverage will help pay for damaged to other vehicles and property though neither one will pay for injuries or property damage sustained by the policy holder or the passenger’s in the policy holder’s vehicle. Comprehensive or collision coverage, which will pay out directly to the policy holder in case of an accident, are not required by state law but are options for most drivers in the state.
Additionally, unlike most states, Illinois also requires drivers to purchase minimum amounts of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. The minimum amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage is set by the state at $20,000 per person and $40,000 total. In an at fault state like Illinois uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is meant to protect the policy holder if they are involved in an accident in which the other driver is at fault but does not have enough liability coverage on their vehicle to cover the medical expenses of the policy holder. It should be noted that Illinois requires only uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage which means that the purchase of uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage can be purchased on a voluntary basis. Although these various types of insurance are required in order for a vehicle to be legally drivable there are certain types of vehicles, such as those designed for off road use and vehicle that are not registered or nonoperational, that do not have to maintain state specified minimum levels of coverage. Illinois insurance law also differs from that of others states in that is does not allow drivers to purchase bonds or self insure with a cash deposit in order to satisfy the state’s financial responsibility law; the purchase of liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is the only way that drivers can prove financial responsibility in the state of Illinois.
Illinois law also dictates that a driver must carry valid proof of insurance with them at all times so that it can be presented when needed. If a driver is in an accident or is pulled over by a police officer they are legally obligated to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle if and when it is requested by the police officer. Failure to provide proof of insurance during one of these situations can result in a variety of different penalties as authorized by Illinois State law. If a driver is found to be uninsured during a traffic stop or after an accident they will typically receive a minimum $500 fine and will have their license plates suspended. Driving on suspended license plates will also result in a maximum $1,000 fine so there is not much opportunity for an Illinois driver to avoid paying the penalty for driving while uninsured. The state of Illinois also conducts random surveys throughout the year of registered vehicles by sending out questionnaires to vehicle owners and asking for proof of insurance. If a vehicle owner has been selected for a random survey and either fails to turn it in or cannot supply proof of insurance the license plate of the vehicle in question will be suspended. According to Illinois law the owner of a vehicle has 30 to respond to a car insurance survey, but after this period has expired the state is free to take action. Before a license plate can be unsuspended in the state of Illinois the driver must pay any active fines and must also provide proof of insurance to the Illinois DMV. Although the suspension of a license plate is not typically for a set period for a first offense, if a driver is caught driving without insurance on a vehicle a second time around the suspension of the license plate will be a minimum of 4 months and the driver will still have to provide proof of insurance and pay the $100 reinstatement fee after the four month suspension is up.