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Illinois Car Insurance

Illinois requires licensed drivers to have vehicle liability insurance. The minimums you must have are:

  • $20,000 - injury or death of one person in an accident.
  • $40,000 - injury or death of more than one person in an accident.
  • $15,000 - damage to property of another person.

You are not required to carry collision, comprehensive, medical payment or uninsured property damage coverage. However, it is a good idea to have these coverages. Also, the minimum requirements may not protect you adequately. Many cars are worth more than $15,000 and medical bills from an accident can easily exceed $20,000.

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If you are financing your automobile, your lender may require that you carry physical damage insurance to protect its interest in your financed vehicle.

Determining insurance costs

Insurance companies in Illinois use a number of factors to determine premium costs. They include:

  • Your age, gender and marital status. That's because statistics show certain groups of drivers (for example, young unmarried males) have more accidents.
  • The coverage limits you choose. The more insurance you buy, the higher your premium.
  • Your driving record. If you have a record of accidents and tickets, you likely will pay higher premiums.
  • Where you live. City drivers pay higher premiums than rural drivers because more vehicles are on the road and areas are more congested.
  • How you use your vehicle. You may pay more if you commute long distances or drive long distances each year.
  • Your credit history. Insurance companies may consider your credit card history, amount of credit, how timely you pay your bills, etc. when determining your rates.

Proof of insurance

Your insurance company will send you an insurance card typically when your insurance policy is issued or renewed. You must carry your vehicle insurance ID card with you. If you are stopped or are involved in an accident where police are called, you must show your ID card to the law enforcement officers.

If you can't provide proof of insurance and are convicted, your license plates will be suspended. You also will face the following fines:

  • Minimum $500 fine for driving uninsured.
  • Minimum $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle while the license plates are suspended for a previous insurance violation.

Illinois also has random sampling to be sure you are insured. The state may send you a letter asking you to provide the name of your insurance company and your policy number. Computers randomly select drivers to receive the questionnaire. Your company will be asked to verify your answers. If you don't supply the requested information or the insurance company can't verify it, you could lose your vehicle's license plate.

Reinstating your license

If you are found to be driving without insurance and want to reinstate your license plate, if it is your first offense, you must pay $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof that you have purchased insurance.

Repeat offenders will be required to wait four months before their license can be reinstated, pay the $100 reinstatement fee, and provide proof that you have bought insurance.

Where you can find insurance

Some insurance companies in Illinois will not sell you insurance if you have been driving without it. If you have difficulty buying vehicle insurance because of your driving record or the type of vehicle you own, ask your insurance agent about the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAP). All insurers who write automobile insurance in Illinois are required to participate in the ILAP.

Graduated driver's license program

Like many states, Illinois has a graduated drivers licensing program. Once you are 15 and are enrolled in a driver's education course, you can apply for a driving permit. You can apply for your initial driver's license after you:

  • Turn 16
  • Complete 50 hours of practice
  • Complete driver's education

You can get a full license when you turn 18, but you will be subject to some restrictions until you are 21.

Renewing your driver's license

If you are involved in an accident or have a traffic violation, you will be required to take a written exam every eight years to be able to renew your Illinois driver's license. If you do not have a record of traffic convictions or accidents since your last renewal, you will not be required to take the exam.

However, if you are 75 years of age or older, you will be required to take a driving test every time you renew your driver's license. The exam includes a vision screening test, a written exam and a road test.

If your birthday falls in the winter months, you can renew your driver's license early before winter weather - which can be brutal in Illinois - sets in.


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