This article offers a brief introduction to car insurance laws and regulations in Illinois. We’ll look at the fault-based liability rules in place and the kinds of car insurance coverage that is required under Illinois law. If you’re looking for more general information on the legal rules related to accident settlements in Illinois, check out our companion article Car Accident Laws in Illinois.
Illinois follows a “fault” system in determining who pays for damages stemming from a car accident. This means that the person who was legally at fault for causing the accident is responsible for compensating anyone who suffered injuries or property damage due to the accident. What this usually means is that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will cover these costs, either directly or indirectly.
In Illinois, a person who suffers any kind of damage due to an auto accident usually can proceed in one of three ways:
Note: In no-fault states, an injured motorist must first exhaust his or her own policy’s limits or reach a statutory threshold of damages before pursuing the other driver, regardless of who caused the accident. Legal remedies are also restricted in these states. While Illinois drivers may not have to worry about this for an in-state accident, you can learn more about how no-fault cases work by reading No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics.
Illinois law requires that drivers carry liability insurance for all registered motor vehicles being driven in the state. Under Illinois law, the minimum coverage a driver is required to carry is:
It should be noted that while these are the minimum amounts required by law, it is usually a good idea to carry policies with higher maximum coverage. If you are found at fault for an accident and the damages exceed the limits of your policy, then you could be held personally liable for the amount in excess of the policy limits.
Illinois requires that every car insurance policy sold include uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) with limits equal to the policy's injury liability coverage (unless a lower limit is chosen in writing). For more information on UIM coverage, see Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Basics.
For more information on Illinois motor vehicle insurance requirements straight from the government, you can visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s CyberDrive Illinois site.