Being in a car accident is never something you plan on. If your were injured in an accident or your vehicle was damaged and the accident was due to the negligence of the other driver, you may sigh in relief, thinking their insurance will cover it. When using the roadways in Chicago, all motorists are required to have insurance as specified by Illinois laws. Despite this, an estimated 13 percent, or roughly one in seven, drivers in Illinois do not.
This means your chances of being hit by an uninsured driver are reasonably good. Here are the answers for Chicago drivers wondering “What if I was hit by an uninsured driver?”
Insurance Requirements for Illinois
As in other states, Illinois requires all drivers to have auto insurance and they must have the insurance card in their vehicle. Non-residents must carry proof of insurance and be covered for the minimum amounts.
All drivers must have at least liability insurance to cover injuries and property damages to others in the event that they are the cause of the accident. Liability insurance must provide coverage for at least $25,000 for injuries or death per person, $50,000 for total bodily injuries per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. This type of insurance only covers the costs for the other person and will not cover any costs for either personal injuries or property damage of the insured driver.
Chicago drivers may choose to buy further coverage for collisions and medical payments which would help pay for damages to their car and any injuries from the accident. Opting in for comprehensive coverage covers non accident damages as well.
In addition, the state of Illinois also requires drivers to buy some form of uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is your best chance at any recompense for injuries or damages acquired in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While it is possible to file a lawsuit against an uninsured or underinsured driver, doing so is generally not successful. Typically, the uninsured motorist does not have enough money or property to pay even in the event that they lose in trial.
For this reason, Illinois also requires drivers to buy insurance that covers bodily injury in accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers. This type of coverage will help pay for any injuries you or a passenger sustain in an accident when the negligent driver is uninsured. The minimum limits for uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage are equivalent to the minimums for liability insurance and include $25,000 for injuries or death per person and $50,000 per accident. This type of insurance, however, does not cover any property damages.
Drivers can purchase additional coverage called uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage to cover the costs of any property damage that occurs in an accident with uninsured motorists.
Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Chicago
Illinois requires that all drivers carry their insurance card and provide proof of insurance if they are pulled over. If a driver is pulled over and fails to provide such proof they will be issued a traffic violation. In addition, if the driver is convicted of driving without a valid insurance policy they will have to pay a minimum $500 fee and face suspension of their license plates.