It never hurts to brush up
Like most states, Illinois requires drivers to a carry a minimum of $25,000 in liability coverage, a relatively low number compared to other states.
It’s called the mandatory insurance law, enacted in 1989 and updated in 2013, which increased the mandatory minimum from $20,000 to $25,000. The idea was to protect drivers from spending out-of-pocket for accident claims. It was a victory for Representative Laura Fine, a Glenview Democrat and sponsor of the bill, whose husband was involved in a severe accident that forced responders to amputate his arm. Fine recalled later that she and her family were at the mercy of astronomically high medical bills.
The new provisions of the mandatory minimum went into effect more than two years ago, yet it feels as though we’re still revealing what drivers should already know. The insurance laws in Illinois call for two forms of insurance coverage—liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Both types protect you in different ways. If you’re a driver, it’s important to understand what types coverage you’re required to carry. It’s also important to know what types of optional insurance coverage exist and how they work. Here’s a short refresher.
Mandatory Insurance in the State of Illinois
Liability: $25,000 per person. A requirement under most state laws that covers the costs associated with an accident that you were responsible for causing. That accounts for bodily injuries and property damage. It’s the most common type of insurance coverage, which is intended to provide financial assistance to the other party involved.
Uninsured and Underinsured: Coverage against uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) drivers is required in Illinois. In 2011, the Insurance Research Council found that one in seven drivers were uninsured. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event that another driver is responsible for a crash, but doesn’t carry insurance. Underinsurance coverage is similar, in the sense that it protects you if the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is too low to cover costs of an accident. Illinois is one of 21 states that requires uninsured and underinsured coverage. By law, the UM/UIM policy limit equals your liability policy limit.
Collision insurance: Covers damages to your car in the event of a crash
Comprehensive: Pays for repairs in non-accident related damages to your car (i.e. an act of vandalism)
Medical payments: Covers medical costs if you’re injured in or by a motor vehicle
Uninsured property motorist damage: Covers damages to your car after an accident with an uninsured driver