Whether you’re cruising along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago or heading to the Capitol in Springfield, you need an auto insurance policy to stay legal on the road in Illinois. You’ll face steep penalties if you’re caught by law enforcement without proof of insurance, and the consequences can be even more financially devastating if you cause an accident. 

Luckily, purchasing insurance coverage doesn’t have to set you back. With Insurify, you can compare insurance quotes from top national companies and local carriers alike, so you can find an insurance policy that meets Illinois state requirements and fits into your budget. It only takes a few minutes to find the best deal, and Insurify users save an average of $585 annually on car insurance. 

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Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Illinois 

Illinois law requires that all motorists purchase the following minimum amounts of liability insurance:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $20,000 for property damage liability coverage

Bodily injury coverage helps pay for medical bills for the other driver and their passengers in an accident you cause. It won’t cover your own medical costs, and it may not be sufficient to protect you from a lawsuit if you cause a car accident that severely injures someone. 

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Property damage coverage helps pay for repairs to other people’s property in an accident you cause. It won’t help with repairing your own vehicle. 

Is state minimum car insurance enough in Illinois?

Since the minimum liability insurance in the state of Illinois won’t help pay for damage to your vehicle in an accident you cause, you should strongly consider purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for repairs to your vehicle after non-collision events, such as vandalism or hail, while collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle after an at-fault crash. 

Also consider that the minimum coverage limits specified by the Illinois Department of Insurance may not provide enough protection. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average bodily injury liability claim in 2019 was $18,417, but medical costs can easily climb higher than what mandatory insurance covers. Consider speaking with your insurance agent about higher limits for your liability insurance.

What is the penalty for driving without car insurance in Illinois?

If you drive without Illinois car insurance, you can get hit with some hefty fines from law enforcement. Here’s what you can expect:

  • First offense: a minimum $500 fine plus the suspension of your driver’s license until you pay a $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance
  • Second offense: a minimum $500 fine plus the suspension of your driver’s license for at least four months and a $100 reinstatement fee
  • Third and subsequent offenses: a minimum $500 fine plus the suspension of your driver’s license for at least four months and a $100 reinstatement fee; a requirement to file an SR-22 certificate for three years or face losing your driver’s license

You can’t drive your motor vehicle while the license plates are suspended. If you are caught driving your car while the registration is suspended for driving without insurance, the minimum fine jumps to $1,000. 

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If you fail to pay the reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance before your driver’s license suspension goes into effect, you will also be required to maintain an SR-22 certificate on file for three years. 

Minimum Requirements in Illinois for SR-22 Policies

To show proof of financial responsibility, drivers who have received court supervision for driving uninsured or been convicted of their third or subsequent mandatory insurance violation must file an SR-22 certificate for three years. Your insurance company will issue this form to show you hold the state minimum car insurance coverage in Illinois. There are no additional requirements for SR-22 insurance policies in Illinois

Additional Coverage Illinois Drivers Should Consider

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 12 percent of drivers in Illinois don’t have auto insurance coverage, despite the insurance laws in the state. To protect your finances in the case of an accident with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run, you should purchase uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage coverage as well. 

Medical payments coverage can also help supplement your health insurance and pay for your personal injuries after an accident. This type of coverage is especially important if you have a high-deductible health plan. 

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You might also want to consider roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement coverage, especially if you need your vehicle to get to work. Roadside assistance coverage can help you get back on the road more quickly after a flat tire or a dead battery, and it will also help pay to get your vehicle to a repair shop. If your car is out of commission while it’s at the mechanic, rental car reimbursement coverage ensures you can keep up with your life. 

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Frequently Asked Questions: Illinois Minimum Car Insurance

Is car insurance mandatory in Illinois?

Yes. Car insurance is mandatory in the state of Illinois. Drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and a minimum of $20,000 in property damage coverage.

Are there alternative proofs of financial responsibility in Illinois?

Yes. Alternative proofs of financial responsibility in Illinois include depositing $70,000 in cash or securities with the Illinois State Treasurer, filing a surety bond, and filing an approved real estate bond.

In what situations do drivers in Illinois have the right to sue?

Illinois is a tort state, which means drivers can sue at-fault motorists for any damages or injuries in excess of what their insurance company covers. Drivers must file suit within two years of an accident for compensation for injuries and within five years for property damage. Wrongful death suits must be filed within one year of the death in question. Illinois also uses a comparative fault system, so the plaintiff’s share of the fault must be less than 50 percent to collect damages.

Updated August 19, 2021

Lindsay Frankel is a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance and insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz. For the past year, she has written about car insurance for Insurify.