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Affordable car insurance in illinois

Car Insurance in Illinois

Illinois monitors car insurance statuses by sending insurance verification questionnaires on a random basis. Don't be caught off guard.

Read more to learn about IL car insurance requirements, rates, and discounts.

IL Car Insurance Requirements

To comply with Illinois car insurance laws, you must have BOTH:

  • Liability insurance.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance helps cover your costs associated with injuries or property damage to others resulting from a car accident you cause.

Your liability insurance must have the following minimum coverages:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
  • $50,000 total for bodily injury per accident.
  • $20,000 for property damage.

Liability insurance does not cover your own costs for personal injuries or property damage.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

In Illinois, you must also carry uninsured and underinsured motorists bodily injury coverage to help cover injuries to you and/or your passengers in a car accident with an uninsured driver (or a driver whose auto insurance limits are not adequate to cover your costs).

Your must have the following minimum limits for uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage:

  • $25,000 per person.
  • $50,000 total per accident.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist car insurance coverage will not cover property damage.

Optional Car insurance

When shopping for auto insurance, consider optional coverage types for further protection.

Most Illinois auto insurance carriers offer the following types of optional coverage:

  • Collision – This will help cover damages to your car after a traffic accident.
  • Comprehensive – This will help pay for repairs of non accident-related damages to you car, such as those from vandalism.
  • Medical payments – This will help cover costs from accident-related injuries.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage – This will cover damage to your car after an accident with an uninsured driver.

NOTE: While Illinois law does not require you to have collision and comprehensive coverages, you may be required to purchase these coverage types by the lender of your financed car.

Insurance Violations and Penalties in IL

By registering your car in Illinois, you agree to maintain at least the minimum requirements for car insurance.

Illinois monitors car insurance through both:

  • A system of random questionnaires.
  • Verification of proof of insurance during traffic stops.

Insurance Questionnaire

Illinois uses computer systems to randomly send out insurance questionnaires to verify the car insurance status of IL drivers and enforce insurance laws.

If you are randomly selected to complete the insurance verification questionnaire, you must respond with:

  • The name of your car insurance carrier.
  • Your insurance policy number.

The information you provide will be verified with your insurance company. If you are found not to have car insurance, your license plates will be suspended.

Traffic Stops

You are required to carry your car insurance card in your vehicle at all times. If you are pulled over for a traffic stop, you will be asked to provide the officer this card as proof of insurance.

If you are unable to provide a police officer with proof of insurance, you will be considered an uninsured driver and may be issued a traffic citation. If you are convicted of driving without a valid insurance policy, you will face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of your license plates.
  • $500 minimum fine.
  • $1000 minimum fine if you are caught driving a vehicle with suspended plates due to an insurance violation.

License Plate Reinstatement

If your license plates are suspended due to an Illinois car insurance violation, you will have to:

  • Provide proof of valid and current car insurance.
  • Pay a $100 reinstatement fee.

For repeat offenses, your plates will be suspended for a minimum of 4 months.

Cancelation of an Insurance Policy

For the first 60 days of your policy, your car insurance company may cancel your car insurance policy for nearly any reason.

After 60 days of a new policy (or at any time during a renewal), your insurance company may only cancel your car insurance policy for specific reasons,* including:

  • Failure to pay your premium.
  • Violations of your policy's terms.
  • Proof that you obtained your insurance with false information.

When canceling your car insurance policy, your insurance company must notify you by mail at least:

  • 10 days before cancelation, if it is the result of failure to pay your premium.
  • 30 days before cancelation for any other reason.

Remember, if you get caught driving without a current policy, you face tickets, fines, and suspension of your license plate.

* The Illinois Department of Insurance provides a complete list of reasons your insurance company may cancel your policy.

Car Insurance Non-Renewal

Your insurance company may also non-renew your policy at the end of each policy cycle for the first 5 years of providing your car insurance, for any reason except:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Race.
  • Color.
  • Creed.
  • Ancestry.
  • Occupation.
  • Marital status.
  • Employer.
  • Physical handicap.
  • Credit score.

Additionally, insurance companies cannot non-renew a policy on the basis of one or more claims within the past 60 months IF those claims involved hate crimes against you.

Your insurance company must send you a written notice when it non-renews your policy.

You have the right to appeal any non-renewal.

Non-Renewal After 5 Years

If your Illinois car insurance company has provided your insurance for at least 5 years, they can elect to non-renew your policy for almost any reason,* provided they give you a 60-day written notice.

Note that your insurance provider may not use any of the reasons listed above to make the decision to non-renew.

If your insurance company only gives you a 30-day notice of non-renewal, the only legally accepted reasons for non-renewal include:

  • Violations of terms and conditions.
  • Proof that you obtained your policy by providing false information.
  • Proof that you have made a fraudulent claim.

* The Illinois DOI provides a detailed list of reasons car insurance companies may elect not to renew your policy.

Cancelation or Non-Renewal Hearing

If you feel that your car insurance has been unjustly canceled, you may appeal your cancelation to the Illinois Director of Insurance.

To appeal your cancelation, you must:

  • Have had your insurance canceled for any reason other than failure to pay your premium.
  • Mail or bring in a written request for a hearing to the Department of Insurance at least 20 days before your cancellation date to:

Department of Insurance
320 W. Washington St
Springfield, IL 62767

SR22 Insurance

Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22/SR22), helps monitor drivers with poor driving records by ensuring that they have car insurance.

You may be required to purchase SR-22 insurance and file an SR-22 certificate if you:

  • Have several traffic violations on your record.
  • Have several insurance violations.
  • Have had your driver's license suspended or revoked.

You can file an SR-22 certificate through your car insurance company.

SR-22 insurance must be held for at least 3 years.

Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan

High-risk drivers, such as those with poor driving records, may have a difficult time finding car insurance companies willing to provide them coverage.

If you are turned down for car insurance, you can apply for coverage through the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP).

Through the plan, Illinois car insurance companies share the risk of covering high-risk drivers between each other.

To be eligible for car insurance through the ILAIP, you must:

  • Have been turned down for car insurance.
  • Have a valid driver's license, or be eligible to apply for an Illinois driver's license.
  • Not have any outstanding premiums owed to a car insurance company in the past 36 months.
  • Have a car that can be safely operated.

You can apply to the ILAIP with the help of any IL car insurance agent.

Other Car Insurance Issues

The IL DOI has several programs to help consumers with auto insurance-related issues, such as fraud and consumer complaints.


Car insurance fraud in Illinois costs insurance companies a large sum of money annually. These losses get passed down to you through increases in car insurance rates.

You can help keep rates low by reporting any suspected car insurance fraud to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at their website: www.naic.org.

Common forms of car insurance fraud include:

  • Staging car accidents.
  • Exaggerating or falsifying injuries.
  • Falsifying vehicle repairs.

Questions and Concerns

If you have a question or concern regarding car insurance issues you can call the IL Department of Insurance's hotline at (866) 445-5364.

If you have a complaint against an auto insurance company, you may file it with the IL DOI by filling out their online complaint form.

Common insurance complaints involve:

  • Coverage issues.
  • Claim disputes.
  • Policy cancellations.
  • Sales misrepresentations.

Determining Your IL Insurance Premium

When shopping for insurance, remember that Illinois car insurance companies can use the following factors to determine your when shopping for car insurance quotes:

  • Driving record.
  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Marital status.
  • Location.
  • Your car's make and model.
  • Your average mileage.
  • Credit history.
  • The types of optional car insurance you purchase.
  • Your deductible (out-of-pocket expenses you must pay towards a claim).
    • The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

Car Insurance Discounts in Illinois

One way to get affordable car insurance rates is to take advantage of any discounts for which you are eligible.

When making car insurance comparisons, ask about the following standard discounts:

  • Good driver discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • Multi-car discount.
  • Homeowner's discount.
  • Defensive driver discount.
    • This is usually afforded to seniors after taking a defensive driving course.
  • Anti-theft device.
  • Safety device.

While discounts are a great way to get low-cost car insurance, your best bet for affordable Illinois car insurance rates is to maintain a clean driving record. Obey traffic laws and drive safely to get the best possible rates.

Most Stolen Cars in Illinois

Owning a car that is a popular target for theft will probably mean having to pay higher car insurance rates.

The following is a list of 2013's most stolen cars in Illinois according to www.nicb.org:

  1. Dodge Caravan.
  2. Honda Civic.
  3. Honda Accord.
  4. Chevrolet Impala.
  5. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
  6. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
  7. Nissan Altima.
  8. Chevrolet Malibu.
  9. Toyota Camry.
  10. Nissan Maxima.


Everybody wants cheaper car insurance, but how do you actually find it?

Compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies to find the best coverage and price. Focusing solely on the lowest insurance rates is a mistake if you go without the coverage you need, so you should understand how to compare car insurance before making a decision. The whole point of insurance is to stand between you and financial disaster.

However, with a little research, you should be able to find cheaper auto insurance without sacrificing important coverage.

  • Comparison shop
  • Bundle your auto and home insurance policies
  • Raise your deductible but keep it affordable
  • Ask for every discount that applies to you
  • Buy the right type of car
  • Keep a clean driving record
  • Don't buy unnecessary insurance coverage
  • Consider buying just the state-required minimum liability coverage

1. Comparison shop

Sometimes, you'll get the best deal with your current car insurance company. But in many other cases, the road to the cheapest car insurance policy will take you elsewhere.

In general, the more you pay for car insurance, the bigger the difference between insurance companies' rates. Every company calculates its own price, and they often differ by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Comparison shopping can help you uncover cheap car insurance companies and auto insurance discounts. How often should you compare car insurance quotes to find the lowest premiums? Experts generally suggest looking around at least once a year -- but certainly at these times, when your rates are most likely to change dramatically:

  • Purchasing a new or different car
  • Combining cars on a multi-car insurance policy
  • Adding or removing a driver
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Adding a teen driver
  • Home purchase
  • DUI or major violation - review DUI insurance
  • Accident
  • Change in credit score

For more information, see "7 reasons your car insurance rates drop."

2. Bundle your policies

You already get cheaper rates if you are married or a homeowner because married people and homeowners tend to file fewer claims. But you can save even more by purchasing your home insurance and auto insurance policies from the same provider.

According to data gathered for Insurance.com by Quadrant Information Services, the nationwide average car insurance discount given for bundling home and auto insurance is 8 percent. By bundling renters and car insurance a discount also applies, with the nationwide average being around 5 percent. The nationwide average homeowners insurance discount given for bundling is 20 percent.

If you insure more than one car on your policy, you get a multi-car discount. Expect 10 to 25 percent savings off your collision, comprehensive and liability premiums.

3. Raise your deductible

Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $500 can lower the collision or comprehensive portion of your premium by about 20 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Remember, though, that a higher deductible means more money out of your pocket in the event of a claim. Cheap insurance can become expensive fast if you have to pay your deductible with a high-interest credit card. (See "How much can I save by raising deductibles?.")

4. Get all discounts for which you qualify

Is your daughter a straight-A student? You may qualify for cheaper car insurance by obtaining a good student discount. Does your car have anti-theft deterrents? Your insurer may give you a price break because the car is less vulnerable to theft.

Understand all the car insurance discounts you may qualify, so that you can get the cheapest insurance.

5. Buy the right type of car

If you're shopping for new wheels, your choice of automobile can play a big role in getting lower insurance rates. Cars that cost less to repair or replace generally receive lower premiums.

You'll also get better rates if your car has certain safety features. Insurance companies often give discounts for features such as anti-lock brakes, side airbags and automatic safety belts. Anti-collision technology is becoming popular in new vehicles; if your car is equipped with the new tech ask your agent if any discounts are available.

6. Avoid tickets and accidents

A poor driving history can easily disqualify you from getting the cheapest car insurance. Insurers will check your record to see if you present a high level of risk. Speeding tickets, accidents, drunk driving citations – all can drive your insurance rates higher.

Drive sensibly and cautiously and you'll be on the way to cheap car insurance by avoiding surcharges and receiving a good driver discount. (See "How much will a ticket affect my insurance rates?")

7. Don't carry unnecessary insurance coverage

If you have an old beater, reduce your car insurance costs by dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. When should you make this move toward cheaper auto insurance? Many experts say it's time to drop these coverages when the actual cash value you’d receive for your vehicle doesn’t justify the insurance expense. Insurance.com auto insurance coverage calculator>

Have an extra car in the household you can use if yours is in the shop due to an auto accident? If so, skip rental reimbursement coverage.

Also, don't pay extra for personal injury protection or medical payment insurance (if they aren’t required by your state) if your family already has a good health insurance plan.

8. Consider buying just the state-required minimum liability coverage

One way to get the cheapest car insurance available is to buy “bare bones” coverage, which typically is liability insurance at the lowest legal limits required by your state to legally drive a car. If you cause an accident, it pays for others’ property damage and medical bills and that’s it. It's important to remember that if you cause even a minor accident, minimum liability coverage probably won't be enough to pay for all the damage. That means you'll be paying out of your own pocket. Still, if you want to save money and your car is old or you don't drive much, it is one path to lower rates.

Liability limits are usually written like this: 30/60/25. In this example, using Texas minimum requirements, the numbers show coverage that would pay:

  • medical expenses of up to $30,000 per person
  • medical expenses up to $60,000 per accident
  • up to $25,000 for property damage

Here are average annual rates for the cheapest car insurance coverage in every state, according to a rate analysis by Quadrant Information Systems for Insurance.com.

Minimum car insurance rates by state

StateMinimum car insurance requirementsMinimum car insurance average rate
Alaska 50/100/25 $426
Alabama 25/50/25 $638
Arkansas 25/50/25 $616
Arizona 15/30/10 $600
California 15/30/5 $723
Colorado 25/50/15 $646
Connecticut 20/40/10 $1,097
DC 25/50/10 $1,054
Delaware 15/30/10 $1,520
Florida 10/20/10 $1,058
Georgia 25/50/25 $743
Hawaii 20/40/10 $386
Iowa 20/4015 $403
Idaho 25/50/15 $546
Illinois 25/50/20 $543
Indiana 25/50/10 $633
Kansas 25/50/25 $526
Kentucky 25/50/10 $607
Louisiana 15/30/25 $909
Massachusetts 20/40/5 $866
Maryland 30/60/15 $958
Maine 50/100/25 $513
Michigan 20/40/10 $2,446
Minnesota 30/60/10 $864
Missouri 25/50/10 $506
Mississippi 25/50/25 $639
Montana 25/50/20 $467
North Carolina 30/60/25 $385
North Dakota 25/50/10 $512
Nebraska 25/50/25 $472
New Hampshire 25/50/25* $587
New Jersey 15/30/5 $1,086
New Mexico 15/50/10 $612
Nevada 15/30/10 $641
New York 25/15/10 $891
Ohio 25/50/25 $579
Oklahoma 25/50/25 $712
Oregon 25/50/20 $1,007
Pennsylvania 15/30/5 $560
Rhode Island 25/50/25 $1,026
South Carolina 25/50/25 $654
South Dakota 25/50/25 $431
Tennessee 25/50/15 $656
Texas 30/60/25 $783
Utah 25/65/15 $629
Virginia 25/50/20 $536
Vermont 25/50/10 $487
Washington 25/50/10 $671
Wisconsin 25/50/10 $578
West Virginia 25/50/25 $669
Wyoming 25/50/20 $410

Methodology: The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state for minimum coverage from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. In some states, uninsured motorist coverage and/or personal injury protection coverage is mandatory in addition to liability. For those states, these coverages are included in our average rate shown in the chart, though we list just the state minimum levels for liability. Data was provided for Insurance.com by Quadrant Information Services. New Hampshire doesn’t require drivers to have car insurance, but most drivers do, and we’ve listed what is mandated if you choose to carry coverage.

Watch for pitfalls in coverage

You can only go so far with discounts and comparison shopping. Some carriers can provide you a lower rate, but they do it by limiting coverage in ways you might regret in the event of an accident.

For example, some companies limit coverage of permissive drivers or don't cover them at all. That is, if you lend your car to a friend who has an accident, your liability limits might be reduced or the claim might not be honored. The same discount policies might not extend to a rental car, as standard policies do.


Hit the road with the right car insurance policy

Auto insurance is a must if you own a car. Most states require you to carry insurance, and without it, you face financial disaster if you cause a serious accident and get sued.

Car insurance can also pay to repair your vehicle if it gets damaged in a crash or natural disaster, like hail or wildfire, or is vandalized or stolen.

Car insurance coverage types

One policy can include several types of coverage.

Liability insurancepays for others' damage and injuries when you cause an accident. Most states require you to carry at least a minimum level of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. See states minimum car insurance requirements.

The coverage limits are expressed as three numbers. Limits of 25/50/25, for example, would provide up to $25,000 per person injured in an accident, up to $50,000 of coverage for injuries per accident and $25,000 for property damage per accident. Remember, liability insurance pays out to other people; it does not cover you, your passengers or your car.

Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage pays the medical bills for you and your passengers after a car accident, regardless of who caused the crash. PIP also covers lost wages and funeral costs. Some states require you to buy PIP or MedPay.

Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM)comes to the rescue if you're hit by a driver who has no insurance or not enough coverage. UM pays your medical bills if you're injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. UIM kicks in if your medical expenses exceed the other driver's liability coverage limits. UM and UIM are required in some states.

Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD)covers your car if an uninsured driver hits you, but the coverage isn't available in every state. Roughly one in eight drivers is uninsured, according to a 2014 Insurance Research Council report.

Collision coverage pays to repair your own vehicle after a crash. It's an optional form of coverage, although your car-loan lender might require you to have it. Collision will kick in if you hit a tree, for example. Or, if an uninsured driver hits you and you don't have UMPD, you could make a collision claim for your car's repairs. Any collision payment will be reduced by the amount of your collision deductible.

Comprehensive coverage has a misleading name because it applies only to certain circumstances. It pays out if your car is stolen (and not recovered) or damaged by a natural disaster, if you hit an animal or if your car is vandalized. Like collision, comprehensive is optional, but your lender might require it. Here too, a comprehensive claim payment will be reduced by the amount of your deductible.

Roadside assistance and other extras can come in handy in a pinch. Roadside assistance covers towing and emergency roadside service when your car breaks down. Rental reimbursement pays for a rental car while your car is in the shop after a covered accident. Gap coverage kicks in if the insurer declares your car a total loss, and the payout from the insurance company for the vehicle's actual cash value is less than the amount you owe on the car loan. See: Save yourself some car insurance grief: Buy gap coverage.

How car insurance rates are set

The price you pay for car insurance depends on the type and amount of coverage you buy, the deductible for collision and comprehensive insurance, the kind of vehicle you own and the characteristics of you and the other drivers listed on the policy. Here are the most and least expensive 2016 vehicles to insure.

Factors that insurers generally consider when setting your rate include:

  • Your driving record. Speeding tickets and other infractions increase premiums.
  • Your accident and claims history. There's no point trying to hide your previous problem. Insurers will access your C.L.U.E. report to find out your claims for the past seven years.
  • Your credit record. A good credit history helps keep premiums low. Insurers say there is a link between spotty credit history and the likelihood of filing claims. Not all states allow credit to be a factor in auto insurance pricing.
  • Your age. Rates are highest for teenagers because they are risky drivers. Their crash rate per mile driven is about three times that of drivers age 20 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Rates begin to drop around age 25, and you'll likely enjoy the best rates in your 50s and early 60s.
  • Your sex. Young women usually qualify for lower rates than young men, but the difference diminishes with age.
  • Where you live. Car insurance rates vary widely by state and also by ZIP code. Insurers base rates on where the car is garaged.
  • How much you drive. Your daily commute and annual mileage will affect your rate. The more your car is on the road, the greater your chance for a claim.

Shopping for auto insurance

Consider your assets when deciding how much liability insurance to buy. The state minimum requirements for coverage are too low for many people. Collision and comprehensive insurance are important for newer vehicles but usually aren't cost-effective for clunkers.

Shop around for car insurance quotes - rates, policy options and customer service vary by insurer. Insure.com's customer satisfaction ratings reveal which insurers get the highest marks.

And make sure you take advantage of discounts in order to lower your bill. Typical discounts include those for multiple vehicles on a policy, auto safety features, antitheft devices and good students. You might also be able to get a discount for paying in full, buying home insurance with the same insurer, or being a customer for a few years or more.

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