Illinois law requires every driver to carry automobile insurance that will provide personal injury and property damage coverage in the event that the driver causes an accident.
At a minimum, all drivers must carry bodily injury liability policies that provide at least $20,000 of coverage if one person is killed or injured in a car accident and $40,000 of coverage if more than one person is killed or injured. In addition, drivers must carry at least $15,000 of coverage for damage inflicted on another person’s vehicle or personal property.
Illinois’s mandatory insurance law is designed to minimize the out-of-pocket expenses that accident victims have to incur. However, many people worry that the minimum insurance requirements haven’t kept up with the rising cost of medical treatment and vehicle repairs. Because of this, the Illinois Legislature passed a bill this session that would raise the state’s minimum insurance requirements. The bill is now awaiting action by the governor.
If the bill becomes law, the new coverage requirements will take effect in January 2015. Drivers will be required to carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for injury or death to one person, and $50,000 for injury or death to more than one person in a single accident. Drivers will also be required to carry at least $20,000 in property damage coverage.
This is the first time the minimum automobile insurance coverage requirements have been raised since they were instituted in 1989.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims
Unfortunately, despite the mandatory coverage law, many drivers in Illinois choose not to purchase automobile insurance. Others might have insurance, but the policy limits are not sufficient to cover the damages inflicted in an accident.
In Illinois, drivers who are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver have alternative options to recover appropriate compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Illinois law requires every driver to carry both uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance provides coverage if the policyholder is injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. It also provides coverage if the policyholder is injured in a hit-and-run accident. Underinsured motorist insurance provides coverage in situations where the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance are not sufficient to cover the policyholder’s damages.
However, policyholders should not assume that because they are dealing with their own insurance company, the process for recovering benefits will be easy. In most cases, insurance companies handle uninsured and underinsured motorist claims with the same practices used for liability claims.
It is important to contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.