The average cost of car insurance is $199 a month in the United States. For many households, it is a major expense and one place that lots of people look to for savings. However, adequate car insurance can save you thousands of dollars when a car accident leads to unexpected damages. Auto insurance is an important protection for yourself and others when the unexpected happens. That’s why Illinois requires drivers within the state to have certain types of insurance coverage.
Drivers who are caught without the minimum required insurance face substantial fines and penalties. First time offenders may have to pay between $500 and $1,000. Additionally, their licenses could be suspended for three months and there are additional fees to have it reinstated. To protect yourself and others, it helps to review the types of car insurance coverage you have to ensure it meets Illinois requirements and your current needs. Too often we do not consider our car insurance coverage until it is too late.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage (BI) is designed to protect the other driver in the event of an accident. It’s one of two types of liability insurance. The other type is property damage liability coverage, which pays for any damage you cause to the other driver’s car.
If another driver causes a car accident that injures you, that driver’s bodily injury liability coverage can help to cover your medical expenses and lost wages that result from your injuries.
The minimum bodily injury coverage for Illinois drivers is $25,000/$50,000.
This means that the coverage limits are up to $25,000 per injured person. And up to a maximum total of $50,000 for all injuries caused by the accident including multiple people in the vehicle.
Keep in mind these are the policy limits, meaning this is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay. In an effort to cut their own costs, however, insurance companies will always try to keep their payout well below the policy limit.
Having an attorney to evaluate your medical records to properly value your claim can protect you from accepting less than you need to cover all your damages.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
Illinois drivers must have a minimum of $20,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Like bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage (PD) is designed to pay for the other person’s property damage when you are at-fault for a car accident.
An at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage will help to pay for the cost of vehicle repairs or complete replacement when a car is totaled.
It could also be used to cover other types of property damaged in a motor vehicle accident, like fences, bicycles, or property inside the vehicle.
How to Read Insurance Policy Limits in Documents
When you see three numbers divided by slashes on a car insurance policy or some other document, it is often referring to the coverage limits of liability insurance.
For example, you might see 25/50/20 for a policy limit. The first two numbers refer to how many thousands of dollars in coverage you have for bodily injury coverage per person and per accident. The third number refers to the amount of property damage liability coverage.
Using Illinois’ minimum coverage requirements as an example, the 25/50 would represent $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. The third number represents the $20,000 in property damage coverage.
It’s estimated that almost 14% of Illinois drivers are uninsured. If one of these drivers hit you, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to recover any of your expenses from them directly. After all, if they are unable to pay minimum insurance premiums, they are unlikely to have many assets to go after.
That is one reason why Illinois requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM). This coverage helps to pay for your injuries, rather than the other driver’s injuries.
You can also turn to your uninsured motorist coverage if you are injured in a hit and run car accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage is required in Illinois, but it automatically comes with bodily injury coverage in equal amounts. For example, if you buy $25,000 in bodily injury insurance coverage, you automatically get $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.
Severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and disfigurements cost a fortune to treat. Not only that, but their consequences can last a lifetime. These types of injuries can be so costly. So an at-fault driver’s policy limits aren’t always enough to cover these types of damages. This is why underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) exists.
Underinsured motorist coverage is different from uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist insurance covers injuries to you and your passengers in the event that the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy is insufficient to cover all your expenses. In this case, your insurance company covers the expenses that exceed the limits of the other driver’s policy.
Underinsured is grouped with uninsured motorist coverage in Illinois.
Medical payment coverage is a type of insurance designed to pay for your own injury treatment in the event you are hurt in a car accident. Regardless of who caused the accident, your own medical payments coverage will help to pay for the cost of your medical expenses including hospital bills, doctors’ fees, and the cost of medication up to your policy limit amount.
Medical payments coverage is not required in Illinois.
Collision insurance is a type of coverage that helps to pay for any repairs or the complete replacement of your car if it’s damaged in an accident with another vehicle or an object, like a fence or a tree. If your car is leased or financed, collision coverage may be required by the lender to protect their investment since they are the actual owners of the vehicle.
Collision coverage is not required in Illinois, although it may be required by your lender.
Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage also covers the cost of physical damage. It pays for repairs or replacement due to causes other than a collision. This would include theft, vandalism, fire, a falling branch, water, and hail. Comprehensive coverage is meant to bring the vehicle back to the value it held at the time of the accident. Or to provide for a replacement at the car’s current value.
Comprehensive coverage is not required in Illinois.
Contact an Illinois Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, speak to an attorney at Abels & Annes. We know that handling insurance claims can be complicated, especially when multiple policies or parties are involved. Our experienced team will manage all communications with the insurance company to make sure you’re getting the best possible compensation. For a free initial case evaluation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.