Illinois Car Insurance Laws and Requirements

A look at car insurance laws in Illinois, including minimum coverage requirements, penalties for driving without insurance, and more.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated by Stacy Barrett, Attorney · UC Law San Francisco

Updated October 13, 2022

If you own or drive a motor vehicle in Illinois, here's what you need to know about the state's car insurance laws:

  • You must carry liability insurance to register or operate a vehicle in Illinois.
  • The Illinois Secretary of State uses an Electronic Insurance Verification process to check the insurance status of all drivers in Illinois.
  • Drivers who are caught driving without insurance in Illinois face stiff penalties and lack financial protection if they are involved in an accident.

Is Illinois a "No-Fault" Car Accident State?

Illinois has a fault-based insurance system. In "fault" states, the driver who caused a car crash has to pay for the other party's damages, including medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

At-fault drivers typically rely on liability insurance to pay for damages, which is why Illinois law requires car owners and drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance.

Learn more about at-fault accidents and driver liability for car accidents.

Car Insurance Requirements in Illinois

The minimum amounts of car insurance required in Illinois are:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of more than one person, and
  • $20,000 liability coverage for damage to the property of another person.

Liability insurance policies in Illinois automatically include uninsured motorist coverage at the legal minimum requirements for bodily injury or death. Uninsured motorist insurance covers your accident-related losses if you're in a crash with an at-fault driver who is uninsured.

What Is Liability Insurance?

Your liability coverage pays for injuries, property damage, and other losses you cause in a car accident, up to coverage limits.

Here are a few examples of what liability insurance covers:

Liability insurance doesn't pay for your vehicle damage or injuries after a car accident. If you want coverage for your car repair bills, you need to purchase collision and comprehensive car insurance. Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) will cover medical bills for you and your passengers no matter who caused the accident. Learn more about PIP and MedPay claims.

Who Is Covered Under a Liability Car Insurance Policy?

Your liability coverage typically covers drivers who are named on your policy, most household members, and "permissive users."

Household members can be related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Permissive users are people who have permission to drive your car. For example, if you allow a friend to borrow your car, your friend would be a permissive user.

Your liability insurance covers you when you drive your car and will likely cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.

Is the Minimum Amount of Coverage Enough?

You can—and probably should—carry more coverage than the minimum amount required by state law. Higher policy limits may cost you more in premiums, but could save you from financial ruin if you're the at-fault driver in a serious car accident.

If you're involved in an accident with multiple injuries, medical expenses can quickly exceed the $50,000 minimum in Illinois. You'll be on the hook for any amount above your coverage limits.

What Are My Options for Getting Compensation After an Illinois Car Accident?

In Illinois, you can get compensation for injuries, vehicle damage, and other car accident-related losses by:

Learn more about starting the car insurance claim process.

Proof of Insurance Requirements in Illinois

Illinois requires vehicle owners and operators to carry proof of insurance in their cars. If you're stopped for a traffic violation or involved in an accident, a law enforcement officer may write you a traffic citation if you can't provide proof of insurance.

Starting in July 2021, the Illinois Secretary of State launched automated computer checks for liability insurance twice a year. If the first computer check doesn't verify that a vehicle is covered by a minimum liability policy, that vehicle will be rechecked in 30 days. If the second verification attempt fails, the registered owner will have 30 days to submit proof of coverage or their vehicle's registration will be suspended. Owners have to get liability insurance and pay a $100 reinstatement fee to have a registration suspension lifted.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Illinois

If you get caught driving without insurance in Illinois, you can expect penalties, including:

  • fines
  • driver's license suspension
  • license reinstatement fees, and
  • a special type of proof of insurance requirement called an SR-22.

As stiff as these penalties are, they pale in comparison to the financial hit you could take if you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance.

(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/3-707 (2022).)

Getting Help After an Illinois Car Accident

For more details on car insurance in Illinois, check out the Illinois Department of Insurance's Auto Insurance Shopping Guide.

If you've been involved in a car accident in Illinois, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can answer your questions and explain your legal options.

Learn more about how an attorney can help you with your car accident claim and how to find the right lawyer. When you're ready, you can connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.

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