What Is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Illinois?
Auto insurance is not an option in the state of Illinois. Drivers must carry the minimum amount of coverage, or they’ll face stiff penalties. A first-time offender can expect:
Repeat offenders would face higher fines along with an additional $1,000 fine if their vehicle’s plates were suspended after a previous violation.
Driving uninsured and driving without proof of insurance are both violations. Not having proof when asked for it during a traffic stop or accident is an administrative violation akin to driving without a seat belt. Both will result in a fine. Always be sure to have proof of insurance on you and in your car.
Driving uninsured, though, is much more costly.
Even if you are in an accident you didn’t cause; you can still be cited for violating car insurance law if you can’t prove you have insurance. You’ll likely be charged a fine and penalized on your driving record. You also won’t have an insurance provider to advocate on your behalf with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Instead, you’ll be responsible for retrieving your compensation, which could take weeks or months.
There are more complications for uninsured drivers in Illinois. Under Illinois’ Code of Civil Procedure §735 ILCS 5/2-1116, the state has adopted modified comparative negligence as the standard for recovery of damages.
Under modified comparative negligence, an injured party may recover damages only if they are less than 50% at fault for the injury or damages. However, the recovered amount may be reduced in proportion to the degree that the injured party was at fault.
Say, for example, that the other driver is found to be 80% at fault and you were found to be 20% at fault. In this case, you can collect damages because you were less than 50% at fault. Consequently, the other driver’s insurance company would offer to pay 80% of your damages.
Driving without insurance and causing an accident will put a driver in an even worse situation. The driver will have to pay fines associated with violating Illinois’ insurance law. Because Illinois is an at-fault state, the uninsured driver will also be responsible for the injuries and damages they’ve caused to themselves and the others involved. This could mean expensive medical and repair bills.
Not having insurance is a very risky position no driver should be in. For your safety and the safety of other drivers, you should have basic coverage if you plan to drive in Illinois.
Am I Required to Report an Accident in Illinois to Authorities?
The short answer is yes. If someone is injured or killed due to a car accident you are involved in, you must typically report the incident within 24 hours.
According to Illinois Statute §625 ILCS 5/11-408, all crash reports taken by law enforcement must be submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation “within 10 days after investigation of the motor vehicle accident.”
Not reporting an accident is a misdemeanor. Failure to report a “reportable” accident could land you in jail for up to six months and lasso you with fines of $1,000 or more.
In such cases of injury or death, you will also need to inform the DMV. If no one is injured, but there is more than $1,000 worth of damages to vehicles or property, you will need to notify the DMV within 10 days.
Generally, there are no state laws that require you to inform your insurer about an accident; however, most providers have stipulations within their policies that require you to report any accidents. If you do not report within the timely manner laid out in the policy, then the insurer may have the right to cancel your policy. Likely, they will require a report within 24 to 48 hours.
Informing your insurance provider can work in your favor. Insurers want to get ahead of any claims that may come out of your accident. To offer the best defense, they need to be informed as soon as possible. They can even help file the proper reporting paperwork with the state.
What Is an Illinois Motorist Report SR-1 350M?
An Illinois Motorist Report SR-1 350M is completed by the driver who caused a crash that resulted in bodily injury, death, or property damage. It includes driver and vehicle identification information, diagrams to indicate the type of vehicle damage sustained, tow and insurance information, and descriptions of property damage and bodily injuries. An accident diagram and narrative must also be included with this report.