Illinois has recently made changes to its mandatory auto insurance law via the new Electronic Auto Insurance Verification Program. If you’re not familiar with these changes, you could be in serious legal trouble and not even know it. Read on to learn about these legal changes and how to protect yourself out on the road.
What Is the Illinois Electronic Auto Insurance Verification Program?
Mandatory car insurance laws apply to everyone equally. To better enforce the requirement for liability car insurance, Illinois instituted its Illinois Electronic Auto Insurance Verification Program.
Under this program, the state has a third party verify every driver’s liability car insurance coverage at least twice per year. That third party is connected to all of the insurance companies operating throughout the state, making it easy for them to verify everyone’s status.
Keep in mind that it’s important to get the right car insurance coverage to comply with these requirements.
When Does the Illinois Electronic Auto Insurance Verification Program Start?
The program went into effect on July 1st, 2021. Insurance companies worked together to validate drivers’ policies electronically. Since this verification will occur automatically, most drivers won’t have to do anything.
What Will Enforcement Look Like?
In order to enforce the mandatory liability insurance requirements, the third party scans driver records to verify drivers have the minimum coverage. This is always a two-part process before any drivers are contacted about their registration.
First, the vendor checks to find vehicles that do not have the required minimum coverage. For any vehicles lacking this coverage, the vendor waits 30 days and then scans again. That 30-day period gives the vendor time to verify if the owner sold the vehicle or has otherwise given up on driving the vehicle.
If a car is active and the driver doesn’t have liability car insurance, the vendor will warn that their car registration is now suspended. At this point, the driver and his insurance company now have 30 days to prove that insurance coverage was in place before they were contacted.
If you cannot provide such proof, your registration will be suspended. And if you are stopped by a police officer and cannot provide proof of coverage at the time, you may face a hefty fine and have your license plates suspended.
Can You Go to Jail for Not Having Car Insurance?
Now you know a bit more about Illinois’ mandatory auto insurance law and what the enforcement and punishment process looks like. However, many drivers worry that the punishment will get harsher than this. Specifically, they worry about whether they will go to jail for simply not having car insurance.
The short answer to this is “no.” The state may use techniques we already mentioned to keep you off the road, including suspending your registration and license plates. And there are some hefty fees involved if you keep driving without proper insurance coverage. But you won’t face jail time unless you have committed crimes.
What Is the Minimum Required Auto Insurance in Illinois?
You know that liability insurance is required by law in Illinois. But do you know exactly how much coverage you need to get to be legally compliant?
When you purchase car insurance, you must choose the coverage limits for things like bodily injury and property damage. This limit defines how much the insurance company will pay if there is a qualifying event. For example, if there is a $25,000 limit, the insurance carrier will not pay a penny past $25,000.
With that in mind, what are the minimum limits for liability insurance in Illinois? They are as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 property damage per accident
Unlike some states, Illinois also requires that all drivers have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. And you need it in the following amounts:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
Remember: It’s good to know more about average car insurance prices before you take out a new policy!
How Long Do You Have to Get Insurance on a New Car in Illinois?
Sometimes, mandatory auto insurance laws make people nervous. What if you buy a new car? In that case, how long do you have to get car insurance?
Generally speaking, you need to get insurance within 30 days of registering the vehicle. Certain insurance companies will offer a “grace period” before you insure your vehicle, and this gives you time to weigh your options. But the grace period varies from carrier to carrier, so be sure to speak with the insurance carrier to verify how much time you have.
Does Insurance Follow the Car or the Driver in Illinois?
Car insurance laws in various states can be confusing to keep track of. One common question new Illinois residents have is whether car insurance follows the vehicle or the driver.
In Illinois, the insurance effectively follows your car. That means you can let a spouse or family member drive your car. But be careful because it will be your insurance paying out for any damage someone causes after they borrow your car.
Who Has the Cheapest Car Insurance in Illinois?
One thing that all drivers have in common is a desire to save money on their insurance premiums. For maximum safety, your car should have more than the minimum required coverage. But the trick is finding the insurance company that offers the right combination of service and price.
Freeway Insurance helps you compare the most competitive car insurance rates in all of Illinois. Use our list of personalized quotes from various insurance providers to save some serious money when you switch to a new plan. And if you have a new vehicle, we can make sure you don’t pay for too much insurance on it each month.
Get the Right Coverage Today
Freeway Insurance helps drivers find the minimum coverage they need and beyond. To make things easy, you can quote your Illinois car insurance online, give us a call at (800) 777-5620, or visit us at an office near you.