In the State of Illinois, drivers must carry a certain amount of liability insurance by law. Drivers who get caught driving without this insurance face fines of up to $4,500 and a license suspension for up to four months. Illinois keeps a close eye on repeat offenders and may require you to provide proof of financial responsibility for three years after a conviction. Remember that insurance is a legal requirement, but you may have to pay more for it if there are black marks on your driving history. Failure to obtain insurance now could make it even harder to find insurance in the future after a license suspension.
Car insurance comes in three basic flavors, some of which are optional. The first is collision insurance. This type of coverage protects you if you hit an object with your car or if another car hits you. If you have collision coverage and get into an accident or hit a utility pole, your insurance provider will pay to fix the damage to your car. Your insurer will also offer you comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive protection covers everything that collision doesn't. This part of your policy kicks in if someone vandalizes your car or if a tree falls on it during a storm. In Illinois, the law allows you to opt out of collision and comprehensive coverage. The lender who holds your car loan, however, may require you to purchase these types of insurance until you satisfy your loan.
While comprehensive and collision coverage are optional, you must carry liability insurance by law. Liability insurance pays for any property damage or personal injuries you cause while driving your car. In Illinois, the minimum amount of insurance you must have is $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident, $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident and $20,000 to cover property damage.
First and Second Offense
The first and second time you get caught driving without insurance in Illinois, you will receive a fine of between $501 and $1,000. You will also lose your license for up to three months and have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee to get it back. The state will also suspend your vehicle's registration for up to three months, making it illegal for anyone to drive your car. This means you won't have the option of asking a friend or family member to give you a lift in your own vehicle.
If you get caught driving without insurance, you'll also need to make an appearance in court. You might be able to help yourself if you obtain car insurance before you go. Get the insurance and bring proof of it to court with you. If you do, the judge may reduce your fine by $100.
If you get caught driving without insurance three times or more, the penalties become stiffer. In this case, you'll receive a fine of at least $1,000. The state will add an additional $1,000 to the fine if your car registration is still under suspension from a previous conviction and you drove it anyway. Your car registration and driver's license will both incur four-month suspensions each time the court convicts you of driving uninsured. You will have to pay the $100 reinstatement fee to get your license back and the state will require you to provide an SR22 financial responsibility certificate every year for three years to prove you've obtained and are keeping insurance.
Things get even uglier if you get into an accident while driving without insurance. If you have an accident while uninsured and were already convicted of driving without insurance twice, the state of Illinois will fine you, suspend your registration and suspend your license as it normally would for a repeat offender. The state will also fine you an additional $2,500 if the accident injured another person. Whether it's your first offense or not, the other driver's insurance company may sue you to recover their losses. If you're considered at fault for the accident, your liability insurer would normally pay for the damages. If you don't have insurance, however, the financial responsibility could fall on you.
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