In 2017, Illinois got tougher on driving without minimum car insurance coverage.
It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Indiana or Illinois without having accident insurance. Individual drivers must carry liability insurance policies on their cars, minivans, RVs, and SUVs. Companies that operate trucks, vans, buses, or taxi cabs likewise need to have accident insurance on their company cars and commercial vehicles.
Illinois Law Requires Drivers to Have Minimum Accident Insurance
Drivers in the State of Illinois are required by law to have a certain amount of liability coverage. This protects accident victims in case they cause a motor vehicle accident. The state legislature has passed legislation that sets this minimum coverage as 25/50/20, or:
- $25,000 – injury or death of one person in an accident;
- $50,000 – injury or death of more than one person in an accident; and
- $20,000 – damage to property of another person.
The Secretary of State of Illinois warns drivers to be ready to prove they have coverage. Usually, this is done with a proper insurance card provided by the carrier.
Sure, this means by a police officer. But in the State of Illinois, not only will this be asked by police in traffic stops, but it may also be asked by a “random questionnaire sampling process.” Here, state computers sift through the state license plate data bank and randomly choose vehicles for driver questionnaires.
How does this work? The driver gets a state questionnaire asking for their current liability insurance policy number and the name of their carrier. This must be returned by law. After it is returned, the state will verify the information with the insurance carrier.
If things don’t jive, then the license plate is suspended. No one can drive that motor vehicle during the suspension period.
Illinois: Harsher Penalties for Failure to Have Coverage in 2017
In Illinois, the penalty for failing to abide by the state accident insurance law is stricter now. The legislature passed a new statute effective January 1, 2017. It gives more power to state law enforcement to get uninsured motor vehicles off the road.
What has changed? Now, police in Illinois will be able to take possession and impound the vehicle if the driver is caught twice in twelve (12) months without accident insurance. Even more power is given to law enforcement: the new Illinois law may allow the police to seize the vehicle, as well.
Indiana Law against Driving Without Accident Insurance
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles reports one of the most common traffic violations for Hoosiers is failure to have proper accident insurance.
Indiana has a minimum amount of coverage required to drive a motor vehicle in the State of Indiana. State law requires 25/50/10 liability coverage. This means:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to, or the death of, one individual;
- $50,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, two or more people in any one accident; and
- $10,000 for property damages in any one accident.
If law enforcement discovers a driver operating a motor vehicle on Indiana roadways without this minimum accident insurance, then the driver can lose his license to drive a motor vehicle in Indiana as well as being ordered to pay a fine for driving uninsured. Driver’s license suspensions can be anywhere from 90 days to one year.
Driving Without Accident Insurance: Losing Your License or Losing Your Car
Each state is free to legislate as its lawmakers see fit. Both states have passed laws requiring minimum liability insurance. However, the penalties for violating their minimum accident coverage laws are much different.
Illinois focuses more on getting motor vehicles off the road when they are found without adequate liability insurance. Indiana concentrates more on penalizing the driver. Hoosiers who drive without proper accident coverage may end up with suspended driver’s licenses as well as monetary fines. In Illinois, maybe you lose your car.
Both states are working to stop drivers from operating any kind of motor vehicle without insurance coverage to protect those who are involved in a car crash or traffic accident. Uninsured drivers are a serious problem in Indiana and Illinois, as well as the rest of the country.
The Problem of Uninsured Drivers
Uninsured driving accidents cause many problems. These include:
- The Victim’s Policy Must Pay. When you are involved in a car crash with an uninsured driver, then you are forced to file your damage claims with your own auto accident carrier. This is part of your “UM coverage,” or “uninsured motorist coverage.” It places you in an adversarial position with your own insurance company. That’s never a good thing.
- Not All Accident Damages May Have Insurance Coverage. If the driver who caused the crash doesn’t have coverage, then things like property damage (the totaled car) may not be covered. Uninsured motorist coverage usually covers just bodily injury.
- There May Not Be Sufficient Coverage. The bodily injury coverage under the UM coverage on the accident victim’s policy may not be enough to cover the medical expenses and other costs.
When you are involved in an auto accident in Indiana or Illinois that involves an uninsured driver, then you will face a bigger challenge in your fight for justice. You may have to investigate ways that the negligent driver can pay for the damages he has caused other than an insurance policy. After all, insurance is a contract for financial protection in an accident – it is not a shield from liability.
Liability Insurance and Personal Liability for Accident Damages
Sometimes, uninsured drivers are risking being caught violating the law because they cannot afford the coverage. However, it is not just families with lower incomes that may be behind in their insurance payments. There are drivers who fail to pay for coverage with more than enough assets and bank accounts to cover their responsibilities when they cause a serious traffic accident by their negligence.
Each case is different, and must be investigated. Be careful out there!