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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Illinois

You’ll face fines and other penalties if you drive without the state minimum amount of car insurance in Illinois.

Police officer talking to driver

Get caught driving without insurance in Illinois and you’ll pay a fine of at least $500 and the state will suspend your license plates.

You’ll face those same penalties – and possibly others – even if you have car insurance but don’t carry the state minimum amount of auto liability coverage.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

How Much Car Insurance Do I Need in Illinois to Avoid Penalty?

You need at least the state minimum amount of auto liability insurance coverage if you want to avoid fines and other penalties in Illinois. That means you need:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $20,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident

Under Illinois’ mandatory insurance law, the state’s liability insurance policies must include a certain amount of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. As a result, they automatically include at least:

  • $25,000 of UM bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 of UM bodily injury coverage per accident

State law doesn’t require drivers to carry UM property damage coverage. It also doesn’t require them to carry any underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

You might want to buy it anyway, though. And you might want to buy more UM coverage, too.

These coverage types protect you and your passengers if you get into an accident and the other driver either:

  • Doesn’t have car insurance
  • Doesn’t have enough car insurance to cover your repair or medical expenses

They also protect you if you’re injured in a hit-and-run accident.

How can I prove I have the state minimum amount of auto liability coverage in Illinois?

The main way to prove you carry the state required amount of car insurance in Illinois is to always have your insurance card with you.

You’ll need your insurance card if:

  • A law enforcement officer pulls you over for a traffic offense
  • You’re involved in an accident
  • The state asks you to fill out a questionnaire about your car insurance coverage

Yes, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Mandatory Insurance Division randomly contacts drivers to verify they have auto coverage. Specifically, it asks for the name of their insurance provider and their policy number.

It will penalize you if:

  • You don’t return the questionnaire
  • You return it but don’t have car insurance
  • You return it but don’t have the required amount of car insurance

What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Illinois?

Illinois will hit you with different fines and penalties depending on when it discovers you’re driving without car insurance.

Here are the three situations that are most likely to result in fines and other penalties if you can’t show proof of insurance:

  • The state sends you a questionnaire to fill out and you don’t return it, or you return it but don’t have enough coverage
  • A police officer pulls you over and you can’t prove you have insurance
  • You’re in an accident and you can’t prove you have insurance

Penalties if the state finds out you’re uninsured

Illinois will suspend your license plates if it sends you a questionnaire asking for your car insurance information and:

  • You return the questionnaire but don’t provide the requested information
  • You return it but you can’t show you have car insurance
  • You return it but you can’t show you have the state minimum amount of auto liability insurance
  • You don’t return it at all

To reinstate suspended license plates in Illinois, you need to:

First-time offender Repeat offender
Pay a $100 reinstatement fee and provide current proof of insurance. Wait until a four-month suspension period ends, pay $100 reinstatement fee, and provide current proof of insurance.

You also must visit one of Illinois’ many Secretary of State facilities to process your reinstatement.

Penalties if you’re pulled over and you can’t show proof of insurance to a police officer

If an Illinois law enforcement officer stops you for a traffic violation and you can’t provide evidence of insurance, the state will:

  • Suspend your license plates for up to three months
  • Fine you at least $500
  • Charge you a $100 fee to reinstate your license plates

These are the penalties you’ll face for a first offense. For second offenses and beyond, the state will:

  • Suspend your license plates for four months
  • Fine you at least $1,000
  • Charge you a $100 fee to reinstate your license plates
  • Make you file an SR-22 form for three years

Also, if you’re caught driving with license plates the state suspended due to an insurance violation, Illinois will fine you $1,000 more.

Penalties if you get into an accident and you can’t prove car insurance coverage

If you can’t prove you have enough auto liability coverage after getting into an accident, the state will penalize you in the same ways it penalizes uninsured drivers who are pulled over.

In other words, it will suspend your license plates, fine you, and charge you a reinstatement fee for a first offense. And it will increase those penalties for repeat offenders.

Finally, watch out if you get into an accident after you’re caught driving without car insurance twice. In such cases, Illinois will fine you an additional $2,500.

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