Driving a car without insurance in Chicago, Illinois, is often a sign of a lack of financial accountability or responsibility for damages in the event of a car accident. You may have to pay the damages out-of-pocket or get sued for failing to pay if you drive without auto insurance and cause an accident. You also risk facing jail time, high insurance premiums, driver’s license suspension, hefty fines, and your vehicle getting impounded.
Should You Drive Without Insurance?
It’s illegal to drive without auto insurance. Carrying auto insurance helps demonstrate your financial liability or responsibility for damages in the event of a car accident. It shows that you have adequate assets to pay for any losses incurred in an accident that you caused.
Since Illinois is a fault state, drivers who cause accidents due to their negligent actions must pay for the losses suffered by the victim. Illinois law makes it mandatory to have liability coverage for death or personal injury. The coverage must also have a limit for property damage.
To confirm that you have met these car insurance requirements, you must carry an insurance certificate, which is proof of insurance. But if you drive without this certificate, you risk facing uninsured drivers’ penalties such as fines and license suspension.
What Car Insurance Covers in Illinois
Understanding the coverage options and limits for car accident insurance can help you anticipate the insurance payouts following an accident. If you are an insured driver who causes an accident, liability insurance will help cover the personal injury costs to the other motorists and property damage.
Liability insurance offers property damage and bodily injury coverage. Bodily injury liability pays for expenses and losses that stem from the injuries a car accident cause. These losses or expenses include medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Property damage liability helps cover the replacement or repair costs of property damaged in an accident. Some valuables that can get destroyed or damaged in a crash include the vehicle, clothing, phones, and cameras.
The injured parties must show that their damages and injuries are a direct consequence of an accident caused by you. They can support their claim with financial documentation for lost income, wages, and medical records. The injured party can receive compensation through a third-party insurance claim against the other party’s insurance carrier after determining who is at fault.
What Happens if You Drive Without Insurance?
If you have the right insurance and are an at-fault driver in an accident, you can rely on it to cover accident-related losses up to the coverage limit. However, you risk hefty out-of-pocket expenses and serious consequences if you cause a car crash while driving uninsured. The expenses and consequences include repair/replacement costs, medical expenses, legal fees, license suspension/revocation, and vehicle impounding.
The at-fault driver will be liable for physical damage caused to the other party’s vehicle. The driver will cater for the repair and replacement costs of the property or vehicles damaged in the accident
The at-fault party will also have to pay for the medical costs of the other driver and his or her passengers if they were injured in the accident. The injured parties may pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party with the help of an uninsured motorist lawyer if the at-fault party fails or refuses to pay the damages owed.
Driving a car without insurance can also lead to license suspension or revocation. With a license suspension, the Illinois Secretary of State will temporarily withdraw your driving privileges.
The Illinois Secretary of State will require you to file a form proving financial responsibility to have your driving privileges reinstated. The form can help the state prove you have the right auto insurance coverage. You may also have to pay a reinstatement fee and an application fee, as well as pass a driver’s license exam.
Driving without Insurance in Chicago, IL, may lead to vehicle impounding. The police officer who discovers that you do not have insurance may take your vehicle. You must pay an administrative fine with the revenue department to retrieve the vehicle. The authorities expect you to sign up for insurance before retrieving the vehicle.
What Happens When You’re Not-at-Fault in an Accident Without Insurance?
A not-at-fault accident is an accident that you did not cause. Regardless of the cause, failing to have relevant insurance at the time of the accident can carry serious consequences.
You may lose your driver’s license even if it is clear that you are not liable for the victim’s injuries. When police officers reach the scene, they will ask you to show proof of insurance. They may alert the Illinois Secretary of State about this offense and have your license suspended.
Operating motor vehicles without insurance is an offense in Illinois. While the offense may be considered petty, it can attract a sizable fine. The fine increases based on the number of convictions the driver has.
Police officers may impound your vehicle if you drive it without insurance. You must meet the requirement for having insurance to retrieve the vehicle. You will also have to pay an administrative penalty during the retrieval.
The costs of a car accident can go beyond medical bills and repair costs. If you do not have insurance, these costs may take a huge toll on your finances.
Getting Into an Accident Without Insurance
A car accident can have serious financial, physical, and emotional consequences. If you do not have proper insurance coverage during the accident, you may have to handle the financial losses out of pocket. You will also have to negotiate with other road users and cover the repairs or replacements needed for their vehicle(s).
Auto insurance is still essential if you lend someone your car. The reason is that the auto insurance policy follows the insured car. Any claims occurring when the person who borrowed your car is driving will be covered.
How to Find Affordable Car Insurance
Some people choose to go without insurance to save money. This decision is a short-term solution, which may cost you thousands of dollars in the future. If saving money is your priority, compare multiple policy quotes before settling for an affordable one.
Inquire about the discounts to get the best price. Do not wait to get arrested for driving without car insurance to shop for insurance. Find out from several insurance companies if you qualify for a rate with better discounts owing to your safe driving record.
While finding the right coverage for your unique needs matters, maintaining a clean driving record can help you find affordable car insurance. A clean record also helps prevent surcharges on your insurance coverage.
Driving a Car Without Insurance May Increase Future Insurance Rates
Your auto insurance premium is the amount you pay the insurer regularly (often monthly or every six months) to get full coverage. It is usually explained in an insurance policy, a legal contract between you and the insurance company. Be sure to read your policy to verify that it meets your needs and that you understand your responsibilities.
If caught operating a motor vehicle without the relevant insurance coverage, insurance companies will likely consider you a high-risk driver. As such, you may have to pay higher premiums for your car insurance.
Note that each insurance company calculates its rates differently. So, you will not pay the same amount using one carrier as you might if you choose another insurance carrier. Your coverage rates can also increase or decrease depending on the risk factors linked to your policy.
Your provider may consider you an at-risk driver if you have a history of traffic tickets or moving violations. Expect to pay more for the coverage to shield the insurer from the risk of paying more in claims. The more severe the traffic ticket or moving violation, the higher the monthly premium.
At-fault drivers in car accidents caught driving without insurance pay higher premiums once they sign up for insurance. You also risk paying higher premiums if charged for distracted or reckless driving. Insurance providers will give you higher rates if you did not have coverage during the incident.
High Premiums Brought by a Lapse in Coverage
If you recently purchased a new car and drove without insurance, your insurance provider will raise your rate once you sign up for coverage. The reason is that the insurer considers you a high-risk driver.
The company will want to transfer some liability for an accident to you, with high premiums. It may assume you could not afford insurance when you got the car or drove it without coverage.
A simple lapse in insurance coverage could cost you more money in the long run. Do not drive until you have obtained valid insurance coverage. This consideration applies even in cases where you have purchased a new vehicle and cannot afford auto insurance immediately.
What’s more, you should only cancel your current insurance policy once you are ready to sign up for a new one. To save money, reduce the coverage by switching to more affordable coverage. You can also have a loved one or friend add you to his or her insurance coverage if you cannot afford one.
Can Your License Get Suspended for Driving Without Insurance in Chicago, Illinois?
A driver’s license proves that you have permission to operate a motorized vehicle on a public road. You can apply for one after passing a driving test.
Your driving privileges will not get suspended when charged for driving a car without insurance for the first time. However, you risk losing your driving privileges if you drive without insurance and cause an accident. Your vehicle registration plates and license will be suspended for up to three months if it is your first-time driving without insurance.
The suspension will last up to four months for second or subsequent offenses. You may also lose your driving privileges for an additional six months if caught driving with a suspended driver’s license and without insurance.
The Illinois Secretary of State will require your insurance provider to submit a form proving that you have relevant coverage each month for three or more years. It may impose this requirement if you had three or more convictions or had court supervision for driving without insurance. You risk license suspension if your insurance carrier fails to meet this requirement.
Proof of Insurance
Illinois law requires all drivers to carry an insurance certificate when operating motor vehicles. The certificate helps verify their financial responsibility for an accident during a traffic stop. You can also verify your insurance provider and policy number through a random sampling questionnaire sent to drivers.
Illinois law also allows you to show proof of insurance in the form of an electronic image on a portable electronic device (like a cellular phone) when requested by the police. If you cannot access it on an electronic device, the police officer will write you a ticket. You will have to explain your lack of insurance in court.
How to Avoid a Ticket for Driving Without Insurance
Always carry a valid insurance certificate to avoid getting a ticket for driving without insurance. Keep the certificate in your wallet, purse, or any part of your vehicle that is easily accessible. Also, ensure the policy stays current by setting up auto-renewal with your provider.
Paying the insurance premiums on time can help you avoid coverage lapses. If you switch policies or providers, only cancel the previous policy once the other one is active. Inform the Illinois Secretary of State about the switch to avoid legal troubles.