In 2017, Illinois rolled out new regulations that could aggravate the consequences of driving in the state without insurance. It is important to understand the current requirements in Illinois for car insurance and the consequences that you may face for driving without car insurance.
How Much Car Insurance Do You Have to Carry?
Illinois requires all registered motor vehicles (e.g., cars, trucks, motorcycles) to carry liability insurance. In 2017, Illinois requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. Illinois also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage in the same minimum amounts. The state has established minimum coverage amounts to help ensure that those injured in an accident are adequately covered.
How Will Illinois Know If You Do Not Have Car Insurance?
There are two ways for Illinois to determine if you have car insurance. The first is through a randomized survey that is automatically generated and sent to licensed Illinois state drivers. If you receive this random survey you will be required to submit proof of insurance – including the name of your insurance company and your policy number. If you do not submit this proof of insurance your car’s license plates will be suspended. This only affects the plates for vehicles that are not covered by insurance.
The second way for Illinois to know that you are uninsured is if you are pulled over for a traffic violation or involved in an Illinois car accident. You are required to provide proof of insurance when you are operating a vehicle.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance?
Failure to carry car insurance is a petty offense in Illinois. This means that there is no jail time for breaking this law. However, you may be subject to fines, license revocation, and other penalties. The severity of the penalties will depend on the number of times you are caught driving without insurance.
First and second offenses may be punished by monetary fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. Your driver’s license and motor vehicle registration for the uninsured car may also be revoked for up to 3 months. You will be required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance to end this term of suspension.
Third and subsequent offenses may be punished by monetary fines that include (1) $1,000 for driving an uninsured vehicle, (2) $1,000 for driving with suspended plates that were suspended for lack of insurance coverage, and (3) $2,500 if you have been convicted on two previous occasions and are involved in an accident. Your driving privileges and motor vehicle registration may also be revoked for four months. You will be required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance. Finally, you will be required to provide proof of financial responsibility for three years following your conviction.
Driving without insurance can also trigger increased car insurance premiums, making it even more difficult to carry the state-mandated minimum coverage. Contact an experienced Chicago attorney today to learn more about the risks of driving without car insurance in Illinois.
Can You Get Towed for Not Having Insurance or Towed For Driving Without Insurance?
Beginning in 2017 police may be able to have your car towed and impounded if you drive without insurance. Under the new law, your car can only be towed if:
- You are pulled over by police and are not carrying car insurance; and
- You have been convicted of driving without insurance in the past 12 months.
Under the current law, your car can only be towed if you are pulled over and it is determined that you are operating the vehicle without proper insurance. At the current time, your car cannot be impounded or towed if it is not in use.
If your car is towed because you did not have insurance, or could not provide proof of insurance coverage, contact an attorney for assistance.
Experienced Chicago Defense Attorneys
If you are charged with driving without insurance and/or have had your car towed for driving without insurance, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today. An attorney can help to limit the severity of the penalties you face, get you back out on the road, and secure your car’s release if it is towed.
Kostopoulos Law Group
125 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 300 A
Chicago, IL 60606