Think you have full coverage car insurance in Illinois? My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am a Glenview personal injury attorney. If you were involved in an auto accident and thought you had “full coverage,” only to find out you did not, call us for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.
“I’ve got full coverage”
I repeatedly hear the same thing from auto accident victims when they call my office after being involved in an accident. I ask them who they have car insurance with and what the policy limits of their auto insurance policy are. They often answer the same thing – “I have full coverage.”
It’s unclear what exactly people are referring to when they say this. The meaning varies depending on the situation. But universally, people do not know how much insurance and what type of insurance they have. And they definitely don’t know how much insurance they need.
Illinois mandated insurance limits
In the state of Illinois, all drivers are required to have the state minimum in liability insurance. On your insurance policy, the minimum limits will look like this:
This means that if you are involved in an accident, you have $25,000 in insurance to compensate the injured party; you have $50,000 for the entire accident – in the event that more than one person was hurt; and, you have $20,000 in property damage insurance.
In addition, in Illinois, you also automatically have $25,000 in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in case you were involved in an accident and the other driver was uninsured.
Minimum limits do NOT equal “Full Coverage”
These are the minimum limits you need to be able to drive in Illinois. To a Glenview personal injury attorney, this does not equal full coverage. To the contrary, you are seriously underinsured.
I would highly recommend that you consider adding the following:
- Increase your liability AND uninsured/underinsured limits to a minimum of $100,000 per accident (100/300). Though frankly, it’s not enough. If you can afford it, increase the limits to 250/500
- Collision coverage: if you get involved in an accident, it will be much quicker to use your own insurance to get your property damage repaired
- Comprehensive coverage: if your car gets hit by a lightning bolt or other non-vehicle related accident, comprehensive coverage will pay for the repairs to your vehicle
- Medpay insurance: medpay or medical payments coverage is a small add-on to an auto insurance policy that covers the first $2,500 or $5,000 or even more, of your medical bills. This is a great way to pay for your co-pays or deductibles
- Rental car coverage: does your policy cover the cost of a rental car in the event you are involved in an accident?
- Gap insurance: if you purchase a new car, you have the option of buying gap insurance. If you get in an accident and the car is totaled, the insurance company will only compensate you for the actual value of your vehicle. This value could be much lower than what you owe on the vehicle. Gap insurance will cover the balance
Why do you need so much insurance?
It is estimated that approximately 15% of all drivers in the state of Illinois are driving on the road without auto insurance. The next time you are driving, count 10 cars around you. Chances are that more than one of them are uninsured.
If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can turn to your own auto insurance policy for protection. Also, if the person who hit you has the state minimum limits of $25,000 but your medical bills and/or your injuries are worth much more than that, you can seek compensation from your underinsured motorist coverage.
Also, as I’ve discussed in other blog articles, there is an increasing amount of accidents involving Uber and other rideshare vehicles and soon we will all be driving alongside self-driving cars. As such, it’s critical to have the right amount of insurance.
When do I have to have insurance?
Another question auto accident victims ask their Glenview personal injury attorney is whether they can cancel their auto insurance after an accident. They are concerned that if they cancel their coverage, they will lose the protection they have for the injuries they suffered in an accident that occurred prior to the cancellation.
That is not the case. The insurance policy that was in effect at the time of the accident will follow you regardless of what you do after the accident and/or after the policy expires.
To the contrary, I also receive quite a few calls from people who were involved in an accident but accidentally let their insurance policy lapse by not paying their bill. Or, they are uninsured at the time of the accident but immediately after an accident, they sign up for insurance in the hope that the accident will be covered.
Unfortunately, in both of these circumstances, you will not have auto insurance coverage. You have to have a policy in effect at the moment the accident occurs. Though, if you accidentally let your policy lapse through non-payment, your policy may have a clause providing you a certain number of days to make payment to continue the policy.
If you are unsure whether you have “full coverage” and want to speak with us about what insurance you should have, and how much insurance you need, call us at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.