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Illinois Auto Insurance Basics

The world of car insurance is intimidating and confusing. Each state has different requirements to abide by, and cycling through them all can seem like a daunting task. By understanding what the legal requirements are for automobile insurance in Illinois, you will be able to select a policy that will fully meet all of your needs. Obtaining a quote on your car insurance is a wonderful way in which to compare rates from various insurance companies. Although there are numerous websites that offer this function, their goal and ours as well is ultimately the same: to allow you to purchase a policy at the lowest cost available to you. In order to do this, however, you must be equipped with a thorough understand of what Illinois law requires you to have when it comes to car insurance.

Illinois is a state that follows a Tort system when it comes to dealing with automobile collisions. Under the tenements of a Tort system, one party involved in the accident must be determined to be at fault. This person and their insurance company then assume all the financial costs for medical expenses and property damage repair bills that other motorists may incur. The average purchase price for a policy in 2009 is $1,214 as of right now. The national average currently hovers around $1,794. Illinois enjoys being one of the lowest cost states in which to purchase insurance. However, the cost of a car insurance policy is 9% higher in 2009 than it was in 2008. The year 2008 saw a 2% increase in purchase prices from 2007. The months of May and September in 2009 saw the sharpest increase in policy prices with the average price costing around $1,283 and $1,311 respectively. Although the fluctuation is not dramatic, it highlights the instability of the cost of car insurance.

There are two types of insurance a motorist in Illinois is required to maintain in order to drive legally, namely liability insurance and uninsured motorist protection. Liability insurance is divided into two subsections: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Bodily injury liability insurance covers the cost of other motorists' bodily injuries or death in an accident for which you are at fault. It will also assist you in paying for your legal defense should another party attempt to sue you. The claims that can be filed under bodily injury liability include medical bills, losses of income, or claims of pain and suffering. Should you ever be involved in a serious accident, you will want to make certain that you have purchased coverage limits that are sufficient to cover a judgment against you in a lawsuit. Because of this necessity, it is advisable that you maintain the same level of bodily injury liability on all of your vehicles. The monetary amounts of coverage you will be required by law to maintain will be determined by the state in which you reside. Illinois requires its motorists to have $20,000 worth of this coverage, with a $40,000 limit per accident.

Property damage liability is the secondary portion of liability insurance. Property damage liability insurance will protect you if you happen to damage another motorist's car in an accident. Again, it will assist you in paying for your legal defense should there be a need for you to appear in court. The definition of "property damage" is not restricted to being defined by a vehicle. It could include a house, a fence, a mailbox, or any other structure that you may strike in an accident. The monetary amount of this insurance that is required by Illinois law is $15,000. This is a decent sum as it will protect you from jeopardizing your finances should you cause significant damage to another driver's vehicle.

Uninsured motorist protection is the second form of insurance you are required to have by Illinois law. Uninsured motorist protection is divided into two sub portions, similar to liability insurance. These are uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage. Each sub-portion of the insurance can be sold separately or together depending on your insurance needs. Motorists who do not have a comprehensive health insurance policy can enjoy a certain amount of protection from uninsured motorist bodily injury. Minus your deductible, your insurance company will pay the balance of your medical bills up to the maximum amounts chosen on your policy.

This form of coverage protects the insured and members of their household against injuries, property damages, or death that may be incurred due to a vehicular accident. However, it can only be utilized if the offending driver has no insurance or posses insurance that does not meet Illinois's minimum requirements. If you are involved in a collision with a motorist whose insurance cannot render payment for your damages, your uninsured motorist protection will cover the cost of the difference up to the predetermined limits on your policy. The state requires a motorist to maintain minimums $20,000 with a $40,000 per accident maximum.

You should note that if the coverage limits you select are insufficient to meet your needs in an accident, you may be potentially jeopardizing your future finances. If the damages you should cause another motorist to have exceed your coverage limits, you will be held legally responsible for the remainder of the balance. A court system in Illinois has the right to force you to liquidate physical and financial assets (i.e. your savings) in order to make restitution to a victim. After taking stock of your net worth, you should choose, accordingly, an amount of liability insurance that will adequately protect you.

Understanding the insurance requirements for Illinois can allow you to make wise decisions when shopping for your car insurance policy. While the aforementioned coverage amounts are the minimum requirements for coverage, there are other types of insurance that may be beneficial to you as well. You will be required by law to maintain collision insurance if you own a vehicle with an outstanding loan on it. Collision insurance will pay for the damages incurred to your car in an accident, despite who may have been at fault. However, the monetary amount that it will provide towards repairs will not exceed the current market value of your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance acts as a supplement to collision insurance by covering repair costs to your vehicle if you are struck by a hit and run driver or suffer from an act of nature. GAP insurance can be useful if you have just purchased a new car. This form of coverage will cover the remainder of a balance owed on a new vehicle after you insurance company has made a settlement offer for the car, should it happen to be totaled.

The world of car insurance can be confusing, but there is no need for it to be unnecessarily complicated. If you contact your insurance agent, he or she can answer any lingering questions or concerns you may have about your coverage needs. Make certain that you use price comparison techniques in order to ascertain the best rate for your policy. The only way you can see your options is by actively seeking them. With a little research and effort, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars.


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