In today’s market, there is a common belief that all car insurance companies are the same and provide the same coverage. The only difference, according to many in the public, is the amount you pay for that coverage. It may surprise you to learn that there is a wide range of types of auto coverage, styles of companies selling those coverages, and the overall quality of the insurance you will receive – price is but one factor to consider.
So what does car insurance in Illinois entail, and what should you look for when selecting a new or updated policy?
First, your policy must be compliant with state minimum insurance laws. Currently, if you live in Illinois and you drive a personal vehicle like a car, SUV, truck or van, you must carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person involved in a crash, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $20,000 in property damage coverage. In real terms, that means that if anyone is hurt in an accident for which you are deemed to be at-fault, your automobile insurance company will pay up to $25,000 to any one person who is injured and will pay up to $50,000 total for all injured people in the crash, regardless of how many there are. It also means that your insurance will pay for up to $20,000 in property damages caused from a car accident.
These limits are often called liability limits because they refer to coverage in the event that you are deemed liable, or at-fault, for a collision. Most drivers also carry other types of automobile insurance known as uninsured and underinsured coverage, a type of insurance which can apply in the event that an at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough to fully cover your damages. Uninsured motorist coverage allows the victims of hit-and-run car accidents or accidents with drivers who have no insurance, contrary to and in violation of state laws, to make a claim against their own insurance company for their damages that result from the crash. Similarly, underinsured coverage enables a victim to claim against her own insurance if an at-fault driver has coverage but the coverage is deemed inadequate which often happens if an at-fault driver has the state minimum insurance limits or if the injuries from the crash are severe. With either an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim, a victim’s own automobile insurance company effectively steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver’s insurance company, providing possible compensation to help make a victim whole.
Motorists also have another option when it comes to the insurance they choose to purchase. They can buy the legal minimum which covers them for liability incidents or they can buy collision coverage, which gives them the ability to have insurance pay to replace or repair their car in the event that a crash takes place. Without collision coverage, if you are involved in an accident, you may be personally on the hook for the costs that result. Similarly, comprehensive is another form of coverage which is optional in Illinois and can provide coverage if your car is vandalized, if you strike an animal, or even if your car is stolen.
The particular words of any insurance policy will determine the coverage that exists so all drivers should familiarize themselves with their policies. It is not enough to rely upon the words of an insurance agent or the assurances of others with an insurance company – you need to review your policy itself.
In the event that you find yourself the victim of a Chicago car accident, know that you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages and that working with a personal injury attorney to obtain those damages is your right. The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. offers a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to all victims who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where we have a lawyer standing by 24/7 to take your call and to speak with you.
If we take your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf and we will advance all case-related expenses.
Prior Blog Entry:
Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Settle Case for $60,000, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published March 25, 2016.