Illinois Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What You Need To Know

On behalf of Mark Maritote at R. Mark Maritote, P.C.

According to a study performed by the Insurance Research Council, one out of every seven auto accident injuries is caused by an uninsured driver. If you are injured by an uninsured motorist, your own insurance coverage may be the only source of compensation available.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is Your Best Bet For Compensation

In Illinois, it is illegal for anyone to drive without liability coverage. When the insured is at-fault in an auto accident, this type of coverage pays for injuries caused to other motorists.

Driving without liability insurance is a relatively serious offense in Illinois, punishable by an automatic three-month driver's license suspension and a fine of between $500 and $1,000. Even so, the Insurance Research Council estimates that some 16 percent of Illinois motorists are uninsured.

So how can you obtain the compensation you need if an uninsured motorist causes you injury in a car or truck accident? Well, you can take the uninsured driver to court and obtain a judgment against him or her. However, this is unlikely to be productive, as an indigent driver will not have the resources to pay the judgment (among drivers caught without insurance who cited a reason, almost half say they couldn't afford to buy insurance or that premiums were too high).

As an alternative, you may have to turn to your own uninsured motorist policy. Under Illinois law, drivers must carry minimum uninsured motorist coverage of $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident. Drivers who carry more than minimum policies will likely have additional uninsured motor vehicle coverage, as limits must match your policy's liability coverage for bodily injury or death unless you specifically decline the extra coverage in writing.

Get The Full Amount You Deserve: Have High Policy Limits And Hire An Attorney

When you take advantage of your uninsured motorist coverage, you are filing a claim against your own insurer. Thus, to your insurer, you will be a hostile claimant; if you fail to prove your case, they will not have to pay. Even if your insurer admits you have a valid claim, they will try to keep your payment to a minimum.

Uninsured motorist coverage can be extremely important, and it is relatively inexpensive. Make sure that the coverage limits in your policy are sufficient. And, if you have been struck by an uninsured motorist, get the most out of your policy by contacting a personal injury attorney today — claimants represented by an attorney consistently get higher payouts than those who go it alone against insurers.