Failure to carry adequate car insurance is a petty offense in Illinois, which means it’s punishable by a fine — no jail time. If you're caught driving uninsured, you could face up to a $1,000 fine. Your vehicle registration and driver's license would be suspended up to three months, until a $100 reinstatement fee and proof of insurance are submitted. The penalties for repeat offenses increase in severity.
Illinois requires all registered motor vehicles to carry liability insurance in the minimum coverage amounts of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident and $25,000 in property damage. Also, Illinois drivers must carry uninsured motorists coverage with the same minimum limits.
Penalties for driving without insurance
Illinois laws require that a person carry a physical or digital insurance card in the vehicle while driving. The state may find out that you don't have insurance in a couple different ways:
- Verification during a traffic stop or accident. A police officer will likely ask for proof of insurance coverage if you’re pulled over for a traffic violation or involved in a car accident.
- The state's Electronic Liability Insurance Verification program. Illinois verifies each vehicle's liability policy at least twice each year through a third-party vendor. That vendor is linked to all insurance companies that can write policies in the state.
If either one of these shows that you don’t have the minimum liability insurance coverage, you'll face several penalties.
The minimum fine for driving uninsured starts at $500. If you’re caught driving a vehicle with suspended license plates due to an insurance violation, the minimum fine is an additional $1,000. In addition to steep fines, those convicted of driving without insurance can have their driver's license and registration suspended for three months or more, depending on your record.
FIRST & SECOND OFFENSE
|$500-$1,000; additional $1,000 for driving with suspended plates due to an insurance violation||$1,000; additional $1,000 for driving with suspended plates due to an insurance violation; additional $2,500 fine if you've been convicted twice and involved in an accident|
|Driver's license and registration suspended for up to three months||Driver's license and registration suspended for four months|
|$100 reinstatement fee||$100 reinstatement fee; required to provide proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 certificate) for three years|
Penalties for first and second offense
For the first offense, the fine can range from $500 to $1,000, and your driver's license and registration may be suspended for up to three months. A reinstatement fee of $100 and proof of insurance are required to get them back. The penalties are the same for a second offense, except that there is a mandatory four-month suspension.
Anyone convicted of driving without insurance during a license suspension period will have their driving privileges suspended for an additional six months.
Penalties for subsequent offenses
For a third or subsequent offense, the fine can increase to $1,000. Repeat offenders must serve a four-month suspension of their license plates, pay a $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance. Your vehicle may not be driven while the license plates are suspended.
If you've been convicted of a third or subsequent violation of driving uninsured, you’re required to file proof of financial responsibility, called an SR-22 certificate, for three years. Failing to do so could result in additional driver's license suspensions.
Getting auto insurance after a lapse in coverage
An insurance lapse could lead to higher auto insurance costs in Illinois, and you may be required to file an SR-22 through your insurer. To find the best rates after a lapse in coverage, we recommend comparing auto insurance quotes from multiple companies before purchasing a policy.
If you’re having difficulty getting car insurance coverage on your own, you may consider getting a policy through the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan.
Reducing the fines
If you’re caught driving without car insurance, the incurred fines could be reduced if you were not previously convicted of violating this law and can produce proof of appropriate insurance coverage as of your court appearance date. Proof of those two points can result in paying a $100 fine and a disposition of court supervision.
Penalties for driving without insurance in an accident
Drivers involved in a car accident in Illinois must file a crash report if the accident causes a death, bodily injuries or more than $1,500 of property damage. If you cause bodily harm to another person in an accident while uninsured, and you have been convicted twice or more for driving uninsured, you're hit with a $2,500 fine in addition to the four-month suspension of your license plates and $100 reinstatement fee.