The state of Illinois has a mandatory requirement for 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 property damage. Also, Illinois drivers must carry Uninsured Motorists coverage with the same minimum limits.
Failure to carry adequate insurance is considered a petty offense, which means it is punishable by a fine only — 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.
Penalties for driving without insurance
Illinois laws require that a person carry an insurance ID card in the vehicle while driving. For driving without insurance, penalties vary depending on the circumstance but are typically enforced in two different ways: by the verification of proof of insurance during a traffic stop or through a random questionnaire sampling process where the state sends a form to a randomly selected driver asking to verify the name of their insurer and policy number.
The minimum fine for driving uninsured exceeds $500 and the maximum fine is $1,000. If you are 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.
Here is a table that illustrates the penalties under a 1st and subsequent offenses, followed by more details:
FIRST & SECOND OFFENSE
|$501-$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 (SR22 certificate) for three years.|
Penalties for 1st and 2nd offense
For the 1st and 2nd offenses, the fine can range from $501-$1,000, and your driver's license and registration are suspended for up to three months. A reinstatement fee of $100 and proof of insurance are required to get them back. 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 3rd 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 are required to file proof of financial responsibility (SR22 certificate) for three years. Failing to do so could result in additional driver's license suspensions.
Getting auto insurance after a lapse in coverage
Also note that insurance lapse could lead to higher auto insurance costs in Illinois, and you may be required to file an SR22 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 are having difficulty getting car insurance coverage on your own, you may consider seeking through the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan.
Reducing the fines
If you are 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 the date of the court appearance. 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 caused deaths, bodily injuries or more than $1,500 of property damage. Motorists who have been found driving without insurance multiple times are subject to more harsh penalties. If you cause bodily harm to another person in an accident 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.