Higher insurance bills ahead for Illinois

Des Toups

By

Managing Editor

Illinois is poised to raise the minimum amount of car insurance its drivers must carry.

The proposal will cost the poorest drivers a bit more but also means that their insurance coverage might actually cover the damage after an at-fault accident.

A bill ready for Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature would increase mandatory liability insurance for bodily injury from $20,000 to $25,000 per person, and from $40,000 to $50,000 per accident.  Required property damage liability would rise to $20,000 from $15,000. (See “What you need to know about car insurance in Illinois.”)

Not many drivers buy only the minimum levels insurance -- and not many should. 

Any damage above your policy limits is your personal responsibility. If you buy only $20,000 worth of property damage insurance and total some lawyer’s Porsche, he can go after the remainder in court.

Minimum coverage is usually OK for drivers who don’t have a home or substantial savings. The increase in minimum required coverage should raise liability rates for those drivers about 10 percent.

[Let CarInsurance.com help you find affordable auto insurance now.]

In Illinois’ most expensive ZIP code, 60624 in Chicago, a 24-year-old man with a clean record driving a 2004 Ford Taurus would pay about $716 a year for the new mandatory amounts. He would pay just $554 in the cheapest ZIP code, 61761 in Normal.

Every state bordering Illinois would have a lower property damage limit after the change. Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky, for example, require only $10,000.

The average new-car transaction price in April was $30,084, according to TrueCar.com.

Liability insurance covers only the damage that drivers do to other people and property. The Illinois law would take effect in 2015 if Quinn signs the bill.


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