Illinois is two states when it comes to car insurance (and almost everything else): Chicago motorists pay double the rates that drivers downstate do. You can see how all Illinois cities compare in the map below -- and be sure to look at the range of state car insurance rates we saw as we compiled samples from six major carriers. The difference is hundreds of dollars a year and often more than $1,000.
Illinois state law requires the following minimum car insurance coverage:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability:
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
What you need to know about car insurance in Illinois
Penny Gusner CarInsurance.com Consumer Analyst
Illinois Car Insurance Laws
Carrying Illinois state minimum liability limits of 20/40/15 -- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage -- doesn't give you much protection if you own a home or have savings. Once your limits are reached, you can be sued in court for remaining accident costs.
Most experts say 100/300/50 offers an adequate shield for a typical family.
If you don't have collision coverage on your vehicle, then Illinois car insurance providers are required to offer you uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) with a maximum limit of $15,000 (subject to a $250 deductible), but you can reject it.
If you want your vehicle covered for any type of collision, just not those with an uninsured motorist, collision coverage is a much better choice than UMPD. And to have your vehicle covered for fire, theft, vandalism or damages from natural disasters, then you will also want to carry comprehensive coverage.
Comparative negligence: Illinois has adopted a modified comparative negligence stance for the recovery of auto accident damages. This means that you may recover damages only if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the damages or injuries. And the amount you recover may be reduced in proportion to the degree that you are at fault. So, if you're found to be 20 percent at fault, you can claim against the other party, but the third-party insurer may only pay 80 percent of your damages.
Reasons for cancellation: During the first 60 days of a new policy your Illinois car insurance company may cancel for almost any reason. After 60 days, there are still many reasons that the state allows your insurer to cancel or non-renew your policy. Read the full list on the Illinois Department of Insurance's website.
Points system: Illinois has a unique way in which it applies points to your driving record. While the state does have a point schedule, the Driver Services Department goes by the number of moving violations you have been convicted of. Once you reach a certain point, the Department can assign you points to determine how long your license suspension will be.
Uninsured motorist penalties for Illinois: You may have to pay $500 to $1,000 in fines and your license and registration may be suspended.
Driving without a license: In Illinois driving without a license is a "petty offense"; you will have your license suspended and must pay a fine of up to $500. If your license expired over a year ago, the penalty rises to a Class B Misdemeanor -- up to a $1500 fine and up to six months of jail time.
DUI stays on your record: DUI penalties in Illinois are harsh. A DUI stays on your record for your lifetime, with first-time offenders have their license suspended for a minimum of two years. Read our guide on DUI insurance if you've had a DUI.
Out-of-state/out-of-country drivers: Illinois law allows drivers to use an out-of-state license for 90 days before requiring an Illinois license.
No age restriction to own a car: Minors are legally allowed to buy and title a car in Illinois. Dealers and insurance companies may require a parent to buy or insure a car, however.
Electronic proof of insurance:Illinois allows drivers to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop on a smartphone. It is one of 31 states that does so.
Largest car insurance companies in Illinois by market share
Company / Group
Direct Premiums Written ($)
Market Share (%)
State Farm Group
Allstate Insurance Group
COUNTRY Financial PC Group
Berkshire Hathaway Insurance
Farmers Insurance Group
Progressive Insurance Group
Amer Family Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos
MetLife Personal Lines Group
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2013.