Despite the catchy Safe Auto jingle, many motorists in Illinois remain uninsured or underinsured. As the economy continues to suffer, more people may see car insurance as a luxury they cannot afford. Unfortunately, the presence of uninsured and underinsured motorists takes a huge toll on our society, especially when those uninsured motorists are involved in motor vehicle accidents on our Illinois roads and highways.
Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Illinois are Woefully Insufficient
In Illinois, are in compliance with the mandatory insurance law if you have vehicle liability insurance in the following minimum amounts:
* $20,000 – injury or death of one person in an accident
* $40,000 – injury or death of more than one person in an accident
* $15,000 – damage to property of another person
Reasons to Purchase Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
We tell all of our clients that the minimum Illinois car insurance requirements are just that — a minimum. If you can afford to purchase a larger auto insurance policy, you should do so. You will likely find that an increase from $20,000 in coverage to $200,000 results in a modest increase in your monthly premium.
Further, you should make sure that you purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. An uninsured or underinsured driver involved in an accident can create additional problems beyond inflicting serious personal injuries. If the driver is uninsured, then the driver has no insurance coverage at all. If the driver is underinsured, he or she may not have enough coverage to fully compensate the injured party.
Under this type of car insurance coverage, if you are involved in an accident with another driver who is either uninsured or underinsured you can recover damages (i.e., money) from your own insurance company for the injuries you sustained, up to the amount of UM coverage.
For example, assume for a moment that you are driving in Chicago and are rear-ended by a drunk driver, causing you critical injuries or wrongful death. The drunk driver is uninsured. The only way you will be able to recover damages from your injuries (other than going after the personal assets of the drunk driver) is if you are covered by uninsured motorist coverage. If you had $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage, you could recover up to $1 million from your own insurance company for the injuries you sustained in the Chicago car accident with the uninsured drunk driver.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Regarding a Potential Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM) Claim
If you have suffered severe personal injuries because of an auto accident, and the driver involved was uninsured or underinsured, you may think you cannot recover any damages and thus have no case. However, this may not be true, especially if you have an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision in your auto insurance policy.
Auto insurance policies are often confusing, so make sure you purchase insurance through a broker you trust. Furthermore, if you are involved in a serious car accident, it is critical to discuss your case with a top Chicago car accident lawyer with a deep understanding of the nuances of auto insurance policies, a willingness and ability to investigate your case, and experience dealing with insurance companies at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage must be made available, by Illinois law, though no motorist is required to purchase such coverage. Purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, however, makes it possible for you to hold your insurance company liable.
Chances are that if the liable party could not afford auto insurance, or chose not to purchase enough car insurance coverage, he or she does not have the ability to fully compensate you for your injuries. With uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, your auto insurance company essentially steps into the shoes of the liable party. Instead of filing a claim against the uninsured or underinsured driver, you are filing a claim against your auto insurance company.
Note that in Illinois UM claims, your auto insurance company may find you at fault for the accident, and deny your claim. Therefore, before proceeding with a claim against another individual, or against your insurance company, contact an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.