Illinois Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]
Illinois requires a minimum of 25/50/20 for bodily injury and property damage coverage. The average rate of auto insurance in Chicago is $93.83/mo.
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UPDATED: Aug 28, 2020
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|Illinois Statistics Summary||Details|
|Miles of Roadway||145,840|
|Most Popular Vehicle||Honda CR-V|
|Uninsured Motorist Rate||13.70%|
|Total Driving-Related Deaths in 2017||1,097|
|Speeding Fatalities in 2017||462|
|DUI Fatalities in 2017||349|
|Average Auto Insurance Cost||Liability $446.72
The Land of Lincoln is a place of contradictions. Cubs or White Sox (or, perhaps Cardinals)? Easy country pace, or life in the fast lane? Chicago or, well, the rest of the state?
Frank Sinatra sang about it, Broadway made a musical named for it, and prolific director John Hughes set most of his movies there. Chicago has a lot of history. It’s the place that made Al Capone a household name, and it’s also home to the second oldest baseball stadium in the country, Wrigley Field.
Chicago is the third-largest city in America and the largest in the state by well over 2 million people, so it’s no surprise its residents set themselves apart from the rest of Illinois.
The pace of life in the Windy City is different from the surrounding quiet of the suburbs, which differs again from the miles of farmland that make up much of the state. From the birthplace of Lincoln to the vast acres of cornfields, Illinois is a multi-faceted state.
So what do Illinoisans have in common? They like to drive, and they all need to have auto insurance.
Shopping for auto insurance is time-consuming and the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. What if you didn’t have to make sense of it all alone?
We’ve taken the headache out of all that research by doing it for you.
We’ll make it easy to understand Illinois auto insurance rules and compare rates, companies, and coverage options too. Read on to learn everything you need to know, all in one place.
But that’s not all! You can also get quotes for your auto insurance right here, right now.
Illinois Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates
If you want to drive in Illinois, you need to have auto insurance. The law requires every driver to be prepared for the financial responsibility of an accident, and that’s where your auto insurance policy comes in.
Illinois mandatory auto insurance minimums include auto insurance coverage such as liability for both injuries and property damage. State law also requires that every policy automatically includes uninsured motorist coverage with limits that match the liability coverage. That means that if you select the legal minimum for liability, you will get the same amount of coverage for uninsured motorist liability.
Illinois operates as a fault state. You might also see it referred to as a tort system. That means the insurance coverage of the driver who is at fault in the accident pays out for injuries and property damage.
Your insurance will only pay out up to the limits you have selected.
Once the limits are met, the insurance company can wash its hands of the claim and the at-fault driver is then responsible for any amount above and beyond those limits. That’s why a lot of people choose higher liability limits.
If you’re just buying the legally required amount of coverage, this is what your policy will look like.
|Insurance Required||Minimum Limits|
|Bodily Injury Liability Coverage||$25,000 per one person
$50,000 per accident
|Property Damage Liability Coverage||$20,000 minimum|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury||$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
The required coverage doesn’t include the Uninsured of Underinsured Property Damage coverage, but it can be added as an option. We’ll look at that a little further on.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
In Illinois, auto insurance is the must-have form of financial responsibility for drivers. The strategy doesn’t permit any other methods of proving you can cover damages in an at-fault accident.
For decades drivers have been carrying around insurance cards that can be presented to a police officer at a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident. But in the digital age, proof of financial responsibility has gone, well, digital.
Since 2013, Illinois law has allowed drivers to present their proof of insurance electronically.
You probably don’t always know exactly where your insurance ID card is, or maybe you just forgot to grab a new one on renewal, which can lead to trouble. But if you’re like most people, you always have your phone and you always know just where it is.
As long as your insurance company provides electronic proof of insurance, you can simply show it to the officer right on your screen. Just make sure you have a phone charger with you because a traffic stop is a bad time to reach for that proof and discover a dead battery instead.
A traffic stop isn’t the only place you might be asked to show proof of financial responsibility!
Illinois sends out random insurance verification requests. If your license plate number is selected, you’ll receive a letter asking you to verify that you have insurance using an online form. Don’t ignore the request; the state can suspend your registration if you don’t respond by the deadline.
Ok, so now we know you need insurance and you need to prove it on request. So what’s this going to cost you?
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
Just how much of your hard-earned income can you expect to be an auto insurance payment?
The average Illinois driver spends 2.02 percent of their income on auto insurance premiums. The national average is 2.37 percent, so that’s well below. In fact, Illinois ranks at number 17 nationwide for the lowest percentage of income spent on auto insurance.
A full-coverage policy in Illinois goes for an average of $854.10 a year. That breaks down to $71.18 a month.
Illinoisans have an average per capita disposable income of $42,256.00 each year. That represents how much money people have to spend after taxes. On a monthly basis, that’s $3,521.33.
So what if you’re not the average? The nature of averaging means that about half of Illinois residents are going to pay more, and the other half less. Understanding why your rate differs from your neighbors can be confusing.
Stay tuned, there’s a lot more to it.
We’ll look at a few more average numbers and then we’ll talk about the things that can affect where you fall on the rate spectrum.
Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates in IL (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)
The good news is that drivers in Illinois are paying less for auto insurance than the national average.
These three areas of coverage are considered core because they make up the basis of a full coverage policy.
|Coverage Type||Average Cost, Illinois (2015)||Average Cost, Nationwide (2015)|
In every area of core coverage, the average Illinois rate is lower than the national average.
Additional Liability Insurance
Illinois law tacks on uninsured motorist coverage to every policy, but additional liability is optional. Med Pay is one of the options you can select to add more protection to your policy. It will pay for injuries to you or others in your car regardless of fault.
Let’s look at how companies in Illinois are performing when it comes to paying out this type of claim.
Loss ratios are a method of measuring how much insurance companies are paying out in claims compared to premiums collected. A really high loss ratio is bad news for the company since it means they’re paying out more than they’re bringing in. That can affect the company’s financial stability.
On the other hand, a really low loss ratio indicates a different problem — the company isn’t paying out enough in claims.
Here are the overall loss ratios for the two areas of liability insurance that are offered in Illinois.
|Loss Ratio||Illinois (2014)||Nationwide (2014)||Illinois (2015)||Nationwide (2015)|
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||75.51%||74.69%||78.10%||75.74%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist ||62.98%||67.18%||67.53%||69.46%|
For 2015, Illinois loss ratios are hanging in around the national average. They’ve gone up a bit in both areas since 2014. Overall the loss ratios look pretty healthy for both sides.
Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders
Auto insurance companies offer a lot of different options that you can add to your policy. None of them are required by law, but they do add some extra value and protection.
You’ll notice that not every insurer will offer all of these options, so if one or more of them is important to you, you will want to select a company that offers them.
Here are common add-ons and endorsements for your insurance policy:
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Auto Insurance
- Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
- Classic Auto Insurance
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
Some companies throw in extras as part of their standard policy, but most of the time you will pay extra for these options.
Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in IL
One of the things that can affect your auto insurance rates is gender. While some states have outlawed this practice, most still allow it. Statistically, there are some differences between men and women when it comes to the risk they represent to an insurance company.
This difference is really noticeable in younger drivers. The 17-year-old driver had the highest rates whether male or female, but a young male driver will pay a lot more than his female counterpart.
Each insurance company has their own method of rating; some give more weight to gender than others. The same applies to every rating factor.
The gap in pricing starts to close up as drivers become older. You can see in the chart below that some companies charge the same amount for both male and female drivers at age 35 and at age 60.
|Company||Married 35-year-old Female Annual Rate||Married 35-year-old Male Annual Rate||Married 60-year-old Female Annual Rate||Married 60-year-old Male Annual Rate||Single 17-year-old Female Annual Rate||Single 17-year-old Male Annual Rate||Single 25-year-old Female Annual Rate||Single 25-year-old Male Annual Rate|
|American Family Mutual||$2,369.94||$2,369.94||$2,168.97||$2,168.97||$6,676.10||$9,263.85||$2,369.94||$3,056.23|
|Illinois Farmers Ins Co||$2,456.68||$2,457.73||$2,179.75||$2,305.14||$10,514.80||$10,961.50||$2,803.50||$2,931.88|
|Safeco Ins Co of IL||$1,401.51||$1,512.93||$1,165.71||$1,303.12||$4,621.83||$5,140.83||$1,464.07||$1,543.97|
|Nationwide Mutual Fire||$1,926.46||$1,960.52||$1,713.84||$1,816.17||$5,285.82||$6,786.79||$2,242.62||$2,429.53|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$1,454.19||$1,454.19||$1,299.88||$1,299.88||$4,229.18||$5,361.67||$1,643.58||$1,887.70|
|Travelers Standard Fire Ins Co||$1,570.87||$1,657.44||$1,431.81||$1,526.42||$4,533.18||$5,685.41||$1,665.85||$1,754.69|
As a general rule, auto insurance is cheaper for married couples than for single people, especially in younger age groups. By itself, it’s not a good reason to say “I do”, of course, but it is a nice added perk.
There’s much more to rating than just gender and relationship status. Where you live also makes a difference in how much you pay.
Look for your ZIP code below to see if your area has one of the most or least expensive ZIP code rates.
|ZIP Code||City||Average Annual Rate by Zip Code|
All of the top five most expensive ZIP codes are located in Chicago, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone.
You can also search by city to compare rates using this table:
|City||Average Annual Rate by City|
|East Hazel Crest||$4,594.20|
You might be surprised to see that while it’s home to the most expensive ZIP codes, Chicago isn’t the most expensive city overall. Suburbs located mainly to the south and southwest of Chicago are the most expensive cities in the state.
|City||Average Annual Rate by City|
Cheap rates, on the other hand, are found in small cities in the western and southern reaches of Illinois. These cities generally match up to the cheapest ZIP codes as well.
Auto insurance companies use a complex rating system to determine rates, and demographics are just part of the picture. Don’t be surprised if the average rates you see differ quite a bit from what you’re being quoted. A lot of factors go into the number you see on your bill.
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Illinois Auto Insurance Companies
Illinois has a lot of insurance companies to choose from, from the big national names to the local companies promising personal service. Choosing a auto insurance company is not easy, and you don’t have the time to research each one.
We’ll help you get a closer look at your auto insurance options by handling the research on your behalf, so you can save time and money.
Read on to see which of the biggest insurers in Illinois rank highest in customer satisfaction, which have the strongest financial status, and which offer the best rates. We have gathered everything you need right here to make an informed decision on your insurance.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings
What’s in a financial rating and why does it matter to you?
An insurance company with a solid financial rating is in a good position to pay out claims. The stronger the rating, the more certain you can be that the insurance company won’t leave you high and dry in the event of a claim.
Having the ability to pay out claims on all existing business really comes into play in the event of a major catastrophe. Think about how many people are making claims all at once in the aftermath of a hurricane. If the insurance company doesn’t have the ability to pay out all of those claims, it may go under, and some of their customers may be out of luck.
These are the AM Best ratings for each of the top ten auto insurers in Illinois.
|Company||A.M. Best Rating||Loss Ratio|
|American Family Insurance||A||68.65%|
|Country Insurance & Financial Service||A+||63.70%|
AM Best is the trusted source for insurance company financial ratings. They range from a D (poor) to an A++ (superior). All of the top companies in Illinois rate Excellent or higher, with four of them earning top marks.
The loss ratios are shown for each of these companies as well, telling us how much they are paying out in claims versus how much they’re collecting in premiums. As we touched on earlier, a loss ratio that’s too high means the company is paying out too much, affecting financial stability. A ratio that’s too low means they aren’t paying out enough.
The statewide auto insurance loss ratio for Illinois is 64.64 percent.
None of the top ten are paying out more in claims than they can afford to, but there are a few that have ratios on the low side compared to the statewide average. While all of these companies are financially stable and unlikely to be unable to pay claims, it does look like a few of them aren’t paying out as much as they should be.
Financial stability is an important part of the picture, but a company’s reputation for customer service is often what makes them really stand out from the pack. Let’s take a look at how drivers rank the top companies based on their experience.
Companies With The Best Ratings
JD Power is the best-known name in customer service ratings, and they rank companies on an annual basis, using several categories of customer satisfaction. These include price, claims, policy options, and more.
Two of the companies in the Illinois top ten to earn a five-star rating from JD Power for 2018. Those are Country Financial and USAA.
Only State Farm earned a four-star rating, with the rest of the top companies ranking as average or lower in the ratings.
It’s not surprising to see that State Farm is the largest insurer in the state, with both an A++ financial rating and a four-star ranking from J.D. Power. Their 31.8 percent of the market share in Illinois means they likely have a lot of happy customers that stick around.
Financial ratings and customer satisfaction rankings don’t always match up. Travelers sits at a two-star JD Power rating in spite of a superior financial rating.
Companies With The Most Complaints in Illinois
Complaints ratio is one of the most useful bits of information we can find about a company because it tells us how many customers have filed a complaint compared to the amount of business the company has in the state,
A low complaint ratio is a sign that the company has had very few complaints about its size.
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Country Financial, one of only two companies in the state to earn top marks from JD Power, also has the lowest complaint ratio. When complaint volume and customer satisfaction rankings match up, that’s a sign the company is doing a very good job of keeping its customers happy.
All of the top companies in the state have a complaint ratio under 1.00, and in spite of not quite landing a five-star ranking from JD Power, State Farm has an impressively low complaint ratio. Putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together helps to form a better picture of each company.
Now that we know which companies have happy policyholders, let’s take a look at what those companies are charging.
Illinois Auto Insurance Rates By Company
Few things are as important to auto insurance shoppers as the price. Take a look at how the largest companies’ rates compare with the state average.
Because every company rates differently, the premium for the same person and the same coverage can be wildly different, as we can see in the rate chart below.
|Company||Annual Average||Compared to State Average||Percent +/- State Average|
|American Family Mutual||$3,805.49||$534.54||+14.05%|
|Illinois Farmers Ins Co||$4,576.37||$1,305.42||+28.53%|
|Nationwide Mutual Fire||$3,020.22||-$250.74||-8.30%|
|Safeco Ins Co of IL||$2,269.25||-$1,001.71||-44.14%|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$2,328.78||-$942.17||-40.46%|
|Travelers Standard Fire Ins Co||$2,478.21||-$792.75||-31.99%|
The difference between the most expensive rate and the cheapest is nearly $3,000! That’s a good indicator of how much money you stand to overpay if you don’t take the time to shop around.
The rate chart above also tells us that highly rated companies aren’t the most expensive. State Farm’s rate here comes in more than 40 percent below average, further explaining why they have almost three times the market share of any other Illinois insurance company.
Also interesting to note is that while direct-buy companies like Geico have a reputation for being cheaper, that doesn’t always play out in the numbers.
Rates By Commute Distance in Illinois
How far you drive to work every day has an impact on your rates. Like all auto insurance rating factors, though, how much it affects rates varies from company to company.
|Company||10 Miles Commute, 6,000 Annual Mileage||25 Miles Commute, 12,000 Annual Mileage|
In some cases, commute distance has almost no impact on rates at all.
All of the rate comparisons show that commute distance doesn’t have a major impact on premiums in Illinois.
Rates By Coverage Level
It’s logical to think that the more coverage you buy from an insurance company, the more expensive you can expect the policy to be. Let’s look at rates for low, medium, and high levels of coverage.
|Company||Annual Rate with Low Coverage||Annual Rate with Medium Coverage||Annual Rate with High Coverage|
Each of these companies charges a little more as the level of coverage goes up, some more than others.
On average, the difference between low and high coverage is $328.29.
Increasing your coverage doesn’t really cost as much as you might think. In fact, at Nationwide the difference is negligible, while several other companies can get you from low to high coverage for around $20 a month — or less.
Rates By Credit History
You know credit history comes into play when you buy your car, but many people aren’t aware it can also impact your insurance rates.
Like every other factor you can expect that there will be a difference from company to company, so once again shopping around becomes your best friend regardless of credit score.
|Company||Annual Rate with Poor Credit||Annual Rate with Fair Credit||Annual Rate with Good Credit|
Going from a poor credit score to a good score can cut your rates in half with some companies. If you’ve put some effort into improving your credit score you should see the results of that effort in your auto insurance rate. Companies don’t necessarily run your credit regularly, though, so ask your insurer to run a new score before your renewal, and make sure to shop around at the same time.
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Rates By Driving Record
Your driving record is a big part of what you will pay for auto insurance, and that’s reflected in the good driver discounts offered by nearly every insurance company out there.
It’s simple: a clean driving record tells the insurance company you’re a good risk. Tickets, accidents, and DUI convictions are all red flags for the insurance company, warning that you represent a higher risk of a future claim.
Nobody’s perfect, though, and accidents happen. Let’s see what some common driving record problems can do to rates.
|Company||Clean Record||One Speeding Violation||One Accident||One DUI|
It might surprise you to see that some companies increase rates more for an accident than for a DUI. Across the board, a speeding ticket is the least expensive violation.
The Largest Auto Insurance Companies in Illinois
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$854,959||11.52%|
|American Family Insurance Group||$324,588||4.37%|
|Country Insurance & Financial Service Group||$494,300||6.66%|
|Farmers Insurance Group||$326,150||4.39%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$216,617||2.92%|
|State Farm Group||$2,365,801||31.87%|
State Farm is far and away the biggest auto insurance company in Illinois, with the next biggest — Allstate — trailing by more than one and a half million dollars in premiums. Allstate has a little more than a third as much business in the state.
The next biggest again takes a big jump down, with about half the business Allstate holds.
Number of Auto Insurance Companies in Illinois
There are a lot of auto insurance companies operating in Illinois, and that means you have a lot to choose from.
|Type of Insurer||Number of Insurers|
Of the more than one thousand companies licensed in the state, 191 are domestic insurance companies.
The rules regarding drivers and vehicles in Illinois are extensive and confusing, but a basic knowledge of the most important statutes will keep you on the right side of the law.
Illinois State Laws
If you find legal jargon hard to read and understand, you’re not alone. Add to that the fact that there are new laws and changes to existing laws coming into effect regularly, and it can be hard to keep up. A simple, straightforward list of the laws you need to know would make it a lot easier, right?
We’ve gathered the main Illinois laws that everyone needs to know all in one place, and we have simplified them into easy-to-understand language.
Read on to learn about driver and vehicle licensing, insurance requirements, and the rules of the road that could cost you a big fine if you aren’t aware of them.
Auto Insurance Laws
The Illinois General Assembly, which is made up of the state House of Representative as well as the state Senate, handles laws pertaining to mandatory auto insurance.
Auto insurance laws are found in the Illinois Code, Chapter 625, Article 5.
That’s a complex document that essentially boils down to the requirement that every driver on the road has to carry mandatory liability insurance.
Some drivers have a hard time getting the mandatory coverage needed to be on the road legally. Usually, this is due to driving record but may also include things like poor credit history or an international driver’s license.
Illinois uses the SR-22 system to ensure that drivers with problematic histories are meeting their obligations to carry insurance. You may be required to file an SR-22 if you’ve been convicted of certain major violations, have repeatedly been convicted of driving without insurance, have had your license revoked, or several other issues.
An SR-22 is not a type of insurance. It’s a filing with the state that proves you have insurance.
Many insurance companies on the standard market can file an SR-22 on your behalf, although not all offer the service. In some cases, a driver’s record may disqualify them for coverage on the open market. In that case, there is a program to help.
The Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP) helps high-risk drivers to get coverage by placing them through a pool of insurance companies. Every company in the state is required to participate.
This is a last-ditch option that is only available to those that have tried to get coverage on the open market. It will be expensive but rates are regulated, and it will get you on the road legally while you work on improving your record.
Shopping around is your best bet for finding coverage at a low price since the state of Illinois doesn’t currently offer a low-cost plan. Take a look back at the price comparison chart above and you’ll see which companies generally have lower rates.
There is nothing in the law the governs what full glass coverage an insurance company has to offer. A lot of auto insurance companies do offer a windshield repair or replacement endorsement, but with others, it is simply covered as part of your comprehensive coverage. That means its subject to the comprehensive deductible.
The law allows insurance companies to use aftermarket or used parts in repairs, including windshields, but they do have to notify you in writing and you have the right to refuse. You may be required to pay the difference if you refuse.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Illinois
Insurance fraud is a crime in Illinois, with increasing penalties depending on the financial loss caused by the fraud. The Illinois Penal Code outlines the possible sentence for a fraud conviction.
|Dollar Amount of Fraud||Crime Classification||Penalties|
|$300 or less||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail
Up to $2,500 in fines
|More than $300 but less than $1,000||Class 3 Felony||2 to 5 years in prison|
|More than $10,000 but less than $100,000||Class 2 Felony||3 to 7 years in prison|
|More than $100,000||Class 1 Felony||4 to 15 years in prison|
Any defrauded amount over $300 is a felony in Illinois.
Fraud can be reported to the Illinois Chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU).
Statute of Limitations
Illinois has a statute of limitations for claims against another person both for personal injury and for property damage.
You can make a personal injury claim up to two years after the incident, while a property damage claim can be made up to five years after the incident.
State Specific Laws
Illinois laws are generally in line with what most states require and prohibit, but here’s one that’s worth knowing.
You will have to tuck those fuzzy dice away when you enter the state.
Illinois law prohibits hanging anything from your rearview mirror that could obstruct your view. Police can and have pulled people over for not only fuzzy dice but air fresheners and even handicapped parking placards. They’re one of a few states that have such a law on the books.
While it sounds like one of those silly laws that are outdated, there have been incidents where obstructions have caused accidents. Better safe than sorry.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
The Illinois Driver Services department of the Office of the Secretary of State handles all of the new driver licensing and renewal of driver licenses in the state. A variety of rules and procedures are involved in vehicle and driver licensing.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you’re convicted of driving without insurance in Illinois, there are some pretty stiff penalties.
- For a first or second offense, there is a minimum fine of $500. The vehicle plates will be suspended until proof of insurance is provided and a $100 reinstatement fee is paid, and the driver’s license will be suspended for three months.
- For a third offense, the fine increases to a minimum of $1,000. The vehicle plates and driver’s license will be suspended for four months, followed by a required $100 reinstatement fee and proof of insurance.
- If you’re caught driving with suspended plates after a conviction for driving without insurance, there is a further $1,000 fine and an additional six-month license suspension.
- After a third offense, the driver will be required to file an SR-22.
Driving without insurance is risky and costly if you’re caught, so it’s best to make sure you’re always covered.
Teen Driver Laws
Getting your license as a teen driver in Illinois means going through several licensing phases. The graduated licensing program, which is similar to those used in other states, helps to ease new drivers into the responsibility of being on the road while keeping them safe during the process.
Each of the phases of the program has rules and requirements that are eased off over time, allowing new drivers to gain experience safely.
|License Type||Minimum Age||Requirements||Restrictions|
|Learner's Permit||15 years||Enroll in driver education (not required after age 15 and 6 months)|
Pass written and vision tests
|May drive only with a parent, guardian, or instructor over 21
May not drive between 10 p.m.-6 a.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
May not use a cell phone, even hands-free
|Provisional License||16 years||Must have permit for 9 months|
Must complete 50 hours of driving instruction, 10 of which are at night
Complete driver ed
Pass road test
|May not drive between 10 p.m.-6 a.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
May not use a cell phone, even hands-free
Only one passenger under 20 years old (except family) for 12 months or until 18
|Full License||18 years||If driver did not complete driver ed in high school, a 6-hour adult training course is required||No cell phone use, including hands-free, until age 19|
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
License renewal procedures in Illinois are slightly different for seniors than for the general population. The rules start to change at age 75.
|Renewal Procedures||General Population||Older Population|
|License renewal cycle||4 years||2 years for people 81 - 86; 1 year for people 87 and older|
|Mail or online renewal permitted||Both, every other renewal||Not permitted 75 and older|
|Vision test required||When renewing in person||75 and older, every renewal|
If you’re moving to Illinois you will have 90 days from the time you become a resident to obtain an Illinois driver’s license. You’ll need to go down to the Secretary of State Facility nearest you to take care of the paperwork.
Drivers coming from another state with a valid license you will need to pay the fee and pass both a written test and a vision test. You’ll then be photographed for your new license and surrender your old one.
In some cases, a road test may also be required. This generally applies if your out-of-state license is expired or if you have a foreign license not recognized by the state of Illinois.
License Renewal Procedures
For the general population, driver license renewal is every four years, and every second renewal you’ll have to go in person. Some drivers may be eligible to renew online; your renewal letter will tell you if this is an option for you.
If you haven’t kept a clean driving record, you may be required to take a written test every eight years, which is every second renewal.
Whichever method is available to you for renewal, you will need to pay the appropriate fee and submit the renewal before your license expires.
Illinois’ Negligent Driver System
Illinois uses a points system to track violations of traffic laws. Points are assigned to the driver for various offenses, and if you receive too many points you could face a suspension of your license.
Here are a few common violations and their points value:
- 1-10 mph over the limit – five points
- 11-14 mph over the limit – 15 points
- 15-25 mph over the limit – 20 points
- 25 mph or more over the limit – 50 points
- Reckless driving – 55 points
- Failure to obey a stop sign – 20 points
- Failure to obey a traffic signal or light – 20 points
If you have three or more violations within three months, your license will be suspended for a time period based on the number of points you have.
- 15-44 points is a two-month suspension
- 45-74 points is a three-month suspension
- 75-89 points is a six-month suspension
- 90-99 points is a nine-month suspension
- 100 or more points is a 12-month suspension
Rules of the Road
Traffic codes are long, complex documents that outline all of the rules drivers are expected to follow on the road. For most drivers, there are just a few really important laws to be aware of in order to avoid fines and penalties.
Fault Vs. No-Fault
Illinois is a fault state. This means that the insurance policy of the driver who is found to be at fault in an accident is the one that will pay out for damages. You’ll also see this system referred to as a tort system.
Illinois does use comparative fault which means you can be 0 percent at fault, 100 percent at fault, or any combination of fault in between. When the fault is split between two parties in an accident, the responsibility for paying for damage is also split. That means your insurance may pay a portion of the damage if you’re not entirely fault-free in an accident.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Drivers in Illinois are required to stay in the right lane of a multi-lane highway unless they’re in the process of passing or are about to turn left. This law applies on limited-access highways, including freeways and interstates.
The speed limit in Illinois is 70 mph on rural interstate highways. In urban areas that speed limit drops to 55 mph.
If you’re on a limited-access road that is not an interstate, the speed limit is 65 mph. All other roads have a speed limit of 55 mph. As always, obey the posted speed limit no matter what type of road you’re traveling.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
When you get in your car in Illinois, you’d better buckle up! The law says that everyone in the car has to be secured in a safety belt. A first offense will cost you a minimum fine of $25.
Younger passengers also have child safety seat laws in Illinois. All children seven years and younger must be restrained in the proper car seat for their weight and height.
Illinois has also followed the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP recently updated their recommendations to remove the age limit and rely on weight) and enacted a law that requires all children two years old and under to be in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs at least 40 lbs.
Failure to obey this law carries a minimum fine of $75 for a first offense.
Currently, Illinois has no state law forbidding passengers to ride in the cargo area of a pickup truck.
Illinois’ Transportation Network Providers Act outlines the laws surrounding ridesharing companies and drivers for those companies.
Under the act, ridesharing drivers must carry liability limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident for bodily injury, which is double the legal minimum for other drivers. The act also increases the property damage liability requirement to $25,000.
Ridesharing drivers are required to carry at least $50,000 in uninsured motorist liability coverage as well.
It’s vital to make sure your insurance policy covers you for ridesharing — some don’t!
There are several insurance companies in Illinois that offer ridesharing insurance coverage. It’s usually added as an endorsement on your personal insurance policy, on top of the increase in limits.
Automation On The Road
Automated cars are no longer a future fantasy; in many states, they are already on the road!
Illinois allows automation for testing purposes, but an operator has to be in the vehicle. Liability insurance that meets the legal minimums is also required for these vehicles.
Several laws in Illinois are designed to make sure that drivers are behaving safely and responsibly behind the wheel.
Illinois has harsh punishments for DUI convictions. First and second offenses are Class A Misdemeanors, while the third and fourth offenses are classified as Class 2 Felonies. A fifth offense is a Class 1 Felony, and any offense after that is a Class X Felony.
|License Revocation||1 year||5-year minimum for second offense|
within 20 years
|10- year vehicle registration suspended||Life vehicle|
|Already revoked at 4th Offense|
|Fine||$500-$2,500||$1,200-$2,500||$2,500-$25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000|
|Imprisonment||Up to 1 year||5 days-1 year or|
|90 days minimum|
up to 7 years
|4-15 years||6-30 years|
|Other||Mandatory substance treatment evaluation program;|
for 3 years
The legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Illinois is 0.08. A BAC of 0.16 or more is considered high.
Every driver convicted of a DUI will have a mandatory ignition interlock device installed in addition to other penalties and requirements.
Illinois treats marijuana use similarly to alcohol. The legal limit for THC in a driver’s system is five nanograms.
A driver exceeded this legal limit is subject to the same penalties as a driver exceeding the legal BAC limit, and the offense is considered a DUI.
Distracted Driving Laws
In Illinois, handheld cell phone use is banned for all drivers. This includes making phone calls as well as texting while driving. Not only are cell phones not allowed, but you can’t use any other form of electronic communication either, including iPads and other devices.
Drivers under the age of 19 are banned from using a cell phone in any form while driving, including hands-free.
The only exception to the rule is in an emergency situation, or if the car is pulled over to the side of the road or has been put in the park while stopped in the road due to an obstruction ahead.
Illinois Need-To-Know Facts
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the laws.
The news can make it seem like it’s a scary place out there, and it’s hard to know what the real risks are and what is sensationalism. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the actual statistics are on road safety in Illinois without having to dig through a lot of confusing numbers?
We’ve brought together the need-to-know basics on the most common violations of vehicle and road laws as well as their repercussions.
In this next section, we will break down vehicle theft rates, dangerous driving habits, crash details, and how long it takes to get emergency assistance in a serious crash.
Vehicle Theft in Illinois
Hopefully, you have never experienced the sinking feeling of realizing your car isn’t where you left it. Unfortunately, it does happen all too frequently. We’ve gathered some statistics on theft to help you get a picture of the risk.
Vehicle Theft By Make and Model
Here are the cars most at risk of being stolen in Illinois, based on theft statistics.
|2000 Dodge Caravan||1,054|
|2008 Chevrolet Impala||579|
|2000 Honda Civic||566|
|1997 Honda Accord||481|
|2011 Chevrolet Malibu||442|
|1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||418|
|2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)||392|
|2014 Toyota Camry||383|
|2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||374|
|2014 Nissan Altima||326|
Vehicle Theft By City
Take a look below to find out how common vehicle theft is in your Illinois town.
|East St. Louis||144|
Not everyone is a safe driver, and in some cases, poor decisions wind up costing lives.
In 2017, car accidents claimed 1,097 lives in Illinois.
Many of those fatalities involved speeding or alcohol consumption, making them avoidable deaths.
Fatality Rates By City
Chicago has the highest rate of traffic fatalities of any Illinois city, which isn’t surprising given its relative size. There were 121 traffic fatalities that happened in Chicago during 2016.
We also found data for the city of Aurora, IL, where a total of eight fatalities happened in 2016.
Rural Vs. Urban Fatality Rates
Of the total number of traffic fatalities in 2017, 689 took place in cities and 402 in rural areas. That makes the urban rate of traffic deaths quite a bit higher than the rural rate.
Six of the reported deaths took place in unknown locations.
Fatalities By Person Type
Here’s a look at the traffic fatalities broken down by the type of person involved.
|Occupants (Enclosed Vehicles)||720|
|Bicyclists and other cyclists||26|
Fatalities By Crash Type
A large number of fatal crashes — more than half — involved a single vehicle. Speeding is also a common factor in crashes. Take a look at the numbers:
|Involving a Large Truck||149|
|Involving a Rollover||235|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||535|
|Involving an Intersection||340|
Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties
Some counties have seen a decrease in traffic fatalities over the past ten years, but not all. Since 2014 the number for Cook County, where Chicago is located, has risen steadily.
|County||2013 Fatalities||2014 Fatalities||2015 Fatalities||2016 Fatalities||2017 Fatalities|
|St. Clair County||45||31||39||40||35|
|Total: All Other Counties||453||423||468||482||479|
|Total: Top Ten Counties||538||501||530||596||618|
Fatalities Involving Speeding By County
Search by county below to see the number of speeding fatalities in 2017.
|County||2017 Speed Fatalities|
|St. Clair County||13|
Fatalities Involving DUI By County
The chart below allows you to look up the number of DUI fatalities by county.
|County||DUI Fatalities (2017)|
|St. Clair County||15|
|La Salle County||6|
Teen Drinking and Driving
Teen drinking and driving has been a problem for decades, with many states working hard to reduce the instances and especially the number of fatalities that result. Illinois is doing well in that regard, with a rate that is well below the national average.
|Teens and Drunk Driving||Laws|
|Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per 100K Population||0.7|
|Higher/Lower Than National Average (1.2)||Lower|
|DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)||7|
|DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People||2.39|
Illinois also ranks near the bottom for teen drunk driving arrests, coming in at a very low number 49 overall.
EMS Response TIme
How long does it take to get medical help in a fatal crash? These numbers provide an idea of how quickly Illinois Emergency Medical Services are able to reach accident scenes and get victims to the hospital.
|Type of Crash||Time of Crash|
to EMS Notification
to EMS Arrival
at Scene to
|Time of Crash
to Hospital Arrival
|Rural Fatal Crashes||2.11||9.75||53||57|
|Urban Fatal Crashes||8||1||N/A||N/A|
Illinois is a state of drivers. Most families own two cars, and the vast majority of commuters do so alone in their vehicle. That adds up to a lot of cars and a lot of time spent on the road. Take a look at how Illinois car owners stack up.
More than 40 percent of Illinois residents own two cars, with three-car families at 20 percent.
The average commute time in Illinois is a little above the national average of 25.3 minutes. More than 20 percent of the workforce has a commute in excess of 45 minutes. That’s not surprising given the traffic in the Chicago metro area (you’ll find that information a little further down the page).
Single occupant vehicles are the main mode of transportation for Illinois’ workforce. While that’s statewide, it’s still surprising to see such a low rate of public transportation given the Chicago metro area’s extensive train and bus system (and how many people live there).
Top Cities For Traffic Congestion
INRIX, which monitors traffic congestion in cities around the world, ranks Chicago as the 23rd most congested city in the world. That’s a lot of traffic.
Chicago is the third most congested city in the United States.
Drivers spent about 138 minutes of driving time a day in congestion during 2018.
If you live outside of Chicago — and don’t commute into Chicago — you likely spend a lot less time sitting in congested traffic,
Now that you’re armed with everything you need to know about driving in Illinois, it’s time to get on the road.
Not without insurance, of course! Enter your ZIP code below right now for fast and easy rate quotes!