Most states require drivers to buy car insurance. The logic behind this rule is that most people wouldn't be able to afford to pay the damages that could result from a car accident. Imagine getting into a wreck with someone driving a really expensive car. Even if it was just a fender bender, the cost of repairing the other driver's fancy ride could break your budget.
This equation works the opposite way too. Insurance is there to protect you in case you were involved in an accident caused by someone else's negligence. But, what if that person's insurance limits aren't enough to cover your damages? After all, we can't control what insurance policy the driver who hit us decided to buy.
This is where Illinois law steps in with a protection for insurance purchasers who find themselves in precisely this type of situation. But, it's important to know the rules in order to make sure they're working for you.
Current Illinois law requires a minimum coverage of $25,000 in case of bodily injury to or death of any single person involved in a accident and, no less than $50,000 in case of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more people involved in the same accident. In addition to that state law requires a limit of not less than $20,00 to cover property damage. See statute, 625 ILCS 5/7-203. This type of insurance is sometimes referred to as a 25/50/20 policy.
With the current rate of healthcare costs, it's easy to imagine that someone who is seriously hurt in a car accident might end up with hospital bills that greatly exceed the $25,000 state minimum for bodily injury coverage. That's where under-insured motorist coverage may step in to help cover the difference.
Illinois law also requires car insurance companies to offer un-insured and under-insured motorist coverage equal to the same state minimum for liability coverage discussed above. the purpose of this type of coverage is to protect accident victims who are injured by someone who didn't have enough insurance, or didn't have any car insurance at all.
But to really be protected, consumers should consider buying coverage beyond just the state minimum, as well as getting the highest under-insured policy they are able to afford. That extra insurance coverage could be the difference between an accident victim getting fair compensation for their injuries or being stuck having to figure out how to afford mounting medical bills.
Navigating insurance rules can be complicated, especially for someone who's been hurt in an accident and is focused on trying to get better. If you would like to talk to a seasoned car accident attorney with over 30 years experience representing victims in the Chicago area, please dial 312-380-5467 to schedule a free consultation with attorney Joseph Klest.
© Joseph Klest, 2015.