Imagine this scenario. You were following the law in Illinois and bought car insurance. You had the misfortune of being involved in a car accident in Illinois and the other driver had no insurance. You still have options. Illinois law requires uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage. (625 ILCS 5/7-203). This means that even in cases where the at-fault driver had no insurance, the law is meant to place the policy holder in substantially the same position he or she would have been in if the wrongful driver carried minimum liability coverage.
In Illinois, the minimum liability coverage for an auto policy required as of the date of this blog-entry is $20,000 for one injured person per accident, up to $40,000 for two or more injured people per accident, and $15,000 for property damage. This type of coverage is often referred to as 20/40/15. This is also the minimum UM coverage required by law in Illinois. UM coverage will normally match the amount of liability coverage. So, if a policyholders liability coverage is over 20/40, his or her UM coverage will match the liability coverage, unless the policy holder rejects the additional coverage in writing. In addition, the “insurance company providing the coverage must provide applicants with a brief description of the coverage and advise them of their right to reject the coverage in excess of the limits.” (215 ILCS 5/143a-2). In other words, where a car insurance policy holder has liability coverage over the minimum, his or her UM coverage will match those limits unless after being advised by the insurance company the policyholder rejects the additional coverage.
Another possibility is that the wrongful driver did have insurance at the time of the accident, but it wasn’t enough. In that case you may have an under-insured motorist claim or a UIM claim. If an accident victim’s claim is greater than the liability coverage of the at-fault driver, the injured person may be able to recover the difference between his or her claim and the wrongful driver’s policy limits through a UIM claim.