Every Illinois driver is affected by auto insurance, regardless of whether he or she is in an auto accident. Auto insurance policies can be confusing, with legal jargon and difficult-to-understand provisions. Moreover, insurance carriers are often difficult to deal with may be more concerned with their bottom line than their policyholders’ interests.
As dedicated Chicago auto accident lawyers, Ankin Law Office, LLC is committed to making sure that clients and the public understand the basics of car insurance in Illinois. The following are a few of the things that every Illinois driver needs to know:
- There are several components to auto insurance coverage. Insurance coverage can include: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, and additional coverage such as roadside assistance.
- Drivers are obligated to carry minimum levels of liability coverage. All Illinois auto insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2015 must include minimum liability coverage of $25,000 for injury or death of one person (up from $20,000), and $50,000 for injury or death of two people (up from $40,000). Minimum liability coverage for property damage will increase from $15,000 to $20,000. Some legislators estimate that insurance premiums could increase by about $75 for the additional insurance coverage. Given that medical bills and damages often exceed the minimum liability coverage, a $75 per year increase in premiums is a small price to pay to compensate the victims of auto accidents caused by negligence.
- You are required to cooperate with an auto accident claim investigation. This means that if you are in an auto accident – regardless of whether you were at fault or not – your insurance policy likely obligates you to inform your own insurance company of the auto accident within a reasonable amount of time and to cooperate with their investigation. If your insurance company requests a recorded statement, however, it is highly recommended that you consult with your attorney prior to giving a statement or that you have your attorney present while you give your statement.
- You must accept an insurance company’s claim settlement or file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific amount of time. You should consult with a knowledgeable Illinois car accident lawyer before accepting any insurance settlement. In Illinois, claims involving bodily injuries must be settled, or a lawsuit must be filed, within 2 years of the date of the accident. Property damage claims must be settled, or a lawsuit filed, within 5 years of the date of the accident.
- If you are in a car accident, you are not obligated to provide the other driver’s insurance company with a recorded statement. You may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, but you should not speak with the other driver’s insurance company without first speaking to an attorney or having an attorney present.
- You may be able to obtain financial recovery even if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Most insurance policies contain an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision, whereby your insurance company agrees to assume the role of the at-fault party and pay on your claim for any damages or injuries sustained in the accident. These provisions can be confusing, with many nuances, so it is beneficial to discuss the claim with a skilled Illinois auto accident attorney.
It is highly recommended that you consult with an Illinois auto accident lawyer before communicating with an insurance company. Although your own insurance company may claim to have your best interests at heart, all insurance companies are in business to make a profit and, as such, they often apply a formulaic approach to auto accident claims without taking into account the specific circumstances of a claim.
At Ankin Law Office, LLC, our Chicago auto accident lawyers focus on helping the victims of auto accidents obtain full and fair financial recovery. Because we focus on auto accident cases, we are familiar with the defense tactics of insurance companies and can effectively communicate with them on your behalf. If you were injured in an Illinois auto accident or would like more information on Illinois auto insurance basics, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago car accident lawyers.