Why You Need More Than “State Minimum” Car Insurance: You Get What You Pay For

In order to drive a car in Illinois, you are required to have auto insurance. This insurance protects you for any accident you cause. This insurance will cover the costs of damage to the vehicles involved in the crash, and also includes “liability insurance” to cover injuries you might cause to other drivers.  Liability insurance is important to carry, and mandatory, but if you’re buying the bare minimum coverage you might be risking more than just your premium going up in the event of an accident.

Illinois requires the following minimum insurance coverage:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident

While $25,000 may seem like a lot of coverage, if you cause a serious accident, it may not even cover the ambulance and hospital bills for the victim.

The first two numbers in 25,000 and $50,000 mean that in an accident each person injured would receive a maximum of up to $25,000 with a maximum limit of $50,000 per accident.

For instance, imagine you crash into a car with two people inside. Each is seriously hurt and needs $25,000 of medical treatment, then the maximum of $50,000 per accident would be sufficient. However, what if the people were injured and needing $50,000 each? The minimum would not be enough. In a case like that, you may end up on the hook for the difference. You read that right, you could be personally sued for anything over the maximum, in this case, $50,000, all because you bought the bare minimum coverage. yeah

Insurance agents and lawyers refer to these coverage numbers  as “limits.” This means that your insurance will only cover up to whatever limit you decided when you purchased auto insurance. Often times, people choose minimum coverage because it is marginally cheaper than the $100,000/$300,000 limits recommended by experts.  The risk you run when you select the bottom of the barrel coverage is that any costs that are over the “limit” could come directly from your pocket.

The Insurance Coverage You Need:

  • At least $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • At least $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • At least $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • At least $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • At least $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident

If you own a home or other assets, you can be sued personally and have those assets taken from you to pay for the injuries you caused in an accident, if those injuries exceed your policy limits. You may also want to consider adding a medical payments portion to your policy in the range of $5,000-10,000 to ensure that if you are in an accident there is quick money to pay for your medical bills and out of pocket expenses.

Making sure that you have sufficient coverage can protect you in the event of an accident and injuries. It is important to make sure that you protect yourself, your family and loved ones, and your valuable assets such as your home by getting adequate insurance coverage. Remember, with cheap insurance, you get what you pay for.

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