In Illinois, auto insurance is mandatory. Last year, a new law became effective, requiring all companies that write auto insurance policies to provide daily reports to the Secretary of State to update them on every new policy started that day, as well as any that are canceled.
This report feeds into the Secretary of State’s new Electronic Liability Insurance Verification program, which will be used to verify each registered vehicle’s liability policy twice every year.
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How Will This Verification System Work?
The program will verify your liability insurance by matching the VIN number against the daily updated list being sent to the Secretary of State. The state already knows every car that is registered, and now will be able to confirm whether it is properly insured.
The police and courts will also have real-time access to the verification system, allowing them to confirm whether you have proper vehicle insurance.
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The state is going to enforce the mandatory insurance law through the Electronic Insurance Verification process and the issuance of traffic citations.
If the initial verification attempt shows that your vehicle is not covered by a required minimum liability insurance policy, it will be checked again after 30 days. If during the second verification attempt, it shows you’re still not properly covered, you will be sent a registration suspension letter.
You will then be required to prove the vehicle was covered by a liability insurance policy on the date of the initial verification attempt. If you can’t provide proof, your vehicle’s registration will be suspended, and will then be required to obtain liability insurance and pay a fee of $100 to reinstate your registration.
If you are stopped by the police or involved in an accident, you may receive a traffic citation if found to not have proper liability insurance. If convicted, your license plates will be suspended and you can face the following fines:
- Minimum of $500 fine for driving uninsured
- Minimum of $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle while the license plates are suspended for a previous violation
Suspension and Reinstatement
If you are caught driving without liability insurance for the first time, your license plates will be suspended until the proper liability insurance is purchased and you pay a reinstatement fee of $100.
Repeat offenders will be required to serve a four-month suspension, and will still need to obtain the correct liability insurance, as well as pay the $100 reinstatement fee.
While your license plates are suspended, nobody may operate the vehicle. You will need to contact an insurance agent, purchase liability insurance, and follow the process of registration the state provides.
Purpose of New Law
This law and electronic verification system are in response to an incredibly high number of accidents in Illinois involving uninsured or underinsured drivers and vehicles. Claims against uninsured drivers have worked to raise the cost of insurance for all those drivers who do follow the law and keep the required liability insurance coverage.
It is the state’s hope that this new process will help keep the streets and highways of Illinois safe for every driver.
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