Car Insurance in Chicago

Everything you need to know about car insurance in Chicago

In your search for car insurance, you will need to understand your options when it comes to the Chicago car insurance policy that is right for you. There are many types of coverages to fit those with different circumstances.

Chicago Car Insurance Laws

If you want to drive a car in Chicago, there are a few things that you need to have. You will have to have a valid driver's license and registration. You will also have to be able to prove financial responsibility, which can only be accomplished in the state by purchasing liability insurance.

In the city of Chicago, the minimum requirements for car insurance to drive are 25/50/20. You will also need uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (these coverages can be rejected) of $25,000 bodily injury liability per person and up to $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident. These are the minimum requirements to cover your liability in case you are the one found to be at fault in an accident.

  • $25,000 – injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $50,000 – injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $20,000 – damage to property of another person

Proving Insurance in Chicago

In Chicago, you will have to be able to prove that you have insurance. Your insurance provider will give you a card that you will need to keep in your car. If you are stopped by the police or get into an accident, you will need to show this card.

Not Having Insurance in Chicago

If you drive without insurance in the city of Chicago, the state will suspend your license plates. To get your license plates reinstated, you will have to get the minimum amounts of required insurance. You will also have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee. If you are caught driving without insurance more than once, you will have your license plates suspended at least four months. You will be assessed a fine of at least $500 if you are driving without insurance and get in an accident or are stopped for a moving violation.

  • minimum $500 fine for driving uninsured
  • minimum $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle while the license plates are suspended for a previous insurance violation

What Are The Other Coverage Options?

You have other coverage options depending upon how much risk you want to assume upon yourself, how much coverage you want on your vehicle, and whether you are still financing your car.

Increased Liability Limits: You can increase the minimum required limits to further protect yourself against liability. There are many instances in which one's liability in an accident has exceeded the 25/50/20 minimum coverage.

Collision Coverage: This protects your vehicle in case of an accident. With liability insurance, your only coverage is for the other party. However, with collision coverage, your insurance provider will also pay to have your vehicle repaired.

Comprehensive Coverage: This type of coverage protects you from damage to your vehicle caused by things such as vandalism, fire, wind, hail, and extends to almost anything that causes damage to your car that is not included in your collision policy. If you have a car that is being financed, you're lending institution will normally require you to have both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This is insurance that you can get through your car insurance provider that acts like health insurance. It covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses in case of injury and can sometimes supplement your existing health insurance. Within each of these general types of coverage, there are different limits and options available. Our Free car insurance quote tool will help as you choose your car insurance provider and your car insurance policy. Make sure to notice how these things affect your quote and decide what coverages are best suited to your car insurance needs and your budget.

Chicago High-Risk Driver

Considering that drivers are legally required to carry insurance, you would think it should be easy to buy. Unfortunately, many people struggle to find affordable coverage or even an insurance company that is willing to cover them at all. They are often referred to as “high-risk drivers,” a designation that may seem unfair, especially if it has been applied to you. (AIPSO will help you if you cannot find car insurance)

Who is High Risk?

Unfortunately, many people do not even realize that insurance companies consider them high risk until they begin shopping for coverage. Finding high-quality Chicago car insurance may be challenging if you:

  • Have never held an insurance policy before (for example, if you have just bought your first car)
  • Have a prior history of car accidents, even if they were not your fault 9Lost insurance coverage in the past due to nonpayment or repeat accidents
  • Are under the age of 20
  • Do not have good credit
  • Have a history of traffic violations, particularly speeding or drunk driving
  • Obtained your driver’s license recently

Chicago SR-22 Insurance

If your driver’s license has been suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles, you will likely need to have an SR-22 form filed before you can get it back. The SR-22 system is essentially a way for the government to keep track of supposed “problem drivers” and make sure they are carrying sufficient car insurance. Unfortunately, it can also have several negative consequences for drivers.

What Is an SR-22?

To get a suspended license reinstated, you may need to contact your Chicago car insurance provider and request an SR-22 form. This is a legal document confirming that you own sufficient insurance through their company. Unfortunately, requesting an SR-22 involves certain risks, such as:

  • Increased insurance costs. Some premiums double or even triple if an SR-22 is filed.
  • Loss of insurance. Rather than raise prices, some companies may simply drop you.
  • Reputation damage. Finding a new insurance policy can be hard with an SR-22 on your record.

Do I Need an SR-22?

You may be required to purchase a Chicago SR-22 insurance policy if you have been convicted of violating certain driving laws by:

  • Driving recklessly
  • Driving drunk (DUI)
  • Driving without car insurance
  • Getting into an accident with car insurance
  • Having your license suspended or revoked
  • Getting three or more moving violations in a 12-month period

According to Chicago law, you’ll usually need to carry SR-22 insurance for three years, so be sure to find a low-cost policy at Insure on the Spot.

Chicago Car Insurance Rates

Average car insurance cost in Chicago:

Description Price
Chicago Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Rates $506 - $748
Chicago Minimum Full Coverage Car Insurance Rates $1,248 - $1,496
Chicago Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Rates for Young Drivers $1,226 - $1,491
Chicago Minimum Full Coverage Car Insurance Rates for Young Drivers $1,968 - $2,185
Average monthly car insurance rates in Chicago $42 - $182

Chicago Car Insurance Risk Rating

When the insurance company gives you a quote for insurance coverage, the figure you are given is partly determined by your risk rating. In figuring out what your risk rating is, the company will look at such factors as your previous driving record, your age, your gender, and the model of vehicle that you are driving.

As a general rule, your risk rating will go down as you age. More mature drivers with clean driving records may qualify for a discount from their insurance company. Higher rates will be paid by young, inexperienced drivers. Teenage boys are considered to be high risk for insurance purposes and are likely to be charged the highest rates.

While there are concerns about the response times and failing eyesight of older drivers, these are usually balanced by increased caution. Even so, some companies offer safe driving courses targeted specifically at older or teenage drivers.

Factors That Affect Your Chicago Car Insurance Rates

Your Driving Record: You're driving record is one of the most important factors used in determining your IL car insurance rates. A clean driving record will put you at the top of the list for cheaper car insurance rates.

Your Vehicle: An expensive vehicle is more expensive to insure. A car that is covered by younger drivers will automatically cost you more to insure. A vehicle that is more costly to repair will be more costly to insure.

How does an insurance company determine which vehicles are more expensive than others to insure? Like many other things in life, it comes down to cold hard cash. In this case, the insurance company needs to factor in how much they would have to pay out following an accident involving your type of vehicle (and how likely your vehicle is to be stolen). The figure the actuaries, underwriters, and statisticians at the insurance company come up with has a bearing on how much your premiums will be.

In addition to the repair costs, the underwriters have to consider the likelihood of an accident taking place with that particular model of vehicle. The odds are calculated based on the past behavior of other people who also own the same make and model as you do. 9If the model of the vehicle is considered more difficult to repair, either due to its design or the materials used to construct it, then you are also looking at a higher insurance premium.

Your Credit History: Potential car insurance providers also look at your credit history. Those with good credit records have been shown to be less risky to insure.

Your Age: If you are over the age of 25, you are probably paying less for your insurance than you did before you turned 25. When you hit another threshold, generally at the age of 55, your insurance rates should decrease once again.

Car Insurance Quotes in Chicago

Average car insurance quotes for Chicago car insurance companies:

Rank Car Insurance Company Name Price
1 Farmers $525
2 Rockford Mutual $663
3 Erie $775
4 State Farm $779
5 USAA $842
6 Travelers $848
7 SECURA $854
8 Country $861
9 Nationwide $866
10 Pekin Insurance $887
11 Auto Owners $923
12 Safeco $958
13 21st Century $964
14 GEICO $995
15 Amica $997
16 American Family $1,016
17 State Auto $1,058
18 Esurance $1,087
19 Progressive $1,102
20 MetLife $1,115
21 Mercury $1,216
22 Encompass $1,414
23 Liberty Mutual $1,546
24 21st Century $1,593
25 Allstate $1,601
26 Kemper Specialty $1,708
27 Safe Auto $1,889
28 Hanover $2,034

How To Get Affordable Car Insurance in Chicago

There are many car insurance companies in Chicago, and finding the best deals can be a challenging task. But it is possible to find Chicago discount car insurance that meets the needs of both your future financial needs and your current budget. If you are willing to invest some time now to do a little research and ask the right questions, you will save yourself from headaches, big bills and unnecessary hassles at a later date. It is well worth your while to do a bit of homework to find out about ways to keep your Chicago car insurance costs down.

Here are some suggestions you may want to keep in mind when you are shopping for cheap Chicago car insurance:

Consider A Number Of Different Insurance Companies

Buying car insurance can be a pricey proposition and you should shop around to be sure that you are being offered the best possible rate for your coverage. There are many insurance companies that service the city of Chicago and they would be more than willing to discuss your needs with you.

You may feel loyal to your existing insurance company, especially if you have dealt with them for a considerable period. Don't let that hold you back from considering other companies and finding cheap Chicago car insurance.

Getting a quote doesn't mean that you have to change insurance companies; you just want to get an idea of what your options are. In fact, you can take a better quote back to your original company and ask them to match it.

Ask Your Insurance Agent Available Chicago Car Insurance Discounts

Even though your insurance company may offer a number of discounts to its policyholders, your agent may not think to mention them to you. Before your policy comes up for renewal, call your insurance agent or the company and ask them to go over the list of available discounts with you.

There are a number of circumstances under which you may qualify for a discount. Insurance companies can and do reward long-time clients with clean driving records by offering them a discount on their insurance premiums. If you have gone for several years without being in an accident for which you were at fault, then you may qualify for a price break.

Let your insurance company know if the number of miles you are driving has gone down compared to the amount of driving you have done over previous years. Spending less time on the road means that you are less likely to be in an accident and therefore are less risky to insure.

Ask about discounts for taking a defensive driving or a driver's education course. If you are a student, ask about discounts for getting (and keeping) good grades. Having airbags or an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle can also mean that you will have to dig a bit less deeply into your pocket to cover your insurance costs.

Make a list of these items as they are being discussed. You may not qualify for one of the discounts right now, but you may at some point in the future. The insurance company may offer discounts in the following situations:

  • Multiple vehicles insured by the same company
  • Property and car insurance provided by the same insurer
  • Discounts for students who maintain a certain Grade Point Average
  • Discounts for mature drivers
  • Lower rates if you have airbags and/or an anti-theft device installed in the vehicle
  • Taking a defensive driving or a driver's education class
  • Long-term customer
  • Clean driving record for a certain period

Increase The Amount Of Your Deductible

While this isn't always advisable, if you can afford to go for a higher deductible on your policy, this is a good way to lower your premiums. Ask your insurance agent or company to increase the deductible to the highest amount that you can comfortably afford. Don't go too high on the deductible, because you are going to have to pay that amount out of your pocket if you have an accident.

Consider Your Insurance Needs Carefully

Have your needs changing since you originally bought your car insurance policy? You may be paying for coverage that no longer suits your needs. Go through your policy with a fine-tooth comb and cut back or eliminate coverage that you really don't need.

For example, if you have been driving the same vehicle for several years, you may want to rethink the idea of having collision coverage on it. If you are involved in an accident, you will only be reimbursed for the cash value of the vehicle as of the date of the accident, not the amount you would have to pay to replace it with a new car.

It may make a lot more sense to keep or add comprehensive coverage to your vehicle. That way, your car is insured against fire, theft, and vandalism. To keep paying the same premium (for collision coverage) to get a smaller amount of payout if your car is totaled doesn't make much sense.

Tell Your Insurer If Your Situation Changes

If you are currently paying higher rates because you have been involved in an accident or have been convicted of an impaired driving offense, your premiums will be high for a certain amount of time. If you are able to avoid any further incidents you'll eventually be able to qualify for more affordable Chicago car insurance.

Instead of just accepting whatever renewal rate you are being offered by your current insurance company, call them and tell them if something has changed about you or you're driving record. If it's been a number of years since you were involved in an accident or were convicted of a criminal charge, reminded your insurer of that fact. Chances are overlooked it when they calculated your new premium.

Likewise, if you were being charged higher premiums because of your credit rating and you have gotten yourself back on track financially, you can share that with your insurer as well. Ask them if they can take this new information into consideration and give you another quote.

Stay Loyal to One Company

Unless there is a cheaper offer from another company, renew the contract with your present insurance firm. Your insurance company knows that other companies will be offering cheaper rates to you.

Because you are a loyal client, you’re apt to get lower quotes. Your chances of getting discounts to go up if you did not make any claims in the past.

Get a Defensive Driving Certificate

The Chicago car insurance rates will go down if you present a defensive driving certificate with your application. Many Chicago insurance companies offer this to people over 55, but other companies may have different policies. Check with the company to be sure.

For young drivers enrolled at educational institutions, a good report card can mean lower premiums. A good clean driving record will also help.

Get Your Chicago Car Insurance Online

Conduct an online search to find an insurer who will provide you with a quote and insurance documents through their website. Doing business virtually is a cost-effective alternative to having a large brick and mortar office. An insurance company that conducts a good percentage of its business online will be able to pass the savings on to its customers.

Keep Your Car in a Garage

If you can take steps to make it less likely that your vehicle will be stolen, you may be able to negotiate a lower insurance premium. Keep your car in a secure garage if possible and make sure that your insurer knows that you have taken steps to minimize the risk of theft.

Cut Back On The Amount Of Driving You Do

If the only driving you do is to and from work (assuming that you live close to your workplace), this fact may translate into a discount on your insurance premium. The less time you spend on the road, the less chance that you will be involved in an car accident. Keep in mind that lower risk equals smaller premiums

Stay Claims Free As Long As Possible

The longer you can avoid making a claim on your insurance policy, the better. If you can stay accident-free for a number of years, then you will be able to get a discount on your car insurance. The number of years you need to keep a clean record will vary from company to company but if you can stay free from claims for between three and five years, you may qualify for a discount.

Purchase a Multi-person Insurance Policy

Look for companies that offer coverage for more than one person in a single policy. Choose the individual with the best driving record. Put the rest of the family members under that person’s name.

SARA HUDSON