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What is the minimum amount of car insurance I have to buy in Illinois?

Most states require motor vehicle owners to purchase car insurance, and Illinois is no exception. In Illinois, vehicle owners must purchase auto liability insurance and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.

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The minimum bodily injury liability limits you must have are $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. The minimum property damage liability insurance you must have is $15,000 per accident. Liability insurance covers damage and injuries you cause others in an accident. It does not pay for treatment of your own injuries or to repair your car.

Keep in mind these limits might not be enough to provide adequate protection if you're sued after an accident, especially if you own assets, such as a home.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury covers your injuries caused by an uninsured at-fault driver or a hit-and-run driver. Minimum limits required by Illinois are $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. If you purchase higher limits of this coverage, state law also requires you to purchase underinsured motorist bodily injury insurance. This coverage kicks in if the at-fault driver has insurance but the liability limits are too low to cover your loss.

Besides the types of coverage mandated by the state, you should consider whether to buy optional forms of coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance pays to repair or replace your car if it's damaged in a traffic accident. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace the car if it's stolen or covers damage caused by factors other than a traffic accident, such as natural disasters, vandalism and collisions with animals.

Without collision and comprehensive insurance, you have no financial safety net if your car is seriously damaged and needs repair or is declared a total loss. Although dropping collision and comprehensive can save on car insurance rates, it's best to keep these coverages in place until your vehicle loses most of its value.

For more, see Minimum levels of car insurance you are required to buy.

Last updated: Apr. 27, 2012 Redesign Survey