Is it possible to drive a car in Illinois without auto insurance? It is possible, but also against the law, so just because something is possible doesn’t make it a good idea. Maybe you’re confident you’ll never be in an accident. Maybe you’d rather spend your money on something else. No matter what you think, however, driving without auto insurance in Illinois is a bad idea. Driving without insurance not only leaves you on the hook in the event of an accident or theft, but it puts you at risk of many other consequences, none of them good. The good news? Just carrying cheap insurance can protect you from many of these consequences, so even if you have the reflexes of a NASCAR driver or a spotless driving record, there’s no reason not to drive insured.
What Could Happen
If you’re caught driving without insurance in Illinois, there’s no wiggle room or talking your way out of it. Here’s what will happen if you’re stopped by police and found to be driving without auto insurance:
- Fines: For a first offense, the fines in Illinois for driving without insurance can range from $501 to $1,000. If you’re driving with suspended plates, there’s an additional $1,000 fine. For subsequent offenses, you’ll be paying $1,000 in fines plus $2,500 if you’ve been convicted twice and involved in an accident.
- Driving privileges: The first time you’re caught driving without insurance, you will have your driver’s license and registration suspended for up to three months. For further offenses, you can expect to lose your license and registration for four months. Each time you’re caught, you’ll also have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee to have your license and registration reinstated.
- Insurance premiums: Being caught driving without insurance means that when you do purchase insurance, you’ll be paying higher premium rates than you would have before your violation.
- Other risks: Without insurance, a traffic accident becomes a much costlier scenario for you. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for your entire medical and repair costs, and that’s the best-case scenario. If you’re found to be at fault for the accident, you’ll have to pay for the other driver’s medical and repair bills, as well.
How to Avoid the Consequences
The reasons listed above should be enough to convince anyone that a lack of insurance can be a big problem for drivers in Illinois. That’s why it’s essential for drivers to do everything they can to ensure that they not only have affordable auto insurance, but that they also never allow their coverage to expire. Here are some basic tips you should follow to protect yourself from driving uninsured:
- Always carry proof of insurance: When you purchase auto insurance, your provider should send you a card or some other form of documentation indicating that you’re covered. You need to keep this proof of insurance with you at all times, whether in your wallet, purse or glove box. Not having your proof of insurance accessible when you’re pulled over is the same as not having insurance at all.
- Keep your policy current: Many insurers feature auto-pay options that will automatically renew your coverage and charge you what you owe. However, even if that’s how your provider handles it, you should be aware of the start and end dates for your policy, and make sure you’re current. Driving with an elapsed policy for even one day can result in a violation.
- Pay your bills on time: If you get in an accident, you’ll want your insurance provider to pay for your repairs promptly. Likewise, your provider expects you to make your payments on time. Failing to do so can result in your insurance being canceled. Some providers offer a grace period where you’re given some leeway, but others are stricter, so always read the fine print and be aware of when premiums are due.
- Choose the right provider: There are plenty of affordable options out there for auto insurance if you’re worried about how much coverage will cost you. For example, Oxford Auto Insurance specializes in helping drivers who may not be able to get coverage elsewhere, and can find the right policy to meet your needs.
- Follow the right procedure for switching providers: If you need to cancel an existing auto insurance policy to switch providers, be sure to notify the DMV as soon as you do. Your old provider is required to notify the DMV to let the state know that you are without insurance. Thus, you need to let the DMV know before your old provider does — or else, you may be considered uninsured.
Driving without auto insurance means you’re taking a big risk every time you get behind the wheel. Don’t let being uninsured ruin your life. Contact Oxford Auto Insurance today and see how we can help!
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