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When can I use Uninsured Bodily Injury Coverage ?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common occurrence in Illinois, and car accident injuries especially around major cities. All drivers must have insurance coverage in order to operate a vehicle legally, though the Insurance Information Institute says that approximately 13.7% of all drivers in Illinois are uninsured. What happens if you are struck by an uninsured motorist?

The Illinois car insurance minimums

The minimum car insurance coverage requirement for drivers in Illinois are:

  • $20,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $40,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability
  • $20,000/$40,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • $25,000/$50,000 underinsured motorist coverage
  • $15,000 with $250 deductible uninsured motorist property damage

Uninsured motorist coverage is not separate in Illinois

As you can see from the minimums listed above, uninsured motorist coverage is part of the requirements for drivers (many states do not require such uninsured motorist coverage, though drivers may purchase it separately). This means that you will automatically have coverage if you are struck by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. Uninsured motorist liability coverage will cover injury expenses such as medical bills, pain, and lost wages

This coverage may not be enough

Unfortunately, this may not be enough coverage. The baseline of $25,000 per person and $50,000 for two or more injured people is a relatively low amount, especially if the accident causes a severe injury. The first-year care for a spinal cord injury can easily reach several hundred thousand dollars.

It is important to note that the uninsured liability coverage does not cover property damage. This means that you may have to pay to repair your car or buy a new one out-of-pocket. However, you can purchase uninsured motorist property damage coverage, though it is not legally required by Illinois.

Can you file a personal injury lawsuit?

If your uninsured motorist coverage does not adequately cover all of your injury or damage expenses, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, if a driver does not have insurance, there is a high probability that they do not have the assets to cover your expenses out-of-pocket, even if you do win a personal injury case against them. You should speak with a car accident attorney who thoroughly understands all aspects of these cases before making a decision.

How often do accidents occur in Illinois?

Unfortunately, car accidents are not uncommon in the state of Illinois. During the latest reporting year in the state, the Department of Transportation says that there were 311,679 total motor vehicle crashes. Out of those, there were:

  • 66,889 total injury crashes
  • 998 fatal crashes

It is not uncommon for victims in these crashes to experience severe injuries, including the following:

These injuries often require extensive medical care and can lead to massive medical bills for crash-victims. In many cases, an injured crash victim cannot work while they recover, causing them to lose the income they need to support themselves and their families.

What you can do right now?

Take a minute and review your policy minimums. Do you have adequate uninsured motorist coverage? Do you think you should purchase more? While having more coverage may cost more in the short-term, it may really help you if you get into a serious crash.

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