When buying auto insurance in Chicago, you should ask a few questions before signing on the dotted line. Understanding the answers to these questions can assist you in deciding which policy is right for you.
Additionally, having this knowledge can be invaluable if you are involved in an accident and need to file a personal injury claim. In this blog, we will discuss five questions to ask before buying auto insurance in Chicago.
Why Is Having the Right Type of Auto Insurance in Chicago Important?
If you are in the market for buying auto insurance in Chicago, it is essential to ask yourself some questions first. By answering these questions, you can determine if your current policy suits you or if you need to seek different coverage. Also, remember that if you are injured in an accident and decide to file a personal injury claim, having the right auto insurance policy could help protect your financial interests.
Like many states in the U.S., Illinois requires all vehicle owners to have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. The state-mandated minimums are:
- Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability: $20,000 per crash
Illinois has enacted these insurance minimums to protect individuals involved in an accident, but they are all too often not enough to cover a Chicago resident’s medical costs, lost wages, and property damage, depending on the severity of the crash.
For example, suppose you are in an accident that results in the death of another person. In that case, the $25,000 limit will not be sufficient to cover all of the damages. If the situation were reversed and you were in an accident that took your life, that person’s minimum requirements would likely not cover your family’s expenses. In this case, it is crucial to understand your Illinois insurance policy and what it covers.
How Does Liability for Auto Accidents Work in Chicago?
A person’s right to recover compensation after suffering injuries in a personal injury accident like a car crash or truck collision is protected under Illinois tort law. These actions allow a car accident victim to sue the motorist responsible for causing a crash that resulted in their injuries. However, modified comparative negligence rules also apply in Illinois. These prohibit you from recovering compensation if you’re 50% or more responsible for causing a Chicago crash.
If you can prove that the other driver was at fault for your crash, you may be eligible to recover the following losses stemming from your accident:
- Lost wages (past and future reasonably expected to be incurred)
- Medical bills (past and future reasonably expected to be incurred)
- Pain and suffering (past and future)
- Loss of a normal life
- Future costs (if any – including medical bills reasonably expected to be incurred)
Questions To Ask Before Buying Auto Insurance in Chicago
While where you reside affects your car insurance rates, premiums are also influenced by age, gender, marital status, and driving record. Therefore, identifying an insurance policy that covers you in the event of the unknown can be challenging. However, you can start by asking these common questions:
1. What Auto Insurance Discounts Am I Entitled to for This Policy?
Going above and beyond safe-driver discounts, many car insurance companies offer additional savings called “credits.” These can come in the form of having certain safety features installed in your car, like alarms, air bags, or antitheft devices.
Other potential discounts include:
- Good student discounts
- Master’s or doctorate degree discounts
- Membership in an organization, like the American Automobile Association (AAA)
2. Does My Policy Include Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Coverage?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is optional here in Illinois; however, you may not want to waive that coverage on your policy. This type of insurance protects you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the damages to your vehicle or the injuries they caused you to suffer.
Also, our state enforces fairly low minimums for bodily injury coverage. As previously hinted at, damages stemming from an auto accident can easily exceed the $25,000 per person minimum policy limits the state requires your fellow Chicago motorists to have. Underinsured motorist coverage, for example, might provide you with the necessary compensation to cover the remainder of your bills if they exceed the at-fault motorist’s policy limits.
In 2019, the uninsured motorist percentage was 11.8% here in Illinois. Experts advise insured motorists to take out at least $500,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Recovery for serious injuries can easily exceed that amount, and a wrongful death claim almost certainly will.
3. If My Car Gets Totaled, How Much Will My Insurance Pay To Cover The Loss?
The claims check to cover your totaled car could surprise you if you don’t address this when you buy your insurance policy. In the case of a total loss, some insurance companies pay out “actual cash value,” while others pay out an “agreed upon value.”
If your policy has an “agreed upon value,” the total loss value of your car will not depreciate over time. Typically, insurance companies use the NADA Guide to determine a vehicle’s actual cash value; however, if you have this type of agreement with your insurer, they will pay out the total amount specified in the contract.
4. Do I Have Enough Coverage for Comprehensive and Collision Claims?
Liability insurance will pay for bodily injury and property damage to the other driver if you are at fault for the Chicago crash. However, those policy limits don’t cover repairing or replacing your car. That is why it’s essential to have collision and comprehensive coverage on your Illinois vehicle.
Collision insurance covers damage to your car from an accident with another vehicle or object. Comprehensive insurance protects you from non-collision-related damages, such as theft, fire, or glass breakage. The best way to avoid an unpleasant claims experience is to protect the value of your automobile.
- What Is a Medical Payments Coverage?
It may benefit you to purchase additional coverage from your insurer. One such coverage, called medical payments or “MedPay,” covers health care expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
These additional insurance options should give you peace of mind.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Everyone wants to avoid an accident in Chicago, but if you’re involved in one, a personal injury lawyer from Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys can help you navigate the Illinois legal process and get the compensation you deserve. While our attorneys aren’t insurance agents, we can help you understand your rights and options so you’ll be better prepared. We can handle all of the conversations with the insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Accidents happen every day, and many people suffer injuries. If you’re injured in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure what to do next. Our car accident attorneys have the experience to handle whatever situation comes your way. Trust is essential when finding legal representation, so only choose someone with extensive experience in personal injury law to handle your case. Reach out to us now for a complimentary case evaluation to learn more.