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How does Illinois’ Insurance Verification System work?

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LANSING, Ill. (March 1, 2024) – As with most states in the US, Illinois requires drivers to have insurance. But not everyone obeys that law. Uninsured drivers in Illinois account for approximately 11% of all motorists — which is not the highest statistic in the US, but it’s far from the lowest either (New Jersey has only 3%).

According to a 2021 press release from the office of Jesse White, “My office has led the effort to establish and implement an automobile insurance verification system online which will serve to reduce the number of Illinois motorists driving while uninsured… the message is simple: if you don’t have auto insurance, get covered now. It is the law.”

In order to bring the number of uninsured drivers down, Illinois implemented the Electronic Liability Insurance Verification System (ILIVS) in 2020. This initiative aims to bring more drivers in compliance with Illinois state laws — but how does it work, and is it doing its job effectively?

Driving without insurance in Illinois

Before we dig into the technical details of ILIVS, let’s take a look at the potential consequences of driving without auto insurance in Illinois. First-time offenders will almost certainly face a fine, as well as possible impoundment of their vehicle and suspension of their license plate. As with most crimes, repeat offenses will incur stiffer penalties — not just bigger fines, but longer suspensions, possible license revocation, and even the possible forfeiture of your vehicle. Getting your driving privileges back is likely to mean paying hefty fees that might make insurance premiums pale in comparison.

And speaking of insurance, you can expect to say goodbye to cheap Illinois car insurance. According to Renata Balasco at insurance comparison site The Zebra, failing to show proof of insurance could drive your annual premiums up by 19%, which is over $200 a year. If you happen to get caught driving with a suspended license, you’re in for a bad time: you can expect your insurance premiums to go up by a whopping 82%. Repeat offenders could even find themselves unable to qualify for auto insurance at all.

Understanding ILIVS

Now let’s take a look at what ILIVS is doing to address this problem. Spearheaded by the Illinois Secretary of State, ILIVS is a comprehensive state-wide database for verifying the insurance status of registered vehicles in Illinois. ILIVS uses advanced technology to streamline the verification process, which means authorities and government agencies can quickly determine what insurance coverage (if any) a motorist has.

So how exactly does it work? The process is relatively simple. ILIVS automatically cross-checks registered vehicles and insurance records twice a year. If no insurance is found for a particular car, the owner will receive a letter instructing them to contact their insurance company and verify their coverage. If they neglect to do so, they may have their driving privileges suspended.

While there are not yet any public statistics on the effectiveness of the ILIVS system, it’s hoped that this change will help reduce the number of uninsured motorists on Illinois’ road.

Mitigating your insurance costs

As inflation and insurance costs rise, both in Lansing and across the state, many motorists are feeling the squeeze trying to meet Illinois’ minimum insurance requirements.

Per Illinois state law, a driver must have a minimum of:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for more than one person
  • $20,000 in property damage

With insurance companies announcing major rate hikes coming this year and beyond, many individuals and households are wondering how they can keep their insurance costs under control. Fortunately, there are a few strategies Lansing motorists can deploy to keep their costs steady or even bring them down.

  • Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare rates between insurance companies. There are numerous free tools online that can help you find the best cheap car insurance in Illinois.
  • If you do choose to stick with your existing insurer, talk to them about potential discounts. For example, did you know that if you’re a teacher, policeman, or first responder, you can get a significant discount on your auto insurance? This is also true of good students. The average insurance company has about fifty different discounts they can offer for various criteria, and chances are you’ll qualify for one or more of them.
  • If you happen to own a home, you can get a discount for bundling your home and auto insurance together.
  • Anything that helps reduce the risk of a costly claim is good news for insurance companies, and they will often give a discount in return. For example, installing anti-theft devices and additional safety equipment on your vehicle can save you some money — as can voluntarily installing a telematics device on your car so the insurer can track your miles.