Claims Under Uninsured Motorist, Under Insured Motorist in Illinois
by Ed Sneineh, Chicago Car Insurance Agent
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM) – Refers to the mandatory coverage that your auto policy provides for you for your bodily injury caused by a hit-and-run driver or an at-fault driver who has no auto liability insurance. The State of Illinois law requires uninsured motorist limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. For additional premium, you may buy higher limits to pay for claims that exceed those amounts.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UM PD): This is an optional coverage. It provides coverage up to a specific amount, to your vehicle, in the even you were hit by someone who is legally insured. Since this is a partial physical damage coverage on your vehicle then you cannot and should not purchase it if you are also getting comprehensive and collision (there will be overlap in coverage.) Some people refer to a liability policy with (UM PD) as Liability Plus insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance (UIM) – This is an optional coverage that provides bodily injury equal to that in the UM, in the event that you are injured in an accident that is not your fault and the other person has insurance, but his/her insurance was not enough to cover all the bodily injuries you sustained. Insurers do not have to offer this coverage at the basic mandatory liability limits of 20,000/40,000. In the even the client chose to have higher limits, the insurer must offer this coverage at the same level of UM.
What can you do if you were hit by an uninsured motorist who was at fault in the crash? Can something be done to help you collect damages?
If you have a private policy you should submit a claim to your private insurer and they will help you collect for the damages. In this case you have to pay for the deductible and once your insurance company collects for damages they will refund you for the deductible that you paid.
You can also submit an Illinois Crash Report to the Illinois Department of Transportation Accident Report Office, 3215 Executive Park Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62766, Phone 217-782-4516. In the report you should indicate that the party was uninsured and request that the case be certified to the Secretary of State for suspension under the Safety and Financial Responsibility Law. Once the case is verified and the accident report is certified, the state will suspend the driver's license of the at-fault uninsured driver and the license plates of the uninsured owner involved in the crash. The suspension will remain in effect until your reach an agreement with the other uninsured motorist about paying for your bodily injury/ property damages, or until other requirements set by statute are met.
Another option is to take a legal action. You can file a court judgment against the uninsured motorist. If the judgment remains unsatisfied for 30 days, you may submit it to the State of Illinois office for suspension. If you need more information please call one of our agents, or contact the State of Illinois, Safety and Financial Responsibility Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723, phone 217-782-3720.
Ed Sneineh, Chicago auto insurance professional for over 20 years, former college educator of insurance, and founder of the Chicago based Insurance Navy.