by Edward Sneneh, Illinois Auto Insurance Specialist

Illinois has recently signed a law, Public Act 097-0285, which was a bill submitted by Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D) 12th District in Illinois. According to which auto insurance companies in Illinois cannot refuse to insure drivers and vehicles for the sole purpose that the drivers is doing volunteer work for a charitable non for profit organization approved by the Illinois Department on Aging.

The Act states that "An insurer may not refuse to issue vehicle insurance to a person solely because the applicant is a volunteer driver. An insurer may not impose a surcharge or otherwise increase the rate for a vehicle policy solely on the basis that the named insured or any member of the insured's household or a person who customarily operates the insured's vehicle is a volunteer driver."

The Act stated that auto insurance companies in Illinois will not be excluded from taking any actions on factors not related to the volunteering status of the insured. Most insurance companies challenge coverage validity if vehicle is used to transport people for fees. Volunteering time is not a question on the auto insurance application.
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Effect of the Act on The Auto Insurance Companies

Considering the very small numbers of people who use their vehicles in the charitable work of non for profit organizations approved by the Illinois Department on Aging, the effect of this act will be very minimal on the insurance industry.

Furthermore, automobile accident lawsuits brought against volunteers of charitable, non for profit organizations that are approved by Illinois Department on Aging would usually be covered under the charitable organizations insurance policies, under the hired and non owned auto section of the policy. Unless otherwise removed from the policy, hired and non owned auto insurance will cover vehicles used in the course of 'business' activities that are either hired autos or non owned autos.

Charitable organizations approved by Illinois Department on Aging who have volunteers need to make sure that adequate coverage is provided under the general liability policy, and that a full disclosure is reported to their company.
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