Despite Chicago’s notorious traffic, the state’s crazy winters and massive annual snowfall, auto insurance in Illinois manages to clock in at an average of $98 a month — 24 percent lower than the national average. If you don’t want to settle for the average, though, you can do some research and find over $1,300 in savings just by weighing your options. The good news is it can pay off for you.
The Hartford turned out to be the best car insurance company, at $824 annually for the state-minimum coverage. This is after comparing six different insurers. It would be simplistic to say that The Hartford would be the best for you (and save you a little bit of legwork), but rates are affected by so many factors, including your ZIP code, your driving record, and your age that there’s no sure bet it would be the cheapest option. Take this information more as a how-to guide, not a magic eight ball.
Thankfully, you’re not on the hook for much work, and you might be sitting on a pile of savings. Most insurance quotes are easy to get and don’t affect your credit, so when you’re ready to begin, dive in and get at least five. You can start with companies that offer online tools to get a feel for the process, and if you’re feeling confident, call or schedule a meeting with an agent to ask more questions and get a more personalized quote. Online quotes are pretty awesome; they take only five minutes or so, and you can often customize your policy for real-time results.
To start a search for the best deal in Illinois, you should apply for quotes from companies that have the highest customer service ratings in the area and a strong financial report in the region.
When you’re ready to get your quotes, this is a great place to start.
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Our Top 6 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Illinois
J.D. Power is a global authority in customer satisfaction surveys, so look at its rankings for the North Central region. There are eight companies with four or more stars out of five, which is a lot to choose from. You can cross reference this list with A.M. Best, a company that assesses the financial solvency of insurance providers and disqualifies any that aren’t in “Superior” or “Excellent” financial standing. Why not just go with the cheapest company? Because you don’t want to risk your insurance company not having the money to pay your claims. Plus, no discount is worth it if you’re dealing with an insurance company that’s unhelpful. We ended up with six quotes from brands that met our standards for reliability and reputation.
Some of these quotes are pretty consistent, while others weren’t even close to the cheapest option. Our top pick for cheap car insurance is definitely The Hartford. Even if you opt for comprehensive coverage with Hartford, your bill will still almost beat all the other options for just the state minimum, even though you’ll be paying extra per month. Paying extra may buy you peace of mind and financial security in the event of an accident. Even a minor accident could put your financial situation in jeopardy if you have only Illinois’ minimum coverage.
Most of the quotes should be easy to get. Don’t rule out the companies that don’t have user-friendly websites and online quote tools, but if comparing your options feels overwhelming, you might want to start with the companies that offer easy online quote tools: Nationwide, Country Financial, State Farm, and Erie insurance will all allow you to avoid the hassle of a phone call and view your personalized quote online. The Hartford and American Family both have online tools that may work for some, but if not, they may require a phone call.
Sometimes an insurance company may say that an online quote is unavailable and will instruct you to call. The Hartford is an example. Others, like American Family, will let you get pretty far through its online quote process before informing you that you will need to speak to a representative on the phone.
When you’re knee-deep in your research, you may assume that the online quote tools would offer little more than convenience, but there is actually a huge benefit to them. Over the phone, agents are not always able to tell you how much an increase or decrease in specific benefits will affect your premium. With an online quote tool, you can fiddle with each category of coverage and see if it is worth it. Over the phone, agents don’t always have a straight answer, so unless you want to sit on the phone for an hour while they check and uncheck each individual box and run 20 different quotes for you, a phone representative could lead you to some uninformed decisions.
Illinois’ Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
To comply with Illinois requirements, you need to be insured for $25,000 for the injury/death of one person in an accident, $50,000 for more than one person, and $20,000 for the damage of property to another person — that’s 25/50/20, in insurance speak.
If you look into upgraded coverage for each of these quotes, you may be surprised to find that four of the six quotes will be raised by less than $20 a month. The two outliers, however, will end up being over $800 a year. And over 17 or 18 years, that extra $800 equates to $13,700. So even in the worst-case scenario, you’d still wind up paying far less than the $36,000 left over after your minimum coverage kicks in. No one ever plans on getting into a serious automobile accident, but if it happens, paying a few extra dollars each month for an upgraded policy will absolutely have been worth it.
Driving without insurance in Illinois will cost you a hefty fine and a lot of time wasted. In addition to a minimum $500 penalty, you’ll have your license plates suspended. In order to reinstate them, you’ll need proof of insurance and an extra $100. Get caught driving with suspended plates? That’ll cost you a minimum of $1,000.
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Why are rates in Illinois so affordable?
Illinois drivers are doing a relatively good job of keeping the roads safe. With 8.5 car accident-related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016, that’s less than the national average of 11.6. That helps explain why car insurance rates in Illinois are 24 percent lower than the national average. Illinois is also one of the cheapest states for auto repairs. CarMD‘s 2019 study found that its average cost for check engine light-repairs were: $250.44 for parts, $151.15 for labor, for a total of $401.59.
What if I’m not a full-time resident?
If you’re not living in Illinois full-time, your car will need a valid registration in the state where you primarily reside. You also need a reciprocity permit issued by the secretary of state.
Is Illinois a no-fault insurance state?
Illinois is not a no-fault insurance state. This means that whoever is at fault in a car accident will be responsible for the percentage for which he or she is deemed liable.
Who requires SR-22 insurance?
The state of Illinois requires you to have SR-22 insurance if you have:
- Been driving with expired license plates
- Been driving with expired car insurance or no car insurance
- Been driving while intoxicated
- Been driving without a driver’s license or an expired/suspended/revoked license
Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years
Insurance providers used to build rates based only upon your level of risk. Lately, they’ve incorporated a practice called price optimization. It may sound like a tool to save you money, but it can actually be the exact opposite. Insurers use complex algorithms to analyze a heap of your personal data (social media activity, online shopping habits, etc.) and predict how likely you are to shop for better deals. If your company discovers that you prefer the convenience of keeping your policy to the hassle of shopping around, they’ll inch your rates up, just because they know they can. This is the same reason your cable company tacks on extra charges until you threaten to cancel, and then poof, those charges are miraculously gone.
That’s why shopping for a new policy every year or so is such a good idea. Insurers are privy to your online activity, and if you stay on top of your rates and check in periodically to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal, you’re less likely to be marked as someone who’s comfortable with price hikes. But make sure to shop around for comparison quotes before you make the call to your current insurer.
While many states are fighting against this unfair yet widespread practice, Illinois has yet to address it. But fighting against this unfair practice isn’t the only reason you should shop around. There are other reasons, too. If you have been paying your credit cards and mortgage payments on time, you may qualify for a lower premium. In fact, good credit drivers can save over $1,000 per year on their car insurance. Another reason to shop around is your age. Young drivers are often seen as riskier by car insurance companies, and they pay the price with higher premiums. However, as you age, the cost of car insurance drops. And finally, if you’re a good driver who hasn’t had an accident or received a ticket in a while, it’s time to look for a new policy. Having a speeding ticket on your record can bump your policy up by quite a bit, as can reckless driving.
Best Car Insurance in Illinois
For Illinois car insurance customers, there are ways to cut costs that won’t impact the level of coverage you receive. Paying extra won’t always get you a better product, but it’s worth it to upgrade from basic state-minimum coverage to a level of liability you’re more comfortable with.
The magic number is different for everyone, so shop for several quotes, and keep looking every couple of years, even if you think you found the one. The cost of auto insurance in Illinois is less than the national average, and a large number of reputable insurers in the state means you can easily find a competitive rate. Getting quotes from several insurance providers can take less than an hour, and it can help you find a cheap car insurance policy that won’t let you down when you need it most.