Starting July 1, computer checks for Illinois car insurance could end in $100 fine

Starting July 1, computer checks for Illinois car insurance could end in $100 fine

Illinois drivers on July 1 will face automated computer checks for liability insurance twice a year. Failing to get insurance after the state sends a warning letter could end in a $100 fine.

As many as 1.5 million uninsured Illinois drivers will have something new to worry about starting July 1: computers, twice a year, will try to catch them.

On July 1, the Illinois Secretary of State will begin using a vendor to check the insurance status of all drivers in Illinois in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured drivers. The computer checks will be twice a year and most drivers won’t even know about them, unless the computer can’t find a driver’s insurance info.

Then a warning letter is generated stating their license plates are being suspended.

After the warning letter, uninsured drivers will be required to obtain insurance and a $100 fine will be imposed to reinstate the plates.

If the state sends the warning letter and a driver does have insurance, the driver must contact their insurance agent, provide them the reference number from the warning notice and the agent must then resolve the matter with the state.

Illinois has about 8.5 million drivers, and estimates between 1.2 million and 1.5 million don’t have the required liability insurance. The Illinois Secretary of State estimates the random checks can reduce that by several hundred thousand.

Uninsured drivers who get stopped by law enforcement or have an accident face bigger fines: $500 minimum for driving without insurance, and $1,000 for driving while plates are suspended for a previous insurance violation.

Drivers in Illinois are required to carry coverage that at a minimum provides:

  • $25,000 for injury or death of a person
  • $50,000 for injury or death of multiple people
  • $20,000 for property damage.

The state’s insurance agents offer help finding liability coverage through a website.

In the past decade, eight other states have had success getting more drivers insured with similar programs.

But this is Illinois, using an automated system generating fines, an outside vendor, millions of drivers’ records and insurance information in a state database. Throw in drivers unable or unwilling to buy insurance and a pandemic economic downturn with nearly 440,000 out of work.

What could go wrong?

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