Illinois is a real stickler when it comes to required car insurance, and they enforce it, too. Car owners are required to have a 20-40-15 (in thousands for injury or death of one – more than one person – damage to property) liability coverage as well as underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. Failure to comply with the mandatory insurance law can mean suspension of a license.
But the required insurance coverage in Illinois is solely in the event of an accident, and makes provisions only for physical injuries or deaths. There are no requirements for property damage or theft, which is where collision and comprehensive car insurance comes in.
Collision insurance is primarily for damage to the vehicle due to an accident involving another car, or stationary objects such as light posts, guard rails or fire hydrants. Comprehensive car insurance, on the other hand, covers everything else but damage or loss due to accidents.
What could these be? Theft, for one, is a major concern for car owners, especially if the vehicle is new, expensive, or both. Other events covered by comprehensive car insurance include acts of God (tornadoes, floods, etc.), vandalism, collateral damage from a fire fight or explosion, and so on. Most automobile dealers require both collision and comprehensive insurance coverage for leased and mortgaged vehicles because they need to protect their investment.
Comprehensive car insurance premiums can be expensive, but if you accept a higher deductible, you can get a better deal. The drawback is if the damage to your car is lower than the deductible, then you would have to shell out your own cash to have it repaired.
There are a lot of insurance companies in Illinois, but if you want to get the best deal, go for a company that handles different carriers so you can mix and match. Remember that comprehensive car insurance will not cover accidents; liability insurance and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory, and collision insurance is always a good idea.