Illinois Ups Minimum Car Insurance Limits, OKs E-Card Proof

Illinois motorists will soon see a new setup of the required liability minimum coverage limits for their car insurance along with a new way to prove that they are properly covered, after Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on two pieces of legislation Friday.

Gov. Quinn’s approval of SB 1898 finalizes the state’s transition from a liability structure requiring that a policy contain at least $20,000 to cover a person’s crash-related injuries, $40,000 to cover multiple parties injured in a crash and $15,000 to cover property damage to the following liability structure:

  • At least $25,000 to cover a person’s crash-related injuries
  • At least $50,000 to cover multiple parties injured in a crash
  • At least $20,000 to cover property damage resulting from a crash

The new liability setup requiring at least $70,000 in liability protection to cover a single accident would apply to policies issued or renewed on or after January 1.

Lawmakers sought double that amount in SB 1898’s original version introduced in February that would have inflated the required total of minimum liability coverage for a single accident to $140,000 and made those changes effective immediately.  Several amendments introduced by senators eventually pared down that proposal to its current form.

Gov. Quinn also signed off on a piece of legislation that allows Illinois car insurers to go digital with several aspects of their business.

The main portion of SB 1775 legalizes “e-cards,” as they’re called in the insurance industry, which are electronic displays of policy ID cards that the state’s motorists can now use to prove to authorities that they have a valid policy.

Being able to prove coverage through a smartphone or portable device eases the pain that many drivers feel during a traffic stop when they realize they’ve misplaced “where they stashed their paper proof of insurance card,” according to Jeffrey Junkas, a regional manager for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

“Everyone has a story about getting pulled over by the police and digging through the glove box to try and find their insurance card,” Junkas said in a statement. “The digital age dominates many everyday activities of consumers and insurers have embraced new technologies to meet the new and growing consumer demand and the e-insurance card is one example that can make life simpler.”

Other provisions in the new law also make life simpler for policyholders, allowing insurers to post policy documents online for their customers to access. Insurers won’t be required to send hard-copy documents of a policy anymore, as long as they provide an online link to their policyholder leading to that policy.

According to Junkas, that part of the law promotes “e-access” to a policy that is “even more helpful to consumers following a catastratophic event when the paper copy is not reachable.”

Provisions of the new law are effective immediately.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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