The Ultimate Guide to Illinois Auto Insurance (2021)
Because Illinois is an at-fault state and because it does not have that many car accidents annually, its car insurance prices are slightly below the US average. Only in Chicago you’ll have to spend big bucks for your coverage. This is hardly surprising since Chicago is a densely populated city with many tourist visits annually and a significant number of large corporations having their headquarters there.
However, despite low Illinois auto insurance prices, we discovered that quotes from individual insurers vary greatly. For instance, for a 40-year-old driver in Chicago, our cheapest insurer requested $124 per month, while the most expensive charged $375. It’s even more surprising that the former performed better in departments such as customer service.
This means that little research can get you cheap, high-quality insurance. We did that research for you, so dive straight in to find the finest Illinois insurer for your needs.
The Best Car Insurance in Illinois in 2021
- Overall Winner: Erie
- Runner Up: Auto-Owners
- Bronze Medalist: Country Financial
- Cheapest Option: Progressive
- Best for Military: USAA
- Best for Senior Drivers: The Hartford
The Overall Winner: Erie
Erie Auto insurance takes the first place in Illinois, despite the competition being fiercer than in any other state. It’s the combination of strong results in vital insurance metrics that make Erie such a good option.
To start with the customer service, Erie scores full five stars in J.D. Power’s ranking for North-Central region. Furthermore, its NAIC ratio is 0.64. This indicates that Erie receives 36% fewer customer complaints than an average company of its size.
Additionally, Erie gets “A+” rating from AM Best, which confirms it’s a financially stable company, capable of paying customer claims. Finally, Erie is one of the most affordable insurers in the state.
Such strong performance across the board makes Erie the best auto insurance in Illinois. Its only downside is that it does not have an insurance app, meaning folks who prefer to do all the business online may want to check our number two and number three options.
Choose Erie for affordable prices, excellent customer satisfaction, and strong financial ratings.
Look elsewhere if you want an insurer that offers a mobile app.
The Runner Up: Auto-Owners
Auto-Owners takes the second spot on our Illinois rankings, being beaten by Erie by the smallest margin. Like our winner, it offers an unbeatable combination of low prices and good customer service.
It comes at the ninth spot (among 24 insurers) in J.D. Power’s 2018 ranking in North-Central region, scoring three out of five stars. Additionally, the company provides affordable automobile insurance in Illinois for all driver demographics. Auto-Owners also has a slick and highly rated mobile app. It allows you to pay bills, organize documents, track claims, and view and download proof of insurance.
However, the company has two significant downsides. First, Auto-Owners does not offer as many optional coverages as bigger insurers such as State Farm or Progressive.
Second, Auto-Owners does not provide an online quote option. It prefers doing business exclusively through agents. Still, if you want cheap auto insurance, especially in Chicago where it will be easy to find an agent, Auto-Owners is worth the hassle.
Choose Auto-Owners for competitive premiums and reasonably good customer service.
Look elsewhere if you want many optional coverages or online quotes.
The Bronze Medalist: Country Financial
Country Financial is another smaller insurance company with excellent performance in Illinois. For starters, it gets four stars out of five in the in J.D. Power’s regional study, with the the fifth overall rank out of 24 players. It’s also one of the most affordable Illinois auto insurance providers.
Additionally, despite being a small-sized enterprise, Country Financial has the second highest AM Best Rating — “A+” or “Excellent.” This indicates a firm ability to pay claims to its clients.
What’s even better news is that Country Financial provides a substantial number of discounts and optional coverages. It can’t compare with major brands such as State Farm, Allstate, or Progressive, but you’ll find all options that are considered standard by the market. Country Financial even has a highly rated mobile app and fast online quoting system.
That’s why we would not settle for any insurer in Illinois before checking Erie, Auto-Owners, and Country Financial first.
Choose Country Financial for its excellent ratings in customer service and reasonable prices.
Look elsewhere if you want a variety of options that only bigger insurers can offer.
The Cheapest Illinois Auto Insurance: Progressive
If you are shocked by high Chicago car insurance rates or just want to get the most affordable car insurance, Progressive got you covered. It offers the most competitive prices for any age demographics.
However, you’ll have to make an inevitable compromise if you opt for Progressive. Namely, it gets three out of five stars in J.D. Power’s 2018 rating for North-Central region — a performance that’s just about average.
Progressive’s NAIC ratio, however, tells a more positive story. It’s 0.75 and indicates that the company receives 25% fewer complaints compared to an average insurer of its size.
In other categories, Progressive is among the best car insurance options Illinois drivers can get. Its AM Best rating is strong — “A+,” indicating that there are no reasons to worry that Progressive will look for excuses when the time to pay claims comes. The company also offers various discounts and optional coverages, together with polished online tools that only major insurers can provide.
These results make Progressive a true curate’s egg. But if you want the absolute cheapest auto insurance in Illinois, it’s worth your attention.
Choose Progressive for the lowest prices in Illinois.
Look elsewhere if you want exceptional customer service.
The Best for for Military: USAA
USAA is a company that sells its products, including car insurance, only to current and former US army members and their close families. For that particular group, this is the best option on the market.
For starters, it offers some of the most affordable Illinois auto insurance plans. On top of that, it gets impressive results where it matters most. USAA’s AM Best rating is “A++” — the highest possible. This indicates unquestionable ability to pay customers claims.
Furthermore, USAA’s gets full five stars in J.D. Power’s regional rankings and the highest score out of any Illinois insurance companies. It even beats Auto-Owners, but it’s not ranked first since USAA is a specialized insurer.
USAA also offers banking and investment services together with retirement funds, which makes it one of the best auto insurance companies in Illinois for eligible customers.
Choose USAA for its remarkable performance across the board.
Look elsewhere if you are not eligible for its coverages.
The Best for Senior Drivers: The Hartford
The Hartford is an auto insurance company for AARP club members. That means that if you choose this insurer, you’ll reap all the benefits of being an AARP member. These include discounts at pharmacies, restaurants, and bookstores, as well as travel and rent-a-car vouchers.
Besides this unique advantage, The Hartford can be proud of its scores in all categories that matter. To start, it’s AM Best rating is “A+” or “Superior” — the second highest possible.
In addition to that, if you are looking for cheap car insurance in Illinois, The Hartford got you covered. It’s among the most affordable insurers in this state. Finally, The Hartford gets impressive four out of five stars in regional J. D. Power’s ranking.
All these factors make The Hartford car insurance, together with AARP membership, a smart choice not just for older drivers, but for younger customers as well.
However, as we noted in our review, The Hartford has high cancelation fees. This is something that you should keep in mind if you change your insurance company often.
Choose The Hartford for affordable rates and many benefits that AARP membership offers.
Look elsewhere if you want the absolute lowest prices or best-possible financial strength.
Cheapest Car Insurance in Illinois (By City)
We gathered quotes from major insurers with full coverage limits to set the prices. Our reference vehicle was 2018 Honda Accord.
Chicago is the third most populous city in the US, with over 2.71 million people living in the town, and approximately 9,533,040 residing in the surrounding metropolitan area. It also attracts the highest number of tourists annually after New York. Just in 2018, Chicago had over 58 million visitors.
Additionally, leading world companies such as Boeing, Allstate, and KraftHeinz, as well as prestigious universities, such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, all attract many workers and students to Chicago.
That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that the car insurance Chicago residents can buy is expensive. Still, our Illinois winner, Erie, is among the most affordable insurers in the Mud City. Progressive and Country Financial also offer reasonable rates, but the former gets low scores in customer service.
Aurora is a Chicago suburb with a total population of 200,965. Its nickname is “City of Lights” because it was one of the first US cities to adopt fully electric street lights in 1881. Aurora is also a place where you can visit architectural landmarks designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Auto insurance in Aurora, IL, is on average $44 cheaper monthly than in Chicago. Erie is the most affordable option, followed by Progressive. While Erie certainly deserves your attention, we would rank Country Financial over Progressive due to its more reliable customer service. We would also put Auto-Owners near the top of our list.
Rockford is the largest town in Illinois that’s not a part of the Chicago metropolitan area, and the third most populous city in the state overall. It is one of the leading cities in the US for furniture manufacturing. It’s also a place where the rock band Cheap Trick was formed.
Auto insurance in Rockford, IL, is $38 less expensive monthly compared to Aurora, which makes it the second least expensive city in our Illinois study. There’s plenty of affordable companies to choose from, including Nationwide, Progressive, and Erie. However, we would even stretch our budget and include Country Financial too, since it gets excellent results in the crucial categories.
Joliet is located 30 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the fourth most populous city in Illinois, with a total population of 147,433. It was traditionally a steel manufacturing town, but now it is commuters’ suburb, with many people working in Chicago and Aurora.
If you want cheap insurance but Chicago rates are just too high, consider moving to Joliet. You’ll pay $78 less for car insurance monthly on average. Erie is the most affordable and the best option in Joliet. Country Financial, although slightly more expensive, is the second best option. We also highly recommend Auto-Owners and The Hartford.
Naperville is located 28 miles west of Chicago. According to recent research, it’s one of the finest cities in the nation. It was ranked as the second best place to live in the US, according to Money’s 2016 research. It also recently took the award for the wealthiest city in the Midwest region, and the eleventh most affluent in the nation.
Despite Naperville being a prosperous city, its auto insurance is only $1 more expensive monthly on average than in Joliet. Erie, which offers the finest car insurance Illinois drivers can get, is also the most affordable option.
Travelers, Progressive, and Country Financial, offer quite reasonable rates too. However, the latter is the only one out of these three that we can wholeheartedly recommend. We would also urge you to get an Auto-Owners quote too.
Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the city which hosts the state’s government. That’s why it does not come as a surprise that the State of Illinois is the city’s leading employer. Springfield is also the place where Abraham Lincoln spent 24 years of his life.
Auto insurance in Springfield, IL, is the cheapest in the state, with an average premium of $145. Almost all companies we tested offered protection for less than $200 per month, which is quite affordable for full coverage policy.
Erie is the least expensive insurer and also the best in Springfield. We would also consider Country Financial, Travelers, and Auto-Owners.
Illinois Auto Insurance Laws
Illinois uses a “modified comparative fault” system. Under this system, you must not be more than 50% at-fault to recover compensation for the damage you have suffered. As FindLaw notes, a judge or a jury calculate the percentages of the fault if the claim wasn’t settled first.
Additionally, the compensation rewarded will be reduced by your fault percentage. For insurance, if you were 20% at-fault, you would receive 80% of the amount that covers the property damage and injuries you have suffered.
Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP)
Similarly to Tennessee, Illinois car insurance system takes care of drivers who have a hard time finding coverage. If you have been turned down by an insurer in the past 60 days, you can enter the ILAIP program. If you do, you will be randomly assigned to an insurer licensed to operate in Illinois.
Every insurance company must participate in this program and take the number of high-risk drivers proportional to its market share. Once the government finds you an insurer, it’ll have an obligation to provide you with coverage for the next three years.
However, you’ll likely find much cheaper coverage if you continue shopping around after being rejected a couple of times. That’s why you should use this program only as a last resort.
Illinois Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements
These limits are the minimums any car insurance policy in IL must have:
- Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. This coverage pays for the injuries you’ve inflicted upon others in an accident you have caused (it may include other medical-related expenses too, like lost income or legal fees if the injured party sues you).
- Property Damage Liability – $20,000 per accident. This covers any damage you caused to another person’s property in an at-fault accident. Usually, that property is their vehicle, but it can include personal belongings or stationary objects too.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury – $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. This auto insurance coverage for Illinois drivers pays the medical expenses for injuries you suffered from being hit by a driver without car insurance coverage or with insufficient limits to pay your costs.
Illinois is a “fault state,” meaning the liability insurance of the driver who caused the accident pays the medical expenses. We prefer it this way since no-fault states usually have much more expensive insurance. For instance, Michigan has the limitless PIP system, which drives its car insurance prices to the highest in the US.
And if you want coverage for physical injuries, you can always add MedPay to your Illinois vehicle insurance policy. It will provide immediate payments for you and your passengers.
Sometimes, you can even rely on your regular health insurance. However, read the small print carefully, since some health insurance policies carry an exclusion for vehicle-related injuries.
Price optimization is the practice of using non-underwriting criteria when determining rates. In other words, Illinois car insurance will rely on advanced software to calculate the highest price you are willing to pay for your coverage and try to charge you that price. Recent research indicates that about 45% of the most prominent US insurers use price optimization.
Despite some recent initiatives, Illinois authorities haven’t taken any action yet against the practice of price optimization. That’s why it’s prudent to shop around every now and then — you’re letting your insurer know you’re looking at the other offers. Knowing this, they’ll try to keep you as their customer by providing the best rates.
SR22 Insurance in Illinois
SR22 is a certificate that an insurance company has to submit to the local DMV after a severe violation. It serves as proof that your car insurance policy carries sufficient limits. You need an SR22 form after violations like driving under the influence, multiple smaller traffic infringements, or driving without a license.
Once you enter the program, the government tracks your driving record, and after three years, you can buy regular auto insurance.
SR22 is itself cheap, but the insurance companies tend to charge 50% more if you require the certificate along with your policy.
How to Find the Cheapest Car Insurance in Illinois
Check the Discounts
The simplest way to get affordable coverage is to qualify for as many discounts as possible. This is quite easy if you are getting your quotes online. During each step, the system should prompt you to check discounts that fit your profile. If you are talking with an agent over the phone, make sure to remind them to list all available discounts.
Sometimes, it’s even worth taking proactive measures like enrolling in the programs where insurer tracks your driving, such as Nationwide’s SmartRide.
These kinds of discounts lower your rates by 40%, meaning you’ll be able to qualify for the cheapest insurance in Illinois.
Every insurance company has its methods of determining premiums. This means one driver may get very different prices depending on the insurer. That’s because insurance companies employ different market strategies, based on factors such as their recent profits.
Furthermore, regional companies tend to provide more affordable basic policies, while major players, such as Allstate and State Farm, offer many perks and benefits, but at a higher cost.
For all these reasons, the only way to get the low-cost auto insurance Illinois is to compare car insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. We suggest making a shortlist of at least five insurers that seem like the right fit for you.
After that, obtain quotes from all of them and add a couple more if you don’t fancy the results. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.
Read the Auto Insurance Reviews
It’s wise to find out how each insurance company scores in departments such as financial strength and customer service when you are making your list of best auto insurance companies in Illinois. Our auto insurance reviews will help you discover just that.
We researched every relevant category, from customer service to discounts to online tools. Afterward, we made a list of 24 best insurers in the US.
At our peril, we would even suggest taking a look at reviews from other leading websites, especially if you find a specific insurer particularly appealing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who has the cheapest auto insurance in Illinois?
Progressive is the most affordable company in Illinois, while Erie comes as a close second. The Hartford, Auto-Owners, and Country Financial all offer reasonable rates too.
2. How much is car insurance per month in Illinois?
It’s $177 per month for a 40-year-old driver with a clean record. Our reference quote had the full coverage limits, meaning liability was higher than the minimum, and we also selected comprehensive and collision options. Our sample vehicle was 2018 Honda Accord.
3. Is Illinois a no-fault state for auto insurance?
No, Illinois is a “fault” state, meaning the insurance of a driver who caused the accident pays the injury expenses of the party that suffered damage. However, there’s no mandatory coverage that pays the medical outlays regardless of the fault. For that, you’ll have to add optional MedPay to your car insurance policy in IL.
4. What is the penalty for not having car insurance in Illinois?
The financial penalty ranges from $501 to $1,000. Additionally, you’ll need to provide at least another $1,000 on top of the original fine if you have been caught driving with suspended plates due to an insurance violation.
Furthermore, your license and registration may be suspended for up to three months. Finally, you’ll need to pay $100 reinstatement fee to get full driving privileges again.
5. Do you need insurance to register a car in Illinois?
Illinois auto insurance is mandatory to register any vehicle in this state. However, there’s no need to present actual proof of insurance during the registration process. You’ll only be required to provide the name of your insurance provider and your policy number.