Illinois requires drivers to carry insurance policies, and although the hope is never to need to use them, car accidents are inevitable. Although the claims process might seem complicated, getting into an accident the same day you started your insurance policy might muddy the waters even more.
Understanding when an insurance company may consider your policy effective and what you need to successfully make an insurance claim after an accident can provide some relief.
Are You Getting Adequate Coverage?
Illinois law states a minimum fine of $500 for driving an uninsured vehicle, so you must be covered before you take to the Windy City’s streets. Illinois is an “at-fault” state, meaning the driver that caused the wreck is at-fault, and their insurance policy will pay for any victims’ damages or injuries.
You’ll need to comply with the state’s minimum coverage requirements:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
- $20,000 for damage to property of another person
Having the required insurance, you should be covered if you’re in an accident. The question then falls to when your insurance went into effect.
How Did You Purchase Your Insurance Policy?
Buying insurance is essential to drive in Illinois legally. How you purchased your insurance could affect when it went into effect and how useful it will be in a car accident. Knowing your policy type and its effective date can help clear any questions.
Replacing Insurance or Buying Your First Policy
Regarding insurance, it’s common for some drivers to need more affordable rates, so switching companies is standard practice. When applying for new insurance, you can choose a date for the new policy to begin. Some companies may advise allowing an overlap of the old and new policies to ensure coverage.
If you are in a crash in that overlap window, you’ll need to decide which insurance company you’ll file a claim with.
If you’re buying your first insurance coverage policy, the insurance company will ask you to select a date to start covering your vehicle. You should be covered if you aren’t in the crash before the policy activates.
As online business remains popular, many companies offer same-day coverage through the internet. Several nationwide insurance companies sell policies that start after you’ve completed the application and made a payment. You should be covered if you’re filing a claim on a policy for a crash that began after your plan activated.
It should be noted that buying insurance after a crash will not cover your claim for that crash.
Filing an Insurance Claim on the Same Day Your Policy Starts
Assuming you’ve been in a crash the same day your insurance starts, you may feel anxious that the insurance company may deny your claim. You’ll want to take proper steps to ensure the best chance of recovering compensation for injuries or damages sustained in a crash.
According to Illinois law, any crash that causes more than $1,500 in damages or causes injuries must be reported to the Illinois Department of Transportation. You should also call law enforcement to alert them of the crash, so they can come to make a report and keep traffic moving around the vehicles.
Seek Medical Attention
You should get examined as soon as possible after the crash. If the police have been called, emergency medical services may be on the scene to check for injuries. Don’t refuse their help at the scene and consider going for further treatment if they recommend it.
Preserve Evidence from the Crash Scene
If police respond to the crash, they will probably take photographs and witness statements for their report. However, it’s recommended that you get your own photos of the vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs, and anything else that may contribute to the report. If you’re being taken from the scene, ask someone else to get photos for your insurance claim. Try to get witnesses’ contact information if you can’t get their statement so you can get their accounts later for your insurance company or a personal injury lawyer.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
While you hope the at-fault driver’s insurance company will honor your claim, despite your policy’s day-old status, having a personal injury lawyer well-versed in Illinois insurance and crash laws will benefit your odds. Your lawyer can act as your representative to your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, and law enforcement if necessary. They can arrange your evidence into a cohesive and steadfast argument.
Why Getting Evidence and Crash Reports is Especially Critical for New Policy Holders
Driving without insurance is illegal and can force you to pay for all damages associated with a crash. Getting same-day coverage might be your best option to meet Illinois’ insurance requirements before hitting the road but getting into a crash on the same day you bought your policy could introduce doubt to insurance companies about your claim.
Collecting evidence at the scene and getting crash reports can cement your statements and ensure your new insurance policy covers you.
How Will the Crash Affect Your Car Insurance Policy?
As insurance companies operate to generate profit for their shareholders, they are not in the practice of giving out free money. Therefore, your premiums are likely to go up if you’re found to be at fault for the crash. The rate change will depend on the expense of the crash and if there were injuries.
In cases where you weren’t found to be at fault for the crash, your rates may not go up, or if they change, they may just be marginally increased.
Will Your Insurance Company Drop You?
While cases do vary, insurance companies can drop drivers from their policies. Many times, that’s because a driver has a high risk of accidents, they were driving under the influence, or they weren’t paying their premiums on time. There could be several reasons a car insurance company may drop a driver, but if this was your first crash, it’s unlikely your coverage would be severed. However, if you are dropped, your lawyer may be able to assist you in reinstating insurance coverage.
Call a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Whether you’re buying your first insurance policy or working on maintaining coverage, things are bound to get complicated after a car accident, especially if you just purchased your policy. Turn to an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our team is ready to walk you through the claims process and take the driver that injured you and damaged your car to court if they won’t pay you the settlement you deserve.