What You Need to Know About Illinois Vehicle Registration

You’ll need to register your vehicle in Illinois if you’re a new resident or recently purchased a car. It’s an important step to make sure you’re up-to-date with your paperwork and responsibilities as a car owner. 

We’ve broken down what you need to do to get started with Illinois vehicle registration. Here’s how to register a car in Illinois and what you might need to know.

How to Register a Car in Illinois | Metromile

Why you must register your car in Illinois?

When you register your car in the state you live, you’re claiming ownership of that vehicle. Registering your vehicle creates a paper trail that connects you to your car and the state. So when you get pulled over, you can provide registration, car insurance, and identification to prove you’re the owner of the vehicle you’re driving. 

On top of that, registering your car is a legal requirement. If you don’t register your vehicle, you could end up with a fine. Registration is also how you can prove that you’ve paid any associated fees and taxes to be a driver on the road.

Who should register a car in Illinois?

If you own a vehicle and live in Illinois, you’ll need to register your car in Illinois. 

Typically the registration process is taken care of for you if you purchased a new car, but if you buy a used vehicle from a private owner, you may need to take care of it yourself. 

If you’re a new resident in Illinois, you’ll also want to update your paperwork and get Illinois vehicle registration. To do so, first, you’ll need to establish residency and provide documentation such as bank statements and utility bills.

How to register a car in Illinois?

If you need to register a car in Illinois, you’ll need to fill out paperwork and submit it to your local Illinois Secretary of State office. You can use the Electronic Registration and Title System to get your paperwork started and then print out the materials and head to your local office within a week. 

If you’d prefer, you can also submit your paperwork via the mail to:

Secretary of State
Vehicle Services Department
ERT Section, Rm. 424
(If Expedited Title, Rm. 629)
501 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62756

Fees may change, but currently, you’ll need to provide a money order or check for payment. For a standard vehicle, you’ll need to pay $150 for the vehicle title and $151 in car registration fees for a total of $301. 

If you’re a new resident in Illinois, you’ll have 30 days to register a car in Illinois after establishing residency. You’ll need to fill out and submit the Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190). 

Additionally, you’ll need to provide:

  • Full name and address
  • Odometer reading 
  • Car info such as make, model, year, and more
  • Information of any lienholders
  • Car owner’s signatures
  • Proof of residency in Illinois 

If you purchase a vehicle in Illinois and it doesn’t have a title or registration, you’ll need to fill out and submit the tax form RUT-50 if you bought your car from another individual. You must do this within 20 days. If you purchased the vehicle out-of-state, you’d need to fill out and submit RUT-25, as well as the Bill of Sale and any required sales tax.  ​

As part of the registration process, you may need to get an emissions test. If your car is newer, you’re typically exempt from this process, but you may be required to get an emissions test after four years.

Is car insurance required in Illinois?

All drivers in Illinois must have car insurance with liability coverage, which helps cover associated costs in the event of an accident or damages. Having proof of insurance in Illinois is required and must be shown as requested if you get pulled over.

The state minimum liability insurance requirements in Illinois are: 

Many drivers in Illinois choose to purchase higher limits and add comprehensive and collision coverage to help protect their vehicle, finances, and wellbeing.

If you need car insurance coverage, check out Metromile, which provides pay-per-mile auto insurance. Pay-per-mile auto insurance can be more affordable, especially if you don’t often drive because it’s based on your actual driving. Drivers can save $741 a year on average when they switch to Metromile, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved.

The bottom line

If you moved to Illinois or just bought a new or new-to-you vehicle, it’s important to register your car in Illinois. You’ll need to complete paperwork and pay the required fees to stay current with the state. 

As a responsible driver, you’ll also need to keep your auto insurance coverage up-to-date. If you don’t often drive, or if you drive safely, Metromile could be a fit for your lifestyle. 

You can try Metromile by taking a free Ride Along™ trial. Download the Metromile app from your favorite app store and get a free online quote. Then, drive as you typically would for about two weeks, and you’ll see your rate and how much you could save if you switched to pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile. (Don’t forget to keep your current insurance policy, so you have coverage during your trial.) Drivers in select states can also earn up to an additional 15% off their initial quote for demonstrating safe driving during the trial.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.