Illinois Home Insurance Guide: by County
Before you buy home insurance in Illinois, know which supplemental insurance you’ll need to fully protect your home. The state of Illinois is home to 102 counties and about 3.5 million residential buildings. Standard homeowners policies offer coverage in the event of perils like fires, windstorms and theft. While home insurers can cover Illinois residents for most potential accidents, it can’t cover homeowners against some of the state’s largest risks, without supplemental coverage. Luckily, there are endorsements and riders that can protect homes against common home insurance exclusions, like floods and earthquakes. If you own property in Illinois, find out which disasters it’s vulnerable to and whether you need to purchase additional coverage to protect your home, your belongings and yourself.
Nearly 15% of land in Illinois is subject to flooding. In fact, floods are the most common natural disaster in the state. Generally, homeowners policies tend to exclude coverage for damage caused by floods. Yet in flood-prone areas, mortgage lenders often require prospective homebuyers to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through a variety of insurance companies, but it can be very expensive. That’s where the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and comes in.
The NFIP — which is managed by FEMA — was created to help cover uninsured repairs and reconstruction related to flooding. An NFIP policy can cover up to $250,000 for the structure of a house and up to $100,000 for personal belongings. In Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources/Office of Water Resources coordinates the NFIP. Hundreds of communities and most counties in the state participate in the program. If yours isn’t part of the NFIP — or you feel you need extra coverage — you’ll have to find a private insurer. A regular flood insurance policy can run $400 to $2,000 or more per year.
Counties with digital flood insurance rate maps include: Adams, Alexander, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lawrence, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Massac, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Wayne, White, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago and Woodford.
Illinois has had coal mines for more than 200 years. About 201,000 acres in the state may be close to mines. You can check maps for the most up-to-date information about coal mines in your area.
Mine subsidence refers to ground movement caused by the collapsing of underground mines. This can damage buildings and properties. Mine subsidence can also damage water, gas, sewer, telephone and electrical lines. In nearly three dozen counties, insurance companies are legally required to automatically include mine subsidence insurance in policies purchased by homeowners and commercial property owners. Homeowners who don’t want this coverage must waive their right to receive it in writing.
If mine subsidence insurance isn’t mandatory in your county, you can add this coverage to your policy by contacting your insurance provider. Annual premiums for mine subsidence — which vary depending on the amount of coverage you need — can cost $225 or more.
Insurers must provide mine subsidence insurance in the following counties: Bond, Bureau, Christian, Clinton, Douglas, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Grundy, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, LaSalle, Logan, McDonough, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Peoria, Perry, Putnam, Randolph, Rock Island, St. Clair, Saline, Sangamon, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington and Williamson.
Two seismic zones threaten residents in southern and southeastern Illinois: the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. The worst earthquake that ever hit Illinois struck the state in 1968. It measured 5.4 on the Richter scale. Standard homeowners policies don’t cover earthquake damage. If you live on a fault line and you want to protect your home, you’ll have to purchase an additional policy or an endorsement. The cost of earthquake insurance can vary depending on your home’s exposure to risk and where it’s located.
While they may be as low as $50 a year, annual premiums can cost as much as $5,000. On average, the cost of annual earthquake insurance premiums in most states falls between $100 and $350. Earthquake deductibles are often expressed as a percentage of the replacement value of a home. That means your deductible could be significantly higher than it would be if it was a flat dollar amount.
Examples of counties in Illinois that could be most susceptible to damage from earthquakes include: Alexander, Bond, Calhoun, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Lawrence, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saint Clair, Saline, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.
In Illinois, tornadoes are a common occurrence. Data shows that they’re more likely to occur in that state and in other places in the South and in the Great Plains region. There are several stretches of Illinois where tornadoes tend to occur, including the area in northwest Illinois stretching from the Quad Cities to parts of the state that are northwest of Chicago. If you live in one of the counties that has been hit with more than a dozen tornadoes since 1950, you may want to review your insurance policy.
Homeowners insurance generally includes windstorm coverage up to the limit you selected. Violent winds sometimes cause more destruction than policies typically cover. If you’re concerned about whether you have enough coverage to replace your home and personal belongings after a tornado, consider talking to your provider. Some carriers may allow you to purchase an endorsement.
Counties that have been hit by the most tornadoes since 1950 include: Adams, Bureau, Champaign, Christian, Coles, Cook, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Fulton, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jefferson, Kankakee, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Mason, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Piatt, Randolph, Sangamon, Shelby, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Will and Woodford.
Last resort insurance
If you have a high-risk home (meaning that you live in an area that’s more susceptible to crime or natural disasters), you may have trouble finding a provider willing to offer you insurance coverage. You could always turn to the Illinois Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan Association, a not-for-profit insurance association that provides basic and affordable homeowners insurance to Illinois residents who are otherwise unable to purchase coverage. To qualify for the FAIR Plan, you must have three unsuccessful attempts to buy insurance from other companies. Your home must also meet basic loss prevention and safety standards.
At one point, the Illinois FAIR Plan was one of the state’s largest insurance companies. Now, it only covers a small percentage of state residents. Because it’s less comprehensive than other insurance options, a FAIR Plan should always be a homeowner’s last resort. Most people can find a better deal with a traditional insurance provider.
No matter where you live, it’s important to protect your home and belongings against the unexpected. By purchasing a homeowners insurance policy, you could save thousands of dollars over time, especially if you end up facing a natural disaster.
Many Illinois residents don’t know that they live in an area that’s vulnerable to an earthquake or a tornado. That’s why it’s best to learn about the kinds of risks you may be exposed to before shopping around for insurance. If you have any questions, you can always contact the Illinois Department of Insurance.