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You may need to purchase flood insurance if you live in one of Illinois’ high-risk flood zones (as designated by FEMA) in order to comply with your mortgage lender’s requirements.
While the flooding risk for Illinois is considered to be fairly low, there are approximately 492,000 properties in the state with over a 26% chance of flooding in the next 30 years. A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t provide coverage for flood damage, so you’ll have to purchase a separate policy to protect your home from flooding.
Like all insurance-related things, flood insurance can be a bit confusing, especially for new homeowners who’ve never had to worry about flooding before. That’s why licensed home and auto insurance super app Jerry has put together this article on everything you need to know about flood insurance in Illinois.
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What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is a separate insurance policy that protects your home and belongings from external flood damage resulting from excessive rainfall, storm surges, dam or reservoir breaches, etc.
Homeowners insurance policies will not cover external flooding, as it is one of the hazards that causes the most damage—hence the need to purchase an individual flood insurance policy.
What does flood insurance cover?
When it comes to flood insurance coverage, there are two types built into a policy: building coverage and contents coverage. The former protects the physical structure of your home while the latter provides protection for your personal property.
Combined, these coverages provide financial protection for electrical and heating systems, furniture, carpets, appliances, electronics, and more. That being said, flood insurance will not cover every single object in your home, or even every type of flood.
Flooding caused by sewer or water main backups is not covered by flood insurance, and most policies won’t protect your vehicle, money, or any personal belongings located in a basement.
For a more comprehensive list of what’s covered by different insurance types, check out the chart below:
|Type of coverage||What it covers||What it doesn’t cover|
|Building||Electrical and plumbing systems Water heaters and furnaces Large appliances like dishwashers or refrigerators Permanently-installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling Permanently-installed carpets Window blinds Foundational walls, staircases, and anchorages Detached garages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well water tanks/pumps||Decks and patios Swimming pools Fences and landscaping|
|Contents||Clothing Furniture Electronic equipment Curtains Washing machine and dryer Portable air conditioners, including window units Carpets not included in building coverage Valuables such as artwork up to $2,500||Valuable papers Currency Anything stored in a basement|
Do you need flood insurance in Illinois?
It depends. While the Illinois state government doesn’t require any homeowners to purchase flood insurance, your mortgage lender may require you to do so in the interest of protecting their investment in your home.
If you live in an area that is high risk for flooding, you will be required to purchase flood insurance if you have a federally-backed mortgage loan.
Flood insurance is not covered under any homeowners policy, so if you’re wanting to protect your home against flooding, you’ll have to do it separately through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private flood insurance program like Neptune.
That said, you do not need to live in an area with a high (or even moderate) risk of flooding to purchase NFIP-backed flood insurance—all you need to do to be eligible is live in one of Illinois’ participating communities (check out this list provided by FEMA).
Which flood zones require flood insurance in Illinois?
Per federal guidelines, any zone with a 26% or greater chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage is considered high-risk, meaning homeowners will be required to purchase flood insurance. These zones will be any whose FEMA-designated letter grade starts with either A or V.
Homes located in flood zones graded as B, C, D, or X have a lesser chance of flooding and homeowners are subsequently not federally required to purchase flood insurance.
If you’re unsure of which zone grade your home is located in, refer to FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to determine the level of risk.
Key Takeaway If your home is located in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone and you have a government-backed mortgage, you will be required to purchase flood insurance as part of the lending agreement.
How much does flood insurance cost in Illinois?
At the national level, flood insurance averages out to about $750 a year, but homeowners living in Illinois can expect to pay approximately $1,106 per year, or roughly $92 a month.
The exact pricing of your flood insurance will depend on a number of factors, namely your location, the age of the property, and the size and type of building(s) you’re covering. In most cases, but especially for residential customers, $250,000 is the building coverage limit and $100,000 is the contents coverage limit. Depending on your insurance provider, there may also be a deductible limit.
How to save money on flood and home insurance
There are several ways homeowners living in Illinois can reduce the cost of their flood insurance, including:
- Opting for contents-only coverage
- Choosing a higher deductible
- Following the flood risk mitigation practices recommended by FEMA
- Submitting an elevation certificate to their insurance company
If you’ve just moved and are considering buying flood insurance, chances are you’ll be needing homeowners insurance as well. Make sure you aren’t overpaying for a lackluster policy with Jerry, the licensed home and auto insurance super app that allows you to easily compare dozens of competitive quotes.
Once you find the policy that’s right for you, consider bundling it with your car insurance for an even better deal. Jerry can help you through the process, without forcing you through hours of paperwork or long forms.
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