What Natural Disasters Does Home Insurance Cover in Illinois?

Illinois experiences common disasters like snowstorms, floods, and tornadoes. Most of these will be covered by homeowners insurance, but flooding will not.
Written by Lynell Spencer
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
The most common natural disasters in
are flooding, severe rain and snowstorms, tornadoes, and power outages. Most of these events will be covered by standard homeowners insurance, but flooding will not. Illinois residents do not experience a wide variety of disasters, and when it happens severe weather is generally to blame. 
Recent research from the Insurance Information Institute (III) showed that many Americans have an incorrect understanding of what is covered by their
homeowners insurance
. Assuming that you are covered can lead to a devastating claim denial at a time when you need your insurance the most. 
It can be tough to know where to start, but
can tell you everything you need to know about natural disasters and home insurance in Illinois.
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What is homeowners insurance—and what does it cover?  

Homeowners insurance is a policy that pays to repair or replace your home when it is damaged by a covered event. Most policies include coverage for your personal property, loss-of-use, and liability insurance as well. 

Levels of homeowners insurance coverage

There are some basic types of homeowners policies that are standard throughout the United States. You will most likely be choosing from the following types of policy:
HO-1: This most basic type of homeowners policy only covers your primary dwelling—not personal property, loss of use, or liability. HO-1 is a named peril policy, and typically covers fewer named perils than other policies. 
HO-2: Like HO-1, HO-2 is a named perils policy, but generally covers all of the standard
16 named perils
. HO-2 also extends coverage to your primary dwelling and other personal property.
HO-3: An
HO-3 policy
is the most popular option for homeowners. This type of coverage is more comprehensive—it includes coverage for the main structure, additional structures like a fence or a shed, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments. 
With HO-3, your house itself is covered by an open perils policy. Personal property coverage, however, is only covered against named perils. 
HO-5: An HO-5 policy offers the most comprehensive coverage, with open perils applying to the primary dwelling, other structures on the property, and your personal property. Like HO-3, this policy also includes coverage for loss-of-use, liability, and medical payments if someone is injured on your property.
Here is a quick-look guide:
Policy type
Coverage includes
Type of perils
House/primary dwelling
Named perils only
House/primary dwelling, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments
Named perils only
House/primary dwelling, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments
house—open perils, personal property—named perils only
House/primary dwelling, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments
Open perils

What perils are covered by homeowners insurance?

The vast majority of homeowners select a policy that includes named perils for at least part of their coverage. It is important to know what standard named perils are included in your policy—read the fine print and make sure you are covered for the events that are most likely to occur in Illinois. Usually, the 16 perils you can expect to see are listed below.
HO-1, HO-2, and HO-3:
  • Fire and lightning 
  • Smoke
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Damage caused by vehicles 
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Vandalism 
  • Theft or malicious mischief
HO-2 and HO-3 only:
  • Falling objects 
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet 
  • Water overflow or discharge from plumbing 
  • Water heater cracking 
  • Damage from electrical current 
  • Frozen pipes 
Illinois homeowners take note—flooding is not included on the list of named perils, and you won’t find it in an open perils policy either. 
Because severe storms and flooding are the two most common disasters in Illinois, you will want to add flood insurance to cover your home and make sure that storm-related damage—like frozen pipes, hail, and weight of snow, ice, or sleet—are among your named perils.
Key Takeaway Your home insurance coverage depends on your policy type and the named perils in your policy. 

Does home insurance cover natural disasters in Illinois? 

Your standard home insurance policies cover damage caused by several natural disasters, but some of the most common—like hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes—are not usually covered. Let’s take a look at the most common disasters in Illinois and see what you can expect.


Flooding is one of the most common disasters in Illinois and the nation. Because of this, most insurance companies do not include it in standard coverage. 
Most homeowners purchase separate flood insurance through the
National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP). This is one type of insurance that is worth the extra purchase—floods can have a devastating impact on your property, and you’ll want to make sure you are protected.


Fire is generally covered in all types of home insurance policies. Illinois residents are less likely to experience wildfires than other states, but fire can come from many places—make sure that you are covered and that your limits are sufficient.


Tornadoes are considered to be windstorms, which are covered in most named peril policies. 

Severe Storms

Illinois is most vulnerable to damage from severe storms. The state tends to experience plenty of weather extremes. In most cases, storm damage is covered in your standard policy. Check to make sure that snow, ice, and hail damage are among your named perils along with wind and lightning. 

Power outages

Power outages are high on the list of Illinois disasters, and this is an area where your policy can be a bit unclear. If an outage originates on your property, you will likely be covered through the loss-of-use clause in your policy. This will typically cover alternative housing and the replacement of spoiled food. 
If the power outage is widespread, it may depend on what caused it. For instance, if a transformer is struck by lightning you may be covered based on that named peril, but if the outage is the result of flooding, your homeowners policy will not cover it.


Although Illinois residents are not likely to experience a disaster-level earthquake, the state does lie between two fault lines, and it experiences hundreds of minor quakes per year. Because earthquakes are not covered by standard policies, you may want to purchase separate insurance in case of an event. This is where it is helpful to work with an insurance agent who knows the area, and do a little research about your particular location before you decide.
Key Takeaway: Do some research about your state and county to make sure you are protected against the most likely disasters. 

How to file a home insurance claim

When you are faced with a situation that results in loss or damage to your property, it can be an emotional experience. After you know that you are safe, it is important to take certain steps to help ensure that your claim is processed smoothly. 
  • Call the police, if applicable. If your loss was caused by theft, vandalism, or other criminal activity, contact your local police department to file a report. Keep a copy of this report to submit with your insurance claim. 
  • Contact your insurance company. Even if it is the middle of the night, get your claim started as soon as possible. For minor claims, many carriers offer assistance online or through an app, but you will want to speak directly to your agent as soon as you can.
  • Make immediate repairs. Most policies allow this, and some require it: take steps necessary to prevent further harm or damage to you or your property. 
  • Document your claim. Be as thorough as possible in listing, photographing damage, and locating “before” photos of your damaged assets. This can feel time-consuming, but it is an important step in making sure your claim is processed successfully. 

How to save money on homeowners and car insurance

A 2016 study by the
Insurance Information Institute
found that only 17% of homeowners compare quotes online before renewing their policy. It is understandable—doing all that legwork can be a hassle—but NOT doing it means that you may be paying too much for your insurance policies. 
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