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Illinois has been hit by a handful of natural disasters in the last decade. However, the prices of real estate did not plummet a lot because appropriate natural disaster preparations were taken beforehand and a lot of damage from floods, storms and earthquakes have been mitigated. Illinois has been ranked 5th among those states which are most ready to face natural disasters. However, that does not mean homeowners should be sitting idly by.
It is crucial to get home insurance, even though the rates have been increasing due to the recent events. Since the state has areas which are not affected too much by these natural disasters, the homeowners insurance rates vary across the counties by as much as 50 percent.
Generally speaking, if you live in high-risk areas it is in your best interest to acquire homeowners insurance. Being located in the midwestern region of the United States, Illinois is among the states which experience intense weather conditions.
Those who live in Illinois are intimately familiar with the ever-present threat of dramatic climate conditions such as annual tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding. Tornadoes in particular are the greatest weather-related hazard that homeowners need to worry about. On an annual basis, Illinois experiences 64 tornadoes on average. While April-June is typically the most active period for this activity, there have been tornadoes throughout the year as well.
Thunderstorms and flooding are a linked hazard. 50-60 percent of annual rainfall in Illinois comes from thunderstorms. Homeowners often find themselves confronting flooding due to the intense rainfall. Homeowners insurance may surely be a necessity in Illinois.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the largest market share holders in Illinois are national-level giants such as State Farm, Allstate, Country, Farmers, American Family, and Liberty Mutual, to name a few. The average annual premium a homeowner pays for home insurance in Illinois is $1,042 ($87/month) in 2016 (latest available data) according to III. The average annual premium paid by homeowners across the country is $1,192 ($99/month). This means Illinois homeowners pay slightly less than the average homeowner in America.
|National annual average||$1,192||$1,173||$1,132|
Illinois is subject to a very diverse range of weather conditions. This means that when you pursue homeowners insurance, you need to assess policies very closely in order to determine the extent of your coverage. Particularly for those who need to worry about flooding hazards, you need to keep in mind that typical homeowners insurance does not include coverage for flooding. To learn more about flood insurance, read our article Flood Insurance 101.
It is vital to research and list different options before choosing a home insurer. To get a good deal, you need to sort the list by some parameters such as financial strength, customer support, claims payout history, coverage diversity and affordability. We have chosen companies in Illinois that fulfill these parameters although a company that we did not review may provide you with better rates and better coverage. We did not review all of the home insurers in IL therefore further research is needed based on your own individual situation to find the best deal/insurer in your area.
State Farm is the largest insurance provider in not only Illinois but in most other states as well. It offers a wide range of coverage options and add-ons to choose from. It provides coverage for many types of homes such as condos, apartments and mobile homes, and a separate category is available for ranches and farms.
The prices are not as good as Liberty Mutual and Allstate, but the discount options make up for it. You can get discounts by bundling your auto and home insurance, by having a history of not filing a claim and by installing fire alarms and upgrading to home security systems.
It has received good ratings from numerous trusted review organizations. AM Best gave it A++ (Superior), which is their highest possible rating. This pays homage to the fact that State Farm has a powerful financial footing. S&P Global gave it an AA (Very Strong) rating for its claims paying ability, which gives some assurance that your reasonable claims will be paid.
The website provides a great tool called 360Value, which asks you detailed questions about the construction of your house and estimates its replacement value. The HomeIndex is another tool which lists the various coverage options you have currently opted for and you can see your premium total. You can also file a claim directly from the tool without using a hotline. You can also make purchases from the website directly without needing to call or chat with an agent.
Allstate is the second largest provider of homeowners insurance in the state with a market share of 12 percent. You can very easily increase your savings when you acquire a policy through Allstate. This is because it provides a wide number of discounts. Some of the available discounts are for new homeowners, auto-pay users, and those who have an impact-resistant roof installed. It also gives discounts for up to 30 percent, if you bundle your auto insurance and home insurance.
Additionally, Allstate provides customers with endorsements. Among its endorsements is Claim-Free Rewards, which grants you a bonus check if you have not filed a single claim during the whole year. There is also a Claim Rate Guard available which prevents your premiums from increasing when you file your first claim.
Allstate fairs relatively well among reputable agencies. AM Best gave Allstate an A+ (Superior) rating, which is objectively high. With a score of 3 (About average) out of 5 from JD Power, Allstate has a satisfactory history in regards to their claims handling process. The problem quoted with claims is that Allstate is reluctant to process some claims which are reasonable. Furthermore, on the claims it has processed, people were not satisfied with the amount they were provided.
Consumer Reports gave it a rating of 80/100 for customer experience. Its website contains a great resource system for visitors and an online tool that allows you to get quotes without contacting a company rep or agent. The tool also tracks claims history and lets you know details about your past claims.
There are many coverage options provided by Allstate, such as water damage, identity theft and green improvements.
COUNTRY Financial has the third largest share in the homeowners insurance market in Illinois at 8.5 percent. The company has been active since 1925 and provides a host of different insurance policies. It also has a history of staying financially strong, so it has the resources to manage claims effectively. On AM Best, its current rating is an A+ (Superior), while the overall consumer satisfaction is rated 3 (About average) out of 5 Power Circles Rating by JD Power.
It provides customers with coverage on the basis of three tiers. These tiers are Basic, Premium, and Combined. Basic offers standard coverage for hazards such as theft or fires, while Premium is more comprehensive and offers protection for major and minor hazards. Combined mixes attributes of both and provides Basic coverage for your dwelling and Premium coverage for your belongings.
You will note that discounts are fairly limited at COUNTRY Financial. However, it has developed a reputation for being among the most affordable insurance providers in the state.
Farmers is known for its extensive range of endorsements and coverage options. Like Allstate, it provides coverage for specific groups such as military personnel.
Its pricing is more expensive than other insurers, especially its standard home insurance. However, with its Smart Homeowners Policy, it provides standard home insurance along with additional coverage options such as cosmetic damage recovery for covering costs of repairing functional damage to your house and claim forgiveness which drops the surcharge for homeowners who have not filed a claim in six or more years. Even beyond that, you can have add-ons such as identity theft coverage, coverage for green upgrades and content replacement.
According to AM Best, the financial stability of Farmers is “Excellent,” and the overall customer satisfaction was rated “About average” by JD Power.
Its website lacks any kind of quote tool like State Farm and only contains FAQs for guiding visitors. If you search for a quote on the website, you get directed to an agent. Its claim hotline is available 24/7, but there is no way to file a claim from the website.
|Rank||Insurer||Market share %||AM Best||S&P||JD Power|
Based on the extreme weather conditions seen in the recent past in Illinois, you should get a quote as soon as possible if you are a homeowner in the state and don’t have homeowners insurance yet. The companies we listed meets all the essential requirements and are well-suited for the general homeowner. If you enjoy discounts, go for Allstate. Otherwise, State Farm and Farmers both offer all-around good coverage options, claim amounts and customer support.
You are not legally obligated to get homeowners insurance in Illinois, but due to certain threats (such as climate hazards), it is in your best interest to pursue a policy. If you are struggling to find an insurance provider, Illinois has implemented the FAIR Plan, which allows you to secure the insurance you need, even if providers consider you a “high-risk” customer.
With economy as it is, we’re all looking for ways to save money. Here are some ways you can save on your Illinois homeowners insurance.
Increase your deductible
The deductible is the amount you have to pay for each occurrence before the insurance company will pay anything. Before increasing your deductible though, make sure that you can afford the amount you’ll have to pay before your insurer steps in.
Base insurance on cost to rebuild
Regardless of what your home is worth, you want to know you will have enough to rebuild the home if it’s destroyed.
Bundle insurance policies
Insurance companies give discounts if you have more than one policy with them. Consider insuring your home and car with the same company.
Maintain a good credit score
Some insurance companies give discounts for maintaining a good credit score.
Take safety precautions in your home
Installing things like smoke detectors, alarms, carbon monoxide detectors or deadbolts can often mean discounts on your premiums.
Avoid high-cost additions
Things like trampolines, swimming pools or certain dog breeds increase your premiums.
Check for discounts periodically
You may be eligible for discounts such as loyalty, so don’t be afraid to check with your agent from time to time. The discounts may be there but not necessarily that you will be informed once you qualify.
If you’re soon to be a homeowner and are concerned about the cost of your homeowners insurance, there are factors that may affect the premiums, such as age of home, condition of home and geographical location.
For more assistance, please contact your local state department of insurance:
Illinois Department of Insurance