According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois has one of the largest inland systems of rivers, lakes, and streams in the U.S. – with nearly 15% of the total land area of 7,400 square miles subject to flooding. The total stream flow in IL averages over 25 BILLION gallons per day – that’s a lot of water!  

Needless to say, Illinois is flood prone. In fact, 90% of the natural disasters in the state are due to flooding and the Department noted that over 250,000 buildings are in Illinois flood zones. Chances are you might be living or working in one of those buildings. 

What happens if your property is damaged due to flooding?

The first reaction for most people would be to call your insurance agent and file a claim.  If you haven’t purchased Illinois Flood Insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP (from FEMA) or from a private carrier you are out of luck.  Because flood insurance is NOT part of your traditional property insurance – be it on your resident home, a rental property, or a commercial building – it needs to be purchased separately.  Pricing for flood insurance is dependent on the “flood zone” classification your particular property is given.  You can access the Illinois Flood Maps HERE, click on your county and follow the prompts.  Note, these change often so just because you may not have been in a flood zone when you purchased your property, that doesn’t mean you aren’t now.  

How does it all work?

NFIP insurance or private carrier flood coverage can be purchased through a licensed insurance broker like Power Risk Management.  For the NFIP coverage – your community MUST be a part of the program for you to qualify – good news, as of this writing the State of Illinois is a community partner.   

It’s important to know the limits of your insurance, and what it covers in the event of a loss. The NFIP coverage goes into effect 30 days AFTER you purchase it. Private carriers may be different but most do have a waiting period to prevent people buying coverage in the midst of a flood event. 

As always, this information is subject to change so it’s always wise to confer with a licensed agent here at Power Risk Management to know exactly what coverage you need.  To see how the NFIP program works – we suggest visiting www.Floodsmart.gov .  

What’s wise to note is not what is covered under a flood policy but what is NOT:

The biggest thing to remember and what adjusters will look at first is the CAUSE of the FLOODING.

Your flood insurance covers losses DIRECTLY caused by flooding or an excess of water on land that is NORMALLY dry AND affecting TWO or MORE acres of land or TWO or MORE properties. 

You are also limited on NFIP how MUCH coverage you can purchase which is why many individuals have additional policies to increase their protection.   According to Floodsmart.gov as of this writing, the following limits are in place:

For residential properties, you can secure coverage up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the building contents.

For commercial properties, you can secure coverage up to $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the building contents.

Note:  contents and property coverage are purchased SEPARATELY and will have separate deductibles.   If these limits are NOT enough, as stated above you can purchase private flood insurance AND NFIP coverage at the same time. Often the private coverage will fill the gaps the NFIP policy has. 

Flood insurance is complicated and unless you feel comfortable self-insuring your property in the event of a flood, it’s important you talk to one of our agents at Power Risk Management and secure a policy today.  Don’t wait – remember there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage kicks in! 

At Power Risk Management we offer free consultations to review your current coverages.  Give us a call at one of our convenient locations:

Chicago Office: 5343 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60646 | 773-273-8777
Joliet Office: 310 N Hammes Avenue, Suite 302D, Joliet, Illinois 60435 | 815-605-4722
Bourbonnais Office: 1410 Argyle Ln N, Bourbonnais, IL 60914 | 815-348-7452
Denver Office: 1400 16th Street, Suite 400, Denver, Colorado 80202 | 720-779-1190