While experts initially thought 2018 would be a year of low sales due to rising interest rates, the housing market is more competitive than ever, thanks to limited inventory. Homebuyers are being forced to make quick decisions if they want to secure a new home before another buyer comes along with a better offer.
Individuals looking to buy a home in Illinois are sure to have plenty to see from the Shawnee National Forest to beautiful lake shorelines, to plenty of museums showcasing art and artifacts. Before buying a home in Illinois, buyers should consider more than just the neighborhood, taxes and layout, as there is also unpredictable weather.
Unpredictable Weather in Illinois
Illinois is likely to see a wide variety of weather issues due to its temperate climate. On average, the state experiences 29 tornadoes, snowfall typically ranging from 24 to 37 inches, and 60 to 80 thunderstorms each year. Flooding as a result of these storms causes the most damage in Illinois and continues to increase at a greater rate than the rest of the U.S.
Most recently, Illinois faced both flooding and tornadoes in different areas throughout the state. One tornado, with peak winds of 95 mph, left a path of destruction behind. One resident reported their shed was lifted and dropped 100 feet away, and others reported broken windows and roof damage. In addition to damage, there was severe flooding in some regions of the state that closed roads and had some communities preparing sandbags in case it got worse.
How to Protect Your Illinois Home from Extreme Weather
Illinois weather is unpredictable year-round, and residents need to know how to manage different weather scenarios and protect their homes from damage.
The best way to protect yourself financially and make sure you can rebuild after damage from weather-related events is to have the right insurance in place. There are two primary types of insurance that Illinois homeowners need.
Mortgage lenders typically require a homeowners insurance policy before a sale is finalized. Some refer to this policy as fire insurance, but it protects against more than just fire damage to your home. Theft, vandalism and tornado damage are other events typically covered by home insurance.
Homeowners insurance financially protects you after a covered peril causes damage to your property, including the house structure, other buildings on the property and personal possessions kept indoors.
If a weather event causes damage to your home, then you can file a claim with your insurance carrier. It will pay to rebuild or repair the damage after you pay the deductible on the policy.
One event not covered by homeowners insurance is flooding. To cover damage caused by a flood, homeowners need to purchase a flood insurance policy. It is recommended that new homeowners apply for this policy immediately because there is a 30-day waiting period. Some mortgage companies also require flood insurance depending on how close you live to the coast or whether the home you buy is located in a declared flood zone.
Illinois residents should also note that flood damage to your vehicle wouldn't be covered by your flood insurance; it would be covered by your auto insurance policy's comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage isn't required in Illinois, although it may be required by your lender if you have an auto loan, so you should confirm whether your vehicle would be protected in case of flooding.
Preparing for Illinois Weather as a Homeowner
Tornadoes and flooding are just two types of weather you will experience when living in Illinois. The best defense against damage is to prepare your home and property ahead of time.
Prime tornado season runs from March through May in Illinois, and these storms typically occur after 3 p.m. Prepare for a tornado in advance with the following tips.
- Create a plan of what you will do during a tornado.
- Identify a safe area in the home to take shelter during the storm, such as a basement or bathroom.
- Be aware of work, school and day care emergency plans.
- Create an emergency kit with bottled water, canned food, flashlights, batteries and first aid supplies.
- Secure outdoor furniture if time allows.
Protecting your home from flood damage is an ongoing task for homeowners in Illinois. Here are some steps you can take each month to prevent flood damage.
- Keep your gutters free of debris.
- Caulk holes or cracks in the gutters' downspouts.
- Test your sump pump monthly.
- Keep sandbags on hand to help stave off flood waters.
If you are thinking about buying a home in Illinois, take steps to protect not only your new property but also your financial well-being.