Contact: (217) 355 9075 - Address: 702 Bloomington Road. Suite 205. Champaign, IL 61822 - Email:

Whether you are buying a home for the first time or just looking around after your current company raised your rates (again!), shopping for home insurance can be a daunting task. I am going to share with you what to have ready when you call your local Champaign- Urbana or Illinois insurance agency so you can provide all the necessary information in just one phone call or email and try and take some of the hassle out of the process for you. 

There are many factors and variables that go into your insurance rates, but we still get people who call in wanting to know how much would it be for a $175,000 home  located in Mahomet (or any other local town). We need to know much more about you, the house and your community in order to get solid numbers on your home insurance estimates.

TIP-If you are currently insured please grab the declarations page of your most recent policy. It won't have everything you need but it will be helpful

Part 1- The Residents living in the home

  • We will need to name and date of birth of each resident of the home. 
  • We will need the social security numbers before we complete the policy, but they are not needed to get a preliminary estimate.
  • Your occupation (some companies will give discounts for certain professions)
  • Any prior property insurance information (homeowners or renters if applicable). If you have been previously insured and have had no claims you could qualify for a claim free discount.
  • Any prior losses or claims made on property insurance
  • The Physical Address of the home to be insured
  • Do you have any pets? If you have a dog what breed(s) There is a list of some dogs that insurance companies will not accept.

TIP -Be honest and don't try and hide the dog from the insurance company. If they find out there is a dog on their no-write list in the home it could void the entire policy due to misrepresentation and leave you in a dangerous situation with no coverage or an uncovered claim. Also disclose if your dog has a bite history.

Part 2 - The Home

Each company will want to estimate the replacement cost of your home using their Replacement Cost Estimator (RCE), so you will need to know many specifics on your home. This is easier for new home buyers because they can just access the listing provided from their realtor.  You need to be ready to provide the following.

  • Total Square Feet of the home (exclude the basement if applicable)
  • Number of stories
  • Type of foundation (Crawlspace, Slab, Unfinished Basement or Finished Basement)
  • Central Air Conditioning (yes or no)
  • Type of heat used (gas, electric, etc)
  • # of fireplaces in home
  • Approximate size of any deck or patio 
  • # of full and half bathrooms
  • Type of Garage (attached, built in or detached) with number of cars it will hold
  • Construction of the home (Frame, Brick or Combo of the two)
  • What year was the house built
  • Any detached buildings?
  • Size of the property (if in a rural setting)
  • How many miles from the responding Fire Department?

Part 3 - Home Updates & Renovations

Insurance companies want to know that the house has been properly maintained and that major components have been recently updated. Be prepared to know the following updates if you home is over 15 years old. 

  • How old is the Roof? (must be less than 20 years old for most options)
  • When was the last time the Plumbing was updated?
  • When was the last time the Electrical was updated?
  • How old is the Furnace/Heating System?

Part 4 - The Coverage's You Prefer

One of the nice things about an Illinois Home Insurance policy is that most of the coverage's are percentages of the total dwelling coverage on the home. For Example if you have a home with a replacement cost of $200,000 you would have following coverage decided for you.

  • Dwelling $200,000
  • Detached Structures $20,000 (10% is automatically included in the policy)
  • Personal Property  $140,000 (this will be between 50-75% of your dwelling coverage depending upon the company)

You will need to decide on the following coverage amounts

  • Personal Liability (sometimes called Family Liability)
  • Guest Medical Payments
  • Preferred Deductible (most companies have a minimum deductible of $1000 now)

TIP- Make sure your home has Replacement Cost for your Personal Property.

Part 5 Optional Coverage's

Every homeowners policy has internal limits on some items. (check with your agent if you have special needs in any of these areas)  If your specific situation requires additional coverage let you agent know. Here is a partial list of what might have limited coverage on your policy.

  • Jewelry (most commonly capped at $1000 included)
  • Guns
  • Collectibles
  • Business Property
  • Coins/Money

Other optional coverage's you may want to consider.

  • Water/Sewer Back Up (recommended , especially if you have a basement)
  • Identity Theft
  • Earthquake (not covered on basic home policy)
  • Flood (not covered on any home policy)

I know it looks like a long list but it will save you time and hassle if you have all of this information ready when you call your local insurance agent to shop for home insurance.

Tip- In order to get the best deal, shop your car insurance at the same time. All companies we represent will give you a multi-policy discount if you insure both your cars and home together. You can find out what you need to get a car insurance quote here.







Are Safe Drivers Bonus Checks and Accident  Forgiveness a Myth or Reality?


Well they do exist (at a price), so they are not a myth. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably seen the Allstate commercials featuring Dennis Haysbert a few dozen times telling you that if you are insured with Allstate and you don't have any accidents that Allstate will send you a safe drivers bonus check and talking about accident forgiveness. When I was an Allstate agent not a week would go by without somebody calling or stopping by my office wondering why they never got a check from Allstate. Since you were probably sitting too far away from your TV to read the fine print, check out the screen-shot from the add. Maybe the fine print will be easier to read.

allstate safe drivers check

Now here are a few items that Allstate leaves out in their TV ads.

  • Not available to all customers. If you have been a loyal Allstate Insurance customer (over 10 years) you can't get this reward. it's only available on Allstate's new policies with Your Choice Auto (YCA, the name of the new plan which started in 2004). If you have an old policy this just isn't available.


  • You have to pay 15% more to get 5% back! Yes that's right your rate will be 15% higher than the standard rate and if you are claim free for 6 months you will get 5% of your paid premium back in a Safe Drivers Bonus Check. You will also get accident forgiveness for that same 15% increase in your rate. (so basically Allstate is selling you insurance...on your insurance)



  • Accident Forgiveness does not mean that your rate will not change because of an accident. Sure, the accident surcharge is waived, so you won't get an increase because of a surcharge, but you will lose some of the safe driving club discount which, nevertheless, looks like an increase in premium. Accident forgiveness sounds like you won't get charged more if you get in an accident. Sort of like pre-paying for the increase so you won't get an increase at accident time

Some other Car Insurance companies do offer similar packages, but you must pay extra to add these features.  


While looking at your homeowner’s insurance policy, you notice a particular coverage called “Other Structures.”   Several questions pop into your head. What is it?  What’s covered under this feature?  Am I paying extra for this?  Don't worry you are not alone. This is a very common question for a homeowner.

"Other Structures" is defined by the insurance industry as structures which are on the property that do not share a foundation with the home. 

It is safe to say that almost everyone needs Other Structures coverage. It’s also important to make sure you have enough coverage and to know what is covered and what is not covered.

"Other Structures" can include: 

  • Detached garages
  • Storage sheds
  • Barns
  • Guest houses
  • Pool houses
  • Gazebos
  • Fences
  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Patios
  • Swimming pools
  • Retaining walls

Most Illinois homeowners insurance companies provide this coverage, which is 10 percent of your dwelling coverage, at no charge. This automatic percentage is both a good and bad thing. The good part is that the policy recognizes that almost everyone needs at least some coverage for other structures, and therefore provides it to you automatically at no cost. The bad part is, because it is automatically provided, many people do not think about whether or not the coverage being provided is enough.

For example, if your home is insured for $100,000 and your policy is providing 10 percent of this coverage for other structures that gives you $10,000 automatically. This may sound like a lot of coverage to replace a garden shed; but it may not be enough to replace a swimming pool, a gazebo, or an extensive retaining wall structure. 

To be covered under the standard homeowner’s policy the structures must be used for personal use, not business. However, depending on who owns the business and what the business is, you may be able to endorse the coverage onto the homeowner policy. Otherwise, structures used for business need to be covered under a business insurance policy. Your insurance agent should be able to help you understand which structures are, or are not, covered. It’s not uncommon for there to be confusion in certain situations:

  • Storage sheds which are used to store the home's garden equipment would be covered. However, a storage shed used to store garden equipment for a landscaping business would not be covered under the homeowner's basic homeowner’s insurance policy.  
  • Barns to store supplies for animals would be covered; however, they would not be covered if the animals were kept for profit.  For example, horse trainers would need a business policy to cover them properly.

Additional coverage for Other Structures can be added for an additional charge. The cost to increase the coverage is usually $4 per $1,000 of coverage. It is good to note that while detached buildings can be covered at replacement cost (which will pay for the repair or replacement of the building without a deduction for depreciation), other structures which are not buildings are covered at Actual Cash Value (which depreciates the amount the carrier will pay out based upon the age and condition of the structure prior to the loss). These items would include fencing, driveways, and other man-made structures that are not buildings.  Also, detached buildings have to be insured to 80% of the replacement cost as of the date of loss to avoid a coinsurance penalty.

So the next time you are puttering around your yard, take stock of what you have on the land and contact your insurance agent to discuss these structures and whether or not you should increase your Other Structures coverage to be properly protected.

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About Us

Rueck Insurance is your independent, one-stop insurance center for all your personal and business insurance needs in Illinois. Insurance shopping is easy when the Protection Team provides you with multiple quotes to choose from. You will always know you are getting the best coverage at the lowest possible price.

Contact Info

Rueck Insurance is your independent, one-stop insurance center for all your personal and business insurance needs in Illinois.

702 Bloomington Rd#205
    Champaign, Illnois
(217) 355-9075

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