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Why move to Chicago, Illinois?

Are you planning a move to Chicago? You’ll be in good company. Thousands of newcomers move to The Windy City each year. Not only is Chicago America’s third largest city in terms of population (over 2.7 million people in 2013), it is expected to grow by 28% by 2040. What’s the attraction to a place where winters can be bitterly cold, summers are sweltering and humid? Just ask the people who live here and LOVE it. They’ll tell you Chicago is a culturally rich city with a lively arts, entertainment and restaurant scene. They’ll point with pride to the city’s history -- including its famous and infamous citizens. It’s home to many of the world’s most respected universities, medical facilities and Fortune 500 companies. And when it comes to sports, you’ll be hard pressed to find more loyal fans or more fabled playing fields. Chicago is a hub of commerce, culture, transportation and learning, with a down-to-earth Midwestern friendliness. Our City Guide is a quick overview of essential things to know about living and doing business in the City with the Big Shoulders.

Chicago Weather Report
Chicago did experience one of the worst winters in its history this year, so bad that many natives took to calling the city Chiberia. However, with just 67.9 total inches of snow in 2013-14, it fell well short of 1978-79’s 89.7 inches. Average temperatures with an average of 18 degrees and 22 days below zero, made 2014 one of the coldest winters. As a rule, Chicago temperature means from December to March range between 23.8 and 37.9.

In general, the climate of Chicago has four distinct seasons, all of which are subject to a large number of storms. Lake Michigan has a huge influence on the city’s weather, providing cooling breezes in summer for those lucky enough to live near its shore. In winter, it boosts the amount of snow the city receives. There is an urban heat island that can make the city center sizzling hot in summer.

In general, the climate of Chicago has four distinct seasons, all of which are subject to a large number of storms. Lake Michigan has a huge influence on the city’s weather, providing cooling breezes in summer for those lucky enough to live near its shore. In winter, it boosts the amount of snow the city receives. There is an urban heat island that can make the city center sizzling hot in summer.

Driving and Chicago Car Insurance
If you plan to own and drive a car in Chicago, you need to be aware of both state and city laws. Illinois state law requires you to carry a minimum of $20,000/$40,000 bodily injury coverage and $15,000 property damage liability. It also requires that you reject uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in writing. Failure to carry minimum coverage can result in a $500 fine and confiscation of your license plates. Illinois is a tort state, so you can be sued for damages. You can get competitive quotes for Illinois auto insurance here.

You must obtain new Illinois registration and plates from the Illinois Secretary of State within 30 days of moving to Chicago from out of state. You have 90 days to get a new Illinois driver’s license. If you move to Chicago from another city within Illinois, you must also change your registration address and a new driver’s license. Chicago also requires that you purchase and display a city vehicle sticker within 30 day of becoming a resident or face a $120 ticket. City stickers, which currently cost $75, are available from the Office of the City Clerk. There is a $40 late fee.

In addition, some Chicago neighborhoods are zoned for residential parking and limit parking to residents and their guests during specified hours. Resident and temporary guest permits can be purchased at the City Clerk’s office. Failure to display a parking permit is $60 ticket.

Chicago also has a variety of winter parking restrictions and bans. TheExpiredMeter.com is a good resource for keeping current and avoiding fines. Get Auto Insurance

Staying Healthy in Chicago
No matter where you live, federal law requires that you have a qualified health insurance plan that covers the essential benefits defined by ObamaCare. The state of Illinois also has additional mandated benefits. You can get competitive quotes for Chicago health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses here.

Should you need a doctor or medical, Chicago has an excellent selection of world-class medical facilities. These include: The University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Loyola Medical Center and Rush University Medical Care. Get Health Insurance

Chicago Housing and Homeowners Insurance
Metro Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, each with a unique flavor and character. From the glamorous high-rise condos on the Lake Michigan shoreline to tree-shaded townhomes north of the loop to the legendary South Side with a funky mix of blue collar and blue blood residents. There are, in fact, about 200 neighborhoods within Chicago’s boundaries, from Albany Park to Wrigleyville. Prices are equally diverse. A home in Lincoln Park with its marinas, beachfront parks and golf courses will set you back a million or more (much more), while a place in South Deering can be had for $36,000. The median prices for a home in Chicago in the first quarter of 2014 was $193,500, according to recent data from Trulia.com. Rental price ranges are equally extreme, going from $300 to $2,400 and up. A basic rule of thumb is the further you get from the Loop (the city’s three-mile-square center) and Lake Michigan, the more neighborhoods of detached single-family homes you’ll find.

Chicago does have a high crime rate; both violent and property crime rates index significantly higher (sometimes double or more) than those in neighboring Illinois cities. However, things may be turning around. The Chicago Police Department recently announced that the city had experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. If you want to learn about crime rates and types for a Chicago neighborhood you’re considering, EveryBlock.com has an easily searchable database, based on information provided by the Chicago PD.

You should also put renters or homeowners’ insurance at the top of your things-to-do list. You can shop for free competitive quotes for homeowners and renters policies here. Renters policies cover the loss of personal property, while homeowners policies cover structural and personal property losses. There are typically two types of homeowners insurance policies available: all-risk (also called comprehensive or open-perils coverage) and named perils. You’ll also have the option of choosing between replacement cost and actual value, along with the amount of your deductible. Your agent can explain the differences, but knowing a bit about Chicago weather may help you make your decision. Get Home Insurance

Why You Need Life Insurance in Chicago
In terms of health places to live, Illinois ranks twenty-third of the fifty states and Washington, D.C. for life expectancy. Anyone born in Illinois today has an average life expectancy of 79 years according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. If you’re a 65-year-old Illinois resident, the Centers for Disease Control gives you another 19.1 years on average. But before you start feeling too secure, the WorldLifeExpectancy.com wants you to know that accidents are the fifth leading cause of death for all Illinois residents. Given the ever-present possibility of an accidental death, you might want to put life insurance on your list of things to consider when you move to Chicago. There are four good reasons why:

  • To pay for funeral and other final expenses.
  • To replace your income if you’re leaving behind a spouse.
  • To help cover your children’s needs.
  • To help your survivors pay off debts and estate taxes.

If you purchase whole life, your insurance can also be a means of setting aside money for retirement, college and other needs. You can learn more about the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance, and shop for competitive life insurance quotes here.

Get Life Insurance

Business and Chicago Business Insurance
Chicago is one of the world’s great centers of business thanks to a combination of market access, economic diversity and central location. More than 260,000 businesses are located within Chicago’s city limits. World Business Chicago notes that the city is, “a leader in key industries including: Business & Financial Services, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Health Services, and Transportation and Distribution.”

It’s also a great place for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Moody’s Analytics recently estimated that, “The region's economic output should expand at 2.9 percent in the year ahead, slightly faster than the 2.6 percent pace set last year…with a healthier gain of nearly 3.8 percent on the horizon in 2015.” But, if you plan to open a small business in Chicago, you will be faced with several challenges ranging from a growing number of state and municipal regulations, higher taxes and property crime. Once you have your business plan in place, protect your investment and your future. Get quotes for a variety of Chicago small business insurance coverage here. Get Business Insurance

Sources:

“Chicago Population 2013,” http://www.worldpopulationstatistics.com/chicago-population-2013/
“Market Trends for Chicago,” http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Chicago-Illinois/
“CPD: 2014 sees lowest 1st-quarter murder total in 56 years,” http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9487263
John Dodge, “Chiberia 2014: Making the Case for the Worst Winter Ever,” http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/02/28/chiberia-2014-making-the-case-for-worst-winter-ever/
Dr. Jim Angel , “Climate of Chicago: Description and Normals,” http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/atmos/statecli/General/chicago-climate-narrative.htm
“Vehicle Information for New City Residents,” http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/fin/supp_info/revenue/new_resident_parkinginformation.html
“A Beginners Guide to Driving in Chicago,” http://theexpiredmeter.com/2008/09/parking-ticket-101-welcome-to-chicago-a-beginners-guide-to-driving-in-chicago/
“Think Business, Think Chicago,” https://www.worldbusinesschicago.com/files/downloads/WBC-Brochure-Web.pdf
Paul Merrion, “Which Way is Chicago’s Economy Going?” http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140104/ISSUE02/301049995/which-way-is-chicagos-economy-going#