February 10, 2011
This week, most Montanans are digging themselves out of record breaking amounts of snowfall. Big Sky is already at 127% of average snow pack. Heavy snow around the state has brought much-needed moisture, so much that the first mildly warm day could likely cause flooding. Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen encourages Montanans to review your homeowner insurance policies to determine if you have flood insurance and offered advice on filing claims.
"Homeowners policies generally do not cover flood damage," said Lindeen. "Your first step should be to review your policy and determine whether you have coverage."
Flood coverage typically is offered only through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is available to residents who live in communities who participate in the program. The federal government backs the program, but private-sector insurance companies and agents licensed in Montana can sell the insurance.
If you previously bought this coverage through your agent, you can contact the agent about handling the claim. If you bought the coverage directly from the program, you should call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-638-6620.
The National Flood Insurance Program generally covers damage to the insured structure and the contents within. Federal flood insurance protects homes, condominiums, apartments and nonresidential buildings including commercial structures. The policies become effective 30 days after a person applies and pays the premium, precluding property owners from waiting until the last minute to buy flood insurance.
"Before deciding to file a claim, which may affect policyholders' rates, please call my office at 1-800-332-6148 with any questions," Lindeen suggests. "Also, if you had sustained hail or wind damage to your property and have questions related to your insurance policy, you can call my office."