March 2, 2012
HELENA, Mont. – After record flooding caused millions of dollars in damage last year, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen today reminded Montanans to consider buying flood insurance long before the snow starts to melt. Flood insurance policies do not take effect until 30 days after purchase, making early planning a necessity to cover costly flood damage.
"Last year, many Montanans who don't live in high-risk flood zones saw the damage flooding can do," said Lindeen. "About 20 to 25 percent of all flood claims occur outside a high-risk flood area. This spring may not bring the same record flooding as last year, but Montana homeowners, renters and small businesses should still know their risk and consider flood insurance."
Generally, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Supplemental flood insurance policies can be purchased through certified local insurance agents thanks to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run and regulated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Prices for flood insurance vary based on the flood risk associated with a home's location and the amount of coverage, and homes in low-to-moderate risk areas can get coverage as low as $129 per year.
Flood insurance covers damage to the insured building with some restrictions. Coverage for the building's contents can be purchased for an additional premium. Federal flood insurance is available for homes, condominiums, apartments and commercial buildings. Typically, coverage starts 30 days after a person purchases the policy.
For more information, or to find a certified agent near you, visit FloodSmart.gov or call the National Flood Insurance Program at (888) 379-9531. Learn more about the Commissioner's office at csi.mt.gov or by calling (800) 332-6148.