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Lindeen: Early Preparation Essential for Flood Insurance

February 25, 2013

HELENA, Mont. – 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 essential to cover costly flood damage.

"Snow fall may still be in the forecast but melting will come soon after and then it will be too late for consumers to protect themselves with flood insurance," said Lindeen. "About 20 to 25 percent of all flood claims occur outside of a high-risk flood area. Montana homeowners, renters and small businesses should 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 little 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.