HELENA, MT – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale is urging Montanans to prepare for flooding by purchasing flood insurance as spring runoff ramps up.
Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States and there are many misconceptions about flood insurance. Flooding happens not just in flood zones and there is no guarantee that floods will be declared a disaster to open up federal assistance. 56 percent of people in a recent InsuranceQuotes.com survey wrongly thought that a standard homeowner’s policy covers flooding. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not include flood insurance.
“Everyone should consider themselves susceptible to flooding and take steps to be prepared for that risk,” Rosendale said. “Every property owner should consider their options to purchase standalone flood coverage to protect their assets.”
Just a few inches of water can cost thousands of dollars in damage to walls, floors, furniture, carpets and other personal property. The average flood claim in Montana is nearly $13,000. Statistics indicate there is a one-in-four chance that a homeowner will experience a flood over a span of 30 years. 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk flood areas.
Most flood policies are secured from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP program is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which serves as the federal backstop for flood disasters. The NFIP program has experienced significant premium increases in recent years and experienced a six percent increase nationally in 2016. There is typically a 30 day waiting period when purchasing a new policy before it becomes effective, which can be a factor as flood season approaches.
Montana also has more private flood insurance options than ever. In 2015, the Montana legislature passed House Bill 94, which opened the marketplace to consumers by allowing a multi-peril insurance product that protects against flood, landslide, and earthquake. These programs are often more affordable and can provide better insurance protection to consumers. Many of these policies have only a 10 day waiting period before becoming effective.
“The time to purchase flood insurance for 2017 is now,” Rosendale said. “Waiting until you see the water rushing is too late to be thinking about flood insurance.”
More information on the available options for flood insurance is available on the CSI website here.
For a more comprehensive overview of flood insurance visit www.FloodSmart.gov.