Commissioner Downing Warns Montanans of Flood Risk

csimt 2022, Insurance, Press Release

As Spring approaches, Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing reminds Montanans to evaluate their flood risk. Many flood insurance policies take up to 30 days before becoming effective, so now is the time to evaluate and place coverage.

Homeowners should evaluate specific factors in their area that may increase their risk of flood damage or loss, such as:

  • Recent wildfire activity which can dramatically decrease the soil’s ability to absorb rainfall, causing a heightened risk of flash floods.
  • Significant snowpack levels or higher than average regional temperatures which can increase runoff to streams, rivers, and lakes causing flooding.
  • In urban areas, close proximity to storm drains or low-lying areas such as underpasses and parking garages can become overwhelmed by rainfall or plugged by debris.

“A homeowner’s insurance policy does not typically cover flood damage. With temperatures rising, time may be of the essence.” Commissioner Troy Downing continues, “Flood insurance is not something you can purchase last minute. In many cases, it takes thirty days after purchase for flood insurance to take effect.”

A homeowner is 27 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire during a thirty-year mortgage, leaving many at-risk and financially vulnerable to flood. According to FloodSmart.gov, just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to an average home. The average flood insurance policy in Montana is $527 a year.

“Homeowners without flood insurance should not rely on government assistance for loss and damage. Financial support following a flood from the federal government is only available if the President declares a natural disaster. In that case, the only aid typically available is in low-interest loans that must be repaid.” Downing continues, “Damage caused by floods often costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Flood insurance is a vital tool to protect your property and your financial security.”

To learn more about flood insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov and speak with your insurance agent. CSI provides further information about flood insurance and maintains a current list of private flood insurance companies in Montana. Call us at 406-444-2040 or visit CSIMT.gov for more information.