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Did you know most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood insurance? Unless you’ve specifically purchased flood insurance, you are probably not covered against flood losses. You’re not alone; most Montanans are not covered. The good news is that flood insurance is available in most parts of Montana through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Private flood insurance may be available and may be more affordable than National Flood Insurance. Contact your local insurance agent to learn more.

Additionally, our office maintains a current list of companies that sell private flood insurance in Montana. Call us at (406) 444-2040 for more information.

We get thousands of calls every year from Montanans with insurance questions. Here are the most common questions we get about flood insurance:

The Top 12

No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy. 
Typically, no. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period from the time The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy is purchased until you are covered. You can apply for the coverage even if your property is currently experiencing flooding, but coverage won’t go into effect for 30 days.
Not necessarily. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low-interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the President formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage. The year 2011 was rather exceptional in Montana with presidential disaster declarations in 48 counties and on five reservations.
The answer seems obvious, but here’s the usual definition for insurance purposes: A flood is an excess of water (or mud) on land that’s normally dry. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a flood to be a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from overflow of inland or tidal waters; unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; mudflow; or collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or a similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining, caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.
 You must live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to qualify for National Flood Insurance. Find out here if your community participates in the NFIP. If you live in a community that participates in the NFIP, you can get flood insurance to cover your home or business, as well as much of its contents. Private flood insurance may also be available in your area. We recommend calling a local insurance agent for details about the availability of flood insurance available in your area.
Private flood insurance is purchased from your insurance agent or company and does not receive any backing from the federal government.
The cost of flood insurance varies by individual policy based on many factors — including elevation of the building. The average National Flood Insurance policy in Montana is $572 a year, based on 2011 data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Private flood insurance may be available in your area and it may be more affordable than National Flood Insurance. Check with a local insurance agent for details about insurance available in your area.
No. Flood insurance covers buildings and building contents only.
Most likely, yes. It’s a good idea to buy flood insurance — even if you live in a moderate or low-risk area. Many people are financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas represent over 20% of NFIP claims and receive more than one-third of disaster assistance for flooding each year. When it’s available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest. You may qualify for the Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) that provides coverage for contents beginning at $49 per year, with building plus contents coverage starting at $129 a year. Nearly half of the flood insurance policies in Montana are Preferred Risk Policies (based on 2012 data).
During a 30-year mortgage, you are 27 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire.
Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas or SFHAs).

The amount of flood insurance coverage required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, is the lesser of the following:

  • The maximum amount of NFIP coverage available for the particular property type;
  • The outstanding principal balance of the loan; or
  • The insurable value of the structure.

If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead is in a moderate-to-low-risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. It is also recommended since historically one-in-five claims come from these moderate-to-low risk areas. Please note that if during the life of the loan, the flood insurance rate maps are revised and the property is re-categorized into a high-risk area, your lender may notify you that you must purchase flood insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. Use the agent locator at FloodSmart.gov to find agents in your area who sell and service NFIP flood insurance policies. Also, private flood insurance may be available in your area and it may be more affordable. Check with a local insurance agent for details.

List of Licensed Montana Insurance Agencies who offer Flood Coverage through Lloyds of London
Agency Name Phone Number Website
HCIT Earthquake & Flood (406) 442-9555 ex. 102 www.iiamt.org
Poulton Associates (801) 268-2600 www.poulton.com 
The Flood Insurance Agency (877) 356-6348 www.thefloodinsuranceagency.com 
WNC Insurance Services (800) 423-2497 www.wncinsuranceservices.com
Wright National Flood Insurance Services (702) 803-2040 www.wrightflood.com

Listed below are websites that offer a description of catastrophe-type coverage. These websites may give consumers an overview of a various type of policies that include other types of risks in addition to flood coverage, such as earthquake and landslides, in a single policy.

List of Licensed Montana Insurance Agencies who offer Flood, Earthquake and Landslide Coverage
Agency Name Phone Number City Website
Insurance Store (406) 778-2861 Baker montanainsurancemanagers.com
Agency Insurance Division (406) 993 9242 Big Sky www.insuringthe406.com 
ISU Insurance Services Streeter Brothers (406) 252-0551 Billings www.isustreeterbros.com
Beard Insurance Agency Inc. (406) 294-9700 Billings www.beardinsurance.com
Peter Yegen Jr., Inc. (406) 252-0163 Billings pyegen.com
Darnielle Insurance Agency (406) 652-4180 Billings www.Darnielle.com
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Billings www.leavitt.com/greatwest 
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Billings www.mountainwest.aaa.com
McHenry Insurance (406) 586-5075 Bozeman mchenry@mchenryins.net 
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Bozeman www.leavitt.com/greatwest
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Bozeman www.mountainwest.aaa.com
Broadus Insurance (406) 436-2608 Broadus www.montanainsurancemanagers.com
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Butte www.leavitt.com/greatwest
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Choteau www.leavitt.com/greatwest
Mandeville Insurance Agency, Inc. (406) 322-5361 Columbus www.mandeville-insurance.com
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Cut Bank www.leavitt.com/greatwest
Clawson Insurance Agency, Inc. (406) 846-1411 Deer Lodge www.clawsonagency.com
Agency Insurance Division (406) 682 4202 Ennis www.insuringthe406.com 
Hagenston Insurance Agency (406) 377-3600 Glendive hagenstonagency.com
Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance Agency (406) 453-3923 Great Falls www.cascadefarmersmutual.com
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Great Falls www.leavitt.com/greatwest
McMeel Insurance (406) 453-1580 Great Falls www.greatestagencyever.com
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Great Falls www.mountainwest.aaa.com
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Hamilton www.mountainwest.aaa.com
Erickson Insurance Group (406) 265-1490 Havre www.ericksoninsurancegroup.com
Bison Insurance, PLLC (406) 442-1414 Helena www.bisoninsurance.net
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Helena www.leavitt.com/greatwest 
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Helena www.mountainwest.aaa.com
Hobson Insurance (800) 296-7985 Hobson www.businessquote.com
Best Insurance LLC (406) 755-8888 Kalispell http://www.bestinsurancemontana.com/
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Kalispell www.leavitt.com/greatwest 
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Kalispell www.mountainwest.aaa.com
Central Montana Insurance Center (800) 597-7135 Lewistown http://www.centralmontanainsurance.com/
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Livingston www.leavitt.com/greatwest 
Key Insurance of Livingston, Inc. (406) 222-0944 Livingston www.insuranceiskey.com
W A Mitchell Agency (406) 234-0280 Miles City http://wamitchellagency.com/
AAA MountainWest (866) 446-4524 Missoula www.mountainwest.aaa.com
Bishop Insurance Service (406) 883-5372 Polson www.bishopinsurance.com
Bishop Insurance Service (406) 676-5300 Ronan www.bishopinsurance.com
Key Insurance of Roundup, Inc (406) 323-2055 Roundup www.keyinsuranceroundup.com
Leavitt Great West Insurance Services, LLC (877) 229-4553 Shelby www.leavitt.com/greatwest 

You may also contact your insurance agent or company to find out more about federal flood insurance or find an agent serving your area by filling out the Flood Risk Profile.

Need more help?
Experience flooding? Call the FloodSmart hotline at 1-888-379-9531.
Insurance problems? Call us at 1-800-332-6148.