In May of 2011, Montana residents were hit with some of the worst flooding this state has seen in decades, and many without flood insurance lost thousands of dollars in property damage. These floods caused major problems throughout the state. Flood emergencies were declared in Jefferson, Sanders and Musselshell counties, hundreds of homes in Joliet were flooded, many roadways were shut down and drinking water in Petroleum County was affected by the rising waters. Floods can happen at any time and can affect anyone in this state. That is why residents of Montana who are not currently covered are strongly encouraged to begin reviewing flood insurance quotes.
Montana Flood Insurance Facts as Reported by FEMA
- As of September 30, 2013, there were 5,865 flood policies in effect in MT
- Approximately 3,000 of these policies are for properties in high-risk areas
- Fewer than 2% of the residents in this state are covered by flood insurance
- Montana residents filed 454 flood insurance claims between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011
- These claims resulted in about $4,225,000 in compensation paid to policy holders
- That equates to an average of about $9,306 per claim
Why Do Residents of Montana Need Flood Insurance?
As the 2011 floods have demonstrated, damage from overflow events can be vast and far reaching. Even residents who live outside of designated flood zones were affected by these floods. FEMA reports that just two inches of flood water in 1,000 square foot home can lead to as much as $10,000 in damages. Without flood insurance, these costs will need to be paid out-of-pocket. In fact, the average paid flood insurance claim is approximately $35,000.
Some people mistakenly believe that their home or business insurance policy covers flood damage, but it does not. Others think that if their community is declared a federal disaster due to flooding, that FEMA will cover the costs needed to repair damages and replace property. The truth is, however, that the help provided by FEMA comes in the form of guaranteed low-interest loans that must be repaid to the government.
Flood insurance provides an affordable way to get the coverage you need. With basic policies starting at under $150 per year, it is far more affordable than paying back a FEMA-provided loan.
What Is the NFIP?
By the late 1950’s, many homeowners in America were at risk of losing everything. This is because home insurance providers had completely stopped covering flood damages and there was no such thing as a flood insurance policy. A severe flood had the power to completely destroy an entire town, and those who suffered major property damage were often forced into bankruptcy.
Fortunately, in 1968, the U.S. Congress responded to this problem by creating the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program offers federally-backed flood insurance coverage to home and business owners, even if they have a very high risk of flood damage. This program has been vital to the financial health of many citizens. In fact, between 1978 and 2013, the NFIP paid more than $48.1 billion for flood insurance claims.
What Does a Flood Insurance Policy Cover?
Flood insurance policies are available to both individuals and business owners in Montana. When purchasing a policy, you can choose to buy structural coverage only, contents coverage only, or both. This makes coverage more affordable for those who need only one type of coverage, such as renters, landlords and condo owners.
- Structural coverage: This is designed to compensate you for the cost of repairing flood damage to the structure of your home or business building. Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 in structural coverage, while business owners are able to purchase up to $500,000. This includes coverage for:
- the building’s foundation
- built-in appliances
- plumbing and electrical systems
- heating and air conditioning units (with the exception of portable units)
- permanently-installed carpeting over unfinished floors
- Contents coverage: This is designed to cover the costs associated with repairing or replacing personal or business property if it is lost or damaged by flood waters. Individuals can buy up to $100,000 in contents coverage, while business owners have a limit of $500,000. This includes coverage for:
- furniture, artwork and other décor
- carpeting and flooring that is installed over finished floors
- clothing, jewelry and accessories
- computers, televisions and other electronics
- window type (portable) air-conditioners
- portable appliances (built-in appliances are covered by structural coverage)
- merchandise and inventory (if insuring a business)
It is important to note that flood insurance does not provide coverage for contents kept in a finished basement. No matter what property you may keep in your basement, you will only be able to claim damages for property that falls under the structural coverage category.
Get Flood Insurance Quotes from an Agent in Montana
Flood insurance policies are provided and backed by the federal government, but they must be purchased through a qualified retail insurance provider. Securing a flood insurance policy for your home or business is easy when you enlist the help of an insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network. These independent agents can help you assess how much coverage is sufficient to meet your needs and can provide you with information about how much you can expect to pay for different amounts of coverage.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent in or near your Montana neighborhood to get more information and you can start reviewing flood insurance quotes in no time.