Increased rainfall has occurred in the Billings, Montana area over the past two decades, leading to unexpected water damage and flooding in people’s homes, destroying personal property, as well as causing structural damage and mold growth. After a flood, your first instinct is to call your insurance company. But even if you have homeowners insurance, you are probably not covered for a flood. Most flood insurance must be purchased separately.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Montana?
If you live in Montana and don’t have flood insurance, don’t worry–you’re not alone. Most people don’t know to add flood insurance onto their policy. Many also don’t bother checking to see if they even need to add it. As a resident of Yellowstone County or in the surrounding areas, educating yourself on whether or not to buy flood insurance is a first step that can save you a lot of heartache, time, and money in the long run.
Benefits of Flood Insurance
You may be thinking: Not much rainfall happens in my area, and when it does, there’s not enough rain to cause a ton of damage, right? Did you know that more than 20% of flood insurance claims are from homes outside of flood zones? And that only 5 inches of water in your home can cause up to $25,000 in damages? That high cost of damage makes the seemingly high price tag of flood insurance feel more worth it. The best part about flood insurance is that anyone can purchase it. You don’t have to be in a FEMA flood hazard zone to qualify. Having flood insurance can not only help get you back on your feet faster, with less stress, time, and out-of-pocket cost, but also give you peace of mind.
Flood Insurance Options
There are two types of flood insurance. There’s insurance that is back through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private insurance.
NFIP insurance is backed by the government, meaning if you have an incident, you put a claim into FEMA. These NFIP insurance policies aren’t issued by FEMA, but are written by a licensed insurance agent. NFIP policies have some limitations. They cover homes up to $250,000 and contents up to $100,000. If you have a higher end home or a lot of valuables, this amount of coverage may not be enough.
Private flood insurance is your second option. If you choose private insurance, you can purchase both NFIP and use private insurance to subsidize your insurance coverage. This is called “excess flood insurance.” You can also purchase private flood insurance by itself to allow yourself a greater amount of coverage to ensure you can fix, replace, and repair your entire property and contents to like-new condition. Private insurance will also cover more of your property’s structures like swimming pools, detached structures, garages, barns, and basements, with a max rebuild limit of $500,000.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
According to FEMA, NFIP-backed flood insurance costs an average of $700 per year, but that can vary based on your policy and home location. If you live in a high flood zone hazard area or at a higher elevation, your cost can be as high as $2,000 per year.
Private insurance can vary greatly depending on your home’s location, if you’re in a flood zone, and the age of your home. In the United States, prices go from $400 to $14,000, with Montana’s average private insurance costing around $750 per year. As a resident of the Billings area, it is to your benefit to consider excess flood insurance. Contrary to popular belief, FEMA assistance grants don’t cover the entire cost for you to rebuild, even if you have NFIP-backed insurance. For instance, an average claim from damage by Hurricane Harvey was $100,000, and the average payout was an average of $7,000.
How to File a Flood Insurance Claim
Use this FEMA claims fact sheet to support your flood claims process. If you have flood insurance and have experienced flooding and water damage, here are some steps to follow:
- Call your insurance company to start the claims process.
- Document the damage by taking photographs, listing damaged or lost items.
- Complete a proof of loss document to support your claim.
Has Your Home Suffered From a Flood?
Call Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration for a free inspection and assessment of your water damage. Alpha Omega is a fully certified restoration company serving Billings, MT and the surrounding areas. When repairing your home after a flood, you want to have the restoration company do all the work. This ensures that it is done correctly without the possibility of further problems creeping up in the future. Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration is a full general contractor with those appropriate certifications.
Our crew is on call 24/7 and we will come to assess the situation, document the damage, and then we will work with your insurance adjuster to provide you the fastest and best water restoration possible. With our help you can focus on your family and relationships, while you let us worry about restoring your physical property to its pre-disaster state. When we are done, all traces of the destruction will be gone, and you will be left with a safe and comfortable home.