By Missoula Current
With warming temperatures and a hearty snowpack, Missoula County this week encouraged property owners to consider buying flood insurance to make the 30-day waiting period required for such insurance to take effect.
“Although flood insurance is an important form of financial protection for any homeowner, business owner, or renter, it is often misunderstood,” said Michelle Phillips, a flood plain specialist with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Most people do not know that flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance.”
Phillips said homeowners may not realize that a 30-day waiting period is required before flood insurance takes effect. Most wait until a flood is imminent or underway, he said.
“At that point, it’s too late for them to receive assistance from flood insurance unless they already have a policy in place,” he said.
In Missoula, the Clark Fork River’s earliest recorded peak was on April 13, 1934. The last significant flood event was in 2011. At that time, there were no predictions the event would be as large as it was, and few residents were well-prepared.
Phillips said flood insurance can assist with surface water damage, so long as it affects at least two properties or more than two acres of land.
“This could include flood damage caused by a rain event, a blocked culvert, a water main break, rapid snow melt, or riverine flooding that affects a private property and a neighboring county road,” Phillips said.
Federal flood insurance is available to anyone who lives in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, not just to those in high-risk flood areas.
Private flood insurance plans may also be available to those who do not wish to purchase federal flood insurance or who are ineligible to do so.