Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance in Montana

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Montana homeowners living in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone will need to obtain flood insurance to qualify for a federally-backed mortgage. 
According to a 2020 study by the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 27% of U.S. homeowners have a flood insurance policy. What many may not realize is that flood damage is not covered under most standard homeowners’ insurance policies.
Despite its moderate temperatures, Montana is occasionally a recipient of extreme weather. 27% of all properties in Montana are at risk of flooding.
It’s important to understand your area’s climate and flood insurance requirements, so you can make sure you’re protected in the case of a natural disaster. That’s why home and car insurance app Jerry has created this guide to purchasing flood insurance as a Montana homeowner.
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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is a type of property insurance—separate from homeowners insurance—that covers financial losses from belongings damaged in a flood.
Flooding is an extremely common element of natural disasters that usually affects many properties simultaneously. Most private insurers see it as too big a risk to cover under regular homeowners’ insurance. Your homeowners’ insurance policy will most likely cover water damage to property due to plumbing, but won’t extend to flooding. 

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance is broken into two categories: building coverage, which covers structural damage among other things, and contents coverage for personal belongings. Large and small appliances, carpets, jewelry, and clothing are all covered under a mix of these two categories.
Flood insurance doesn’t cover everything. Items like fences and landscaping, paper money, and personal belongings stored in basements are typically not covered.
Here is a more specific guide to what is and isn’t covered under each flood insurance type:
Type of coverageWhat it coversWhat it doesn’t cover
Building insurancePlumbing and electrical systems Permanently installed cabinets, paneling, and bookcases Water heaters and furnaces Refrigerators, dishwashers and other large appliances Permanently installed carpets Window blinds Staircases Foundational walls and anchorages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well tanks/pumpsFences and landscaping Swimming pools Decks and patios
Content insuranceClothes Furniture Electronics Curtains Rugs and carpets Washer and dryer Air conditioning units Miscellaneous valuables such as art up to $2500Currency Valuable papers Personal belongings stored in a basement

Do you need flood insurance in Montana?

Flood insurance is required for those in FEMA-designated high-risk areas who wish to obtain a federally-backed loan.
Your lender may have their own set of requirements, but federally, those in low-to-moderate risk areas are not required to purchase flood insurance. 
However, you do not have to be located in a high-risk zone to purchase flood insurance. In fact, one-in-five insurance claims come from homeowners in low-to-moderate risk areas, so flood insurance is recommended. 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program provides private insurance coverage like Allstate and Farmers to those in high-risk areas. Search this list to find which communities in Montana are eligible.

What flood zones require flood insurance in Montana?

FEMA gives letter grades to areas based on how likely they are to experience flooding. Homeowners living in zones graded A or V must purchase flood insurance. 
Those living in zones that are graded X, B, or C are not required to purchase flood insurance, although it is recommended, especially in moderate-risk zones.
27% of all properties in Montana are at risk of flooding. The cities of Missoula, Evergreen, and Belgrave are considered high-risk areas.
FEMA’s flood map or Flood Factor® will indicate your area’s level of flood risk.
Key takeaway Homeowners who live in high-risk flood zones (graded A or V) must purchase flood insurance to take out a federally-backed mortgage. 

How much does flood insurance cost in Montana?

On average, flood insurance in Montana costs $832 per year or $69 per month. This is a bit higher than the national average which is $739 per year. 
However, in October of 2020, NFIP installed a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. Under this new pricing structure, 37% of flood policyholders in Montana will see their insurance premiums drop in price. The new pricing takes full effect on August 1, 2022.
The exact cost of insurance depends on factors like location, size and make of home, and the age of your property. 
Residential flood insurance holders are limited to $10,000 for contents coverage and $250,000 for building coverage. You may also have to reach a deductible, depending on your policy and provider.

How to save money on flood and auto insurance in Montana 

Here are a few tips for saving money on flood insurance in Montana:
It’s important to remember that certain belongings, such as your car, are not covered by flood insurance. To protect your vehicle, you must purchase an auto insurance policy. Finding the right coverage is easy with Jerry. Simply download the app, answer a few simple questions, and compare quotes from the top insurance providers in your area.
Those who switch car insurance with Jerry save an average of $887 per year.
“After signing up with Jerry, I went from $199/month to $97/month for my car insurance. My 2019 Subaru Forester now has full coverage for a great price!” —Rhonda H.

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