With all the snow that western Montana has received over the past month, Montana’s State Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale encourages residents to look into flood insurance as the weather warms.

“Don’t wait until the water starts running off the streets and overflowing the rivers before you do something about it,” said Rosendale. “We can’t stop flooding, so what we have to do is insure against our losses, and what folks need to understand is that nearly 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from areas that are outside of the high risk flood areas, they come from the low to moderate risk areas. The average claim for Montana is nearly $13,000. So, right now, before the water starts rising, we have to make sure to get our property insured.”

Rosendale said there is typically a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.

“There are what are called ‘multi-peril’ insurance products that protect against flood, landslide and earthquake,” he said. “And, strangely enough, when you package them together like that, these programs are often more affordable and can provide better insurance protection for consumers. Many of those policies only require a 10 day waiting period.”

Rosendale said there was a workshop in Lewis and Clark County specifically to help residents prepare for possible flooding this spring.

“March is the month that Montana typically receives the most snow fall, not in January and February, so we’re due to receive a lot more snow this year,” he said. “Here in Helena, while the snow pack in the mountains is a little bit less, the snow pack here in the valleys is much greater. Here in the valley, we’re looking at almost two feet of snow, and a -29 this morning, this is not going to thaw out for the next couple of days,”

Rosendale encourages residents to contact their insurance agent and ask about flood or multi-peril insurance, or click this link at the Insurance Commissioner’s Office.