With memories still fresh of the massive flooding last spring that changed the course of the Clark Fork River, destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and caused untold property damage, State Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says ‘look into flood insurance now’.

Spokesman Kyle Schmauch with the State Insurance Commissioner’s office said on Friday that flood insurance providers require a minimum 30 day waiting period before the coverage is activated.

“You can but flood insurance anytime, but if you wait until the water is already threatening your property, it’s too late to purchase flood insurance,” said Schmauch. “Before the threat is imminent if the time to purchase flood insurance and make sure you’re covered,” he said. “What happened last year in Missoula with the flooding and in other parts of the state hopefully is recent enough in people’s minds to realize that is they have property that they rent or own that they want protected in case of a flood, that now is the time to get protected and buy flood insurance.”

Most flood policies are secured from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP program is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which serves as the federal backstop for flood disasters. There is typically a 30 day waiting period when purchasing a new policy before it becomes effective, which can be a factor as flood season approaches.

Montana also has more private flood insurance options than ever. In 2015, the Montana legislature passed House Bill 94, which opened the marketplace to consumers by allowing a multi-peril insurance product that protects against flood, landslide, and earthquake. These programs are often more affordable and can provide better insurance protection to consumers. Many of these policies have only a 10 day waiting period before becoming effective.

For a more comprehensive overview of flood insurance, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.