Insurance will play a major role in Yellowstone River flooding recovery
Resources are available to people who have been affected by catastrophic flooding
When unprecedented flooding like what's taking place along the Yellowstone River in Montana affects home and business owners, the rebuilding process can be a long and grueling task.
There are resources, however, to help ease the stress and burden of starting to recover.
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The Insurance Information Institute's Michael Barry joined FOX Weather on Wednesday morning and said insurance should cover costs associated with rebuilding.
"So long as that homeowner or business had a flood insurance policy in addition to its traditional property insurance policy," he said.
Barry said flood insurance is an additional expense, and often depending on where the home or business is located, the lender who helped finance the property will insist homeowners or business owners obtain a flood insurance policy.
Given the location of some homes and businesses that have been damaged or destroyed by Yellowstone River flooding, Barry said he's confident flood insurance was required as a condition to purchase the property.
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Does that mean property owners are responsible for their own repair costs if they don't have flood insurance?
Barry said it depends.
"Plan B is you have to look to see if there's a federal disaster declaration," he said.
Montana's Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras signed an executive order declaring a disaster in the state on Tuesday, but so far, no federal disaster has been declared.
"What happens is when there's a federal disaster declaration that frees up FEMA money for individual assistance for homeowners," Barry said. "This is for households if they're eligible. They're either uninsured or underinsured."
He said the money comes from grants that do not need to be paid back.
"The downside of that is oftentimes the payouts are far less than what it's going to take to repair or rebuild a flood-damaged home," he said.
When it comes to businesses, Barry said, the Small Business Association, after a federal disaster is declared, will offer low-interest loans to get a business running again.
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Vehicles are also often damaged or destroyed by floodwaters, and Barry says most car insurance companies will cover a majority of those costs.
"Eighty percent of flooded vehicles in the U.S. get covered, and that's because nearly 80% of all drivers in the U.S. opt to purchase what's known as comprehensive coverage," he said. "It's optional coverage. Fortunately, 4 out of 5 drivers in the U.S. opt to purchase comprehensive coverage. It covers so many things."
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Barry said if you have a flooded vehicle, it will likely be a total loss, but comprehensive coverage isn't just for floods.
"It covers vandalism, theft, trees falling on your car, fire, so a lot of the things that occur during natural disasters are covered under comprehensive coverage."