As the painful process of recovery begins for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by flooding in the Billings, Red Lodge, Columbus, Fromberg, and Bozeman/Yellowstone regions of Montana, the focus will be on photographing and removing debris, inventorying losses, negotiating flood insurance payments, and grieving.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a disaster declaration for Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties. Individuals and households in these designated counties are eligible to apply for financial and direct services.
If your home or business were damaged or destroyed, this section of our library will help you access information and tools through United Policyholders’ Roadmap to Recovery® program for overcoming challenges with property, flood and auto insurance claims and reaching a fair settlement.
This library is for property and business owners, policyholder advocates, elected officials and the media. The Library contains tips, articles, bulletins, forms, reports, statistics, links and a wealth of information. Common challenges include disputes over deductibles, depreciation, repair methods and costs, rotating/inexperienced adjusters, scams, flood policy limits, water, and mold damage exclusions/caps.
Here is a partial list of claim tips and resources United Policyholders is offering those affected by the Yellowstone River flooding.
Key Insurance Claim Tips:
- Focus on completely inventorying and valuing all damage and costs to repair or replace your property, regardless of your insurance situation.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government, and other professionals.
- Flood policies have different rules than home policies.
- If you did not have flood insurance, there may still be damage that may be covered under your homeowner’s policy, depending on how it is written. Examples could be wind-driven rain, sewage backup due to electrical failure of a pump or other device, other damage due to power outages or surges.
- Give your home and/or flood insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and get help from the Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) and/or experienced professionals if you feel you’re not being treated fairly.
- If a home or flood insurance adjuster says damage isn’t covered, but you feel it should be, get an independent professional opinion before giving up on getting some or all of your claim paid.
UP offers tips, information, sample letters and tools to help each person recover the full amount they’re entitled to and avoid and solve problems during the insurance claim adjustment process. Our resources draw on the personal and professional expertise of our volunteers and staff, many of whom lost homes in past disasters. UP does not sell insurance, give legal advice, or represent individuals in claim matters. Rest assured, our information and resources are designed to help you, the consumer…no catch, no hidden agenda.
Expert Answers to Your Questions: The ”Ask an Expert” tool is an easy and safe way to ask direct questions to attorneys, claims professionals and previous disaster survivors who serve as UP volunteers and get the answers you need. The expert doesn’t see your contact info, but you can contact them if you want to follow up on their answer. Please visit the “Ask an Expert” forum here.
- The Disaster Recovery Handbook/Household Inventory Guide: Since 2006, “The Disaster Recovery Handbook and Household Inventory Guide” has been a trusted book that’s led thousands of people through the process of overcoming obstacles to repairing and rebuilding after a major loss. The book is written in plain language by disaster survivors for disaster survivors with tips and expert advice from legal, insurance and personal finance professionals.
- Inventory/Personal Property Claim Worksheets (Excel doc) – United Policyholders Home Inventory Worksheets for you to complete and save on your computer or recovery flash drive
NOTE: United Policyholders respects and protects the privacy of all who communicate with our organization. We do not share or sell our mailing lists.
- Taking it in and Getting Started
Arranging Temporary Housing
Expenses like temporary rent and other costs you incur due to losing the use of your home are not covered under NFIP policies.
If you have flood insurance through a private flood insurance company (outside the NFIP) it is likely to have ALE coverage.Resources General
- Getting Debris Removed
- Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
- Choosing a Contractor
Being Pro-active in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
- Home Inventory and Contents Claim Tips
- Reimbursement for Claim Preparation Expenses
- Sample Letter Asking for a Waiver of the Contents Itemization Requirement
- Sample Letter Asking for a Personal Property Claim Settlement
- Depreciation Basics
- Sample Inventory/Personal Property Claim Worksheets (Excel doc)
- National Flood Insurance Program Proofs of Loss, Damage Estimates, and Supplemental Claims
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
- Getting help if/when you need it
- Government Bulletins & Announcements