The Difference between Hurricane Insurance and Flood Insurance Coverage
With June being the start of the annual hurricane season in Hawaii, homeowners and renters should review their current insurance policies to make sure they have adequate coverage.
Any changes to your policy, including buying new or additional insurance coverage, should take place well in advance before a hurricane or tropical storm arrives. You can talk to your insurance agent to find out if you have enough insurance to cover your
property and possessions.
It’s also important to note the difference between your hurricane insurance and flood insurance.
Hurricane insurance is supplemental to homeowners insurance and is required by the lender when you purchase a home. It specifically covers wind-related damages from a hurricane (maximum sustained surface wind of 74 miles per hour or higher). The Central Pacific Hurricane Center is responsible for issuing hurricane watches and warnings for the State of Hawaii. If wind-related damage is caused by a tropical storm (wind of 39 to 73 miles per hour) and you file a claim, it would be through your homeowners insurance.
Your homeowners and renters insurance, however, does not cover damages from flooding. Most homeowners are not required to have it. But flood insurance is an added cost that might be worthwhile, depending on where you live.
If your home is near a stream or in a flood zone, you may be required to buy flood insurance to cover potential property damage. Your lender will most likely make this a requirement as part of your loan contract.
It might surprise some people how often homes can become flooded even outside those designated flood zones. Regions known for constant and/or heavy rainfalls may be susceptible to flooding.
You can only purchase flood insurance through an agent or an insurance carrier that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, determines the rates. You can go online to FloodSmart.gov for more information.
To protect your home, be sure to understand the risk of flooding and what your insurance options are. Still have questions on whether your home is adequately covered in the event of hurricane or flooding? Check with your agent to be sure.
Learn more about flood insurance and other tips in protecting your home against flooding.