Don’t let water damage rain on your parade. If you own or rent a home, here’s what the Hawai’i DCCA Insurance Division says you need to know about flood risk.
We’ve got plenty of both, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the 50th State. There’s also rain, and flooding from a heavy downpour can become an emotionally devastating and financially draining disaster for unprepared homeowners and renters.
Flooding is the most frequent and expensive natural disaster in the United States—just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home—and the number of claims has increased in recent years. Flood insurance covers flood-related damage to your home, belongings and sometimes even additional living expenses if flooding forces you to relocate. But, most importantly, it gives you peace of mind. If you own or rent a home, here are five questions the Hawai‘i DCCA Insurance Division says you should ask yourself to determine if flood insurance is right for you.
1. Do I live in a flood zone?
The short answer, yes: Everyone lives in a flood zone. But not every area is equal—depending on where your home is located, your flood risk can be higher or lower.
2. What are my flood risks?
Risk levels are divided into three categories: High-risk areas, which have at least a 1% chance of flooding each year; moderate- to low-risk areas, which have less than a 1% chance of flooding each year; and undetermined risk areas, areas where flood-hazard analysis has yet to be conducted, but risk still exists. If you’re unsure what your flood risk is, use the Hawai‘i DLNR Engineering Division’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool to find out.
3. I already have homeowners or renter’s insurance. Does it cover flood damage?
Chances are, it doesn’t. While homeowners and renter’s insurance protect against certain types of water damage—from a burst pipe, wind-driven rain or vandalism, for example—flood damage is rarely included. There are some exceptions, so check your policy to be sure.
4. I want to buy flood insurance. What are my options?
You have two: either through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program that offers flood protection at a low cost, which is the most common choice; or private flood insurance, an option that has grown in popularity in recent years. Each has its own pros and cons, so do your research before you make a decision.
5. Do I need flood insurance?
Aside from certain instances, such as if you live in a high-risk area and have a mortgage with a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance is typically not required. But considering that more than 20% of the NFIP’s claims come from outside high-risk flood areas, flood insurance is still recommended for those who live in moderate- to low-risk areas, even if it’s not required.
For more information on flood risk and flood insurance, visit the Hawai‘i DCCA Insurance Division at cca.hawaii.gov/understanding-flood-insurance.