Hurricane Iniki
Hurricane Iniki

HONOLULU – The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division reminds the public that with the onset of hurricane season, which began June 1, now is a good time to review your insurance policies to ensure your home, condominium and business is covered in the case of a hurricane-related loss.

Basic home insurance does not cover hurricane damage. Homeowners typically must purchase hurricane insurance separately. Also, not all wind damage is covered by hurricane insurance. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service must declare a wind-related event to be a hurricane for this coverage to become available. Banks usually require hurricane insurance as a mortgage condition.

Hurricane policies will cover water damage resulting from wind-related impairment of the home’s exterior. One example would be if hurricane debris punctures the roof and rain water flows into your living room.  Other types of water damage (i.e., storm surge, cascading water or rising streams) are not covered by hurricane or homeowners insurance. Flood insurance provides coverage for these other exposures.

“The last hurricane that hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and Kauai took the brunt of the damage,” said Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. “Hurricane Iniki caused almost $2 billion in damages, which is about $3 billion in today’s dollars. It can take just one major storm to cause severe property damage, and we urge you to be prepared.”

Please consider reviewing your policy and discussing the following topics with your insurance producer (also known as an insurance agent):

·        Did your producer list your home as single wall, double wall, or masonry?
·        Do you have hurricane straps or clips on your home?
·        Does your insurer provide premium credits for such mitigating devices and did your producer check for this?
·        How much is my home insured for?  Is it covered for replacement value or actual cash value?

All of these things can dramatically affect how much you pay for hurricane insurance.

Residents are encouraged to shop around for your coverage. The Insurance Division’s premium publication for consumers is a “quick reference guide” that assists consumers in shopping for homeowners’ and hurricane insurance. The premium publication is available at: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/home_rates/home-insurance-rate-comparison.html

Additionally, after a loss consumers and businesses may have difficulty submitting a claim for losses because of a lack of proof of assets owned. When reviewing your policies, it is also a good time to take an inventory of your possessions. Take photos of belongings such as jewelry, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and even art work and decorations.  Gather any receipts and serial numbers as well. Keep this information in a secure area so you can access them for claim purposes. Make sure these assets are covered under your policy.

To assist in the inventory process, you could download the National Association of Insurance Commissioners app myHOME Scr.APP.book for iPhone or Android for assistance in cataloging belongings. To learn more about the app, visit: http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_page.htm

The Hawaii Insurance Division oversees the state’s insurance industry, issues licenses, examines the fiscal condition of Hawaii-based companies, reviews rate and policy filings, and investigates insurance-related complaints.

Submitted by the Insurance Division, DCCA

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