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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 3, 2006

Few are covered for flood damage

 •  Flooding paralyzes Windward O'ahu

By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

Don't look to your homeowner's insurance policy to cover flood damage incurred during the frequent downpours in recent weeks. You won't find any relief there.

Flood damage isn't covered under standard homeowner policies. You have to get a special policy for floods, something that less than 50,000 residents and businesses in Hawai'i have taken out, according to statistics kept by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"It's very important to understand that flood damage is not covered by the standard homeowner's policy," said Hawai'i Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt.

FEMA maintains a Web site, www.floodsmart.gov, that includes information about flood insurance, including a feature that allows people to type in their address and get back the flood risk to their property. The site also has a list of companies that offer the insurance locally.

The federal-backed insurance covers up to $250,000 of damage to a structure with up to four living units and $100,000 for contents. Premiums for maximum coverage range from $703 to $1,822 depending on location, the FEMA Web site says. Business coverage is offered up to $500,000 on the structure and $500,000 on the contents, Schmidt said.

Excess coverage also may be available for people wanting more insurance. Schmidt said people who have questions can call the state Insurance Division offices at 586-2790.

Reach Greg Wiles at gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.