Do I Need Flood Insurance in Hawaii?
In the most severe flood zones, homeowners with federally backed loans are required to purchase flood insurance. And even when not federally required, some mortgage lenders require flood insurance in high-risk areas.
But while homeowners in high-risk flood zones are certainly wise to buy flood insurance coverage, whether or not it’s required, everyone should think about it. Flash floods and other calamities can happen anywhere, and the resulting flood losses can be devastating. It’s also not as uncommon as you might think. About 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from areas that are at a low or moderate flood risk —so wherever you land on the flood map, you should consider flood insurance.
Do you think you already have Hawaii flood insurance? Even if you have a homeowners insurance policy, that policy probably doesn’t cover flood damage. But it wouldn’t hurt to ask your insurance agent just in case.
Renters are not required to have flood insurance but should consider protecting their belongings from flooding. Luckily, it’s the responsibility of the landlord to protect the building, so renters will find that flood insurance is more affordable.
Hawaii Flood Zones
As the Hawaiian government says, “Everyone lives in a flood zone.” But flood zones are coded based on the types of risk they’re exposed to and the severity of those risks. Check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA )’s Flood Map Service Center to put in your address and determine your flood risk. There’s a simple code to the flood zones:
If you enter your address into a flood map and it says “D,” that means your flood risk is undetermined. It does not mean your flood risk is zero; natural disasters can happen anytime, anywhere!
If your flood zone is X or XS, you’re at a low or moderate flood risk. But remember, 25 percent of flood insurance claims originate from homes in this risk area.
Flood zones starting with A are in the 100-year floodplain, meaning that statistically, their chance of flooding is 1 in every 100 years. This might sound low, but it’s the standard for high-risk and means you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) where insurance requirements apply.
If your flood zone begins with a V, that means you’re in the 100-year floodplain and in a coastal area that could sustain additional flood damage from waves and other oceanside hazards. If you’re in one of these areas (including parts of Honolulu and other areas on Oahu, coastal areas of Kauai County and Maui ), then flood insurance is a good idea.