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After the storm


If you’re reading this blog to get tips on insuring your home against flood damage, it might be a little late for the current weather conditions. But you can start preparing for next time.

Water damage is one of the most commonly cited reasons in claims on homeowner’s insurance around the country, not just from heavy rains, but leaky roofs and overflowing appliances. You need to check the provisions in your current homeowner’s policy and be able to prove that the damage was unforeseen and unintentional.

If your roof is leaking but you’veneglected it for years, there’s a good chance you won’t win your claim. At least do a regular inspection and submit it to your agent, along with repair work done. This preventative maintenance will help if damage is done by cloud-to-ground lightning and 14.5 inches of rain.

Now, if you are flooded by the heavy rains, that may be a different story. Flood insurance is not part of your standard homeowner’s insurance policy here in Hawaii, so you need to purchase that separately.

“Flooding is considered rising and moving water, whether you’re in a flood zone or not—and that’s not covered by your homeowner’s insurance,” says Manuel Buenconsejo Jr., of Allstate Insurance.

Flood insurance may be advisable for certain flood map zones and federally regulated lenders require flood insurance to purchase any home in areas designated as a special flood hazard area (SFHA).

A home is considered to be in a SFHA when there is a least a one-percent chance of a flood equal to or exceeding the base flood elevation (a 100-year flood) in any given year. Thus, during the life of a 30-year mortgage loan, the risk of flooding for a home in an SFHA is at least 26 percent. To find out about whether Mandatory Flood Insurance is required, check with your lender. You can also review the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines for more detailed information about to whom the Mandatory Flood Insurance Guidelines apply (Page 23).

For more information on the NFIP, visit the following sites:

“Anywhere can become a flood zone, even if you don’t live in designated areas on this map. For example, when storm drains get full or when the ground gets saturated, there’s nowhere for the water to go,” says Buenconsejo. “The water then could potentially flood your home. And that’s rising and moving.”

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