Protect your property during hurricane season; what to do before the worst happens


It’s a common misconception that flood insurance is covered under homeowners insurance.

In reality, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods.

“Hopefully people understand the difference and check on their coverage and make sure in the future, they have property coverage,” said Hawaii insurance commissioner Gordon Ito. “With respect to people who have flood loss and did not have flood insurance, I think there are some programs the government may come out with in terms of getting loans, and typically that’s what happens.”

If you do have flood insurance, Ito says the first thing you’ll want to do before you start cleaning up is document the damages.

“Take a lot of pictures so you have proof in terms of the type of loss you sustained. Secure your property to avoid further damage to your property, and then really look at your insurance policy. Understand what kind of policy coverages you have, the deductible that you have,” Ito advised.

If you hire a contractor to help you repair and rebuild, check with the state Department of Commerce and Consumers Affairs to make sure the person is licensed.

“Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous contractors or even agents,” Ito said. “When you get a settlement check, don’t just sign over the check to the contractor, because there are instances where the contractor takes the check, cashes it, and never does the repair or doesn’t finish the repair.”

Now, if it’s your car that got flooded, hopefully you have comprehensive coverage.

“People think okay, they bought their motor vehicle insurance and they have full coverage, but many times, people buy the required statutory minimum motor vehicle policy,” Ito said. “So if they didn’t buy the comprehensive coverage part of motor vehicle policy, then if their car is flooded, they won’t have coverage.”

Ito says comprehensive coverage would apply in situations like flooding or if your car is broken into.

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