Flooding recovery continues across Hawaii; what to know about restoring homes, flood insurance

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The damage goes far deeper than the surface and the layers of mud in many cases where flooding is involved — the cost is also higher than most people think. Some homes throughout Hawaii are still dealing with the aftermath of floods by clearing out their houses.

There are a few things they should keep in mind.

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“Just because you’re cleaning mud out of your home, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear,” said Darla Paet, Elite Restoration Services owner.

Paet said, assessing where the flooding occurred and how high the water level was is necessary when it comes to flood clean-up.

“Mold and bacteria will grow on anything that’s porous so in this case, everybody’s walls are usually dry wall so that’s the number one where mold can grow.”

Darla Paet, Elite Restoration Services Owner

Paet said, people should call a professional to check out the full extent of the damage. They can also do a bacteria count of the area and determine how much was affected.

Regular homeowner’s insurance will not cover the cost for restoration work from flooding due to outside forces, however. A normal policy will only cover flooding due to things like a pipe burst or a leak.

“Let’s say there’s so much rain that it’s – now the ground is overly saturated has nowhere else to go and starts flooding,” said Mike Mishima, DTRIC Insurance vice president. “Those would be what we consider a flood that would be covered by a flood insurance policy.”

There are two types of coverage. Building Flood Insurance covers things like electrical and plumbing damage, damage to walls, floors and most big appliances, while Content Flood Insurance covers things like clothing, furniture, electronics and valuables.

Properties in flood zones are more at-risk, but flooding can happen to any property when there is enough rain. Mishima suggests checking local flood maps to see where the home is located and then contacting an agent to find out more.

“An agent will probably have access to resources that could maybe determine, you know, what the risks are in the certain area. It is probably going to be based on historical information,” said Mishima.

Mishima said, preparation is key and there are a few things people should do before a storm happens. One thing is to take pictures of all the various rooms and items so it will be easier to recall everything that was lost if a flood does occur.

“Having those items are very helpful in the claim process, because it’ll substantiate your claim, you know you can back it up.”

Mike Mishima, DTRIC Insurance Vice President

He said, taking before and after pictures will also help a claim because then it will be easy to determine what damage was caused by the flood.

There are also mitigation practices that can be taken before a storm.

“If you can clean clear your yard, as far as like branches and stuff that might create like a dam situation like backup water and fluid directed into your home … Your rain gutters that are up on your roof, make sure that those are clean so you get proper drainage,” said Mark Harris, MD Restoration CEO.

For two-story homes, Mishima also suggests possibly moving valuables to the second floor in the event that flooding occurs on the first floor.

Visit this website for more information on flood insurance.

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