HONOLULU (KHON2) — With April being Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii it’s a good time to double check your coverage.
Tsunamis can take place at any time of the day and sometimes with little to no warning. Unlike hurricanes there can sometimes not be a reason for a tsunami as they can happen all year round.
This is especially true in Hawaii, because while some tsunamis are in fact caused by earthquakes, Hawaii’s location in the center of the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis.
Vice President and Chief Claims Officer Mike Mishima with DTRIC Insurance Company, Limited (DTRIC) said the state marks Tsunami Awareness Month each April to encourage residents to be aware of the dangers presented by tsunamis and develop a plan.
“With the recent earthquakes and related tsunami alerts during the past year, we want the public to take steps to ensure their safety should another tsunami strike the islands,” said DTRIC Vice President and Chief Claims Officer Mike Mishima.
Mishima said homeowners need to first check if they reside in a flood zone. If they do, then they need to reach out to their insurance agent to make sure they have the correct insurance to cover their belongings in case of a flood or tsunami.
Even if your house is not in a “flood risk zone” you can still opt to get better flood insurance guaranteeing you are covered if a natural disaster occurs. He said a lot of times if you are not in a risk zone it is not mandatory to have flood insurance. Meaning if your house is impacted by a Tsunami you might not be covered.
He said tsunamis have previously struck the Hawaiian Islands, the most devastating of those in recent history being in 1946 and 1960. April is the anniversary month of the 1946 tsunami that struck Hawaii Island, causing major loss of life and property damage.
“While better technology has helped emergency officials in accurately tracking potential tsunamis impacting our state, you still may have only minutes to evacuate following a tsunami warning,” Mishima said. “Being prepared before a tsunami or other natural disaster will not only save you time, but it will also save you from unnecessary stress during an already stressful situation.”
Mishima said families should have a family evacuation and community plan in place beforehand. For instance, taking videos or pictures of each room to use as reference if they need to make claims.
He said it’s hard for families to try and claim lost or damaged belongings if they do not have record of it.
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Something you can do to prepare for a natural disaster like a tsunami is write down serial numbers of furniture, have duplicates of important documents or even have a separate hard drive of your belongings.