Buying Coverage in the Islands of Aloha
Without question, Hawaii is a tropical paradise. Residents enjoy breathtaking scenery and balmy temperatures year round. However, islands homeowners pay quite a price for the beauty that surrounds them. The state has a propensity for several natural disasters, including flash floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. These frequent perils present additional risk to residents and insurers, which is why the state has higher house premiums than most other states in the country. For tips on protecting your house adequately while keeping your premiums affordable, read our guide.
Perils Unique to The Islands of Aloha
The islands are prone to a number of natural disasters that residents in other states do not have worry about. Homeowners must consider these common and rather severe perils when structuring their coverage. Below, we've provided a summary of the perils unique to the state along with suggestions on how homeowners can protect themselves from related losses.
- Flooding. A standard plan will not look after this type of damage, which is a major problem for residents. Certain portions of the islands are prone to flash flooding when heavy rains occur. If you live near a river or other flood-prone area, you should add this coverage to your policy to protect yourself.
- Hurricanes. The area is no stranger to tropical cyclones, and homeowners should prepare accordingly. If your dwelling is damaged by hurricane winds, your standard policy should cover it. However, if your house is damaged by hurricane-related flooding, the event will not be protected unless you carry this element.
- Earthquakes. The earthquakes in Hawaii are frequent, relatively small, and usually related to the area's volcanic eruptions. Your house insurance policy will not look after earthquake damage unless you carry a separate policy for the peril.
- Volcanic eruptions. Volcanic activity poses a threat to houses in several forms: lava flow, ash falls, lahars, pyroclastic density currents, and avalanches of debris. Volcanic eruptions are one of the named perils that are covered by most policies, but some insurers may exclude this peril when issuing a plan. Make sure you ask your insurer if volcanic eruptions and related threats are included in your policy.
- Tsunamis. This is the most tsunami-prone state in the U.S. On average, the islands record one tsunami each year. Policies will not cover flooding that results from a tsunami, so, again, residents will need to purchase this coverage to stay fully protected.
Additional Resources to Consider
For additional information, residents can consult the website of Hawaii's Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs. The Department of Commerce oversees the industry. The insurance division of the Department of Commerce issues licenses to providers, agents, and brokers; reviews the financial condition of local insurers; investigates complaints; and evaluates premiums and policies. On the Department of Commerce site, consumers can find general information on house insurance, file a complaint against an insurer, and compare premiums and complaint ratios for different insurers.