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Do You Have the Right Insurance for Hawaii Hurricane Season?


Before hurricane season blows into Hawaii, it’s a good time to check your insurance coverages to be sure you’re adequately protected against the risk of possible damage to your home caused by rain, wind and flooding. It’s important to understand the differences between homeowners, flood and hurricane insurance and how they will protect you in common claims scenarios.

Cause of Damage

Homeowners Insurance



Rain or Wind Less Than 74 mph

Generally covered – up to policy terms/limits

Not covered

Not covered

Rain or Wind More Than 74 mph

Not covered

Not covered

Covered – up to policy terms/limits

Surface Water, Tidal Wave or Mudflow

Generally, not covered

Covered – up to policy terms/limits

Not covered


Homeowners Insurance

While homeowners insurance is not required by law, mortgage lenders generally require homeowners to maintain coverage. It typically includes four different protections:

  1. Dwelling coverage for the house structure.
  2. Personal property coverage for items inside the home.
  3. Additional living expenses to help pay for the cost of another place to live while repairs are made to damages cause by a covered loss.
  4. Liability insurance in case someone is hurt on your property or harmed by your actions.

Homeowners insurance policies vary in how they respond to perils. Some provide coverage for specifically named perils, while others cover all possible causes of loss except for those specifically excluded.

Homeowners coverage usually insures damages to the residence caused by wind and rain if the wind speed, as determined by the National Weather Service, was less than 74 miles per hour. Damages caused to the residence by wind speed exceeding 74 miles per hour are generally not covered by homeowners insurance. Separate hurricane insurance would be needed for these damages.

In addition, damages to a residence caused by flooding, as defined below, are generally not covered by homeowners insurance and also require a separate policy.

Flood Insurance

For residential insurance coverage, a flood is usually defined as an excess of water on normally dry land affecting at least 2 acres on at least two properties. This would include inflow from inland or tidal waters and mudflow. As noted above, flood damages are generally not covered by homeowners insurance. Federally-regulated lenders require this coverage.

Specific damages that are usually covered by flood insurance include damage to the building and foundation, air conditioning equipment, appliances, carpeting, installed paneling, blinds and debris removal. Coverage for items in a basement are usually specifically named, as well as coverage for basement cleanup expenses. Contents coverage for personal belongings can also be purchased separately.

Flood insurance can be obtained in Hawaii through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is underwritten and administered by the federal government. First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH) is a participant in this program and is the largest writer of this coverage in Hawaii. Learn more and download the FEMA Fact Sheet.

Hurricane Insurance

For residential insurance coverage, a hurricane is generally defined as an event resulting in damage caused by wind and rain where wind speeds exceed 73 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. In Hawaii, hurricane insurance is typically excluded from homeowners insurance policies and must be purchased separately.

Hurricane insurance covers damages due to hurricane speed winds and rain but does not cover flood damage. Some lenders for Hawaii residences may require hurricane insurance. Hurricane coverages are distinctive in that their deductibles are usually based on a percentage of the total coverage rather than a flat dollar amount.

Prepare Now

Don’t wait for the first major storm! The time to secure coverage is now. With the cost of labor and materials on the rise, it’s especially important this year. For additional questions about any of the coverages discussed above, contact a FICOH agent.