Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high...sits the beautiful islands of Hawaii. A major tourist and film destination, Hawaii is home to pristine beaches, plenty of surf and views that can’t be beat. But if you plan to settle down there, you should know that the islands do things a bit differently.
Not only does the state not participate in Daylight Savings Time, but they also have their own language! And the term “island time” isn’t just a tourist slogan; it’s the real deal. Hawaii sits in its own time zone (Hawaii–Aleutian Standard Time), and its residents take pride in the slower, more calm way of living they’ve cultivated on each and every island. But there is one thing Hawaii has in common with the mainland, and that's the need for home insurance.
Life on the other side of the rainbow is not without risks (including volcanic activity). Before you set your watch to island time, let us walk you through the process of getting homeowners insurance in Hawaii.
Homeowners insurance in Hawaii costs an average of $1,239 per year, the same price you’d pay for you and seven friends to swim with the sharks off the coast of the islands. While premiums in Hawaii are relatively inexpensive, don’t pack up your bags and move to the islands just yet.
Though you may save on home insurance premiums, the average price of a home in Hawaii runs over $700,000, a 150% increase from the national average of around $280,000. But the costs are well worth it as the islands have limited space, driving up the costs but also making each home much more valuable than a traditional house on the mainland.
If you’ve already planned your move or have lived on the islands for quite some time, you should know that your actual premium will vary. Factors that influence your premiums include where your home is located, its size and current condition. Any additional coverage you choose to add to your policy will change your premiums as well, though the extra cost can be well worth it for the risks involved in living on any one of Hawaii’s eight main islands. But more on that below.
Hawaii homeowners insurance will cover your dwelling, personal belongings and homeowner liability. But given the natural disasters this area is prone to (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic activity and flooding, to name a few), expanding your home insurance policy to include extra coverage is a neʻe akamai (Hawaiian for “smart move”). You can learn more about home insurance and lava flows from the Hawaii Insurance Division.
Insurance riders like flood, earthquake, wind and catastrophe insurance offer more protection from the elements while riders like scheduled personal property and equipment breakdown coverage extend your policy’s current protection on your belongings.
Hawaii law doesn’t require you to get hurricane insurance when buying a home. However, most mortgage lenders will as they want to ensure their financial investment has protection from the damaging effects of hurricanes and severe tropical storms. Even though hurricanes aren’t super common in this portion of the Pacific Ocean, even one storm can cause severe damage to your home and belongings, so getting extra protection is always a good idea. This way, you can sleep soundly knowing that you’ll be financially protected from whatever comes your way.
Living in paradise can be quite expensive. Not only are home prices high, but buying everyday essentials will cost you a pretty penny because many are imported from the mainland. To help offset this cost, there are things you can do to bring down your home insurance rates.
Lowering your home insurance premium is all about reducing your risk of making a claim. While prepping your home for high winds and hurricanes is a no-brainer, you can also install a variety of smart home devices that monitor the internal systems of your home.
In addition to these severe weather events, you should also take steps to prepare for hail season (another relatively uncommon but damaging event on the islands) to save you from a lot of headaches down the line. Once you’ve done all of these tasks, make sure to give your insurance provider a call to let them know about these updates. You might be surprised at how much you can save.
Though you may have heard that island time runs a bit slower than life on the mainland, Hawaii isn’t afraid to take chances. That includes bucking the norm to preserve and care for the environment. In fact, they were the first state in the U.S. to ban plastic bags, issuing a state-wide ban back in 2013.
Their concern in caring for others extends past the environment as well. To help homeowners of all kinds, they created the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to provide much-needed information on home insurance protection. The state also offers NFIP and FAIR Plans to their homeowners to ensure everyone has the coverage they need.
According to the National Weather Service, flash floods can occur at any time of the year in Hawaii. While floods are more common during Hawaii’s wet season, this propensity for heavy downpours means that getting flood insurance is essential. While you can’t get protection from floodwaters in a traditional home insurance policy, you can get it through the federally run National Flood Insurance Program.
Getting dropped from your insurance provider is no fun. It can be pretty stressful, especially if you can’t manage to get coverage anywhere else. That’s where Hawaii’s FAIR Plan comes in, run by HPIA, offering home insurance coverage to those who can’t get protection through traditional avenues.
Though we may not be experts in the Hawaiian language (at least not yet), we pride ourselves in translating confusing insurance terms into something everyone can understand. Ready to get insured, or just have some questions regarding what coverage you really need? Come say aloha and learn about homeowners insurance by giving us a call.