Insurance Tips on How to Prepare for Start of 2021 Hurricane Season
A leading provider of residential hurricane coverage in Hawaiʻi, Zephyr Insurance, is reminding residents and homeowners to start preparing for the 2021 hurricane season that begins on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
“Last year was challenging for our community, however we were fortunate that the 2020 Hurricane Season was mild in the Pacific and didn’t impact the Hawaiian Islands,” said Tim Johns, President and CEO of Zephyr Insurance. “Our mission is to help protect Hawaiʻi residents during times of disaster, and over the last year, we have been working hard to develop new policies and procedures that provide safer and more efficient ways for customers to engage with us.”
NOAA predicts a near-or below-normal 2021 Central Pacific hurricane season with 2-5 Tropical Cyclones. The information was shared as part of the annual Season Outlook, which calls for an 80 percent chance of a near or below normal season.
This number includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. Agency officials say this is a prediction, NOT a forecast of hurricane landfalls. A near-normal season has 4 or 5 tropical cyclones.
Zephyr Insurance recommends the following tips for preparing your home and family for Hawaiʻi’s 2021 Hurricane Season:
- Trim or remove damaged trees. Trees within close proximity to your home have the ability to rub or damage your roof when swaying in high winds.
- Check gutters and downspouts. Repair or clear to prevent potential roof damage and flooding.
- Check for leaks. Check doors, windows and walls for openings that could allow water to enter the home.
- Consider retro-fitting to secure and reinforce the roof. Hurricane clips work by further strengthening the bond between the roof and the walls of your home.
- Update your disaster supplies kit. Have a dedicated disaster supplies kit with enough supplies to last 14 days. Recommended items include a supply of water (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable packaged or canned food, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, flashlight, updated list of family contacts and physicians, candles, and more.
- Review insurance policies. The moment a hurricane watch or warning is issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, portions of your homeowners insurance shut off and your hurricane insurance is activated. Having hurricane insurance means you’ll be reimbursed for your covered losses in the event your home is damaged due to a hurricane.
- Take photos of your home. Take the time to walk around your property and take photos to use as proof of the condition of your home prior to potential hurricane damage. This will be useful if you need to file a claim.
Launched in 2020 as a safety precaution, Zephyr Insurance policyholders can now schedule a virtual inspection, in lieu of the traditional in-person inspection, in the event their home sustains damage as a result of a hurricane.
“During a time when health and safety is everyone’s top priority, our new virtual inspections offer a safe and convenient way for our policyholders to manage the claims process with no physical contact needed,” said Johns.
The virtual inspection technology, Claim Xperience, allows the customer to guide a licensed adjuster around their home with the use of a mobile device camera to capture photos and videos of the sustained damage. The photos and videos are immediately secured by GPS information and used to create a photo report of damages. A virtual inspection can be scheduled with an adjuster, within 24 hours of an initial loss report.
Residents should be aware of the three types of insurance policies they may have on their home:
- Homeowners Insurance: Provides coverage for damage to your house, any permanent structures on your property and personal items. Most policies exclude damage caused by hurricanes and floods. In Hawaiʻi, if you carry a mortgage on your home you are required to have homeowners insurance.
- Hurricane Insurance: If you have a mortgage on your home, you are also required to have hurricane insurance coverage. This is a separate policy that provides coverage for damage to you home that is caused by hurricane winds. The policy does not cover flooding from streams or other following water.
- Flood Insurance: Having a flood insurance policy will provide coverage for damage caused by storm surges, overflowing streams and other types of flowing water. This is additional coverage, especially if it is not included under your homeowners insurance.