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Here's how to stay financially prepared for flood damage

Flooding on Kauaʻi in April 2018.
Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson
U.S. Army
Flooding on Kauaʻi in April 2018.

Recent flooding in Mississippi and other parts of the country serves as a reminder to Hawaiʻi homeowners to make sure they’re as prepared as possible for water-related emergencies.

Flooding can be one of the more damaging events in our lives, says Frank Mansell with FEMA’s Region 9 office in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Just an inch of water will cause at least $26,000 in damages to a home, he says. Hawaiʻi’s hurricane season lasts until November, so it’s more important than ever to be prepared.

"Your largest investment is your mortgage. And even if there's a flooding event that does not reach the catastrophic proportion that would result in a presidential declaration, you can cover yourself much better with flood insurance," Mansell told HPR.

"It's one of the best things that we invite people to do in addition to building a Financial Toolkit, and the Financial Toolkit will include all the documents you need to help you recover," he said. "You're going to lose documents in a flood more often than not, and the better prepared you are, the better you are in the position to recover faster."

"I think back to July when we saw the ultimate wedding crasher that hit the national news here. It was just amazing to have a swell coming over a two-story condominium or make a wedding perfectly wet, and they just seem to come out of nowhere. And I'm not sure that we're not going to see more of this type of activity," Mansell added.

He says Hawaiʻi is one of the most insured places in the nation. If you're not insured, Mansell says the National Flood Insurance Program website can help you assess your risk.

Learn more about getting insured at floodsmart.gov.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 6, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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