HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Homeowners and businesses along the South facing shores of Oahu (Kaena Point to Portlock) and Kauai may soon be required by law to purchase flood insurance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will soon adopt new maps identifying high hazard flood zones. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of homes that are not currently in high risk flood areas will be re-classified into high risk areas.
"So for those folks who have a federally backed mortgage, they will be notified that they will have to purchase flood insurance" said Carol Tyau-Beam, an engineer with the Depatment of Land and Natural Resources.
Homeowners who have a mortgage with a federally insured lender will be required by law to purchase flood insurance if their property falls within one of the new high risk zones.
"We encourage you to work with your insurance agent. There are many many insurance agents that write flood policies," said Eric Simmons, FEMA engineer.
The new Kauai maps take effect November 26. People whose insurance risk has increased are supposed to have acquired flood coverage by then. Property owners on Kauai who do not get proper coverage by November 26 will be contacted by their lender informing them they have 45 days to get the required insurance.
The new Oahu maps take effect January 19.
FEMA is only looking at the South facing shores because those areas are most susceptible to flooding associated with hurricane storm surge.
Maps for the Southern portions of Maui and the Big Island are still in the works.
People can find out which flood zone they live in by looking at the maps at the following web address, http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat/.