Does homeowners insurance cover volcanic eruptions?

Yes, homeowners insurance covers volcanic eruptions, including damage caused by the blast itself, as well as fire, ash, dust, and lava flow.

Kara McGinley

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Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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Your standard homeowners insurance policy covers certain types of damage caused by volcanic eruptions, like fire, ash, dust, lava, and explosions caused by the blast. That means if lava flow causes your house to catch fire, your policy will pay for the damage to your home and belongings. However, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by earthquakes, land tremors, or landslides that are caused by volcanic eruptions. 

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What volcanic eruption damage is covered by home insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers the following types of damage caused by volcanic eruptions:

Ash and dust damage

If a volcanic eruption leads to direct ash and dust damage to your home and belongings — like if ash buildup causes your roof to collapse — your policy can help cover repairs. Depending on your insurance company, you may also be covered for some ash removal. But if you live near active volcanoes, like in parts of Alaska or Hawaii, your insurer may only cover a limited amount of debris removal costs.

Fire damage

If a volcanic eruption causes a house fire, homeowners insurance can help pay to rebuild your home. If your home is significantly damaged and becomes unsafe to live in, your policy can also help cover the cost to stay elsewhere while your home is being repaired. 

Explosions and airborne shockwaves

If a volcanic explosion damages the structure of your home, your policy can help pay to rebuild it. And if the explosion sends falling objects — like rocks — onto your roof, you’d also be covered for repairs. 

Certain types of damage caused by lava flow

If lava flow damages your home, the extent of coverage will vary by company. If the lava is in liquid form, you’ll likely be covered for repairs. However, if the lava hardens and damages your home’s structure, your claim would likely be denied. 

What volcanic eruption damage is NOT covered by home insurance?

Volcanic eruptions can also lead to property damage that isn’t covered by homeowners insurance, including: 

Earthquake damage or earth movement

Homeowners insurance excludes coverage for earthquake damage, even if the earthquake was caused by a volcanic eruption. Earthquake insurance can be purchased as an optional add-on to your homeowners insurance or as a separate policy. 

Volcanic effusion

Volcanic effusion is the combination of volcanic water and mud, and it can damage your home’s foundation and structure. Volcanic effusion is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, but it is covered under flood insurance. You can buy a standalone flood insurance policy to protect yourself from volcanic effusion and other types of flood damage. 

Damage that occurs over time

Homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover damage that happens over time. That means if lava gradually flows onto your property and solidifies, you likely won't be covered for repair or removal costs.

Can I buy separate “volcano insurance”?

No, there’s no such thing as “volcano insurance.” You’ll need to rely on your standard home insurance policy, as well as added earthquake and flood coverage to ensure you’re fully protected against all of the threats that come with volcanoes.

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Volcano insurance in Hawaii

The islands of Hawaii and Maui have six active volcanoes, including the largest active volcano on earth, called Mauna Loa. [1] If you live near one of these volcanoes, it may be difficult to find coverage because your home is so at risk for volcano-related damage. 

If you’ve been denied coverage by traditional home insurance companies in Hawaii, you may need to buy a policy through the Hawaii Property Insurance Association (HPIA) — Hawaii’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. FAIR Plans are designed to provide coverage for homeowners in high-risk areas that don’t qualify for standard home insurance. 

Volcano insurance in Alaska 

Like Hawaii, homeowners in Alaska are also at greater risk of volcanic eruptions. Alaska doesn’t offer a FAIR Plan, so if you live near a volcano, speak with a Policygenius licensed agent to see if there’s any additional volcano-related coverage that you can add to your policy for enhanced protection. 

How to file a home insurance claim after a volcanic eruption

Follow these steps if your home’s been damaged by a volcanic eruption and you need to file a home insurance claim:

  1. Document all of the damage. Take photographs of all of the damage — it will help provide evidence when you file your claim. Refrain from throwing away anything that’s damaged, as that will also help support your claim.

  2. Take measures to ensure your house is safe to return to. This means removing any ash or dust from your roof and gutters before it accumulates and causes damage. Steer clear of any parts of your home that appear structurally unsound — you’ll want a professional to assess the damage to ensure it’s safe to return to.

  3. Contact your insurance company. They’ll let you know how to begin the claims process, including what documents you need to fill out. When they’ve received all of the paperwork, they’ll send an adjuster to your home to assess the damage and determine your claim settlement.

  4. Repair your home and replace your belongings. You’ll likely receive multiple checks from your insurance company — one for the repairs to the structure of your home, one for additional living expenses if you can’t live there during repairs, and one for your personal property.

→Learn more about how to file a claim after a natural disaster

Top 10 most dangerous volcanoes in the U.S. 

Homeowners in five states — Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, California, and Oregon — are at the greatest risk of danger from a volcanic eruption. Below are the 10 volcanoes in the U.S. with the highest threat level, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. [2]  

RankName of volcanoStateOverall threat scoreLast eruption
1KīlaueaHawaii263December 2020
2Mount St. HelensWashington235May 1980
3Mount RainierWashington2031894
4Redoubt VolcanoAlaska201March 2009
5Mount ShastaCalifornia178May 1914
6Mount HoodOregon178September 1865
7Three SistersOregon1652,200 years ago
8Akutan IslandAlaska161December 1992
9Makushin VolcanoAlaska161January 1995
10Mount SpurrAlaska160June 1992

How to find your home’s risk of damage from volcanic eruption

You can visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards hub to sign up for volcano activity notifications and see an interactive map of all of the potentially active volcanoes in the U.S. They also have long-term hazards assessments for areas at risk of volcanic activity along with eruption preparedness plans.

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Frequently asked questions

Does earthquake insurance cover volcanoes?

Earthquake insurance covers damage from earth movement caused by a volcano, including tremors, landslides, and aftershocks.

Is it possible to volcano-proof a house?

One way to make your home more resilient in the event of a volcanic eruption is to reinforce your roof with a steep pitch to prevent ash from building up and causing it to collapse.