Q

Does homeowners insurance cover volcanic eruptions?

A

Homeowners insurance covers many types of damage caused by volcanic eruptions, including the blast itself, lava, and any resulting fires. Damage from earthquakes or tremors associated with the eruption is not covered.

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A basic homeowners insurance policy covers certain types of damage related to volcanic eruptions, like airborne shockwaves, ash, and any fires or explosions caused by the blast. That means if lava flow causes your house to catch fire, your policy can help pay to rebuild your home and replace any damaged personal belongings. 

However, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by earthquakes, land tremors, or landslides, even when caused by volcanic eruptions. Your policy may also have limited coverage for ash and volcanic debris removal if you live in a high-risk state like Hawaii. If you live in a state with active volcanoes, be sure to check with your insurer about how volcanic property damage is covered under your policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance covers different types of volcano-related damage if it directly damages your property, like if lava flow results in a house fire or if the rocks and debris from an eruption damage your roof

  • A typical policy does not cover earthquake damage, even when caused by a volcanic eruption. To cover damage caused by volcanic quakes, you’ll need to add earthquake coverage to your policy or purchase separate earthquake insurance

  • If you live in a state with active volcanoes, like Alaska or Hawaii, check with your insurer about any additional coverage you may need

When does homeowners insurance cover volcanic eruptions?

Homeowners insurance can help cover the costs if your home or personal belongings are destroyed by any of the following volcano-related damages.

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 the insurance company, you may 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.

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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 help cover the cost of additional living expenses, like a hotel stay, 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. 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 solidifies and hardens and damages your home’s structure, your claim would likely be denied. 

Can I get volcano insurance?

There’s no such thing as a standalone volcano insurance policy in the United States. When purchasing homeowners insurance, make sure you check with your insurer about what volcano-related damage is and isn’t covered, especially if you live in a state with active volcanoes.

Volcano insurance in Hawaii

The islands of Hawaii and Maui have six active volcanoes, including the biggest 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’re having trouble finding a homeowners policy on the private marketplace, you may qualify for coverage through the Hawaii Property Insurance Association (HPIA). [2] HPIA is 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 homeowners insurance. 

Volcano insurance in Alaska 

Like Hawaii, homeowners in Alaska are at risk for volcanic eruptions. Alaska doesn’t offer a FAIR Plan, so if you live near a volcano, speak with your insurance company to see if they offer any additional volcano-related coverage that you can add to your policy for enhanced protection. 

When does homeowners insurance not cover volcanic eruptions?

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.

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