Volcanic eruption coverage: What is & isn't covered by homeowners insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by volcanic eruptions, including losses from the initial blast, lava flow, and any resulting ash or dust.

Kara McGinleyPat Howard 1600

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior 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.

&Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Updated|3 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for property damage caused by a volcanic eruption. This means that regardless of whether your home was damaged during the initial volcanic blast or the residual ash or lava flow, insurance will help cover the cost of replacement or repairs.

However, most policies won't cover damage due to earthquakes, landslides, or mudflow — even if the volcanic eruption occurred first. Read on to learn more about how homeowners insurance protects against volcano damage.

Ready to shop for volcanic eruption coverage?

Start calculator

Does homeowners insurance cover volcanic eruptions?

In short, yes, a standard policy will cover any damage that directly results from a volcanic eruption. Here's a rundown of the different types of volcano-related losses you're covered against, and how you're protected under your homeowners insurance.

Blast and shockwaves

If a volcanic explosion damages the structure of your home, your policy can help pay to repair or rebuild it. If the explosion sends projectiles toward your home and damages the siding, you’d also be covered for repairs. 

Ash and dust

If ash or dust builds up on your property after a volcanic eruption and it causes damage to your home or belongings, your policy can help cover the cost of repairs. However, homes near active volcanoes, such as parts of Alaska or Hawaii, generally have limited ash or dust removal coverage.

Fire

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

Lava flow

If lava flow damages your home, whether or not you're covered will depend on the type of damage that occurred. Most policies will cover lava damage that occurs while it's still in liquid form, but damaged caused by hardened lava generally is not covered.

Learn more >> What does homeowners insurance cover?

When does homeowners insurance not cover volcano damage?

Homeowners insurance doesn't cover damage caused by earthquakes, landslides, mudflow, or any other type of earth movement that isn't the volcanic eruption itself.

Earthquake

Homeowners insurance excludes coverage for earthquake damage, regardless of whether or not the quake was caused by the volcanic eruption. If you live in a high-risk area, you'll want to consider purchasing earthquake insurance. This coverage can be often be added to your homeowners insurance as an optional add-on or purchased as a standalone policy.

Volcanic effusion

Volcanic effusion, or the combination of volcanic water and mud, can caused extensive damage to your home’s foundation and structure. Unfortunately, it's not covered by home insurance, but most flood insurance policies do cover this specific type of damage.

Gradual losses

Homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover damage that happens over an extended period time — as this is considered a matter of home upkeep and maintenance. That means if lava gradually flows onto your property and solidifies, insurance likely won't cover repair or removal costs.

Learn more >> Home insurance policy exclusions

Ready to shop for volcanic eruption coverage?

Start calculator

How to file a claim for volcano damage

If your house is damaged by or during the aftermath of a volcanic eruption and you'd like to be reimbursed for the loss, follow these steps:

  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 >> How to file a claim after a natural disaster

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.

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. [1]  

Rank

Volcano name

State

Overall threat score

Last eruption

1

Kīlauea

Hawaii

263

December 2020

2

Mount St. Helens

Washington

235

May 1980

3

Mount Rainier

Washington

203

1894

4

Redoubt Volcano

Alaska

201

March 2009

5

Mount Shasta

California

178

May 1914

6

Mount Hood

Oregon

178

September 1865

7

Three Sisters

Oregon

165

2,200 years ago

8

Akutan Island

Alaska

161

December 1992

9

Makushin Volcano

Alaska

161

January 1995

10

Mount Spurr

Alaska

160

June 1992

Ready to shop for volcanic eruption coverage?

Start calculator

Frequently asked questions

Can I purchase separate volcano insurance?

While there’s no such thing as volcano insurance, a solid home insurance policy can often provide all of the protection you need in the event of a volcanic eruption. If earthquakes and mudslides are an important consideration where you live, you may want to consider additional earthquake or flood insurance coverage as well.

Do I need volcano insurance in Hawaii?

The islands of Hawaii and Maui have six active volcanoes, including the largest active volcano on earth, called Mauna Loa. 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 home insurance coverage in Hawaii, you may need to buy a policy through the Hawaii Property Insurance Association (HPIA), which is Hawaii’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan. FAIR Plans are designed to provide coverage for homeowners in high-risk areas that don’t qualify for standard home insurance. 

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.

Do I need volcano insurance in Alaska?

Like Hawaii, homeowners in certain parts of Alaska are also at high risk of volcanic eruption losses. 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. 

References

dropdown arrow

Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. U.S. Geological Survey

    . "

    2018 Update to the U.S. Geological Survey National Volcanic Threat Assessment

    ." Accessed April 25, 2022.

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Kara McGinley is a senior 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.

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray twitter icon linkgray linkedin icon link

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Questions about this page? Email us at .