While having a homeowner’s policy is certainly valuable and often mandatory if your home is financed, homeowner’s insurance does not cover volcanic eruptions per se. Volcanic effusion, or the water and mud created in an eruption, and the molten lava that may ooze, are often not qualifying circumstances for insurance to kick in. If your home gets caught in the aftermath of a volcanic blast, this lack of coverage is unfortunate. But there are some types of damage that may be covered in relation to your volcano woes.
What kinds of property damage can occur from volcanic eruptions?
Aside from the risk of molten lava sweeping your home away or a similarly drastic event, there is an array of types of damage a volcanic eruption can cause. These include the following:
- Airborne shock waves
- Ash accumulation
- Fallen rock or other large debris
- Poisonous gases
- Smoke damage
- Water contamination
The potential damages from a volcanic eruption can range from severe to minor. The damage is nonetheless through no fault of your own, and it’s natural to seek financial relief when faced with losses of this nature. Volcanic eruption damage is rare, and homeowner’s insurance rarely addresses these issues overtly. An exception is in areas with high volcanic activity, such as in Hawaii. In such regions, insurance companies may offer more protections against volcanic eruptions and include related verbiage in policies.
Tip: While volcanic eruptions often do not appear in the verbiage of a homeowner’s policy, this does not automatically mean they are not a qualifying event. Always check with your homeowner’s insurance agent before assuming that damage to your home is not protected.
How does homeowner’s insurance cover volcanic eruptions indirectly?
In many situations, the property damage that ensues after a volcanic eruption can be attributed to a related event. While volcanic eruptions may not be named within a homeowner’s insurance policy, the related event may be explicitly covered. This allows an indirect method for homeowner’s insurance to cover volcanic eruptions.
For instance, if a volcanic eruption catapults boulders onto your home, you will likely be reimbursed for the damage. That is because most homeowner’s policies have fallen objects as qualifying events for coverage. So, it doesn’t matter if a volcano sent the boulder into motion or it fell out of an airplane. Either way, you get financial relief.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter what causes fire or smoke damage. As long as you didn’t set the fire, your homeowner’s insurance kicks in. If you have additional flood or earthquake insurance beyond standard homeowner’s insurance coverage, damage of that nature following a volcanic eruption can be covered.
There are some things that are not covered under homeowner’s insurance in relation to volcanic eruptions. Ash accumulation is perhaps the most common type of damage caused by erupting volcanoes, but insurance is unlikely to help with the removal or cleanup.
Fortunately, homeowners rarely must contend such issues related to volcanos. While there are about 169 active volcanoes in the United States, only a handful of them may erupt in a lifetime. Most of these are in Alaska and Hawaii, with some of those continuously erupting, so people know to avoid building in these areas.