I’ve been fascinated watching the news on the Kilauea volcano eruption and its lava flows from the 17 or so vents that have opened across the area. It’s amazing to see the lava sprays and flows as it moves downhill through the forests and into populated areas. I can’t imagine what the people living in the area are going through wondering and waiting to see if their homes and anything else they left behind will be there once the volcanic activity subsides. One of the things I’ve wondered about is if home insurance covers such a force of nature as it’s engulfed about 25 homes and 10 other structures so far.
Gordon Ito, Hawaii’s insurance commissioner assured homeowners that their home insurance covers damage and destruction from lava flows. Hawaii insurance views damage and loss to a lava flow as fire damage. All the damage sustained thus far has been due to lava flow, not from the earthquake that preceded Kilauea’s current eruption.
This would also apply if there is a violent explosion of Kilauea where it shoots blocks of lava into the air that could fall on the homes surrounding the volcano and causing more fires. Some volcanologists have speculated an explosion of that nature could shoot rocks as large as refrigerators into the air causing substantial damage to the 1000 homes surrounding Kilauea with pebble sized rocks and ash falling on homes and businesses further away. As long as homeowners have coverage for falling objects that don’t cause fires, they’ll be covered. The only thing residents’ home insurance policies don’t cover is earthquake damage. They would need to have earthquake insurance to protect against that kind of damage.
It is doubtful Texans will ever have to worry about lava flows engulfing our homes or businesses. There are no active volcanoes in Texas. I was, however, surprised to learn Texas does have around 75 extinct Cretaceous Period volcanoes located throughout central Texas between Waco, Austin, San Antonio and down to Del Rio.
The most famous one is Pilot Knob located about 8 miles south of Central Austin near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and McKinney Falls State Park. It’s doubtful Pilot Knob or any of the other extinct volcanoes will erupt and cause us to question if our home insurance policies will protect against lava flow, but it does make you wonder!
What do you think? Share your thoughts, questions, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!