debris (including ash, dust and particles)
and smoke damage also result from volcanic activity. Such damage can give rise
to claims under a property, personal or
In principal, volcanic activity is an insurable
risk affecting several kinds of coverage.
Lava creeping towards a house will set
it on fire. Efforts to pump seawater onto
the lava to cool or redirect it are not always successful; however, fire is a standard covered peril.
Most homeowners, renters and business policies provide coverage for property loss caused by a volcanic blast, airborne shockwaves, ash, dust, lava flow,
fire or explosion. If occupants are evacuated, property damage resulting from
vandalism or caused by looters will also
If the insured has a comprehensive auto
policy, losses from lava flow will be covered, while damage caused by ash (such
as a roof caving in from the weight of the
ash or an engine being ruined by the ash)
is also covered under most policies. However, ash cleanup, damage to land, trees,
lawns and other property is not covered.
Business interruption coverage is
generally an endorsement added to an
owner’s policy and any losses must result
from suspended operations, an inability
to access the building, or a governmental
closure of the area in order for coverage
Extended exposure to ash or smoke
Volcano Claims and Coverage
Volcanoes are generally not considered when discussing insurance risks. They tend to be in more remote areas, there is no volcano season and unless they erupt spectacularly, not
much attention is paid to them.
...it has been estimated
that around 500 million
people currently live
near an active volcano.
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia - Volcano eruption, Village Klyuchi. 6/7/2016. The
volcano of Klyuchevskaya sopka is the highest active volcano of Eurasia.
GENNADY TEPLI TSKI Y / Shutterstock, Inc.
Hawaii has many volcanoes that are
tourist attractions, and it has been estimated that around 500 million people
currently live near an active volcano.
However, unlike hurricanes, predicting
an eruption is tricky. Although scientists
can view continuously-gathered satellite
data; record internal and external temperatures and seismic activity; monitor
magma accumulation, volcanic gas, and
deformation; whether or not that volcano
will even erupt in this lifetime is completely unknown.
While volcanic activity is fairly infre-
quent, volcanoes can cause inordinate
amounts of property damage per occur-
rence because of their unpredictable na-
ture. In 2010, a volcano erupted in Ice-
land. It spewed ash several miles into the
air, disrupting European air traffic for six
days in April and again in May, generat-
ing earthquakes and electrical storms. Its
impact was short-lived and it was consid-
ered dormant by August.
Volcanoes that have become tourist
destinations have their own risks, particularly for the surrounding infrastructure,
since even a small eruption can cause
significant property damage. Volcanoes
generate earthquakes before, during and
after eruptions, and may occur months or
years before there is activity.
The fertile soil surrounding a volcano
makes it highly productive agriculturally,
and a large eruption can destroy residential buildings, contents, crops, livestock
and agricultural buildings.
Following an eruption, flowing lava can
travel great distances, burning, burying
or damaging anything in its path. Earthquakes, earth movement, flash floods,
mud slides, rock falls, fires, explosions,