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Netizen 24 AUS: Worried Hawaii homeowners want to know: Am I covered if a volcano burns down my house?

Posted by On 7:30 AM

Worried Hawaii homeowners want to know: Am I covered if a volcano burns down my house?

Worried Hawaii homeowners want to know: Am I covered if a volcano burns down my house?CLOSE

Nearly 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting almost two weeks ago. A fissure that opened Sunday led authorities to order 10 people to flee their homes, Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe said. (May 15)

HONOLULU â€" Patricia Deter moved from Oregon to Hawaii to be closer to her two daughters, but the Kilauea volcano burned down her home only a month after she bought it.

Now Deter and her family, along others who have recently lost homes to the lava-spewing mountain, are on an urgent quest for answers about insurance, desperate to learn whether their coverage will offer any help after molten rock wiped out most of wh at they owned.

The eruption has destroyed about two dozen homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island. On Monday, another fissure spewing lava and toxic gas opened up, and a crack in the earth that emerged a day earlier was sending molten rock crawling toward the ocean, officials said. Nearly 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon blow its top with a massive steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash miles into the sky.

Because the community sits in a zone deemed by the U.S. Geological Survey to have a high risk of lava, few insurance companies will issues policies there.

But homeowners are not without options. One possibility is the Hawaii Property Insurance Association, a nonprofit collection of insurance companies created by state lawmakers in 1991 to provide basic property insurance for people who are unable to buy coverage in the private market.

More: 19 lava outbreaks, a jungle ablaze and a Hawaii volcano still poised to explode

More: Hawaii volcano has community under siege from lava flow: Here's what we know

More: You can't stop lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano with water, bombs or walls. Here's why.

The horror of seeing houses turned to ash has motivated some people who went without insurance to scramble to purchase a policy. The association announced last week that it would issue policies to uninsured homeowners in the affected area â€" but they will have to wait six months.

Some homeowners believe fire coverage will suffice for homes burned by fire from the lava. And a list of frequently asked questions from the Hawaii Insurance Division supports that idea, saying that lava damage may be covered “as a fire peril.”

However, there are exceptions. Judy Moa, an insurance broker who specializes in catastrophic coverage for Hawaii, sai d if a policy specifically excludes lava damage, then a policy’s fire coverage would not apply.

“The cause of damage is lava at the end of the day,” she said. “If lava came down the hill, and they have lava exclusion and trees catch fire, which burn the house, that’s not covered.”

Some homeowners forgo policies that include lava coverage because they can cost more than $3,000 per year, said Moa, who has fielded many calls from anxious homeowners.

The same insurance questions haunt people whose homes are standing but could still be torched by future lava flows.

Evacuees leave dangerous Hawaiian volcano area Fullscreen

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A lava flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood smokes and emits fumes as it consumes the surrounding jungle on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen A lava flow ne ar the Leilani Estates neighborhood smokes and emits fumes as it consumes the surrounding jungle on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen Fumes from the lava flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood have killed surrounding vegetation in this photo taken Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen The Puna Geothermal Venture power plant sits in the jungle near the lava flows running through the Leilani Estates neighborhood. Area residents worried the geothermal plant would be damaged by the lava, setting ablaze the liquid used to transfer heat energy to the generators. Fullscreen A lava flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood smokes and emits fumes as it consumes the surrounding jungle on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen An island of vegetation sits amidst an old lava flow near Pahoa, Hawaii. This area is known for suffering frequent lava flows that destroy homes. Fullscreen Backed by the towering cloud of smoke and steam, the Pahoa Chiropractic Center proudly tells residents that the doctor has no plans to leave despite the mandatory evacuation of a nearby neighborhood. Fullscreen Evacuees from the Pahoa-area lava flow pass through a police checkpoint to return to their homes, which are near the ongoing lava flow. Fullscreen Kapua Freitas, 8, left, and Audri Agonias, 7, carry a tote filled with cold drinks to people waiting at the lava evacuation center in Pahoa, Hawaii, on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen A lava flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood smokes and emits fumes as it consumes the surrounding jungle on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen Fumes from the lava flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood have killed surrounding vegetation in this photo taken Sunday, May 13, 2018. Fullscreen An old road that once ran to a now-destroyed neighborhood near Pahoa, Hawaii is slowly disappearing into the jungle after it was partially covered with lava and abandoned in a decades-ago lava flow. Fullscreen This is an aerial view of the 1000-foot long fissure that erupted on Kilauea's east rift zone near Pahoa, Hawaii on May 13, 2018. Ground cracks and seismicity indicate a continued easterly migration. Eighteen fissures have been reported in and around Lei lani Estates. Kilauea is the most active volcano on the Hawaii's Big Island and some experts predict the volcanic activity could cause a massive explosion. Fullscreen Gases rise from lava fissure 17 after it erupted early on May 13 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. The new fissure spurred Hawaii officials to call for more evacuations on Sunday as residents braced for an expected eruption from the Kilauea volcano. Fullscreen Police block a road near lava fissure 17 after it erupted early on May 13, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lava flows at a new fissure in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island as a local resident walks nearby after taking photos on May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowe ring of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater Ã'has raised the potential for explosive eruptionsÃ" at the volcano. Authorities have confirmed the fissure is the 16th to open. Fullscreen A handout photo made available by the Hawaii County Fire Department shows and aerial view of fissure 16 ,bottom, located about 1.3 km northeast of fissure 15, top left, near Leilani Estate, Hawaii on May 12, 2018. Sixteen fissures have been reported in and around Leilani Estate. Kilauea is the most active volcano on the Hawaii's Big Island and some experts predict the volcanic activity could cause a massive explosion in the coming weeks. Fullscreen A local resident talks on his phone as a lava fissure erupts in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lava flows at a lava fissure in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen A lava fissure erupts in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Hannique Ruder, a 65-year-old resident living in the Leilani Estates subdivision, stands on a mound of hardened lava near Pahoa, Hawaii on May 11, 2018. Fullscreen Smoke and volcanic gases rise as lava cools in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, Friday. Fullscreen Center lane lines are partially visible along the lava-cover ed road in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. Kilauea has destroyed more than 35 structures since it began releasing lava from vents about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the summit crater. Fullscreen Fissures continue to vent an extraordinary amount of toxic gases, creating hazardous breathing conditions in the immediate and downwind areas, Pahoa, Hawaii. There has been no volcanic activity within the Leilani Estates subdivision for the past day, although geologists warn that it is not over. Fullscreen A statue of the Virgin Mary is silhouetted as smoke rises from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, May 10, 2018. Fullscreen A geologist inspects a crack that widened considerably in the past day, on Old Kalapana Road, Hawaii, May 10, 2018 . Fullscreen Steam and gas rise in Leilani Estates in the aftermath of the Kilauea volcano eruption on Hawaii's Big Island on May 10, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen An aerial view shows smoke and burned areas as eruptions continued overnight within the Leilani Estates subdivision, in Pahoa, Hawaii on May 9, 2018. Although activity this morning has waned, geologists warn that it is not over. Fissures also continue to vent an extraordinary amount of toxic gases, creating hazardous breathing conditions in the immediate and downwind areas. Fullscreen An aerial view shows a flow covered a street before coming to a stop, and ground cracks litter the area as eruptions continued overnight within the Leilani Estates subdivision, in Pahoa, Hawaii on May 9, 2018. Alt hough activity this morning has waned, geologists warn that it is not over. Fissures also continue to vent an extraordinary amount of toxic gases, creating hazardous breathing conditions in the immediate and downwind areas. Fullscreen An aerial view shows smoke and burned areas as eruptions continued overnight within the Leilani Estates subdivision, in Pahoa, Hawaii on May 9, 2018. Although activity this morning has waned, geologists warn that it is not over. Fissures also continue to vent an extraordinary amount of toxic gases, creating hazardous breathing conditions in the immediate and downwind areas. Fullscreen Park visitors gather as volcanic gases rise from the Halemaumau crater within the Kilauea volcano summit caldera at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on May 9, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. Fullscreen An ash plume rises from the Halemaumau crater within the Kilauea volcano summit caldera at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on May 9, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Fullscreen This image obtained May 9, 2018, released by the US Geological Survey shows a lava flow moving on Makamae Street in Leilani Estates at 09:32 am local time, on May 6, 2018 in Leilani Estates, Hawaii.The Kilauea Volcano, the most active in Hawaii, was highly unstable on May 6, 2018, as lava spouted into the air and fissures emitted deadly gases -- hazards that have forced thousands of people to evacuate. Fullscreen Steam and sulfur rises from cracks in Moku Street at the head of a driveway in Leilani Estates on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Police have gone door-to-door to evacuate residents near two new vents emitting dangerous volcanic gases in Hawaii. The vents emerged near the spots where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week. Fullscreen A fissure erupts near the intersection of Kahukai Street and Leilani Avenue in Leilani Estates on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Hawaii County officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for two neighborhoods, Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, on Thursday when the lava first emerged. There are 14 lava-producing fissures in Leilani Estates, after two new ones formed Tuesday. Fullscreen Roy Piper, visiting from Canterbury, Conn., tak es pictures as volcanic gases are emitted into the air on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Hawaii County officials have issued a cellphone alert warning residents of a subdivision to immediately evacuate after two new lava fissures opened in a neighboring community. Fullscreen Volunteer Jasmine Kupihea, facing camera, hugs a local resident affected by the lava flow at a makeshift donation center on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Hawaii County officials have issued a cellphone alert warning residents of a subdivision to immediately evacuate after two new lava fissures opened in a neighboring community. Fullscreen Volunteers and evacuees hold in hands while praying before serving dinner at a makeshift donation center on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Evacuee Jon Warner, left, walks through rain with son Ethan, right, and daughter Iris after picking up some basic necessities at a makeshift donation center on May 8, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. "We've never seen anything like that before," said Warner. "I don't know if I ever want to go back." Fullscreen In this Tuesday, May 8, 2018 photo from the U.S. Geological Survey, a geologist examines a part of the inactive fissure 10 in Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii. Fullscreen U.S. Army National Guard First Lt. Aaron Hew Len takes measurements for sulfur dioxide gas at volcanic fissures in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 8, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxid e gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Leilani Estates residents have been allowed to return during the day to inspect property and remove belongings. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. Fullscreen U.S. Army National Guard First Lt. Aaron Hew Len takes measurements for dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide gas in front of a lava flow and downed power lines on a residential street in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 8, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen A resident waits to see if it is possible to cross a street with fissures in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 8, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen A lava flow sits on the lawn of a home in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii on May 8, 2018. Scientists confirm that volcanic activity has paused at all 12 fissures that opened up in a Hawaii community and oozed lava that burned 35 structures. Officials warn that hazardous fumes continue to be released from the cracks in the ground. Fullscreen Staff sergeant Jake Kiyohiro of the Hawaii National Guard takes gas readings on May 7, 2018 at Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii island. Lava has now destroyed 30 structures, most of which are homes, as residents gathered belongings and animals with an uncertainty that they would return to a home at all. Fullscreen In this Saturday, May 5, 2018, photo, Edwin Montoya, 76, feeds his dogs at a campsite ne ar his home near Pahoa, Hawaii. Just a couple of miles up the hill, lava has been gushing from the ground and destroying dozens of homes as new eruptions and earthquakes have rattled the region. His property is within the mandatory evacuation zone, but Montoya, who was finally able to get back to the farm on Saturday afternoon, plans to stay there unless he is forced to leave. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia) ORG XMIT: HIMG101 Fullscreen Lava from a robust fissure eruption on Kilauea's east rift zone consumes a home, then threatens another, near Pahoa, Hawaii, May 6, 2018. The total number of homes lost within the Leilani Estates subdivision thus far is 21, and geologists from the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory do not expect the eruption to cease any time soon. A local state of emergency has been declared after Mount Kilauea erupted near residential areas, forcing mandatory evacuation of about 1,700 citizens from th eir nearby homes. The crater's floor collapsed on May 1 and is continuing to erode its walls and generating huge explosions of ashes. Several earthquakes have been recorded in the area where the volcanic eruptions continue, including a 6.9 magnitue earthquake which struck the area on May 4. Fullscreen This ground cracking extends across Highway 130 in Puna, Hawaii, May 7, 2018. Fullscreen Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park take in a view of Kilauea volcano's crater on Hawaii's Big Island south of Hilo, May 7, 2018 where lava flowed out of until the May 4 earthquake when it sank back in. Fullscreen Steam rises from a fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision, near Pahoa, Hawaii, May 7, 2018. Fullscreen Stacy Welch photographs lava located about 250-feet from her home, which remains standing, in the Leilani Estates neighborhood May 7, 2018. Fullscreen This May 6, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the lava lake at the summit of Kilauea near Pahoa, Hawaii. Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed homes and forced the evacuations of more than a thousand people. Fullscreen Volcanic activity continues on Kilauea's east rift zone, as a robust fissure eruption in Leilani Estates sends a massive flow into the subdivision, consuming all in its path, near Pahoa, Hawaii, May 6, 2018. Fullscreen Flames started by lava consume a house in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 6, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Activity continues as a fissure eruption fountains more than 100 feet into the air near Pahoa, Hawaii, May 6, 2018. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists have not been able to forecast an end to the eruption. Fullscreen Laura Dawn is seen in her truck loaded with her possessions as she and her husband flee the lava eruption, May 6, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii. Their property is just below the active lava eruption and they fear their land will get covered in lava. They are moving further upcoast to a safer area. Fullscreen A plume of volcanic gas mixed with smoke from fires caused by lava rises (C) amidst clouds in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 6, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawa ii. Fullscreen In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, HVO geologists collect samples of spatter for laboratory analysis near the intersection of Malama and Pomaikai Streets after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 6, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen A helicopter flies above destruction amidst advancing lava in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 6, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen National Guard vehicles prepare to head toward Leilani Estates as authorities allowed residents back to gather their belongings and head back out on May 6, 2018 near the town of Pahoa on the south side of Hawaii's Big Island, following a series of earthquakes and concern over toxic fumes from Sulphur Dioxide. Fullscreen Residents jam a street after being allowed to briefly return home to check on belongings and pets in an evacuation zone near volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island on May 6, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lava burns across a road as an offering to the volcano goddess lies in the foreground in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii on May 5, 2018. Fullscreen Lava burns across a road in the Leilani Estates subdivision on May 5, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen This image released by the US Geological Survey shows a volcanic fissure with lava fountains as high as about 230 ft in Leilani Estates, Hawaii, on May 5, 2018. Fullscreen Don Yokohama, a protection forester for the state of Hawaii, watches as lava flows through the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 6, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lava pours down a road in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 6, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Greg Chunn, who declined to evacuate the Leilani Estates neighborhood, takes pictures as lava advances across a neighbor's yard on May 6, 2018. Fullscreen Lava wraps around a tree before burning it down in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 6, 2018 morning near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Flames and heat haze outline and obscure a burning home in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 6, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lava from a nearby volcano engulfs a home in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of Pahoa, Hawaii on May 6, 2018. Fullscreen Lava flows across a yard in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of Pahoa, Hawaii on May 6, 2018. Fullscreen Lava flows across a street in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of Pahoa, Hawaii on May 6, 2018. Fullscreen Police men stand at a roadblock to Leilani Estates south of Hi-Lo on Hawaii island on May 5, 2018, after residents were told to evacuate.A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook Hawaii's Big Island, prompting fresh eruptions of a volcano that has been spewing lava near residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to flee. Fullscreen A firefighter takes photos near steam rising from a fissure in Leilani Estates subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island on May 4, 2018. Up to 10,000 people have been asked to leave their homes on Hawaii's Big Island following the eruption of the Kilauea volcano that came after a series of recent earthquakes. Fullscreen Steam rises from a fissure on a road in Leilani Estates subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island on May 4, 2018. Fullscreen Residents from the lava affected areas attend a community meeting at Pahoa High School on May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Community leaders, scientists, and local authorities answers questions about the lava eruption and e vacuation plans. Fullscreen Residents from the lava affected areas of the Big Island hold a prayer before the start of a community meeting with local authorities at Pahoa High School on May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen Lt. Col. Bill Flynn of the Hawaii National Guard speaks at a community meeting at Pahoa High School on May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Community leaders, scientists, and local authorities answered questions about the lava eruption and evacuation plans. Fullscreen A woman tries to talk to a national guardsmen to gain entry to the Leilani Estates, Friday, in Pahoa, Hawaii. A mandatory evacuation forced many residents to flee their homes due to a nearby lava eruption. Fullscreen In this image released by the U.S. Geological Survey, steam rises from cracks in the road shortly before a fissure opened up on Kaupili Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision, Friday, in Pahoa, Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano sent more lava into Hawaii communities Friday, a day after forcing more than 1,500 people to flee from their mountainside homes, and authorities detected high levels of sulfur gas that could threaten the elderly and people with breathing problems. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP) ORG XMIT: NY171 Fullscreen A new lava fissure on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on Makamae and Leilani Streets can be seen in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. Spatter was being thrown roughly 100 ffeet high at the time of this image. Fullscreen A shake map indicates the location of a preliminary magnitude 5. 4 earthquake near Leilani Estates, Hawaii, USA. Several earthquakes have been recorded in the area where a volcanic eruptions continue. No immediate reports of damage or injuries caused by the earthquakes. Fullscreen Results from the eruption of Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island can be seen Friday. The eruption sent molten lava through forests and bubbling up from paved streets and forced the evacuation of about 1,500 people who were still out of their homes Friday after Thursday's eruption. Fullscreen Mary Ann Sullivan, 59, looks at her belongings and her cat she pulled from her home after a mandatory evacuation of the Leilani Estates due to a lava eruption, Friday, in Pahoa, HI. The eruption took place about a block from Sullivan's home. Sullivan and her husband spent the night at a nearby shelter and does not know w hen they will be able to return. Fullscreen National guardsmen and police stand at the entrance to Leilani Estates, in Pahoa, Hawaii. A mandatory evacuation for the area as declared by the state. Due to unsafe conditions in the area from the recent lava eruption, residents who evacuated could not return to their homes Friday. Fullscreen After a mandatory evacuation due to a lava eruption yesterday, Leilani Estates residents line up on the road leading to the area in Pahoa, Hawaii. Fullscreen After being forced out of his home at the Leilani Estates due to a mandatory evacuation, Tim Sullivan, 61, sits in his pickup truck near a local shelter, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, HI. The eruption took place about a block from Sullivan's home. He and his wife spent the n ight at a nearby shelter and does not know when they will be able to return. Fullscreen This photo provided by Hawaii Electric Light shows lava flowing over Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates area near Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Nearly 1,500 people have fled from their homes after Hawaii's Kilauea volcano sent molten lava chewing through forests and bubbling up on paved streets in an eruption that one resident described as "a curtain of fire." (Hawaii Electric Light via AP) ORG XMIT: LA508 Fullscreen Residents from the nearby Leilani Estates sleep in their cars after being forced out of there homes by a lava eruption. Fullscreen Mary Hicks, 56, left, and Tim Hicks, 51, both residents of the Leilani Estates, spent the night in their car after b eing evacuated from their home. Fullscreen A woman with two dogs in her car tries to enter the Leilani Estates. Fullscreen A road is cracked after the eruption from Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island Friday, May 4, 2018. The Kilauea volcano sent more lava into Hawaii communities Friday, a day after forcing nearly 1,500 people to flee from their mountainside homes, and authorities detected high levels of sulfur gas that could threaten the elderly and people with breathing problems. FullscreenReplay
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Todd Corrigan and his wife left their Leilani Estates home on May 4 after a magnitude-6.9 earthquake knocked belongings off their shelves. That jolt convinced them it was time to evacuate.

Corrigan said the most stressful part of the experience might be the uncertainty about what insurance will cover. His policy will pay for damage from a fire but not from lava. His insurer also cautioned him that it will not cover damage if he has not been at home for 30 days. That requirement could be a problem if he is gone for a long time.

“You have to worry about that stress when you’re trying to deal with everything else,” Corrigan said.

Coverage details vary depending on policies and companies, said Insurance Division Commissioner Gordon Ito, who encouraged homeowners to contact their agents and find out what is covered.

State Farm stopped writing policies for homes in the two highest-risk lava zones in the 1990s, but the company grandfathered-in any existing policies, said Kim Silva, a State Farm sales executive in Hawaii.

The company’s policies do cover fire from volcanic activity, she said, “but every claim has to be handled on its own merit. Every claim has to be looked at individually and separately.”

Deter’s daughters live in the same area as their 88-year-old mother. They know the eruption risks, so they made sure their mother’s home was covered by a policy that included lava.

The family’s Hawaii-based insurance agent assured daughter Vickie Pruitt that her mother’s house was fully covered for lava. But a phone call from an adjuster on the U.S. mainland told them it looked like the damage was from an eart hquake â€" not the lava â€" and that the home would not be covered.

“I’m like, ‘What?’” Pruitt said. “I’m laughing hysterically. But it’s not funny. It’s tragic.”

They were waiting for a follow-up call they hoped would provide more clarity.

â€"â€"â€"

Associated Press Writer Audrey McCoy and Sophia Yan contributed to this report.

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2rIdu7uSource: Google News

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