Hawaii Lava Flow Prompts Questions About Home Insurance Coverage

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  • For some time now, consumers have fretted over insurance costs that have continually gone up, and have therefore often been reluctant to take on additional coverage that might protect them in the event of big disasters for which their homes are particularly at risk. This type of incident recently hit a Hawaiian homeowner whose home was burned down by a massive lava flow that had been advancing toward his home for some time. For this reason, it might be wise for insurance agents to work closely with their customers so that they understand the ins and outs of their coverage, and what they might need in addition to it.

    Mount Kilauea in Hawaii recently erupted and the resulting flow of lava took down a one-story home and forced nearby residents to evacuate, according to a report from the office of California-based insurance lawyer Frank Darras. The threat was so significant that, upon making contact with the home, the lava took less than an hour to burn the entire structure to the ground.

    What else should consumers know?
    Of course, it’s not just volcanoes that should be a concern to homeowners nationwide, the report said. Other incidents, like earthquakes and hurricanes, threaten significantly more Americans, who often don’t have the right coverage to protect themselves financially from the fallout of such a disaster.

    “Thankfully, most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage from volcanic eruptions,” said Darras, who has a long history in this field. “However, don’t assume that everything is covered. Read through your entire policy so you will know what is excluded and how to act accordingly. You may need to purchase separate policies for earthquake and flood damage depending on how your policy provides coverage for natural disasters.”

    Insurance agents who can explain to their clients exactly what their policies cover, and what they don’t, might be the ones who can engender the most positive relationships with those customers going forward. This can be important, because experts generally find that consumers value a good relationship with an agent over even being able to obtain the occasional discount on their coverage. That might be particularly true in this kind of case, and it can mean the difference between knowing they’re going to get solid coverage, and falling short because they didn’t know about exceptions in their policies.

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