A volcano suddenly spewing 2,200-degree lava. Molten rock running down streets, burning everything in its path. It sounds like a plot of a movie. Unfortunately, it is all too true for over 1,700 Hawaiian residents evacuated from their homes due to the volcanic eruption of Kilauea. Thirty-five structures have already been destroyed, 25 of which were homes. Some of the residents that have been evacuated have been allowed to return home only to get pets, prescriptions, and other necessities. Hawaii Civil Defense will continue to allow them to do so until risk levels are too high. American Red Cross has reported about 250 people and 90 pets staying at their shelters.

A warning of building pressure was issued by the USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in April. This was an early indication that a new fissure could open. Less than a month later, the warning became a reality when a new vent formed.  

Kilauea has been erupting with different intensities since 1983. A previous record-breaking eruption occurred from May 1969 to July 1974, adding 230 acres of land to Hawaii. Although the lava flow has ceased as of Tuesday, the risk still remains as potential earthquakes are still a threat.

Gordon Ito, Hawaii’s insurance commissioner, confirmed that all insured homes damaged by lava flow would be covered under the homeowners’ fire policy. After a similar event in 2014, several homes were damaged and no one had their claims denied. Although, if another earthquake should occur and cause damage that may not be covered under the homeowner’s insurance.

In the past year alone, there have been several natural disasters wreaking havoc across the United States – hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and now a volcano eruption has been added to the list. These events bring new peril to home and business owners. A lot of consideration must go into insurance policies. If a known threat exists, a business owner must prepare for loss of income, property damage, debris removal and potential hazardous material cleanup. When it comes to insurance, scaling back could be fatal for a business.