Considering a real estate purchase on Big Island? If so, something that is unique to our islands that you will need to familiarize yourself with are lava-flow zones.
All of the island is divided up into lava flow hazard zones ranking from Zone 1 to Zone 9, representing a scale of volcanic hazard from lava flow. Zone 1 represents the highest probability of lava flow hazard, while Zone 9 represents the least hazardous. A volcanic hazard is “a destructive event that can occur in a given area or location, along with the probability of the event’s occurrence.” These hazards are out of human control and include events such as a lava flow or a volcanic earthquake.
What is the lava-flow hazard map?
The lava-flow hazard map was developed by the U.S Geological Survey “to provide information for general planning purposes, so that critical community facilities could be sited in the safest possible areas. It also serves as an educational tool, to help Hawai’i island residents better understand the volcanoes on which they live, work, and play. (USGS.gov)
When looking at the map remember that the lower the number of the zone the higher the probability of a lava-flow hazard. The boundary lines on the map are approximate and not distinct, so if you aren’t sure what zone your property falls in – your LUVA Realtor can help you determine.
So how do Lava Zones affect your real estate purchase?
Living on an island with active volcanic, the importance of knowing your property’s lava zone cannot be understated. While properties in Lava Zones 1 and 2 come with a higher volcanic hazard, they often are the remote Hawaiian locations that people dream about and they usually come with a more affordable price tag.
While no one anticipates an eruption right now and it is not something that can be planned for, a volcanic eruption can and does happen, so it is important to find the right homeowner’s and hazard insurance for your property. Insurance for properties in Lava Zone’s 1 & 2 does exist, however it is trickier to find because only some companies insure these areas and it will often come at a higher price point. Similar to insurance, only certain mortgage lenders can lend in Lava Zone 1 or 2 – so be sure to check with your lender before you start the loan process if the property you are purchasing is in one of these zones. If you need guidance, your LUVA Realtor can help you in finding the right insurance company & lender.
Check out these resources below for more information on Lava Zones on the Big Island of Hawaii.
USGS: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Lava Flow Hazard Zones & Flow Forecast
For more information on Lava Zones and your Real Estate purchase, reach out to your LUVA Realtor today.
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