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Are Mudslides Covered by Insurance?

By Teri Dormer

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Shifting earth and damage that can be associated with mudslides has the potential to be severe and can happen almost anywhere in the country. So are mudslides covered by insurance, do you need additional mudslide insurance coverage, and what home insurance coverage for mudslides are you already signed up for?

Before getting into home insurance coverage for mudslides, it’s important to recognize exactly what’s classified as a mudslide and what isn’t. Mudslides, landslides, and mudflows are all different perils, and they’re classified differently by various levels of insurance coverage. 

  • Landslides: A sudden shift of earth or land that causes mud, dirt, or debris to move quickly.
  • Mudslides: A solid movement of dirt and rocks propelled by gravity with more solid consistency. 
  • Mudflows: A river of liquid mud or rock that has the consistency of a shake or smoothie. 

So which ones are covered by your homeowners insurance, and do flood or earthquake coverage include mudslide insurance to protect your home? Here’s what you need to know.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mudslides?

Shifting earth that causes landslides, mudslides, and mudflows are not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. While every homeowners insurance policy is different, your coverage will likely include a list of perils that are covered by your insurance.

Mudslides, which typically do not include enough liquid to seep into your home or the foundation of your house, are considered an excluded peril. 

If you’re looking for mudslide insurance for a commercial property, the same exclusions typically apply. Landslides, mudslides, and mudflows are all excluded perils for most commercial insurance coverage plans, but you may be able to add on additional policies that give your business the protection it needs. 

Does Earthquake Insurance Cover Mudslides?

Earthquake insurance, which often already includes coverage for landslides or the ability to add on coverage for landslides, does not include coverage for mudslides.

Landslides that are dry and consist of dirt and rock being moved by gravity due to shifting earth are not the same as mudslides, which are typically more liquid in nature. If your earthquake insurance doesn’t offer the option to include landslide coverage, you can take out a separate policy that will help protect you from both landslides and mudslides called a Difference in Conditions policy (DIC). 

Because mudslide insurance is not covered under earthquake coverage, a DIC steps in to help close the gap between your insurance policy and the damage your home may have sustained. If you want to take out a DIC, you may have to request the policy from a different insurance company.

It can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars a year based on where you live and the coverage you’re looking for. 

Does Flood Insurance Cover Mudslides?

If you have flood insurance, then you may have coverage for mudflows where the primary element at play is still water. Because mudslides are more solid and mudflows have a thicker consistency, they are not covered by flood insurance

Flood insurance doesn’t include mudslide insurance coverage, but that doesn’t mean you should give up getting the protection you need.

Depending on where you live and how likely excessive flooding is, a Difference in Conditions policy can help act as a stop-gap between your existing coverage and the potential for catastrophic damage caused by mudslides.