Owning a home is a great achievement, and any reasonable homeowner will try to protect their home from damage. Whether it’s a small incident or a major disaster, it’s never easy to see one of your most valuable possessions damaged. Unfortunately, some events are beyond our control. When a natural disaster strikes, there is little we can do to avoid the ruins it will leave behind. These catastrophic events can turn their lives upside down and force many people to uproot themselves and start over.
A natural disaster that can strike any state in the United States is a landslide. A landslide occurs when large masses of earth, rocks or soil move down a slope. It can be caused naturally by heavy rains or by human activities such as deforestation. Any disturbance of the land that is on a slope can be the start of a disaster. From 1998 to 2017, an estimated 4.8 million people were affected by landslides around the world. Landslides can ruin homes, communities and even kill people. As a homeowner, you want to make sure your home is protected if a landslide hits your area. Making sure you have the right kind of insurance policy in place is a good start.
Does home insurance cover landslides?
A standard home insurance policy aims to protect your home against specific types of loss, but the coverage excludes landslides. Most insurance companies cover common risks such as fire, theft, and wind damage. In addition to standard coverages, some offer endorsements as well as additional insurance for things that are not automatically included. However, every business is different and some may offer more or less coverage options than others. One thing most businesses generally have in common is what they exclude.
Many natural disasters are not covered by a standard home insurance policy. Even property insurers who offer endorsements do not have them for landslides. These losses can become costly because their damage is often significant and affects many people at the same time. So if an insurance company took those risks, they could jack up all homeowners’ premiums to account for potentially costly landslide claims.
Although your standard home insurance policy does not provide coverage, there is still a way to be protected against losses resulting from a landslide.
What type of insurance covers landslides?
Although a landslide can affect any region of the United States, some states are more prone to it due to their geographic location. If you are concerned about the potential damage caused by landslides, you should consider purchasing additional coverage through a Difference in Conditions Policy (DIC). DIC insurance is specially designed to cover losses that standard home insurance policies exclude. Think of it as coverage beyond the gaps in your standard home insurance policy against catastrophic losses such as floods, mudslides, landslides, and other excluded perils. Not all companies offer DIC insurance, but you can research or ask your insurance agent to help you get a policy.
How to prepare for a landslide?
A landslide can create major problems for homeowners, but luckily you can take precautions ahead of time. Staying aware of your area can help you prepare for not being surprised by a potential landslide. Here are some ways to prepare for a landslide:
- Avoid areas sensitive to landslides. Stay away from houses or buildings near steep slopes or mountain edges. These areas are usually the first to be affected by landslides.
- Know the history of your house. Landslides usually hit where they’ve hit before. Do some research in your area or contact those responsible for geological records to see your home’s history and find out if you are in an area that has experienced landslides.
- Keep an eye on the water drainage. Look for trends and increases in runoff. If you notice the water starting to converge, this is an area to avoid during a landslide.
- Have a contingency plan. Create a family emergency plan in the event of a landslide. Go over it with everyone in the household so everyone knows where to meet and what to do. Establish a meeting place outside the house. Also take the time to learn about emergency and evacuation plans in your area.
What should I do during a landslide?
- Stay alert. Many people find themselves caught in a landslide while they sleep. Pay attention to weather conditions and listen to radio or television reports.
- Evacuate if possible. If your home is located in an area that is typically affected by landslides, move out of the area if it is safe to do so. Otherwise, go to the second floor to avoid a possible landslide or debris.
- Contact the authorities. If you risk imminent danger, contact the authorities so that they can send help as soon as possible.
- Protect yourself. If you’re caught in a landslide, your best option is to curl up to protect your face and head from harm. A landslide can bring water, mud and debris. Either way, it can come with force and hurt you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if a landslide damages my vehicle?
Although homeowners’ policies exclude damage to your home from a landslide, auto insurance would cover your vehicle. No DIC policy is needed for your car, as your auto policy will provide coverage if you have full coverage.