Landslide: a special
risk that requires special coverage
SEATTLE - Heavy rains can loosen soil
and weaken hillsides, posing significant landslide risks to homeowners
and business owners.
Standard homeowners and business insurance
specifically excludes damage caused by earth movement such as
landslide and earthquake.
Homeowners can purchase a Difference
in Conditions policy through a surplus-lines carrier as a stand-alone
"Heavy rain can saturate the ground on
cliffs and steep slopes, causing the soil to loosen and give way,"
said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Property owners
in high-risk areas need special coverage that is not included
in a standard home or business policy. Coverage is available through
specialty carriers at an additional cost."
Understanding how your insurance works
is a key first step to protecting your property before a disaster
A Difference in Conditions policy includes
coverage for landslide, mudflow, earthquake and flood.
Depending on risk factors, such as the
slope of your property or proximity to a cliff, a homeowner with
a $300,000 house can expect to pay $1,000 or more per year for
Landslides that plunge into rivers and
streams can cause flooding. Damage from flood is also excluded
from standard home and business insurance policies. Property owners
can purchase Flood Insurance through the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP). Visit www.floodsmart.gov
for more information.
If you live in a high-risk area, there
are several things you can do to protect yourself from landslides
and flooding. The NW Insurance Council and NFIP offer the following
- Create a family evacuation plan.
- Learn and recognize early landslide warning signs such as:
doors or windows that stick or jam, new cracks in plaster, tile,
bricks or foundations, broken underground utility lines and
bulging ground at the base of a slope.
- Build retaining walls and install flexible pipe fitting to
avoid gas or water leaks.
- Maintain a complete inventory of all your possessions, including
photographs, receipts and serial numbers. NW Insurance Council
offers free downloadable Home Inventory Software from the Insurance
- Damage to personal contents inside a vehicle is covered under
standard homeowners or renters insurance.
- Damage to vehicles caused by landslide or flooding is covered
if the owner has optional Comprehensive Coverage in the auto
- If you aren't sure what's covered or have questions regarding
your policy, contact your agent or insurance company.
If you'd like more information on how
to protect your family and property from landslide and flood,
contact the NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or visit www.nwinsurance.org.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit,
public-education organization funded by member insurance companies
serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.