Short of erecting an enormous wall around your home, it’s nearly impossible to stop a mudslide from damaging your home if your home is in the mudslide’s path. But you can take precautions to ensure that your home has some coverage if a mudslide hits, and there are a number of ways you can keep your family safe.
If you live in a muslide-prone area of the country, you’re right to feel inclined to purchase mudslide insurance. Unfortunately, the standard homeowners insurance does not cover mudslides. Some flood insurances will cover mudflows, which are different than mudslides. A mudflow is a byproduct of a flood—specifically flowing mud on the surface of normally dry land. A landslide or mudslide is different—usually caused by rains and collapsing hillsides.
Specific mudslide, landslide or "earth movement" policies do exist, but they can be hard to come by, especially if you live on a hillside or in an area prone to mudslides.
Landslides and Mudslides are extremely dangerous and powerful events, but even in the face of this powerful natural disaster there are still steps you can take as a homeowner to protect your home.
For starters, you can consult with a professional or contractor to install flexible pipe fittings, which can better resist breakage. This can help prevent gas and water leaks. Planting ground cover and installing retaining or deflection walls can also help prevent, divert or mitigate mudslide and landslide damage. Be mindful of the fact that diverting the flow of mud around your home and onto adjacent properties can make you liable for damages.
Look for Signs
The first indicator of a potential mudslide in your area would be incidents of past mudslides. If you’re new to the area, find out if your home, neighborhood, street or town has ever experienced a mudslide.
Pay close attention to the drainage near your home during and immediately after rainstorms. Here are some of the signs of a possible mudslide that you should look out for:
- Soil moving away from the home or foundation
- Fences, trees or other similar objects leaning abnormally
- Doors and windows failing to close properly
- Cracks, depressions or heaves in the yard, driveways or roads
- Changes in water flow, especially when the water changes from clear to muddy
- Sounds of moving debris like cracking telephone poles, house framing or trees
Protecting You and Your Family
The best way to protect yourself and your family form a mudslide or landslide is to have an emergency evacuation plan in place. Like any disaster preparedness, you’ll want an emergency kit and emergency supplies on hand in case you have to evacuate quickly or if mudslides have cut off roadways and egress.
If you suspect that a mudslide or landslide is imminent in your area, get in touch immediately with emergency officials and alert them to the potential danger.
If you do evacuate your home and find yourself in a car, be extra alert and on the lookout for collapsed roads, mud flow and signs of debris. Never head towards an affected area as additional mudsliding and flooding could still occur.