The most recent mudslide in Montecito destroyed many homes and has killed at least 15 people with some still missing. Those fortunate enough to have come out unscathed are left without homes and the treasured personal property within them. In light of this event, we dive into our area of expertise on the matter and explain the insurance coverages on mudflow.
How are those homes and personal property covered?
Landslides and mudslides are primarily earth movement. With a mudflow, the primary ingredient is water which then picks up the soil and turns into mud. So, flood insurance will typically cover parts of a mudslide related loss.
Many homeowners in the Montecito area did not purchase a flood policy as they did not feel they were in a flood-hazard area, nor was it likely they were even offered it. But what many people fail to understand is that a flood policy covers mudflow and more.
From Fire to… Mudslide?
California’s wildfires cleared nearly 300,000 acres of land and over 1,000 structures last month from the Thomas fire alone. That left the ground bare of much vegetation. So, when just over 5 inches of rain fell on the burned area, the conditions were all too ripe for mudflow.
Yet another natural disaster that has devastated the U.S. in the past several months – can happen without warning and can be deadly. Rain and mud quickly accumulate, causing muddy rivers to form as debris tear through communities vulnerable to nearby land that has been charred. This is what happened in a Montecito neighborhood and swaths of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, resulting in a mandatory evacuation for thousands. (LA Times)
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, wildland fires are inevitable in the western United States, where human development has crept into once-forested areas. After a fire, mudflow can then happen quickly without warning and further destroy vegetation, block drainage, damage buildings and endanger humans.
With the heavy rainfall bringing mudflow, stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. And as with all natural disasters follow your local official’s directions for safety.