A landslide is the movement of rock, earth and debris down a slope and is often the result of erosion, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and excess weight resulting from the accumulation of rain and snow. Any area with weak or fractured materials resting on a steep slope may be susceptible to slope failure and landslide.

Landslides can occur suddenly and move at alarming speed. It is important to recognize warning signs such as:

  • New cracks or collapses in pavement or foundations
  • Outside walls, walkways and stairways pulling away from a building 
  • Breaks in underground utility lines 
  • Water springs or seepage breaking through the ground in unusual locations 
  • Tilting utility poles, trees, decks, fences or retaining walls
  • Trees cracking or a faint rumbling sound that increases in volume as the landslide approaches 

The following checklist will help you and your household or business learn how to prepare for a landslide, as well as how to manage and recover from one.

Before a Landslide

  • Get a ground assessment of your property. Find out whether it has experienced a landslide previously and what corrective measures can be taken to reduce vulnerability. 
  • Avoid building near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways or along natural erosion valleys.
  • Plant ground cover on slopes and build retaining walls, channels or deflection walls to protect your property. 
  • Create an emergency plan for your family or business that is consistent with emergency response and evacuation plans in your area.
  • Secure the right insurance. In some areas, you may be eligible for assistance through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA).

During a Landslide

  • It is better to overreact than react too late. If it is safe to evacuate the area, do so until the danger subsides but be aware that driving during a heavy storm can be extremely dangerous and road conditions can deteriorate suddenly. If you cannot evacuate, stay alert and be aware of changes around you.  
  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.  
  • Look for a sudden increase or decrease in water flow near a river or channel, and notice if the water suddenly becomes muddy.
  • Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as quickly as possible. Mudflows can move faster than you can walk or run. 
  • Follow the advice of local emergency management authorities.
  • If you are in the path of a landslide and escape is not possible, move to a second story, take cover under a strong table and hold on firmly to protect yourself from injury.

After a Landslide

  • Stay calm and check yourself and others for injuries. Take care of life-threatening situations first. Assist others in need; direct emergency responders to injured or trapped persons in the slide area. 
  • Stay away from the slide area - additional slides and flooding are common.
  • Follow the advice of local emergency response agencies.
  • If necessary, go to a designated public shelter.
  • Report any broken utility lines, damaged roadways and railways. 

For more information

Standard homeowners and business insurance policies typically do not cover damage caused by landslides, earthquakes, floods and mudflow. Contact us or your HUB broker today to make sure you have the appropriate coverage in place to protect your home or business.