Washington Landslide Highlights Lack of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Washington landslide

On March 22, approximately 50 properties vanished when a massive mudslide struck Oso, Wash. Hundreds of acres of land were swept away by the Washington landslide, burying victims and debris in 80 feet of water and mud.

An entire community disappeared underneath the wreckage, leaving homeowners with no home, no land and no possessions. To add onto the tragedy, surviving homeowners with a standard homeowners insurance policy will likely not be financially covered when the time comes to rebuild.

Massive Scale of the Washington Landslide Tragedy

The Houston Chronicle outlined the grim details of the Washington landslide to date. A reported 29 were found dead, only 22 of which have been officially identified. Another 20 individuals have been confirmed missing. Water from the disaster has receded, allowing rescuers to search within a wider area.

But ten days have passed since the landslide, leaving little hope of finding more survivors. Surviving family members can only hope to find and identify more uncovered victims to lend closure for lost loves ones.

No Homeowners Insurance Available

To augment the tragic loss of life, homeowners are finding they had insufficient homeowners insurance to cover their damaged homes and property.

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But homeowners carrying specialty “difference-in-conditions” insurance offered by out-of-state insurers are protected against the lost value of their property following the Washington landslide.

According to The Bellingham Business Journal, no insurance company within that state of Washington even sells this kind of coverage. The cost of difference-in-conditions protection is also generally double that of a standard policy — approximately $1,000 per year to cover a $300,000 home.

The silver lining in this tragedy is a heightened awareness about difference-in-conditions coverage in landslide-prone areas, and the importance of investing in the level of protection it provides.

Photo credit: The National Guard