Mudslide vs. Landslide: What’s the Difference?

Picture the scene. Massive  trees have fallen, down electricity poles, damaged cars and other materials scattered on the ground that we wouldn’t see on an average day. Every year, in all areas of the world, both mudslides and landslides occur, leaving much devastation in its wake. Recently in Colorado and California experienced mudslides in many of its cities.

Landslides and mudslides have the power to destroy homes, businesses, and entire towns. What can you do to protect your business? First, define what mudslides and landslides are and how they develop.

What is a mudslide?


Mudslides are forms of mass wasting characterized by a river of liquid and flowing mud that occur on a normally dry surface. Often, mudslides are triggered by large surges of water, rapid snowfall at the top of a mountain and intense rainfall.


Mudslides are different from landslides, slope failures and other types of earth movements. Mudslides occurrences can cause much damage to commercial property which is why it’s covered in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.


What is a Landslide?


A landslide is the rapid movement of debris, rock, or earth down a slope, mountain or a side of a hill. According to the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) all fifty states in the country are subject to landslides.


There are a number of factors that can influence landslides which includes; climate, geology, overloading and slope stability.


Landslides can be caused by:


Human Causes

  • Human activities can contribute to the occurrence of landslides.
  • Vibrations from heavy traffic.
  • Mining activities.
  • Poor alteration of drainage systems.
  • Excavation of rocks.
  • Modifications of buildings, roads and railways.

Natural Factors

  • Climate changes can have a huge impact on slope stability.
  • Earthquake vibrations.
  • Volcanic eruptions.
  • Weathering (the natural process of rock deterioration).

Commercial Property Insurance

Mudslides and landslides can cause extensive damage to a business establishment and commercial vehicles. It’s important for business owners to have business property insurance and commercial auto insurance. While many standard insurance policies excludes mudslide and landslide coverage, the National Flood Insurance Policy program offers up to $500,000 to business owner in Flood and Mudflow coverage.


However, additional insurance coverage can be purchased to offset the effects of landslides and mudslide incidents. Content coverage policies can insure that all the items within your establishment is protected in the event of peril.