Many homeowner insurance policies exclude “earth movement” and “water damage”, however the Thomas Fire is widely believed to be the efficient “proximate cause” of the Montecito mudslides. Any argument that the recent fire was only a “remote contributing factor” to the mudslides is weak.
However, insurance companies may still push back. In fact many even have language written into their policies to circumvent the efficient proximate cause doctrine.
It is important to know that there is California case law that not only upholds “proximate cause”, but also upholds that an insurer may *not* contractually exclude coverage when a covered peril is an efficient proximate cause of the loss.
All this is to say, that a good reading of your policy and your insurer declining coverage is not where this story ends. Push back and seek legal help if needed.
CYA disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor a bad faith insurance expert, but I have spent considerable time discussing with someone who happens to be both, as well as living in our guest house as a result of the mudslides. Soooo…I have unfettered access to an expert if anyone wants to discuss in more detail!