Vacant Land Insurance
Say you own some land. We’re going to talk about whether you need vacant land insurance. You might think, “Do I need insurance coverage for owning vacant land?” In short, yes.
Vacant land insurance is relatively easier for insurance agents to quote, especially if the land is actually vacant. Of course, the caveat is how an insurance company defines vacancy. Not understanding the specific definition could land you with an insurance policy that becomes void once it’s time to file a claim.
We’ll go over everything you need to learn about vacant land insurance, so you’re well-informed if you ever need to insure your land.
How Insurers Define Vacant Land
Vacant land: A tract or parcel without any structures or improvements.
Regardless of the type of land you own, be it an empty lot or acres of woods, they must share one commonality: No Structures. The structure doesn’t have to be a roofed building; it can be a fence, boat dock, water well or a flagpole.
If your land has anything other than vegetation, it’s considered improved, not vacant. Improved properties require “dwelling fire” insurance. If the lot you own is vacant by definition, there are a few ways to insure it. But first, let’s start with why you need a policy at all.
Is Vacant Land Insurance Really Necessary?
Technically, it’s not a legal requirement. Although the law doesn’t require you to have vacant land insurance, it’s more than advisable to protect yourself and your property from litigation or medical expenses. If you have a lot of footfalls on your property, then we recommend being prepared for the unexpected.
If you have several people—friends, family—on your property for fishing or hunting activities, or any other activity where someone could get hurt, it’s best to have vacant land liability insurance handy.
Vacant Land: If You Own It, You’re Liable
Insurance is tricky but also straightforward at times. There’s an adage in insurance: “If it happened on your property, it’s your fault!” It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at “fault,” but it is your responsibility. With vacant land, having a ‘No Trespassing’ sign is like having a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign at home—people will look at it, or mostly ignore it anyway. That’s why you need an insurance policy to stay well ahead of any unforeseen events on your land.
Vacant land insurance in itself is a type of liability coverage. So, it can pay legal fees and cover medical expenses should someone be injured on your property. It doesn’t cover structures on the land, but it’s a safety net that protects the policyholder from bankruptcy due to another person’s actions.
It’s your responsibility as the landowner to properly maintain the land, regularly check for potential hazards and inform visitors of possible risks. Letting visitors know that they will assume all liability once you’ve pointed out the possible risks on your land is a safe choice. So, what can be the risks?
Purchasing vacant land insurance should be on your priority list if you have a stream or pond on your property and you allow people to fish on it. Imagine a fisherman slipping and hurting himself on your property. You could be liable for his injuries. You’ll be held more liable if you’ve only permitted people to fish after paying a fee. Land insurance can help you cover the medical costs, and any legal issues should that happen.
If you plan on hunting or allowing people to hunt on your property, it opens a can of more possible events. Hunting involves several risks, including the use of firearms and hunting equipment. Because of the increased risks, you have a greater risk for liability concerns.As the landowner, it is your responsibility to inform hunters of any hazards in and around your property. Sharing this information is an important way to manage your liability risks, but it’s still important and better to have liability insurance in place. Some insurance companies ask landowners to make hunters sign a waiver which helps absolve the landowner of any wrongdoing. It won’t shield you from potential lawsuits but will be act as a shield.
The potential risks with hikers aren’t hard to imagine now, is it? If your land is open to the public, hikers pose liability. Bring attention to the dangerous parts of your land’s terrain, take care of any hazardous issues to lessen your liability a little.Foreseen or unforeseen accidents and damages can land you in legal hot waters. When considering such incidents, it’s important to remember that while vacant land insurance or your liability insurance covers injuries on your property, it doesn’t cover any structures on your property.
Allowing ATVs on your property could invite general visitors or encourage hunters. Basic land insurance may not protect against all-terrain vehicle damages.
Trespassers make things rather tricky. Generally, landowners aren’t liable is someone trespasses on their land and is injured. But there are exceptions. For instance, if the vacant land sits between a school and a bus stop with children regularly crossing the land to get to class. Then the landowner can be held responsible if someone is hurt for being aware of the land being used.Say there are certain hazards on your property and a trespasser gets injured, you could be held liable. You may also be held responsible for any damage that trespassers cause on your property if there is no contrary evidence.
What Does Vacant Land Insurance Cover?
Vacant land insurance is a type of liability coverage, hence covering accidents or injuries, such as:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Death benefits
- Legal costs
- Lost wages
Limitations of Vacant Land Insurance
So, what doesn’t vacant land insurance cover?
- Injuries suffered by anyone working for the landowner
- Injuries suffered by the landowner, their spouse, or dependents
- Purposefully inflicted injuries
Where to Buy Vacant Land Insurance
Most major insurance companies offer vacant land coverage. As a property owner, your best bet may be to ask your current homeowners insurance company whether they offer it. Keep in mind that the insurer will want to inspect your property for anything that can affect the cost of coverage.
The key takeaway, of course, is that purchasing vacant land insurance is a smart investment. It removes the stress of worrying about events you can’t control, especially if your land is open to the public or frequently hosts activities.
Remember, if you own it, you’re liable! So, why not speak to an insurance agent and figure out the next steps. You can connect with top local insurance agents on Agency Height itself, here.
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