If you own a home, or property, you are likely aware that there are insurance policies you’ll need to purchase and put in place to protect those investments. Homeowners know they’ll need homeowners insurance in the event of a disaster or liability issue. But what if you own a piece of vacant land? With nothing there, it’s not like you’d need to insure that property, right? Well, while it’s not required in most cases, it’s inadvisable. But why?
When you own any kind of property, whether it’s commercial property, residential property, or vacant land- there is always an inherent risk of a third party sustaining an injury while on your property. Vacant land insurance is the policy you’ll need to protect yourself and your property from liability issues on a piece of land that has no structures. Insuring your vacant land means that in the event that someone has a slip and fall, is injured as a result of a foreign object, even if they are trespassing and have no business being on your land- you’re protected from claims thanks to the liability coverage that is in place.
As we’ve discussed here on our blog previously- even in the event that someone is on your vacant property unlawfully or without your knowledge, the duty to defend is always the most important thing. Avoiding a lawsuit where you can, that’s the precaution you can take that will save you the most money in the long run. Having some kind of liability policy in place for any property you own is a wise decision that will keep you from dealing with unpleasant consequences down the line.
From a legal standpoint, a trespasser may sue and win for accidents or injuries that occur on your vacant property- even if that scenario is uncommon. And although it’s a situation we may not wish to consider, friends and family may also sue if they are injured on your property. So whether your vacant land is a plot in a busy urban center, a suburban neighborhood, or the middle of the woods- vacant land insurance protects you from even unforeseen possibilities.
The costs associated with vacant land insurance vary depending on several factors, including the amount of coverage you want, the size of the piece of vacant land you’re seeking a policy for, what the land is used for (for example, do you allow deer hunting? Fishing? ATV use? Is it simply a blank canvas waiting for use at some point?), and if there are any known dangers that exist on your property, such as a deep pit,abandoned well, marshes, swamps, bogs or other potential risk factors for injury like barbed wire fences. If your property is one where you allow hunting, vacant land insurance is particularly critical. There are a variety of risks involved when it comes to hunting, including the use of firearms, bow and arrows, and other hunting gear. This translates into a greater risk of liability exposure.
So, we know that vacant land insurance is a form of liability protection, but what does that mean, exactly? Essentially, vacant land insurance covers all of the typical costs associated with accident or injury, including medical bills, lost wages, legal costs, pain and suffering, and death benefits. While it covers all of these in the event of an accident, it does not financially protect you against any injuries that were inflicted purposefully or maliciously, or act as a replacement for a worker’s compensation policy. If someone is employed by you and working on your vacant land and is injured, your vacant land policy is not designed for that scenario. Finally, as it is a liability policy, it is also not meant to protect you, your spouse, or dependents from personal injury.
Ultimately, the primary concern for any property owner is to protect their investment and their personal and business interests from financial loss. Taking the steps to insure a vacant piece of land, particularly if there are any known risks associated with the property, is a wise choice no matter where it’s located, even if the land in question is in the middle of nowhere. Assuming there are no liabilities just isn’t a safe bet to take.
Fortunately, even if you do not currently have a policy in place on your vacant land- it’s never too late to purchase a policy and protect yourself from liability claims. The only time that’s not great to purchase vacant land insurance? After someone has already been injured and sued you for damages. Chatting with an insurance professional about what you need will set you up to avoid paying for legal fees and medical expenses if the worst case scenario occurs.