Do I Have To Allow Hunting To Buy Vacant Land Insurance?
Owning land is a blessing that few people get to experience. However, the process of buying, maintaining and protecting your land can be a bit overwhelming, so we are going to make it as simple as possible. . . one question at a time. One of the most common questions we are asked is: “Do I have to allow hunting to justify buying vacant land insurance?”
The short answer is simply no you don’t. Although, knowing exactly what vacant land insurance protects you from and guards against may help you make a more informed decision.
What Is Vacant Land Insurance?
Vacant land insurance coverage is general liability coverage that protects landowners of ground that is basically unimproved. So, the next obvious question becomes “what determines if land has been improved?”
The definition of a structure is not what you might think. It is not JUST a home or barn on the property. Any standing structure could exclude you from being able to purchase vacant land insurance. Some providers of vacant land insurance, exclude properties that have any standing structure. This would include old sheds, cabins, unused, dilapidated barns and even permanent hunting blinds.
Examples of a structure could be.
- Energy or water structures
- Boat docks/houses
The American Landowner Alliance recognizes that there it is far more likely to have some of these older structures present and includes coverage for these types of structures. It is the advantage of trusting an association or organization that understands the needs of landowners compared to insurance agencies that tend to lump all landowners into the same category.
Understanding the unique needs and nuance of landownership allows the ALA to develop a vacant land insurance policy that actually addresses your concerns and offers solutions. Basically, liability derived from the use of structures that are seldom used (if ever) is included in the ALA program. Even cabins that are only used a few times a year are included.
It is important to remember, that this coverage is strictly protected from liability. This means that coverage does not apply to replace or restore a structure or any of its contents. If a landowner is sued, or accused of causing damage to a third party, the policy has a duty to defend the landowner and pay any judgment the landowner is found legally liable for.
The main purpose of vacant land coverage is to protect a landowner if someone takes legal action against them.
Examples Of When Coverage Might Apply
You may have invited a group of employees, co-workers or family onto your property for a fun day of recreation. Suddenly, someone steps into a large hole they did not know were there, causing damage to their knee and even requiring surgery. Faced with an expensive medical bill, this person could claim that you put them in a dangerous situation and were negligent by not alerting them of the danger.
The American Landowner Alliance program would pay for the landowner’s legal defense and then would pay for any damages the landowner was ordered to pay.
A neighbor could park their truck on their property only to have an old dead tree fall from an adjacent property badly damaging the truck. A claim could be made that the old tree was known to exist and should have been removed prior to it falling causing damage to the truck and a fence.
The highest number of lawsuits occurring on vacant land are from injury claims. With rural properties, injuries can occur for by several activities including:
- ATV riding
In addition to covering accidents of bodily injury, a vacant land insurance liability policy also covers damage to a person’s personal property. An example would be if a person starts a fire on your land, that then makes its way to another adjoining piece of land. A policy can help cover that loss.
Lastly, vacant land is often the target of trespassers seeking to steal property or possibly hunt when they believe no one is on the property. It may seem to be a stretch, but landowners can be dragged into court by a trespasser who was injured on property he/she had no permission to be on.
A judgment in their favor is very rare, but the associated costs of hiring lawyers and appearing in court can be significant. The ALA policy includes claims made by trespassers against landowners. An invaluable coverage benefit.
Boiled down, the answer is no you do not need to allow hunting to buy vacant land insurance. You in no way need to allow hunting to purchase a vacant land policy for your land. After all, it’s your land and you can allow or restrict access or activities as you see fit. But that does not mean that you should not have your land covered.
Accidents on vacant land occur often, even with the correct precautions in place. Save yourself the headache and trust the ALA to protect you and your land.
Contact the ALA today for a free quote and to hear more about the advantages of working with a team of professionals who know exactly what they are doing.