What to Know About Attractive Nuisance and Homeowners InsuranceJune 29, 2023
Is your home a place where you have spent time and energy making it a special environment for you, your family, and your friends? If you have, it’s attractive. It draws people in, but it also has the potential to be considered an attractive nuisance. Here’s what to know about attractive nuisance and homeowners insurance:
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
Within the context of homeowners insurance and law, an attractive nuisance is considered anything on a property that creates a potentially dangerous condition and that which could be considered to be attractive enough to others, especially children, to lure or attract them onto the property.
Other conditions of attractive nuisances include:
- The owner of the property is responsible, either directly or through negligence, for creating the potential danger.
- The owner of the property should have known that it would be attractive to people, particularly children.
- The owner of the property should have known that it would be harmful to them should they come onto the property and interact with it.
There are other backyard liabilities that are outside of your control and can affect your property, like sewer and water backup, damage from municipal utility issues, and more. In these cases, your homeowner’s insurance may cover damage to your home. In the case of attractive nuisances and homeowners insurance, it can become more complicated.
Depending on the situation, you could be held liable for injuries or problems that occur on your property connected to attractive nuisances. How it affects your homeowner’s insurance depends on the details and context of the situation, your policy, deductibles, endorsements, and liability insurance.
9 Backyard Liabilities That Could Be Attractive Nuisances
Anything you add to your home can affect your insurance, which is why it’s one of the times when you should review your homeowners’ insurance. These are a few backyard liabilities that could be considered attractive nuisances and what that could mean for your homeowners’ insurance:
1. Swimming Pools
Pools are fun, attractive, and relaxing. There are different styles and sizes, and all ages enjoy the pool. When it comes to swimming pools and home insurance, what are items that need to be primary?
All pools need to be secure so that they cannot be accessed by anyone at any time. The above-ground pool needs to have a climbing ladder that can be closed or removed to close the access to the pool when no adults are available to monitor. If it is an in-ground pool, it is imperative that the pool has a fence that can be closed to prohibit individuals from accessing water and pool items.
The trampoline is a source of exercise and can be a group activity. These elements may create interference between individuals and cause accidents and injury. If a trampoline is in the yard, etc., it is most important that it has safety features.
The minimum would be the netting to prevent users from falling off the spring base and landing on the ground and causing head or body injury. It is imperative to make certain the trampoline will not cause severe injury or permanent injury. It is also essential to secure your backyard with a fence or to secure the trampoline when not in use to deter others from wandering onto your property to use it.
Premises liability is one of the types of liability coverage on a homeowner’s policy that can help provide coverage in case of personal injury on a trampoline. However, if it is considered an attractive nuisance situation and/or you are considered negligent because you did not take proper precautions regarding it, there could be negative implications.
The height of a treehouse may be one of the first considerations. Be aware of that and how the child will access the house. Other items of concern would be the size of the windows and openings a person can fall through ending with a drop to the ground. In addition, how are your backyard and the treehouse secured to prevent unauthorized access? These are all things that need to be taken into consideration.
4. The Family Dog or Other Pets/Animals
This is a large selection of animals. The different species vary drastically and bring a variety of joy and needs to the home. Dogs, cats, snakes, mice, hamsters, and even pigs, all bring different needs and wants. They may be “cute,” but not necessarily always friendly.
From an insurance perspective, animals can be considered risks. Does homeowners insurance cover dogs and other animals? It depends. Dogs and other animals can cause injury to others. And, if they are out on your property unsecured and unsupervised, they could be considered attractive nuisances.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have pets; just that you will want to talk to your insurance agent about them and make sure you are doing what you need to do to reduce risk and ensure you have the right coverages in place.
5. Playground and Playsets
There are many varieties of playsets and playgrounds. They come in different sizes and a large selection of items. If they are in your backyard, make sure each toy is completely assembled and inspected.
Improper installation opens the chance of a failure that may cause severe injury. In the case of an attractive nuisance, you could be considered liable for those injuries, particularly if there was any negligence on your part as the homeowner. It’s important to keep in mind that negligence isn’t always intentional; it can also be as simple as slacking off on or delaying maintenance.
6. Skateboard Ramps
Skateboards are used for a variety of activities. You can see them being the source of transportation down the street; that may be to the store or school. The local park may have a special area for skateboarding activities.
You may also have a skateboard ramp in your backyard. Make sure the ramps, etc., are secured completely. Also, be sure that the structures are in good repair and not rotting and decaying into weak and unsafe items. Additionally, consider what measures you can put in place to prevent unauthorized use.
7. Landscaping Features
Landscaping in the backyard is often the beauty of the imagination to the homeowner. It may include trees, flowers, hardscaping, waterfalls, pools of water, critters in the pools, and on and on.
Depending on the landscaping features, they could be considered attractive nuisances; water features and fire pits/barbecues commonly fall in this category. However, it is very much a “not always, but sometimes” situation, so you will want to discuss specifics with your insurance agent to make sure you are fully covered.
Other than swimming pools, water features like ponds, waterfalls, and even streams on your property can be considered attractive nuisances in some cases. If you have, or plan to have, any of these features on your property, it’s important to have a conversation with your insurance agent about them so you have the proper protections and coverage in place to reduce risks associated with them.
Fire pits or barbecues used for the mood of the day or making barbecue foods are great for the home. But, it can create risk for your home and can be considered an attractive nuisance in some cases. Always make sure the circumstances are safe and secure based on the weather and the seasons of the year.
There may also be other rare, specific examples of things that are considered attractive nuisances. It can even be certain species of plants and vegetation. For example, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection considers Giant Hogweed an invasive plant species and also considers it an attractive nuisance in some cases when it is present on properties. You will want to be aware of anything specific like this for your area, make sure you taking proper precautions, and make sure your homeowner’s policy has coverage for it if it affects your home.
Your gardens may be that of flowers or vegetables and fruits for your use. It’s important that your use of tools and chemicals are appropriate for your plants. Your tools must be used in a safe manner. Chemicals can be valuable and provide great results, but make sure that the plants are given the proper time before they are cut and harvested.
Also, make sure all tools and chemicals are properly secured and stored. If left unsecured in your backyard, they could be considered attractive nuisances if someone were to come onto the property, play with them or use them, and get injured.
9. Lawn Equipment and/or Construction Equipment
This may be the lawn mower, either riding or push mower. Similar to gardening tools or chemicals, make certain the equipment is secure so that no young youth may start the item inappropriately. Construction equipment may provide situations where the inappropriate and untrained person ends up using the tools in a dangerous environment.
Get the Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage You Need With Ruhl Insurance
These items are not all the possibilities when it comes to attractive nuisances and homeowners insurance. Use them as good examples and starters. Keep in mind that to be protected as the homeowner, whether you own the home or just rent it, you need the proper homeowner insurance policy covering all that you own.
This includes real estate and all of your personally owned items. If you have questions on how to protect yourself, give a call to our knowledgeable staff at Ruhl Insurance. We can be reached at 800-537-6880 or 717-665-2283. We will be happy to discuss it with you.
Disclaimer: Information and claims presented in this content are meant for informative, illustrative purposes and should not be considered legally binding.