How an 'Attractive Nuisance' Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Rates
Homeowners insurance rates are based on many factors. One of the most important is the likelihood of someone getting injured or killed on a policyholder’s property. Having an “attractive nuisance” in your yard could make your insurance rates significantly higher than your neighbors’.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is a feature of a property that is both attractive and dangerous to children. Some common examples are a pool, fountain, pond, trampoline, playground equipment, tree house, or broken-down vehicle or appliance. Children are naturally drawn to these things out of curiosity or a desire to have fun and often have no idea how dangerous they can be.
What Is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?
Court cases have established that homeowners who have an attractive nuisance on their property have a responsibility to take extra measures to protect children from harm. A homeowner can be found responsible for a child’s injuries or death if the homeowner knew that there was a chance that a child might not understand that an object was dangerous and that a child could be injured or killed by it, and yet the homeowner did not take reasonable steps to keep children safe. A homeowner can be held liable even if a child was trespassing on the property.
What Are the Insurance Impacts?
Homeowners insurance companies charge higher rates for people who have an attractive nuisance on their property because of the possibility that a child could be injured or killed and the insurance company could have to pay a large amount to settle the case. If you have an attractive nuisance on your property, you might be able to reduce your premium by taking significant, concrete steps to protect children.
If you have a pool, you can install a fence around it that is high and difficult for children to climb and that has a locked gate. A pool cover or an alarm that goes off if someone enters the pool unsupervised can also prevent accidents. If you have a tree house, fencing in the area around the tree, or the entire yard, can keep kids out. Making sure the tree house is well maintained and doesn’t have any broken wood or loose nails can prevent injuries to children who are allowed to use it. If you have a trampoline, installing safety nets and putting a fence around the trampoline or the perimeter of the yard can help you keep your homeowners insurance rates down.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Many homeowners buy or build things to provide fun for their families and don’t understand how their insurance rates could be affected. If you have an attractive nuisance on your property, an insurance company will see it as a major liability risk. Talk to your carrier about measures you can take to protect children and keep your rates down.