What Is an Attractive Nuisance in Home Insurance?
- Insurance 101
- What Is an Attractive Nuisance in Home Insurance?
For policyholders, attractive nuisances may seem to be anything but nuisances. Each is usually associated with having fun, experiencing a good time and elations of joy as you play away, splashing or bouncing, toward a day filled with excitement.
For home insurance companies, on the other hand, attractive nuisances are anything but fun. They’re basically ticking time bombs in a policyholder’s backyard that are associated with severe injuries and costly home insurance claims.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is an item or condition on a home’s property, such as a swimming pool or ongoing construction, that could be potentially hazardous or dangerous to people, especially young children who may not know the ramifications of the item or condition.
While many people associate attractive nuisances with homeowners insurance because homeowners are typically held responsible for the attractive nuisances on their property, they can be a hassle for renters insurance as well. Renters can install attractive nuisances, such as trampolines or above-ground swimming pools, on the property and be held liable for any injuries they cause if a home insurance claim is filed.
Attractive nuisances are covered under the liability portion of home insurance policies, which helps to pay for any injuries to others that occur on your property and for which you’re found liable. Unfortunately, injuries that occur due to attractive nuisances are usually always the fault of the policyholder because they took the initial risk by putting them on their property.
If you’re sued due to an injury that occurred because of an attractive nuisance on your property, liability coverage will also help to pay for legal fees if the injured party sues you. Liability coverage starts at $100,000 per claim and many insurers offer you the opportunity to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.
Those people with attractive nuisances on their property are recommended to purchase the higher amount. Since pools are often associated with extremely costly home insurance claims, those policyholders with pools on their property may want to purchase umbrella insurance, which increases liability coverage to $1 million or more.
7 Attractive Nuisance Examples That Affect Home Insurance
There’s no doubt having attractive nuisances on your property will increase your home insurance premiums. Let’s take a look at what kind of attractive nuisances exist, which ones are most common and why they increase your premiums.
1. Swimming Pool
Swimming pools are the most common attractive nuisances in the United States, and they’re also one of the most costly in terms of disasters and claims. Pools are enjoyable. They allow you to catch a brief break from the sweltering summer sun to splash around in hundreds of gallons of water.
But even though pools are fun, they aren’t always safe. Major injuries, including death, can occur in pools and have a dire cost associated with them. If someone is injured in your pool, you could be on the hook to pay their medical bills and any legal expenses relating to the accident.
Luckily, if you have home insurance, it can step in to pick up the maximum amount on your policy’s liability coverage. But injuries that occur in pools can often exceed your policy maximums, especially if the worst-case scenario occurs.
Since swimming pools, and especially those with diving boards or slides, are associated with such costly claims, insurance companies must offset their potential losses by raising the rates of homeowners who have pools.
2. Hot Tub
Similar to swimming pools, hot tubs are attractive nuisances that can result in costly home insurance claims. But you don’t just have to worry about your family and friends utilizing your hot tub and potentially getting injured.
Attractive nuisances are so dangerous because they attract people’s attention and are inviting. Sometimes inviting the wrong people, like burglars or passers-by who decide your hot tub looks like a great place to relax.
3. Fountains, Ponds and Lakes
Another body of water on the list of attractive nuisances shouldn’t surprise you, especially after we’ve been so diligent to inform you how dangerous water and how costly the insurance claims can be. Any body of water large enough to swim in is going to be an attractive nuisance that raises your insurance premiums.
Don’t worry, if you put up a small decorative fountain, your rates won’t increase due to that. Insurance companies are only worried about the bodies of water large enough to swim in (or accidentally fall into).
4. Playground Equipment
Backyard playgrounds are like a paradise for children. They can spend all day on the at-home jungle gym and seemingly never tire. But kids aren’t the most careful human beings on the planet, especially not when swinging as high as possible, navigating the monkey bars one-handed and sliding down a structure nearly three times their height.
You see where I’m going here? Playground equipment poses a certain threat to kids when they’re not careful — and even on the rare occasion when they are. That’s why they’ve been classified as attractive nuisances in the court of public insurance opinion.
Do you remember those summer days as a kid, trying to perfect front flips and backflips while sometimes being sprung right off the surface and onto the ground? Hopefully the latter event lacks in your memory. But for many people, that event can send kids (and adults who think they can still get after it like they used to) to the hospital with broken bones and other injuries.
Since the trampoline is the policyholder’s property and they purchased it for use, they’re likely going to be found liable for the damages. That means if your child’s injured friend’s parents decide to file a claim against your home insurance, your premiums are likely to increase.
Treehouses are tiny castles in the sky that nearly every kid dreams of growing up. They also may be covered under the other structures portion of your home insurance policy. Luckily for insurance companies, many people forgo the treehouse in favor of a safer couch-cushion fort inside. But those homeowners who give in to their children’s desires for a treehouse will face a lofty insurance premium hike.
7. Construction Projects
One of the most common attractive nuisances the average person fails to consider is a construction project happening on the property. Whether the homeowner is building a new deck, adding a room on to the house or renovating other areas of their home, there are probably tools and construction equipment lying around in the open.
Those areas are actually considered attractive nuisances due to the dangers they pose. From accidentally stepping on a nail to going through the floors, at-home construction projects pose some serious dangers.
At What Age Do Attractive Nuisance Laws End?
While attractive nuisance laws typically apply to children who are 12 years or younger, there are some exceptions to the laws, and each state may have different classifications of age. For instance, a court in Pennsylvania has declared children as old as 17 to be covered under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.