Of course the vacant owner needs insurance! The insurance companies will tell you emphatically about all liability risks – general, physical and material damage that exists in a vacant home, building or lot. But don’t take a blanket statement about it until you see some very real claims examples for yourself. For your information, the professional agents bring you these land scenarios!
• A downtown wasteland owner had a protective chain link gate built around the property. However, as time went on, age and weather conditions took their toll on the enclosure. The gate was no longer in top condition when a passer-by suffered an eye injury as a result of a protruding chain link. The lawsuit ended with the insurance policy bearing the brunt of defense costs and out-of-court mediation resulting in a $350,000 payout.
• A pedestrian slipped on the sidewalk next to a vacant lot. Her injury consisted of a broken hip. The women claimed that the leaves that had fallen on the sidewalk were the cause of her accident. A $200,000 damage claim was settled. This included the $16,000 set aside for defense costs.
• A motorcyclist has been hit by a car. After the car accident, the responsible party filed a lawsuit against the neighboring owner of a vacant lot, alleging that the posted sign obscured his view of the traffic. It was determined that the signs had no influence on the cause of the collision. The associated cost was $7,500.
• A man riding a bicycle around a fenced vacant lot injured himself with a broken part of the fence sticking out. After filing a lawsuit, the man was awarded $45,000 in damages. The policyholder’s insurance also paid $20,000 for legal fees. In the end, however, an appeal to the price solved the problem. Payout included $30,000 with defense fees paid by coverage.
• There was a vacant lot right next to a public sports field. Although sports fans parked their cars and trucks in the public area, an incident occurred involving a dead branch of a tree on the adjacent vacant lot. Because three workers’ cars were damaged, a claim was filed resulting in $12,000 in damages.
• Teenage boys illegally used their free time to smoke on a vacant lot, which started a forest fire. The fire soon spread over the property and set neighboring houses on fire. The vacant landowner was held partially liable and responsible for damages and replacement costs totaling $6,500.