When purchasing or renewing your homeowners insurance policy, you may have heard the term “Attractive Nuisance”, and may have even been encouraged to minimize the risk one presents on your own property! But what is an Attractive Nuisance and how do they affect your insurance coverage?
For additional questions about your specific insurance policy and needs, please contact your Local Insurance Agent who will be happy to help!
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
As defined by case law as well as your insurance policy, an Attractive Nuisance is essentially a hazard that may be attractive to others, particularly children. These are things that may cause a child (or sometimes adult) to place themselves in harms way while investigating, exploring, or playing on something that they believe to be safe or innocuous.
Injuries that are the result of an Attractive Nuisance may be determined to be the fault of the property owner and ultimately (provided adequate coverage is available) their Insurance Company. As a result, insurance companies generally require that steps be taken to minimize or reduce the potential hazards that Attractive Nuisances may represent and may even deny coverage if they were not made aware of the Attractive Nuisance that existed on the property.
What is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?
The laws outlining the responsibilities that a property owner has to reduce or eliminate Attractive Nuisances are referred to as the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.
These laws maintain that a property owner can potentially be held responsible for an injury on their property as a result of an Attractive Nuisance whether the injured party was welcome on the property or not.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine stipulates that the following criteria must be met for a property owner to be found to be responsible for an injury:
• The property owner possesses knowledge that there is a chance children may trespass onto their property
• An object, structure, or feature on your property has the ability to cause harm or death
• It’s reasonable that the individual or child harmed did not understand the dangers involved
• The cost to repair or otherwise resolve the risks represented by the Attractive Nuisance is small when compared to the risks posed
• The property owner failed to take reasonable action to eliminate the Attractive Nuisance
What are the most common Attractive Nuisances?
Swimming Pools – While pools can be great for cooling off on hot days, they can also represent a safety hazard and may be attractive to children and others. Insurance companies will often require fences and appropriate gates be installed to prevent children, pets, and unauthorized persons from getting into the pool area and potentially getting hurt. Fences and gates must be constructed in such a way as to prevent children from gaining entry.
Trampolines – Though your kids will love it, so could other kids in the neighborhood! In order to reduce the chances that someone may get hurt on the trampoline, your insurance company may require that you install a net around your trampoline.
Railroads / Train Tracks – Children love trains and may not realize the dangers train tracks may present. If they are using your property to get to and explore the train tracks, you may be found liable. A secure fence and gate may also be required to help ensure that the trampoline is not being used when no one is home.