What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
What is an ‘attractive nuisance’ and why should you care? An attractive nuisance is an object or condition that may attract children onto your property and result in them being injured. This could be a swimming pool, trampoline, abandoned vehicles on your lot, or a number of other items.
The attractive nuisance doctrine states that if a child gets injured due to an attractive nuisance in your yard, you are liable for the damages. This can include paying hefty medical bills. Your homeowner’s insurance may not cover attractive nuisances, or you may have to pay heftier premiums to ensure that they are covered.
Keep reading to find out what attractive nuisances you might have and how to prevent them from becoming a financial burden.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances
You may not realize that some of your property is considered a nuisance by your insurance company. There are many examples of attractive nuisances that can cause harm to children and increase your insurance costs.
Swimming pools are both exciting and hazardous for young children. They can receive sprains and fractures from diving in shallow water or be stung or bitten by insects or animals hidden beneath the water’s surface. Worse yet, children may fall or walk into a pool without knowing how to swim properly, resulting in them drowning.
Swimming pools are a fun and effective way to cool off during the summer heat, but you should never leave your children unattended while they are swimming in your pool or even standing by it. Take your eyes off of them for just a second, and they could end up injured or worse.
If you are adding a pool to your property, speak with your insurer to see if you need to upgrade your home insurance coverage. It is likely that your pool will affect your homeowner’s insurance.
Trampolines are a popular way to exercise during the summer, but they have been known to cause injury. Many trampoline injuries involve sprains and fractures from landing improperly on the springs or frame of the trampoline. Children may also hit their heads on the trampoline frame, resulting in concussions or even brain damage. This makes trampolines an attractive nuisance. Before getting one for your yard, you should look into the connection between trampolines and insurance rates.
These objects can attract children because they tend to look fun to explore. Children may not realize that they are dangerous and could receive injuries such as cuts, bruises, or fractures. These nuisances can also attract animals such as snakes and rodents that may injure your children.
Other examples of attractive nuisances include abandoned refrigerators, piles of wood or concrete, construction sites, or broken-down houses. Check with your insurance provider for a full list of attractive nuisances if you are wondering whether something on your property falls into this category.
Preventing Attractive Nuisances
There are several ways you can prevent attractive nuisances from costing you money.
Get Rid of It!
The easiest way to prevent an attractive nuisance from causing harm is to get rid of it. Don’t keep that pile of wood in your yard, give away the trampoline you don’t use anymore, or sell the house that has been abandoned.
If you are selling your home, make sure to note the property’s condition on the listing. This will help protect you from an attractive nuisance lawsuit that could result in a settlement against you.
If there is no emotional attachment to the property, getting rid of it is the best option. Disposing of attractive nuisances is the only way to ensure that no one will be hurt by them on your property.
Establish a Security Perimeter
A swimming pool or trampoline could be the highlight of your summer. If your attractive nuisance is useful to you or your family, you may not want to get rid of it. One way to reduce the risk of injury is to secure the perimeter around your attractive nuisance.
If you have fences, gates, or locks on your property, it will be more difficult for a child to enter the area that contains an attractive nuisance. A pool can be covered by a pool safety cover to prevent children from entering or falling in.
If you do not have a security perimeter set up, it’s good to warn people of its presence. You can use warning signs or post “No Trespassing” signs around the area to persuade people to avoid the danger.
Keep It Upright and Out of the Way
Another way to keep a child from being injured by an attractive nuisance is to secure it properly. An old refrigerator that falls over could result in multiple fractures for a child, so make sure it is secured to a wall and stays upright. Similarly, if your fence or gate has fallen over, get it fixed immediately before a child climbs the fence and gets injured.
Expand Your Insurance Coverage
If you have an attractive nuisance on your property, consider buying additional insurance coverage.
For instance, homeowner’s insurance does not usually cover trampoline accidents. If you don’t want to get rid of your trampoline, you may want to consider buying additional homeowner’s insurance called an “umbrella policy.”
Having insurance coverage for your attractive nuisance will give you the peace of mind that if an injury does occur, you won’t be responsible for all the costs out of pocket.
It is important to ask if your policy covers any of these nuisances or provides additional coverage for them. Some insurers might require that you purchase particular rider policies to receive this extra protection.
What to Do If Someone Is Hurt by an Attractive Nuisance
You need to take certain steps immediately after someone is hurt on your property due to an attractive nuisance. First of all, give medical attention to any injured party as soon as possible. If a child is hurt while using an attractive nuisance on your property, immediately notify the authorities.
You should also contact your insurance company after an accident has occurred. That way, they can decide how to proceed with the claim.
If you are worried that your home insurance policy may not cover an accident involving an attractive nuisance, then it is advised to purchase a separate rider.
Whether you decide to keep or get rid of an attractive nuisance, make sure to take precautions before allowing a child on your property. You could be sued if they are hurt due to a hazard on your property that could have been prevented.
No matter what kind of attractive nuisance you have on your property, it’s always best to ask your insurer if your policy covers it or if you need to upgrade your insurance.
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