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Vacant Land and Building Liability

It is common for land and building owners to find themselves with a parcel of unused, vacant land or a vacant building from time to time. What most owners forget is that it is still important to consider risks associated with the land or building. For example, if an individual is injured on the land parcel, the landowner is still liable.

Land owners must ensure adequate protection and coverage is obtained to ensure they are minimizing risks as much as possible. Limit liability by making sure the property is free of significant hazards that could cause injuries to anyone on the property. Properly cover or block ditches or physical features of the land that could cause unwarranted injury. Additionally, land owners can post signage to help inform the public and keep trespassers out and away from danger.

Dangers on vacant land also extend to construction workers. Theft, trespassing, or fires are regular threats to vacant construction sites. Construction sites are an obvious choice for thieves and vandalism due to the number of structures and availability to expensive equipment and tools. In the last four years, nearly 1,800 vacant buildings under construction were reported on fire to different fire departments across the country.[1]

Owners of vacant property are advised to look into vacant property insurance to help protect against any of the following risks:

  • Lightning damage
  • Smoke
  • Civil commotion damage
  • Vandalism
  • Presence of squatters

If an occupied property becomes vacant, it is imperative to notify your risk carrier immediately to help protect against any losses. Failure to do so may result in denied coverage of the claim. The risks and regulations for vacant land and buildings will vary from state to state, as will the different available insurance options.

To learn more about protecting your business from risks associated with vacant land or buildings, contact Harbor America.

[1] National Fire Protection Association: Vacant Building Fires