Don’t Let an ‘Attractive Nuisance’ Ruin Your Summer

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Perhaps you sneaked into the neighbor’s pool as a child. Maybe you used their junk pile as a fort or jumped on their trampoline.

These youthful indiscretions may seem harmless to a child. These acts of rebellion can be a problem for homeowners.

Each of these “attractive nuisances” are features on your property that encourage children to use them, even without your permission. Others are:

  • Construction equipment.
  • Non-working cars
  • Equipment for the playground.
  • Old appliances.

You, the homeowner, have the legal responsibility to make the attraction unaccessible to curious kids or to eliminate the danger completely. As summer approaches and children spend more time outdoors, there are some ways you can reduce the danger of nuisances to your property.

It’s time to get rid of it

You can get rid of any unwanted items that you feel could pose a nuisance. This will reduce your risk and help you save on home insurance. It depends on several factors as to how practical this is.

There are many factors that can affect the cost of removing nuisances from your property. You can also donate a car to charity organizations like Wheels for Wishes and Goodwill. The cost of renting a dumpster to dispose off your trash can vary depending on its size and length.

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However, it can be more expensive to remove an above-ground or in-ground pool. It could cost as much as $20,000 depending on the method used and the size of the pool.

You may not want to remove the inconvenience of a pool or other nuisances just because it increases your annual homeowners’ insurance cost.

Protect the area surrounding the nuisance

To ensure you are covered for any potential nuisances, work with your homeowners Insurance company. Karen Collins, assistant vice-president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association, states that you should start arranging your insurance coverage before any nuisances end up on your property.

Collins states that being transparent with your insurer will make you a happier customer.

You can put up a barrier to avoid major liability problems. Collins points out that, depending on the nature of the nuisance, your insurance company might require you take certain precautions in order to obtain coverage.

For example, a carrier might require that you install a fully enclosed fence around a pool. It should have a self-closing, self-latching gate. These safety precautions are required in some states, such as Arizona and Florida.

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There are many types of barriers, so it is your responsibility to ensure that the barrier works as intended. Verify that the latching mechanisms work properly and that no fence rails are too narrow.

Simple acts can be used to secure nuisances, such as laying a flat ladder on the ground and locking away power tools. Also, you should clearly mark any dangerous areas.

Increase your insurance coverage

Insurance can offer a significant safety net if you are held responsible for an incident. Most homeowners insurance policies include liability coverage beginning at $100,000. However, many insurance companies and industry professionals recommend that you increase this amount to $300,000. If you have an attractive nuisance on the property, you can get additional coverage at least $300,000.

You can relax by adding personal umbrella coverage to your homeowners insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, umbrella policies provide additional liability coverage for a low cost of $150-300 per year.

Anthony Kondos, an agent at State Farm Portland, Oregon points out that an umbrella insurance policy can make all the difference if you are on the hook for any kind of injury.

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He says, “Even though you don’t have much to lose,” you might still be facing wage garnishments that could take your paycheck out for many years.

An umbrella policy covers your legal defense costs, and will also cover any payouts you are responsible for. It does not affect your policy’s overall limit. If you are held responsible for $1,000,000 and incur $200,000 in legal costs, your insurance company will cover everything provided you have $1,000,000 in umbrella coverage.

If you don’t plan ahead and address potential problems, you could be attracting nuisances that can cause you trouble. Even if you don’t intend to, inaction can have serious consequences.