Owning a home comes with many responsibilities and while most involve protecting your home, there are additional threats that can cause you harm. An attractive nuisance can cause Texas homeowners to deal with losses due to complex liability issues. This can result in expensive lawsuits, harm to both physical and mental health, and a loss of assets. Learn what qualifies as an attractive nuisance and how to protect against them.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance in Texas?
The attractive nuisance doctrine in Texas states that children are assumed to be incapable of determining what is safe and what is not. It’s a common law that holds property owners liable for failing to prevent children from reaching things that are dangerous.
Property owners are responsible for the losses that come from injuries that occur on their property. Taking this into consideration and the fact that children can’t always assess dangerous situations, the law is also in place because property owners should expect that a child might trespass.
Going beyond the attractive nuisance elements that fit a child, adults can also sue homeowners due to the law. This occurs when an adult is attempting to rescue a child from an attractive nuisance and becomes injured in the process.
Attractive Nuisance Examples
Because of the nature of the law, an attractive nuisance can be a broad subject to cover. You’ll have to determine the curiosity and potential danger of all the children in the world and all property you own.
But there are some very common examples of attractive nuisances homeowners should be aware of, such as the following:
- Swimming pools
- Tree houses/playsets
- Vehicles/heavy equipment
- Outdoor equipment such as a lawnmower
- Old appliances/junk
- Ladders, stairs, and scaffolding
- Your roof
- Building materials
- Gates and safety measures that are in disrepair
A general rule of thumb is that if something is on your property that could attract the eyes of children, invited or not, then it also could be an attractive nuisance.
Homeowners are advised to take the proper steps to ensure the safety of all who might encounter such attractive nuisances including warnings and safety measures. You’ll also need to be sure that you have the right coverages in place should an injury occur.
Texas Homeowners Have Liability
Texas law affords children special protections but any visitor on your property is within their right to sue you for an injury that occurs while visiting your property.
Because of this, homeowners need to stay protected. There are a number of ways to do so, but the two biggest protections will come from coverages that make up your home insurance and an umbrella insurance policy to supplement coverage for larger losses.
Reporting an Attractive Nuisance to Your Insurance Provider
Whether you are buying a home that might have an attractive nuisance or if you are adding one to your property, you’ll need to notify your insurer. Two popular examples include a trampoline nuisance or a swimming pool.
Failing to let your insurance agent know can result in a variety of consequences for homeowners:
- If you have to file a claim you could be denied. This will leave you liable for potential losses on your own.
- Not only can you have your claim denied, but you also may be dropped as a client of your insurer.
- Homeowners who purposefully fail to accurately represent their property may find that their actions constitute insurance fraud.
Keeping your home insurance provider up-to-date with attractive nuisances on your property is the best way to be sure that you are protected from lawsuits and other financial hurdles.
Attractive Nuisance Insurance in Texas
Again, insurance policies are available for homeowners in Texas to help them protect against liability losses caused by an attractive nuisance. Here are the options available to Texans:
Your home insurance policy is the first line of defense for homeowners in Texas. There are liability protections in place due to its various coverages that can help you reimburse another party for losses on your property.
For example, a standard home insurance policy (HO-3) will contain six different coverages. The most prominent protection will be for the structure of your home but there are two specific protections against liability threats:
Coverage E: Personal Liability
Your coverage will protect you in the event that someone is injured while visiting your property. This includes protecting against medical and legal expenses. While policy limits may different, it’s recommended that homeowners in Texas carry at least $100,000 worth of coverage to stay adequately protected.
Coverage F: Medical Expenses
Because medical expenses can be pretty pricey, your home insurance policy will help you pay for medical expenses you are responsible for when visitors injure themselves on your property. Your policy won’t cover the medical costs of your own household, but most home insurance coverages provide between $2,000 and $5,000 to mitigate the cost of medical bills for others.
When losses involving liability exceed your home insurance policy limits, your assets can become the target of lawsuits. An umbrella insurance policy is an affordable protection that helps supplement this potential peril. Most homeowners in Texas can receive this coverage offering up to $1 million in protection for only hundreds of dollars per year.
Creating Your Insurance Premiums
There’s no other way to put it, an attractive nuisance will raise your insurance premiums. They come with more potential for liability and therefore make your property more expensive to insure.
Insurance companies calculate your premiums by assessing the amount of risk you have. This includes various personal features such as if your home has a pool and regional trends such as weather-related perils in your state, city, and county.
The more risk you have, the higher premiums you’ll pay, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options. Homeowners have plenty of chances to save money even with an attractive nuisance.
The greatest example of this is simply shopping your coverage among many different insurance providers. But not just comparing two or three big brands, you’ll need to compare your coverage far and wide.
Yes, each insurer may look at similar factors to determine your risk but each brand does this differently. Brand A might think your new swimming pool is a huge liability risk whereas Brand B only sees it as a slight risk.
The relationships we’ve forged with these brands allow our clients better access to more coverage options, discounts, bundling opportunities, etc.
Because our agents take the time to compare your rates, we’re able to build our clients a personalized level of protection with rates that save our average customer 40%.
Save While Protecting Against an Attractive Nuisance in Texas
No matter the coverage you need, our agents are here to help. We offer $1 million in protection for only hundreds of dollars per year through umbrella insurance. Our home insurance offerings continue to help homeowners in Texas save hundreds if not thousands on their insurance.
Attractive nuisances don’t have to be the end of the world. Common sense actions such as guard gates and clearing your property of debris can mitigate most liability concerns.
In certain cases, such as having a swimming pool on your property, they can even enhance your home. But you need proper protection and you shouldn’t have to overpay to receive it.
Ask an agent what our team can do for you or get your free homeowners insurance quote using our online tool. Contact us today to protect against attractive nuisance liability, weather-related damage, and various perils that may cause your home harm.