What do the following have in common?

  • Vacant Buildings
  • Junk yards
  • Ponds
  • Betty Boop

Answer:  they can all be considered an “attractive nuisance!”  They attract attention just by their existence and are generally considered to be a nuisance to the general public.  Ok, so Betty Boop might be stretching it a little, but you see my point, don’t you?   Children are especially susceptible to giving in to their curiosity about these attractive nuisances and wreaking all sorts of trouble where they don’t belong.

One of the results of the poor economic times has been a substantial increase in the number of vacant buildings.  Vacant buildings can quickly become a place for the local “artists” to display their art work on the side of buildings.  It can also be a temporary shelter for a homeless person looking for a dry spot to sleep and maybe even starting a small fire for extra warmth. And empty parking lots are a great place for the local skateboarders to set up new obstacle courses.

Many building owners are not aware that insurance policies provide limited coverage after the building has been vacant for more than 60 days.   Building owners should make every effort to prevent unauthorized entrance to their buildings as vandalism, glass breakage, and theft and attempted theft are generally excluded.  Water damage is also a standard exclusion so water should be turned off and pipes drained.  For those that have a sprinkler system in their buildings, sprinkler leakage is excluded unless the system is maintained properly and protected from freezing.

Finally, the building owner could even be responsible for anyone injured on their property unless they have taken steps to discourage trespassers.   A standard General Liability policy should be in place to protect against these types of claims.

Contact your insurance agent to see what options might be available for covering your vacant property.  Your agent may also have suggestions for how you can protect your property from loss until it becomes occupied again or sold.  Do you have any suggestions of your own on how to protect your vacant property? I’d love to hear them!

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