We are all reasonably familiar with the concept of property insurance, such as house and contents insurance and buildings insurance. But did you know that it is also possible to insure a plot of land? While it seems that there isn’t too much that can go wrong with a piece of land, there are issues that could end up costing you money, unless you protect yourself.
What is land insurance?
Land insurance is primarily designed to protect the owners of land against the financial cost of claims from anyone who accesses their land and is either injured or their property is damaged. This is basically public liability insurance, but by talking to an expert broker, you can also include other types of insurance in your private land insurance policy. That could be everything from cover to protect public access, employer’s liability insurance to protect employees working on your land, cover for legal expenses and cover to protect you against material damage to walls, fences, gates and even street lighting.
What kind of land can you protect with insurance?
Almost any kind of land can be protected with insurance. One of the most popular types of land insurance is to protect private roads and accesses. While this may be expensive for one person to take out, if there are multiple residents or occupants then a collective policy can be arranged to protect the rights and interests of everyone. But other types of land can be covered too, including woodland, vacant plots, brownfield development sites and pasture.
It’s not uncommon for landowners to admit that they’ve never considered taking out private land insurance. It’s only once you stop to consider the range of potential claims that could be made against you that the true benefit of this specialist cover comes to light.
If any member of the public can make their way onto your land, you are at risk of claims being made against you – claims for personal injury or damage to property (including vehicles).
Who might need land insurance?
It’s often the owners of building plots who seek out land insurance, and this is a prime example of when this coverage is essential. When you’re developing a plot of land, the likes of planning officers and builders will be accessing the area. You could be liable if they are hurt or their equipment or vehicles are damaged while there.
You can take out land insurance if the public can access any of your land. It can cover bodies of water (like ponds, streams, rivers and lakes), private roads and woodland. Even if your land doesn’t have public access or rights of way, claims can still be made against you by trespassers. Trespassing is deemed a civil wrong rather than a criminal offence.
It’s also beneficial if you have any derelict buildings on your land since these pose a higher level of risk (and are a draw to the likes of teenagers). If your land is used as a carpark, for example, at the start of a public walk, incidents here could lead to high-value claims.
Though the risks of people being on your land may not have occurred to you before, mitigate the potential financial burden by simply taking out the appropriate private land insurance cover.
What type of cover does land insurance offer me?
Your policy is a type of public liability, an insurance cover that comes into play should a member of the public on your land become injured or their property damaged in a manner attributable to the poor management or maintenance of that land.
Should the member of the public raise a claim against you, you’ll be covered in terms of your legal costs and any pay-out ordered by a court.
Do I have to take out land insurance?
No, it’s not a legal obligation to hold this type of insurance as a landowner, but there are scenarios where other people may request that your land is insured before they access it. If you’re a building plot owner, you will likely find that people who need to come onto your land to work on the build may ask that the land is insured first.
Don’t worry if there is a joint ownership situation with your land, as is often the case with a private road. It can be amended to include multiple owners.
As you’ve seen, given the rules surrounding trespassing, you may not be as protected against claims as you previously thought. So, while not a legal requirement, land insurance may be necessary for your peace of mind.
What information must I declare when obtaining land insurance?
It’s vital that you’re as accurate as possible when noting the size of your land and its regular use.
Declaring bodies of water, buildings (including derelict buildings and developments), play areas, and public access is also crucial. Failure to do so could void your policy.
At Park Insurance, we have decades of experience handling specialist insurance needs. We love working in partnership with our clients to help them understand their unique requirements. If you’d like to find out how Park Insurance could help you protect your land, get in touch with one of our friendly experts today.
How we can help – Get a free land insurance quote
For over 30 years, Park Insurance has been providing clients with the very best in specialised insurance policies. Our expert advisers are fully qualified and regulated and are able to help you put together a land insurance policy that will protect your interests, and at an affordable price. As a preferred broker to many of the largest insurance providers in the UK, Park Insurance has a unique ability to match the right package to the right customer. We can help with everything from public and private liability insurance, through to buildings insurance, personal indemnity and loss of earnings insurance.
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