Did you know you could be held financially liable for any accidents that happen on your land? As a landowner you have a duty of care to anyone who visits your property, even if they are there without your permission. You can be sued for compensation if something does happen. Even if you’re not found liable, the legal fees to defend your cases can quickly mount up. And if you are to blame, compensation can run into thousands of pounds, depending on the injury. The easiest way to protect yourself from these unforeseen costs is with land insurance. Depending on your land, and what is on it, vacant land insurance could be the most cost effective option for you.
What is vacant land?
Vacant land is classified as land that has no structures on it. This includes derelict buildings, for example old barns. If you have any structures on your land, you’ll need land insurance that covers the risks posed by buildings too.
Examples of vacant land may include:
- Building plots (greenfield and brownfield).
- Farm or small holding fields and meadows.
- Woods and forests.
- Private roads or shared access lanes.
- Urban vacant lots in towns and cities.
Remember, if you start to build on the vacant land, you will need to update your insurance. Speak to your broker.
Why look for vacant land insurance?
The cost of insurance is based on risk. If land has a building on it, there is more potential for an accident to happen. That greater risk means higher premiums. If you have vacant land and you’re looking for the cheapest insurance cover, it’s worth finding a policy designed specifically for land with no structures.
What does this insurance cover?
It’s a type of public liability insurance, and is sometimes also called landowners liability insurance. It covers the legal costs of defending a claim of personal injury or damage to property.
For example, the land is a plot for a self-build project. Your architect visits the site and trips and hurts themselves. They can sue you for damages, and your vacant land insurance will cover your legal fees.
Depending on your land and circumstances, you may need to include extra levels of cover. Below we’ve listed some of the most common areas so you can decide what you need:
- Public access cover. You will need to declare any public rights of way on the land to your insurer to make sure this is included – for example, a footpath or bridleway.
- Employer’s liability insurance. You’ll need this if you employ any members of staff who work on or visit the land, such as an estate manager.
Remember: vacant land insurance is a type of public liability insurance. It is designed to cover your financial liability for bodily injury or damage to other people’s property. It does not automatically cover any damage that occurs to the land. If you want that, make sure you ask your broker to include material damage. This will cover the cost of repairing walls, fences, and gates on the land. This can include damage being caused by natural forces, such as a storm. You could also select cover in case of vandalism and fire (accidental and arson).
Types of claims
Most public liability insurance claims are for slips and trips.
For example, a member of the public is walking along a footpath on your land and stumbles into a hole, hurting their ankle. You can be sued for costs associated with time lost from work.
Damage caused by trees on your land falling onto property, or people, is another common claim. If someone sustains a life-changing injury due to a falling tree, you can be made to pay for the on-going care of the injured party. These costs can be very substantial.
Do I really need it?
You may not need to consider land insurance if the land is attached to your home or a commercial property. That’s because your buildings or commercial buildings insurance normally covers it.
You should consider it if the land in question is not within this boundary. No win, no fee legal help makes it all too easy for a member of the public to make a claim against you. If you’re not sure if you need insurance, ask yourself if you could easily afford to defend yourself and pay compensation.
Peace of mind
As well as saving you financially, the right insurance can save you from a logistical headache. When you buy land insurance you’ll get access to the insurance company’s legal team. If a claim is made against you, they will take care of everything. That leaves you to get back to focusing on your day job.
How much will it cost?
The cost of your insurance will vary depending on the size and location of the land.
How to get the best price
Like all insurance, you’ll need to shop around if you want to be sure of getting the best price. However, vacant land insurance is a specialist product so you can’t just go to a consumer insurance price comparison website to find it. Instead, you’ll need to get in touch with insurance providers or you could use an insurance broker to do this for you.
If you are going to use an insurance broker, look for:
- One that specialises in land insurance so you can be confident of getting the right advice. This will give you reassurance that the cover you’re buying is suitable for your needs with no nasty surprises in the small print.
- An independent insurance broker, like Park Insurance. A broker connected to just one insurance company will only be able to show you the best products from that firm. An independent broker is free to shop around the market to find you the best price.
Get a free quote today
Just because your land has nothing on it, that doesn’t mean it does not need to be insured. Our specialist land insurance team is here to help anyone looking for value for money vacant land insurance. Get in touch or call us on 0117 955 6835 for a free, no obligation quote today.