Of course, the vacant apartment owner needs insurance cover! The insurance companies will inform you emphatically about all liability risks – general, personal injury and property damage that exist in an unoccupied house, building or property. But don’t take any blanket statements about this at face value until you’ve looked at some very real loss examples yourself. FYI, the professional agents bring you these land scenarios!
• The owner of a vacant lot downtown had a protective chain link gate built around the lot. However, over time, age and weather conditions took their toll on the enclosure. The fence was no longer in the best condition when a passer-by suffered an eye injury from a protruding chain link. The lawsuit ended with the insurance policy bearing the brunt of the defense costs and out-of-court mediation, resulting in a $350,000 payout.
• A pedestrian slipped on the sidewalk that ran alongside a vacant lot. Her injury consisted of a broken hip. The women claimed that the leaves that had fallen from the property onto the sidewalk were the cause of their misfortune. An insurance claim settlement was reached at $200,000. This included the $16,000 set aside for defense expenses.
• A motorcyclist was hit by a car. After the car accident, the responsible party filed a lawsuit against the neighboring property owner, alleging that the posted property signs blocked his view of traffic. It was determined that the signs had no bearing on the cause of the collision. The related expenses totaled $7,500.
• A man riding a bicycle around a fenced vacant lot injured himself on a protruding broken portion of the fence. After filing a lawsuit, the man was awarded $45,000 in damages. The policyholder’s insurance also paid $20,000 in legal fees. Ultimately, however, the issue was resolved by an arbitration award. The payout included $30,000 with defense costs borne by cover.
• Sitting right next to a public sports field was a vacant lot. Although sports fans parked their cars and trucks on the public property, an incident occurred involving a dead branch from a tree that was on the adjacent private vacant lot. Because three workers’ cars were damaged, a lawsuit was pending, resulting in $12,000 in compensation.
• Teenage youths illegally used their free time to smoke on a vacant lot, resulting in a bushfire. The fire soon swept across the property, setting neighboring homes on fire. The owner of the vacant lot was held partially liable for damages and property replacement costs totaling $6,500.
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