Attractive Nuisances

What is 'Attractive Nuisances'

An item, located on a property, that is appealing but potentially hazardous, especially to children. Attractive nuisances can lead to expensive injuries and pricey lawsuits that insurance companies are reluctant to cover. As a result, insurers may require property owners to remove or mitigate an attractive nuisance before they will extend coverage. If they do extend coverage, the policy may be more expensive than an otherwise identical one that did not cover the attractive nuisance.

BREAKING DOWN 'Attractive Nuisances'

Examples of attractive nuisances include swimming pools and other water features (e.g., fountains and ponds), construction sites, power lines, wells and drainage ditches, old appliances sitting in the backyard (children can play in them and get trapped inside), playgrounds and trampolines. Owning a property that contains an attractive nuisance is a good reason to purchase the maximum amount of liability coverage available under your homeowners insurance policy and to supplement that with an umbrella policy, which will provide another $1 million or more in liability coverage.

Here are two examples of how attractive nuisances work.

1. If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, your homeowners insurance company might require you to have a secure fence surrounding the pool so children cannot easily get into the pool and accidentally drown. Even with the fence, you might still pay more for homeowners insurance than you would if you didn’t have a pool. However, without the fence, you might be denied coverage. Experience has taught insurance companies that homeowners with pools are more likely to file expensive personal liability claims, so they charge more to cover this increased risk.

2. You might not think of a construction site as being an attractive nuisance that would apply to a homeowner, but if you undertake a major remodeling project, your property becomes a construction site replete with hazards the property otherwise wouldn’t have, such as dangerous machinery and equipment and large holes to fall into. As with swimming pools, construction sites pose a particular risk for children, who might see them as giant playgrounds and not understand the dangers. You should contact your homeowners insurance company before beginning a major remodel to find out if you need to purchase additional coverage and take special precautions to secure your property and limit your risk.