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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Should You Carry Liability Insurance on Unimproved or Unoccupied Rural Property

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Texas

    I hope this is the right forum, I didn't see another one that looked suitable.

    My father passed away recently. He owned a large piece of rural property used almost exclusively for family recreation. It has never been anyone's primary residence for as long has he has owned it.

    For some unknown reason, was carrying a huge liability policy on the place, one with an annual premium so high that none of his heirs can keep it up.

    The land is under a grazing lease, with some oil and gas production that pay insignificant royalties (he had a tiny fraction of the mineral.)

    I recall my dad saying several years ago that he was worried about one of our neighbors, a good friend who frequently did work for him and looked after the place, was allowing his friends access to the place and that it could result in a lawsuit if someone got hurt. About that time, too, other family members were beginning to use the place to ride ATVs and frequently having guests out.

    I was advised by phone by one of my siblings about this situation tonight and don't have all the details yet about the policy such as the limits and covered losses, but why would it be necessary to carry liability insurance on what is currently unimproved land? I could understand if it were a large sport hunting operation, but the grazing lease surely wouldn't require liability coverage. Besides, the income off of that wouldn't begin to cover the premium.

    Does access to the property by non-owners create an exposure? If so, why couldn't we change the locks, issue a cease-and-desist to the neighbors, post no-trespassing signs, or have all parties with access sign a waiver of liability? It's pretty much impossible to prevent unauthorized access. The oil company has access, but even if we have them change the combinations on their locks, half the county will know what they are within a week.

    Any information/advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Should You Carry Liability Insurance on Unimproved or Unoccupied Rural Property

    I only visit some of my Texas relatives every few years or so. I'm from Ohio.

    That said my advice would be to contact whatever insurance agent insures your house, car, etc. and start a conversation at that point. More on this in a moment.

    Does access to the property by non-owners create an exposure?
    The liability issue will stem from primarily about who you allow to enter the land. Get it posted up per state law and your liability will probably be limited to those who are not trespassers. ATV's can provide significant liability, including fatalities. My neighbor had to deal with this personally. It would probably be a good idea to just contact the Sheriff's office in the county and ask about the situation.

    Sometimes off the record conversations can be enlightening.

    For some unknown reason, was carrying a huge liability policy on the place, one with an annual premium so high that none of his heirs can keep it up.
    The issue of the cost of the policy needs to be answered by the insurer. Start there.

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