Washington D.C. Vacant Land Insurance Policy Information
Washington D.C. Vacant Land Insurance. There are a number of reasons why you may own a piece of undeveloped land. Perhaps you found a great piece of property that you are planning on building a house on one day; maybe you want to use the land for fishing or hunting; or maybe you purchased the empty piece of land next to the parcel your house sits on to prevent someone else from buying it and building a structure on it.
Whatever the reason, if you are the owner of an empty piece of land, you may have overlooked something important about owning that property: insuring it. That's where Washington D.C. vacant land insurance comes into play.
Washington D.C. vacant land insurance protects your land - that's not leased and has no development or construction activities - from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Understanding Insurance For Vacant Land
Below are some of the basics of insuring vacant land that are important for DC property owners to understand:
- If you are the outright owner of the piece of land, the law does not require you to carry insurance. However, regardless of the laws, it is still a wise idea to purchase coverage because in the event that a legal claim is filed against you, your insurance policy will provide you with the financial protection you need.
- If you are financing the property, there is a chance that the lender you are working with will require you to purchase insurance coverage for the land. This is true even if you aren't planning on building any structure on the parcel.
- Any piece of DC land that doesn't have a structure built on it is considered vacant. If the land has even the smallest building on it - such as a shed - coverage changes may be necessary.
Why Insure DC Vacant Land?
You might be thinking that because there isn't a structure on your vacant parcel of land that you don't need to insure it. After all, what could happen on empty land that would necessitate having it insured?
Believe it or not, there are a lot of risks associated with empty property. For example, if you invite people onto the property and an injury occurs, you could be held liable. You could even be held liable for injuries a trespasser sustains. In other words, it doesn't matter if you are actively using the land, you are responsible for anything that happens on it.
For example, should someone sustain an injury while hunting, such as tripping over a tree stump and breaking a bone, on your empty parcel, you could be held legally responsible and would have to cover the cost of damages, including medical care. Furthermore, someone could file a lawsuit against you for the injuries they sustained on your property. In other words, should something go awry on your empty land, you could end up having to pay out a great deal of money. It is for these reasons that Washington D.C. vacant land insurance is so important.
How To Insure Vacant Land
Insurance for land is a type of property coverage. There are a few ways that you can insure a vacant piece of DC property:
If you already have a homeowner's insurance policy, you can find out if your provider will allow you to extend the liability coverage the policy offers so that it will cover your empty land. Most insurance companies will allow you to extend the coverage for an additional fee.
Another option for insuring an empty parcel is with a separate Washington D.C. vacant land insurance policy. Many private insurers offer this type of coverage. Usually, there aren't any deductibles associated with a vacant land insurance policy. In most cases, the premiums are also reasonably priced.
What Vacant Land Insurance Does
There are several protections that vacant land insurance offers. Coverage includes:
- Bodily Injury - If someone is hurt on your property and suffers an injury, this insurance policy will cover the costs of medical care.
- Property Damage - If someone else's property (ATV, snowmobile etc.) is damaged on your vacant land, this insurance will cover the costs of repair or replacement.
- Legal Fees - Should someone file a lawsuit against you as a result of something that happens on your vacant land, your policy will cover any legal fees.
Vacant Land Used For Hunting
If you allow others use your land for hunting, it's very important to Washington D.C. vacant land insurance. There are many risks involved in hunting and use of firearms, which means you have a greater exposure to liability and injures or even death in the event of an accidental shooting. It is good practice to inform hunters of known dangers on your property, like abandoned wells, marsh/swamp like areas, dangerous equipment and barbed wire fences.
Some hunters may ask to use all-terrain vehicles on your land, and you should realize that you will are taking on additional liability if you llow them to use the vehicles. If an accident happens on your property, there is a good chnace you will be held responsible.
Vacant Land Insurance Court Cases
Following are some court cases relates to vacant land insurance lawsuits:
COVERAGE FOR "VACANT LAND" CANNOT INCLUDE SMDCL STRUCTURE
Roger and Brenda Gomez had secured a homeowners policy from Citation Insurance covering about 175,000 square feet of land which she had inherited from her mother. In March of 1995, Kristine Provencher and a friend were playing in a bunker that was located on the property. Kristine put her left index finger through a padlock holding the bunker door. The second child suddenly pushed the door open, severing the finger. The Provenchers filed a suit against Roger and Brenda Gomez which was still pending at the time of this opinion.
The insureds forwarded the complaint to Citation requesting protection under the policy. Citation filed this action for judgment declaring it had no duty to defend and indemnify its insureds, since its policy covered "vacant" ground and the area in question was not "vacant" since the bunker and radio tower occupied the land. As it turns out, Brenda Gomez's father had built the 100 sq. ft., concrete bunker and a radio tower for use in his trucking business. The entire property and bunker had been abandoned and unused since the late 1960s. The trial court decided Citation had a duty to defend and indemnify its insureds. The company appealed.
The higher court noted the policy did not define "vacant ground." The court concluded that "vacant ground" ordinarily meant land with no structure or building on it. It also decided that "a reasonably intelligent person would understand the term 'vacant land' to mean land that is free of permanently affixed structures" and would conclude that land with an abandoned building on it was not vacant.
In reversing the judgment entered in the trial court, the higher court said that the land in question was not "vacant land" and, therefore, was not an "insured location" covered by the policy. Citation had no duty to defend or indemnify the insureds in the minor's action for damages. The action was remanded to the lower court for entry of judgment in favor of Citation.
Citation Insurance Company v. Brenda Gomez et al.--Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Essex--January 6, 1998--688 North Eastern Reporter 2d 951.
"VACANT LAND" HELD NOT COVERED FROM MOMENT IT IS OCCUPIED
A man was injured while helping his brother-in-law move a mobile home onto a lot owned by the brother-in-law, who planned to sell the mobile home and lot as a unit. He sued the insurer that carried a homeowners policy on the dwelling in which his brother-in-law lived.
The insurer moved for summary judgment, contending that the lot was not an "insured premises." The trial court granted the motion and the injured man appealed.
The appeal court noted that the homeowners policy defined "insured premises" to include "the residence premises" and, under Section II, "vacant land, other than farmland, owned by or rented to an insured person." It also noted a pertinent exclusion for "....bodily injury or property damage arising out of any premises, other than an insured premises, owned, rented or controlled by an insured person."
The court construed the ordinary meaning of "vacant" to be empty or unoccupied. It said that Florida courts have interpreted the word to mean "devoid of inanimate objects or permanently affixed structures." Accordingly, the accident did not occur on "insured premises." The judgment of the trial court was affirmed in favor of the insurance company and against the claimant.
(FORET ET DC., Plaintiff, Appellant v. LOUISIANA FARM BUREAU CASUDCTY INS. CO. ET DC., Defendants, Appellees. Louisiana Court of Appeal, First Circuit. No. 90 DC 1466. June 27, 1991. 582 So.2d 989. CCH 1992 Fire and Casualty Cases, Paragraph 3639.)
LAND HELD NOT VACANT WHEN IT CONTAINED AN EMPTY HOUSE
Members of a family, who had inherited land on which their forebears had resided, were sued for wrongful death by the father of a firefighter who was killed while responding to a fire on the property. Vandals had set fire to an abandoned old house in which the older people had lived. There was also an abandoned old country store on the land.
One of the defendants made claim under the homeowners policy that he carried on his residence, located less than three miles from the subject land. The insurer brought a declaratory judgment action to determine if the claim was within the scope of the policy provisions.
"Insured location" was defined under the policy's liability insurance section to include "vacant land, other than farm land, owned by or rented to an insured...." There was not a definition of "vacant land" in the policy.
The insured said that he understood "vacant land" to be "unoccupied or unused land." The insurer argued that the parcel in question was not "vacant land" because it contained a house, and moved for summary judgment. The trial court concluded that the term "vacant land" was ambiguous, and denied the insurer's motion.
The Washington D.C. Court of Appeals said that the understanding of the average policyholder is paramount with regard to the meaning of words. It said that "....'vacant' is readily understood in its plain, ordinary and popular sense," and that dictionaries supply such meaning. "Vacant" was defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary as "to be empty, be free."
The court quoted Couch on Insurance as stating that a homeowners policy "may further cover 'vacant land' but clearly such coverage does not extend to land containing buildings as 'vacant land' refers to land unoccupied, unused and in the natural state." It found the reasoning sound.
The court also said: "In this policy, the word 'vacant' modifies the word 'land,' not 'structure.' The policy covers land which is vacant." Accordingly, it found that the land in question was not vacant within the meaning of the policy.
The judgment of the trial court was reversed in favor of the insurer and against the insured.
(COTTON STATES MUTUDC INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant v. SMELCER, Appellee. Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, Third Division. No. A93A1967. February 22, 1994 CCH 1994 Fire and Casualty Cases, Paragraph 4746.)
DC Vacant Land Insurance
If you own a piece of property - even if it is completely devoid of any structures - DC vacant land insurance is important. This type of policy will protect you and your assets in the event that any injuries occur on your property.
Made In Washington D.C. Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
Whether you have a great idea for a business and you're considering your first startup company or you are already operating a business and you're looking to expand, the location of your operations is one of the most important factors you'll need to consider. In order for a business to achieve success, it must be situated in an area that offers a healthy economy and a market that your products and/or services will appeal to.
The unemployment rate of a region paints a picture of the area's economy. A lower unemployment rate indicates that the area has a healthy business climate that can sustain the residents of the region. In addition, it's important for prospective proprietors to find out which industries are thriving in the area they're considering for their operations.
Furthermore, business owners must take into consideration what type of commercial insurance policies they will need to carry in order to protect themselves, those who interact with them, and to ensure that they are compliant with the law.
If you're considering Washington, D.C. for your business, below, we provide an overview of the above-mentioned information so you can determine if the nation's capital offers favorable conditions for success.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Washington D.C.
In December of 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Washington, D.C. was 5.3%. While that rate is considerably higher than what the national average of 3.5% at the same time, the rate had fallen throughout the course of the year.
For example, in July of 2019, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, in August it was 5.5%, and in October, it was 5.4%. This steady decline indicates that more employment opportunities as a result of a healthy business climate have become and are becoming available in D.C.
Washington, D.C. is divided into four specific quadrants, including NE, NW, SE, and SW. While all regions are considered suitable for businesses, those that are situated in commercial areas - Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast - as opposed to Northeast, which is primarily residential, are likely to offer the best opportunities for prospective business owners.
There are several industries that are experiencing growth in D.C. Not surprisingly, government-related sectors and businesses that provide services for the government are seeing the most growth. Additionally, leisure, hospitality, and tourism are also prime industries in the nation's capital, as the region attracts millions of tourists from around the globe. Construction, education, and health round out the top industries in the region.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Washington D.C.
The Washington D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking regulates insurance in DC. Washington D.C. mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Washington D.C. requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Washington D.C. also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Commercial Property Insurance
Read up on small business commercial property insurance, including how business property insurance protects your company's building's and/or their contents from damage, destruction, theft and vandalism.
- Apartment Building
- Business Interruption
- Commercial Flood Insurance
- Commercial Property
- Condo Association
- Equipment Breakdown Protection Insurance
- Homeowners Association Insurance
- Inland Marine
- Manufacturing And Mercantile Rental Property
- Mobile Home Park
- Non-Residential Building Operators
- Office Buildings
- Safeco Landlord Insurance
- Shopping Center & Strip Mall
- Vacant Land
- Vacant Property
Rental property owners, real estate developers and property managers should keep an accurate survey of each property they own or that is in their care. This survey should include inventories of furnishings and equipment at those properties. These documents establish the extent of their insurable interest, facilitate the arrangement and placement of insurance and minimize controversy and confusion if a loss occurs.
Insurance coverage on property, general liability and professional or errors and omissions liability should be arranged and placed for every real estate and rental property risk.
The main goal of any commercial property insurance program is to protect the insured's real and business personal property. Buildings and their contents property usually represents a significant portion of its total assets, regardless of the size of the business. A commercial property program can provide the coverage you need if a loss should occur.
The ISO Commercial Property Building and Personal Property Coverage Form is an insurance industry standard that provides this needed coverage. As a result, it should always be reviewed and used as a benchmark for comparison when evaluating any commercial property coverage form.
This policy treats business personal property as more than just the contents of a building. When there is a limit of insurance on the declarations, property can be covered if inside the building or structure or within 100 feet of the building or premises and either in the open, or even in or on a vehicle.
There are many endorsements available to tailor the ISO Commercial Property Coverage Forms. Some are mandatory for all policies while others are mandatory for specific classifications and types of business. Others are optional and permit a standard form to be customized to meet a specific risk's coverage needs. Endorsements broaden, restrict, delete, modify, or add coverage.
These policies can provide the following additional coverages for small specific limits of insurance: debris removal, preservation of property, fire department service charge, pollutant clean up and removal, increased cost of construction and electronic data.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Signs, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Contractors' Equipment, Fine Arts, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also find Washington D.C. insurance agents & brokers and learn about Washington D.C. small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including District of Columbia business insurance costs. Call us (202) 800-5202.