Is Allowing Hunting necessary to buy Vacant Land Insurance?

For some who are new to owning land, the multiple types of insurance coverage can be confusing. Things can get confusing with multiple terms being thrown out like hunting lease insurance,  vacant land insurance, and umbrella policies. A question that many folks find themselves asking is if they own vacant land, does hunting have to be allowed to buy the policy. The simple answer is no, but first, it is helpful to know the difference between vacant land insurance and hunting lease insurance.

What Is Vacant Land Insurance?

Typical vacant land insurance coverage is a general liability policy that protects landowners of tracts of land with no structures on it. Very few organizations offer a policy that covers liability derived from a structure. A structure is not just a home or garage. An old barn or shed on a property also may exclude a landowner from vacant land coverage.  Additionally, if the landowner adds any sort of structure to the land, the policy becomes void. What is considered a structure varies; examples would be:

  • Fences
  • Energy or water structures
  • Bridges
  • Boat docks/houses

Vacant land coverage through the American Hunting Lease Association DOES include coverage from some structures. Old, abandoned barns or even seldom-used cabins are covered in the AHLA program.

Vacant land liability insurance also helps protect a landowner if someone attempts to sue you for damage done to their property or if they get hurt on your land. Some of the things it covers are:

A Guest Gets Injured:

Arguably the most important factor is liability coverage. Liability coverage protects you from accidents on your land where someone suffers bodily injury. Those injuries could come from several things, such as

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • ATV
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Hiking

Injury claims are by far the most common reason for a lawsuit reported on vacant land. There is a seemingly endless number of reasons a person might sue you over your vacant land, so make sure you are covered for any risk to avoid those problems altogether.

Damage to Someone Else’s Property.

Vacant land insurance also covers damage caused to someone else’s property.

  • For example, if someone (a guest) starts a fire on your land that spreads to a nearby property, the policy can cover that loss.

What is Hunting Lease Insurance

Before we explain hunting lease insurance, it is important to understand what a hunting lease is and why they are so popular. Hunting leases are a simple arrangement between landowners and hunters that provide hunting rights to a specific property in exchange for a mutually agreed-upon price. In most cases, the rights to hunt on a lease are exclusive. This means that the hunters that are paying to lease access to a piece of ground know that no one else, not even the landowner’s family, will be hunting that ground.

The lease arrangement includes two key components. The first is a signed lease agreement that specifically lists the expectations of both parties. What game can be hunted? Are ATVs allowed? How many hunters are allowed to use the land? Lastly, how much will the hunter or the group be required to pay? Any good lease will address these issues before any hunter can access the property.

The second part of a quality lease is a hunting lease liability insurance policy. Hunting is an inherently dangerous activity. Hanging tree stands, riding ATV’s and the use of firearms all create risk. Also, a hunting lease insurance policy simply covers all parties from any liability claim from someone else on the lease. This usually covers hunters from the same party, who may feel it necessary to hold another hunter liable for an injury or damage. In addition, the policy protects the landowner from unknown dangers that may reside on the property. These policies are inexpensive and can be purchased easily. Protecting everyone on the lease agreement is extremely important.

 

What’s the Difference?

As you can see from the definition of the terms, they have similarities but have one inherent difference. Vacant land insurance simply covers the landowner of property with no permanent residences or often used structures.  Hunting lease insurance covers the hunters as well as the landowner for any claims made as a result of hunting (hunt club) activities. Another key difference is the hunters have paid (compensated the landowner) in some fashion. Vacant land coverage is for landowners who share or allow access to their properties for no charge or compensation.

Conclusion

The simple answer is no. You do not have to allow hunting or any activity on your land you don’t want to occur.  Furthermore, you should purchase vacant land insurance to guard against claims made by your invited guests and even your non-invited guests (trespassers).   So if you own vacant land that no one is hunting on, the vacant land policy is right for you!

Now that you know the difference between types of land insurance, it’s time to get your land covered!! Do it the right way by using a reputable company with a proven track record in the industry. The American Hunting Lease Association is proud to have exclusive features, best-in-class prices, and a team of experts behind us. Get in contact with us today for a free quote!