Review Hunting Exposures on Your Vacant Land

Review Hunting Exposures on Your Vacant Land

Hunting accidents on vacant land can lead to a number of legal liability concerns. Clients with vacant land or farm land with exposures to third-party hunters should take a variety of measures to mitigate their exposure. Thus, consider passing on the following recommendations to your client who owns property with this loss exposure.

  • You have a liability exposure to an outside party getting hurt on your property due to a hunting incident. If you do not want any hunting activity on your land, make your presence known on this property. For example, hunters will often scout potential land prior to hunting season, and they will often leave survey tape and markers so they can remember where they were scouting. If you remove their signs, they will notice that you are paying attention and do not wish to have them on your land. Also, you should post numerous "No trespassing" signs on your property. In addition, the signs should be posted prominently at all road entrances and along any public roads that your property borders.
  • Some land owners may lease their land for hunting. The main benefit with this approach (besides your revenue from the arrangement) is that you can control who hunts and by what rules they must abide. But this opens you up for increased liability because the hunters on your land are now invitees, rather than trespassers. The duty of care that you owe an invitee is typically greater than that owed to a trespasser. This approach can also negate coverage under your homeowners policy and umbrella policy since you are earning money on this land, creating a business exposure often excluded under personal lines policies. Thus, if you decide to lease your land to a private party, you should verify that the hunter signs a lease agreement that includes a hold harmless clause. You should obtain a copy of his or her homeowners policy. In addition, you will need to purchase a general liability policy to cover your business exposure since many homeowners, farmowners, and personal umbrella policies exclude this exposure.
  • A different approach may be to sign a lease agreement with a hunting club and to verify that the club has a hunt lease insurance program holding you harmless. In addition, you should obtain a copy of the policy and get listed as an additional insured under that policy. The hunting club and the hunters should have a minimum of $1 million in liability limits.

Source: Copyright 2013, International Risk Management Institute, Inc.