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Next to a dog, a treehouse might be the thing your children beg for the most. Not only would a treehouse provide the ultimate backyard for your kids, it may also help you live out some of your own childhood dreams; there's just something magical about treehouses!
But now comes the input from the practical angle: Treehouses can be hard to insure. There are extra liability risks that your insurer surely won't ignore. Not to mention, they are considered "attractive nuisances."
However, if you do decide to build a treehouse, do you know what section of your insurance coverage it would fall under? And, more importantly, do you know what factors could make your HO policy refuse to cover your treehouse? Here's what you need to know.
Do treehouses fall under dwelling coverage?
No, treehouses are not covered in dwelling coverage. Your dwelling is considered your primary residence or anything directly attached to your residence, like porches, patios, and decks.
Your treehouse is separated from your main dwelling by a clear space, which means it may fall under other structures coverage or Coverage B.
However, your home insurance policy may refuse to include your treehouse under your coverage or drop you as a customer altogether because of the extra liability risks associated with treehouses.
Why are treehouses difficult to insure?
The bottom line is, treehouses pose liability risks and your insurance company might not want to take on that extra risk. Depending on the height of the tree, a child could suffer a significant injury or death if they fall from the treehouse.
Treehouses are also considered attractive nuisances. An attractive nuisance is a structure or item that attracts the attention of children while also posing a significant risk to their safety.
Other attractive nuisances include pools, hot tubs, trampolines, decorative water features, swing sets, fire pits, etc.
When you own an attractive nuisance, it is expected that you take reasonable precautions to secure them. If you do not, you could be held responsible in court for a child’s injuries, even if you weren’t on the premises when they were injured.
What can I do to make sure my treehouse is insured?
Some insurance companies simply will not cover treehouses. That being said, make sure your carrier is willing to include your treehouse in a policy; otherwise, this discrepancy could lead to lapses in your insurance or your insurance company dropping your policy altogether.
If, however, your homeowners policy agrees to cover a treehouse, the coverage will probably be conditional on whether or not you adhere to safety measures and good building practices.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want your treehouse to be covered under your home insurance policy:
Fencing: Make sure your treehouse is constructed within a fenced yard. Trespassers are more likely to use your treehouse if it is not secured by a fence.
Construction: Hire a professional to build your treehouse and make sure they include every safety feature (meaning, it’s probably a good idea to skip the rope ladder). If you decide to build your treehouse on your own, your homeowners insurance policy is less likely to cover it.
Terrain: Build your treehouse on forgiving terrain, namely, grass, wood chips, or sand so potential falls won’t be met with unforgiving landings.