A Guide to Indiana Fence Laws

Indiana’s fence laws were passed to protect farmers and agricultural land. Residential fence laws are determined by your local government.
Written by Annette Maxon
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Fences are a shared responsibility in
, no matter what kind of property you own. State law focuses on regulating the use of agricultural land and leaves residential fence laws to local governments. 
The maintenance and building of fences is an unexpected but important consideration when you’re owning a home. Unlike your house, pool, or other parts of your property, fences can directly affect your neighbors
In some cases, building fences can even lead to disputes—so whether your property is already fenced or you are thinking about building one, it’s important to know the ins and outs of your state’s fence laws
Homeowners and
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has pulled together all you need to know about Indiana fence laws. This guide will unpack the state’s rules and answer your pressing questions about having a fence.
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Basics of Indiana fence laws

The Hoosier State is no stranger to fences and the debates surrounding them.
, the Indiana Fence Law was introduced to address disputes arising around agricultural property borders. This law determines the responsibility of partition fences, or any fences that divide two plots of land. Neighboring landowners are held equally responsible for paying for and maintaining the fence
  • Property located outside of towns and municipalities
  • Any property that shares a boundary with land in a town or municipality
Even though a state fence law exists, it was designed with farmers and agricultural landowners in mind—meaning most inhabitants of residential areas will need to look to local ordinances instead for guidance about building fences. 

How to legally build a fence in Indiana

Indiana’s fence law does not set forth rules for residential fences; rather, these guidelines will be determined by your local town or municipality. 
For properties that are protected under the state fence law, owners of the neighboring properties must sign a written agreement that states both parties will pay equally for the maintenance of the fence, as stated by Indiana Code § 32-26-3-1. This signed agreement must be submitted and recorded in the county’s office of the recorder where the properties are located.

Spite fences

True to its name, a spite fence is defined under
Indiana Code § 32-26-10-1
as any structure that is built or maintained for the purpose of annoying surrounding neighbors. Such a fence stands more than six feet tall. 
Indiana does not tolerate spite fences—so you can bring legal action against any neighbor who constructs a spite fence.

Hedge fences

If a hedge or other living fence grows along the property line between you and your neighbor, it is recognized as an official fence under Indiana Code § § 32-26-5-1. 
Under this state code, hedge fences must be trimmed on an annual basis and be:
  • No taller than five feet
  • No wider than three feet

Pool fencing

Fences are required for all homeowners with pools. However, the requirements differ slightly depending on whether the pool is public or private.
Indiana law requires all public and semi-public pools to be enclosed by a fence that meets the following
  • Minimum of six feet high
  • Does not have any openings larger than four inches in width or height
  • Has secure, self-closing, and self-latching doors or gates. The latches must be located at least 45 inches above grade 
If you have a
pool in your backyard
, the fencing criteria are slightly different. Your residential pool must have one of the following:
  • Fencing that encloses the pool on all sides, is at least four feet tall, and has self-latching and self-closing gates
  • A mechanically operated pool cover that cannot be operated without a key or digital touchpad and has a tag certifying it meets ASTM standards
Beyond the state mandates, it is important to know the pool fencing requirements that are specific to your city or county. These can be found by contacting your local municipality to learn what is required to meet the town or county’s safety codes.

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Homeowners insurance generally includes fences under “other structures” coverage and will cover them for up to 10% of your home’s coverage limit. 
The coverage provided for certain damages to your home will likely apply to your fence as well—common damages usually include ones caused by fire, hail, lightning, and vandalism.

How to save money on homeowners insurance in Indiana

Homeowners insurance in Indiana is not mandated by law, but it will likely be required by your lender if you’ve taken out a mortgage. More importantly, insurance will protect your home and property in the case of a disaster. 
Fortunately, the average annual cost of home insurance in Indiana is $1,150 for a $250,000 residence—14% lower than the national average cost of home insurance. 
This doesn’t mean your insurer won’t overcharge you, however. To make sure you’re not overpaying for the coverage you need, look to cost comparison app
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Indiana state law does not specify permit requirements for residential homes. Since the rules vary from county to county, contact your local government office for building requirements.
Yes and no. State law requires all people whose property touches the fence to contribute money for the fence’s upkeep, but only for:
Property located outside of towns and municipalities
Any property that shares a boundary with land in a town or municipality
If your situation does not fit either description, reach out to your local government for town and municipality laws.
The state does not have specific requirements regarding fence sizes. However, any fence that exceeds six feet could be challenged as a spite fence.
Check your local laws to make sure you have the necessary permits and that your fence will be up to code before beginning your project.
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