Tree Houses and Homeowners’ Insurance
Some have fond memories of tree houses when they were younger. Parents, and even grandparents, may be tempted to recreate those memories by constructing a tree house in their backyards for children or grandchildren. Before you put your tree house construction skills to the test, there are important safety and insurance factors to consider.
Tree Houses are Considered an “Attractive Nuisance”
Like a backyard trampoline or pool, a tree house is considered an attractive nuisance. This means it can be tempting for neighborhood children to play in, putting the homeowner at risk. Such “attractive nuisance” features may prevent you from getting homeowners insurance or cause an increase in premiums. You may want to consider discussing how a tree house may impact your homeowners insurance before starting such a project.
Along with being an attractive nuisance, tree houses may create a potential danger to neighboring properties should they be constructed poorly. Tree houses may also create a danger if they are built too close to power lines.
Making Sure Your Tree House is Safe
Should you decide to pursue your tree house construction project, there are steps you can take to make sure it is done properly and safely. It can be helpful to keep the tree house lower to the ground, only using a tree that is substantial. Make sure access is safe. Focus on a solid platform.
Check on the Need for Permits
Many communities have regulations regarding the construction of outside structures. This is also true if you live in a HOA managed community. Even if it is legal, there may restrictions on materials used or size of the structure. You may even need a permit.
Access to the structure should be limited to when adults are present. Access can be limited by locks or by removing the stairs or ladder to reach it.
Inspect it Frequently
Trees can obviously move in the wind and that could create weaknesses in the structure. Be sure to take a look at the structure to make sure boards haven’t loosened.
Tree houses can range from the simple to the elaborate. In either case, you want to make sure it is constructed legally, safely and without negatively impacting your homeowners’ insurance. Check with your insurance agent, your community and perhaps even seek experienced help when building a tree house on your property.
Don’t go out on a limb. For a homeowners’ insurance review and a price quote, we invite you to contact one of our independent insurance agents. They work with multiple insurance companies in search of coverage that provides you the most value.