If you are part or full owner of a private stretch of road, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are as a landowner. Private roads, whether accessible to the public or kept closed off from all but those who live there, are as much a bit of owned land as any other stretch of field, brownfield, development sites and more. For this reason, it also comes with similar risks and needs for insurance coverage.
As private roads don’t belong to the council, the responsibility for everything that happens on that road usually falls to the owners, and that includes the maintenance, insurance and control. So, if you are part or full owner of a private road, should you get insurance for a private road? We say yes, and here’s why:
What Counts As A Private Road?
According to UK law and the Highways Act 1980, any road or highway that isn’t maintained at public expense is considered to be a private or ‘unadopted’ road. The realities regarding maintenance are a little more complex than that, with private streets and private roads both being different:
- Private Roads – Private roads are any stretch that the public does not have access to. This is usually down to residents to maintain and repair. They must be gated at least once a year to be considered not accessible to the public unless registered. Typically, gates are used all the time.
- Private Streets – These are roads that the public has the right to access but are privately maintained. The local authority usually has the right to make the road safe under the Highways Act but can charge residents for the work if it is not first completed by or on behalf of the residents privately.
What Is Private Road Insurance?
Private road insurance is a policy that covers the owners against any claims made against them for injury, accidents and damage that occurs on that stretch of road. As local authorities do not own the road, it is up to the residents to maintain and look after the road – usually through a residents association – which means liability and insurance falls to them. Private Road Insurance provides financial support in cases where a third party or member of the public is injured or their property is damaged while on the private road, or as a result of travelling through.
Do I Have To Insure My Private Road?
There is no legal requirement to insure any private road, however the legal need and a general need are very different – as a private land owner, while any accidents on your property aren’t always claimable, if the injured party claims that the injury or accident was as a result of poor maintenance or another feature on your property, such as potholes, obstructions etc, they could make claims against you. Insuring your private road will ensure that you and other residents are protected in these cases.
What Does It Cover?
Private Road Insurance works in a very similar way to most liability insurance products, providing financial protection for you and the other owners of the road in the case of a claim. Claims can often be made for:
- Injury as a result of poor road conditions
- Negligence of the road that has led to injury or damage
- Injury as a result of resident’s property or obstructions
- Damage to cars or other property as a result of poor maintenance (e.g. potholes)
Private Road Insurance steps in when a claim is made against you or other residents, providing financial protection for any legal fees, compensation costs and more. The exact nature of your policy may differ depending on the road, but we can discuss this with you when helping you find the best quote to suit you.
How About Electric Gates Or Barriers?
Electric gates and barriers are very much a given on private roads, which is why most insurance policies will cover them as part of the premium. However, you will have to mention these when taking out the policy. This way, they can be properly valued and added to the overall costs and payouts where needed. If a third party were to drive into the gate or barrier or damage it in other ways, the cover would allow you to claim for those damages and have the gate repaired or replaced, providing you have maintained it properly up until the point of the claim.
For more information regarding private road insurance and how it can benefit your land, we are on hand to help. Simply get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance and we can help you find the best quote to suit you and other residents on the private road, that covers everything you need at the best cost.