Do I need to carry special insurance to rent a shed?

I have a shed on my property that I’d
like to rent to a local farmer to store
hay. Do I have to have special
insurance or can I just have them sign
a release of liability?

Asked on September 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You should have both. A release of liability provides a great deal of protection, but it is not absolute or foolproof: you cannot release yourself from liability if you fail in your obligations to repair dangerous or known or suspected conditions, so if there is any problem with the shed that causes harm or commercial use, it is possible you could be liable for it if you knew of the issue or reasonably *should* have known (any reasonable property owner in your shoes would have known). The release will protect against unforeseen problems that may occur, or injuries that are natural/logical outgrowths of storing hay (e.g. someone putting it in there drops a bale on their leg and breaks it) but does not absolve you of your basic obligations as a property owner to remediate potentially harmful conditions.
So the release helps, but you could still be sued in some cases. And if you are sued, if you dont' have the right insurance on the shed (e.g. commerical coverage for the use to which it is being put), your insurer could decline to cover you under your general policy, leaving you to foot the bill yourself.


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