Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Commercial Risk Management > Alligator Liability at Your Association? What You Need to Know

Alligator LiabilityAnyone who has ever lived in Florida knows that alligators are a pervasive feature in communities throughout the state. Florida is alligator country. There are 1.3 million wild alligators. That is roughly one for every 15 residents. Alligators may occur anywhere there is water—lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, swamps, and even man-made canals. Although almost exclusively a fresh-water species, they have been found in brackish and salt waters.

The recent tragic incident involving a young child at a Florida theme park has raised questions about whether associations are responsible for warning residents about the possible danger of alligators.

Legal experts have commented that the association, as land owner, could be held liable and negligent for allowing licensees and invitees to enter an area where risk of injury by a dangerous condition is foreseeable and not warning those individuals of that danger.

If your association knows of alligators on the premises, reasonable precautions should be taken in concert with advice from the association’s legal counsel and its insurers. Reasonable precautions might include, among other things, the posting of signs warning of the possible presence of alligators. Consideration might also be given to addressing other dangerous animals that might inhabit the property, such as poisonous snakes. In light of recent tragic events involving gators, preventative actions could not only prove to be vital in the control of the risk, but also a prudent measure in public opinion. There is no current mandate for signage nor do liability policies currently contain a condition that would exclude coverage should a claim of this nature occur. However, insurance policies and terms are constantly evolving. Given recent events, it would not be surprising to see insurance carriers address this exposure in the future. At present, the decision falls on the Board to decide whether action or inaction best protects the entire community.

Associations can contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s nuisance alligator program for removal of alligators that might constitute a nuisance or pose a threat. The nuisance alligator hotline can be reached at 866-FWC-GATOR, and more information about the program is available online at

Additional Resources: