Does homeowners insurance cover trampolines?
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Playing on a trampoline can be a fun, wholesome activity for the whole family. Jumping on a trampoline gives your kids a way to burn energy and can be a great way to make the outdoors more appealing. However, it can also be dangerous. According to a 2017 report from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. were medically treated due to a trampoline injury, and more than 100,000 trampoline-related injuries resulted in a visit to the emergency room.
Considering the risk of injury, you might be left with questions about your homeowners insurance and whether or not it would provide financial protection for trampolines. Since most home insurance policies do not explicitly lay out the trampolines-insurance connection, many may wonder if their coverage extends to the trampoline. Will it provide personal liability coverage for injuries? Does having a trampoline affect homeowners insurance costs? If you own a trampoline or plan to purchase one, here’s what you should know.
Does homeowners insurance cover trampolines?
Whether or not your homeowners insurance policy covers trampolines depends entirely on your insurance provider and its claim experience with trampoline losses. Usually, insurance companies approach trampoline coverage in one of three ways:
- No exclusions: If your policy allows you to have a trampoline with no exclusions, that means your home insurance coverage will most likely step in when you need it. Your liability coverage would pay for injuries if a guest is hurt while jumping on the trampoline, for example, or if high winds blow it into your neighbor’s house and you are determined liable for not properly anchoring it. However, you still should confirm you have coverage for a trampoline before setting it up in your yard.
- Coverage under specific circumstances: Many insurers will only offer trampoline insurance coverage when the homeowner takes specific precautions, like installing a high fence around the trampoline’s perimeter or putting something softer than concrete (e.g., mulch or sand) around it. Many insurance companies consider trampolines attractive nuisances, which means they are likely to attract a child who could potentially injure themselves there. As a result, to get protection from your home insurance policy, you may need to implement certain safety requirements.
- No coverage: Because of the increased risk these backyard additions present, many companies specifically exclude coverage for trampolines and include the exclusion information in your policy. Not only does that mean any incidents that occur on or because of your trampoline will not be covered, but it may also mean your insurance provider will refuse to renew your policy as long as you have the trampoline. Insurance experts strongly recommend if you can’t obtain coverage, don’t purchase a trampoline.
While you might be tempted to simply not tell your insurance provider about your trampoline, it is best to be upfront about it. Misrepresentation may cause a provider to retroactively cancel a policy or deny a claim when it’s filed.
When are trampolines covered?
Assuming you have a policy with no exclusions for trampolines or that will extend coverage with the right safety measures in place, there are a few specific scenarios in which your policy may come to your aid:
Storms and covered perils
If your trampoline is destroyed because of a hurricane, tornado, lightning strike, hail storm fire or other covered peril, your personal property coverage will likely pay to replace it. Keep in mind that your home insurance deductible will apply, though, so your trampoline will need to cost more than your deductible, or you’ll have to have other damage from the same storm.
If a strong wind picks up your trampoline and smashes it into your neighbor’s home, fence or car, your home insurance coverage may step in to cover damages. If you were found negligible for not properly anchoring the trampoline, your liability insurance may cover the damages (up to your policy limits). But if you had the trampoline anchored and strong winds carried it off during a severe weather event, the incident may be classified by what insurers call an “Act of God,” meaning you could not have prevented it and may not be held liable for the loss. In that case, your neighbor’s home insurance should step in to pay for their damages.
Trampoline theft or damage
Most likely, your personal property coverage will provide coverage to your trampoline by a vandal or if it’s outright theft, assuming your insurance policy includes coverage amounts that account for the trampoline. Your deductible would also apply.
Who pays if someone gets hurt? Of all the trampoline and homeowners insurance questions, this is probably the most common — and for good reason.
Unfortunately, if any of your family members gets injured on the trampoline, you will likely need to turn to your own health insurance to pay for resulting medical care. But if guests get hurt while jumping around, the medical payments to others or liability coverage included in your home insurance policy may step in to help with their medical bills. In the event the injured party decides to pursue a lawsuit, your liability coverage may also help with legal fees and court costs, including any settlement.
How much does trampoline insurance cost?
Trampoline insurance — as a standalone product — does not exist. But homeowners can still get insurance coverage for trampolines through their homeowners insurance, assuming they choose a provider that does not specifically exclude trampolines. Remember, in some cases, you might need to meet certain requirements (e.g., put up a perimeter net) to get coverage through your standard home policy. And many insurers see trampolines as such a high-risk item that they simply exclude coverage.
If trampolines are covered at all, they could be seen as a much higher risk to an insurance company, meaning your premiums may increase. If your insurance company’s policy excludes trampolines, you might want to shop around to other companies.
Does having a trampoline affect homeowners insurance rates? It may, depending on your insurer. Some providers could raise your annual premium to cover the added liability a trampoline brings. Before buying this backyard addition, you may want to ask your insurance provider how much additional premium you will need to pay for a trampoline.
What are the risks of not telling your insurance company about a trampoline?
The risk of not telling your homeowners insurance company about your trampoline is that your provider would likely not cover any trampoline-related incidents. If a claim arises from a trampoline-related injury, or if you are found liable for an injury caused by a trampoline that you did not disclose to your homeowners insurance company, your insurer may choose to cancel your policy or not provide coverage for the claim.
The frequency and severity of trampoline-related injuries is high, but most of the injuries sustained by trampoline use are sprains and strains to the arms, legs and feet. However, trampolines can also result in more serious injuries, including skull fractures and spinal cord injuries.
In turn, the cost of medical care, especially for serious injuries, can be substantial. The cost of medical care will be a significant expense in any personal injury case, and these expenses can add up quickly, meaning that even a minor injury could lead to a large claim against your homeowners insurance policy.
If you are sued by someone else for injuries that occurred on your trampoline, you would likely be responsible for whatever amount you are found liable for. That’s why disclosing your trampoline to your homeowners insurance company is so important. If you do not disclose your trampoline to your insurer and you are found liable for an injury that is related to the trampoline, the insurer would likely not provide coverage for the claim.
If your insurer does not cover a claim relating to your trampoline, you would likely have to pay any settlement out of your own pocket, which could be financially devastating. If your homeowners insurance company discovers your trampoline after you have purchased your policy and you have made a claim, it could result in a denial of your claim or your policy being canceled.
How can homeowners avoid trampoline claims altogether?
To reduce the risk of accidents and subsequent claims, trampoline owners can reduce the risk of accidents and claims by taking safety precautions, such as putting up netting around the trampoline, positioning the trampoline away from concrete and fences, and making sure you know who’s on it.
To further reduce the likelihood of injury and claim, it may be worth considering:
- Putting up netting around the trampoline to reduce the risk of someone falling off
- Positioning the trampoline away from concrete and fences
- Making sure you know who’s on it
- Restricting bouncing to one person at a time
- Not allowing young children to use it
- Avoiding somersaults, back flips and other risky moves
- Always wearing shoes
Having a trampoline is risky, but as long as you take the right precautions, you may be able to minimize the likelihood of injury or claim.