When it feels like your children are literally bouncing off the walls with energy, sending them outside to jump on the trampoline may be a much needed break for everyone! Unfortunately, trampolines are not without risk. In 2014, there were an estimated 104,691 emergency room injuries associated with trampolines, reports the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Sadly, every year young children suffer serious injuries, including paralysis, from trampolines. Since trampolines carry a high risk for serious injury, they also pose an added liability to homeowners. Should a visitor be injured when using the trampoline in your backyard, you could be held legally responsible for their resulting bills. If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover your trampoline, you could be stuck footing the bills yourself.
Owning a trampoline can substantially impact your homeowners insurance coverage, cautions the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In some cases, trampoline ownership could even lead to a claim being denied if the trampoline was not previously disclosed to your insurance agent. Your policy may require that you prove certain safety precautions are in place otherwise coverage could still be denied, cautions the NAIC.
Before you turn the kids loose on the trampoline, ask your insurance agent about your current coverage options and take steps to minimize the risk for trampoline injury.
- Reduce the risk for injury.
The majority of trampoline injuries occur when children collide into one another on the trampoline, fall off the trampoline when doing stunts/jumps, or fall on the trampoline springs or frame, reports CPSC. To reduce the risk for serious injuries, CPSC advises only allowing one person on the trampoline at a time. Talk to your children about the danger of somersaults and explain the high risk of landing on the head or neck and suffering paralysis. Never allow children to use the trampoline unsupervised. Always use shock-absorbing pads that completely cover springs, hooks and frame.
- Check your insurance policy.
Coverage options vary depending on state and insurance policy, so it’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent about the options available to you. Generally, homeowners policies are handled in one of three ways: no exclusions, coverage with safety precautions, and trampoline exclusion. This last one – trampoline exclusion – means that your policy will not provide coverage for any trampoline-related claims.
- Understand the difference between “no exclusions” coverage and coverage with safety precautions.
No exclusion coverage means that your homeowners policy does not place any restrictions on trampoline ownership. Other policies may require specific safety precautions be in place for coverage to be offered. For example, you may be required to add a fence or locked gate around the area where your trampoline will be kept. These safety requirements are similar to the protections in place for a backyard pool. They are designed to prevent accidental use and reduce the risk for injury. If you fail to comply with these safety precautions, your claim could be denied, cautions NAIC.
Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re providing your family with sufficient protection.