What Every Homeowner Should Know About Trampolines
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A trampoline might seem like a fun addition to your backyard, but it comes with some risks. Tens of thousands of children get hurt on trampolines each year, according to a 2022 Pediatric Emergency Care study. Say a neighbor child falls off your trampoline and their parents sue you — will your homeowners insurance company help defend you?
Before you buy that new toy, here’s important information about how a trampoline could impact your homeowners insurance.
Does homeowners insurance cover trampolines?
Many insurers consider a trampoline to be an "attractive nuisance," which means children will likely try to use it without fully understanding the risks. It also means you may be held liable if a child gets hurt on your trampoline, even if they use it without your permission.
Home insurers differ in how they address backyard trampolines. NerdWallet asked a dozen large insurers how they cover trampolines, and the eight that responded show how widely the coverage rules can vary.
Depending on the company and where you live, the following might apply:
Your insurer will cover your trampoline as part of a standard policy with no extra charges.
The company will cover your trampoline as long as it meets certain safety rules.
Your premium may go up.
The company may not offer you a policy at all.
If an insurer won’t cover you because you have a trampoline, don’t take it personally. It’s typically because of the company’s history with trampolines and overall risk tolerance, rather than your specific situation, says Will Lemanski, an independent insurance agent in Michigan who works with several large insurers.
What should homeowners do to make sure they're covered?
The only way to know for sure if you’re covered is to ask your insurer directly, says Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a nonprofit and advocate for people with insurance. Ideally, you'd ask before you buy the trampoline.
You need to know "whether your [home] insurance policy would provide you with a defense if somebody were to sue you for a trampoline injury," she says.
Even if your trampoline is covered when you first buy it, it's important to keep tabs on your insurance company's rules, Bach says. How, or even if, your insurance covers trampolines can change over time.
It's typically in your best interest to ask your insurer, even if doing so could lead to higher premiums or finding a new insurer. The cost of your insurer refusing to cover a trampoline liability claim would likely be much higher than any expenses from changing your policy.
Lemanski also suggests increasing your personal liability limit and adding personal umbrella insurance. A personal umbrella policy provides liability coverage beyond that of your underlying homeowners policy, with high limits that often start at $1 million.
How can homeowners avoid trampoline claims?
The best way to ensure you're covered is to prevent an accident from happening in the first place. Lemanski suggests trampoline owners take as many safety precautions as possible, including:
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. "Don't let eight of your neighborhood kids play on it with your kid, because it's an accident waiting to happen,” Lemanski says.