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Bouncing on a backyard trampoline is great exercise and a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. More than 800,000 children and teenagers age 18 and younger suffered trampoline injuries between 2009 and 2018, according to an original research article published in Pediatric Emergency Care.
In addition to the obvious risk a trampoline poses to your children, it’s also an insurance risk — so much so that having one will affect your homeowners insurance policy.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies exclude trampolines from coverage. That’s because insurers typically consider a trampoline to be an “attractive nuisance” that poses a high risk of injury. That risk increases the likelihood that the insurance company will have to pay a claim for liability, medical expenses, or even property damage.
You might find insurance coverage for trampoline injuries and damage if you take precautions to reduce the risks associated with having one on your property. For example, you can install netting around the trampoline to reduce the risk that kids will bounce off and land on the metal frame or the ground. Or you can recess it into the ground to reduce injuries from falls. Both of these might make your home insurer more likely to provide insurance coverage.
What is an attractive nuisance?
The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute defines an attractive nuisance as “a dangerous condition on a landowner’s property that may particularly attract children onto the land and pose a risk to their safety.”
The attractive-nuisance doctrine recognizes that children too young to understand the dangers of nuisances like trampolines are drawn to them. When the nuisance is located where the homeowner knows or has reason to believe children might trespass and be injured by the item, the homeowner can be held liable for any injuries that result.
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Do you need insurance if you have a trampoline?
Yes, you definitely need insurance if you have a trampoline. That’s true whether you have one in place at the time you purchase your insurance policy or if you acquire one later. Either way, you must tell your insurance agent so they can advise you on how — and whether — you can get insurance coverage for it.
Some policies exclude trampolines outright. Others cover them if you follow the insurer’s risk-reduction guidelines. Such guidelines might include installing safety nets.
Having a trampoline in your yard affects several coverages included in HO-3 policies — the most common form of homeowners insurance.
Personal liability coverage
Personal liability coverage protects you if someone is hurt on your property. For example, if a neighborhood child in your care breaks their wrist while jumping on your trampoline and their parents sue you, liability coverage would pay for you to defend yourself in court. If the court ruled against you and imposed a judgment, liability insurance would cover that as well, within policy limits.
Medical payments should be part of your liability coverage. In the above example, directly covering the child’s medical expenses might even prevent a lawsuit.
Dwelling and other structures coverage
Dwelling and other structures coverage pays to repair or rebuild your home and other structures on the property, such as a garage or shed.
Were your trampoline to become airborne because of a covered emergency, such as a tornado, it could break windows, dent or puncture siding, and cause other damage to your home and other buildings. Without dwelling and other structures coverage, you’d have to pay for the repairs or replacements out of pocket.
Umbrella policies provide additional liability coverage
Liability coverage is subject to limits. If you’re sued because someone was injured on your trampoline, those limits might leave you having to pay some costs out of pocket. An umbrella policy that increases your policy limits, albeit for a higher price, could protect your assets if a court imposes a large judgment against you.
Assuming your homeowners insurance company insures trampolines, having the coverage likely will increase your insurance premium. A trampoline is a risky thing to have, and it affects almost every part of your homeowners policy. The insurance company mitigates the risk of having to pay claims by charging you more for coverage.
What happens if you don’t tell your insurer about your trampoline?
That depends on the policy. One possible consequence is you could find out after filing a claim that the trampoline isn’t covered. If the claim is for liability after someone has been seriously injured, a resulting lawsuit could have a devastating effect on your finances.
Can your homeowners insurance company cancel your policy because of a trampoline?
Misrepresenting whether you own a trampoline could result in your insurer canceling your homeowners insurance policy. Even if the insurer doesn’t cancel your policy outright, it might refuse to renew after your current coverage period ends.
What can you do to avoid trampoline claims?
The best way to avoid trampoline claims is to take steps to prevent trampoline injuries. Keep uninvited people, especially children, from accessing the trampoline, and make it safer for your family and guests to enjoy.
Block access. As an attractive nuisance, the trampoline should be enclosed by a privacy fence so that it can’t be seen by anyone who hasn’t been invited to your home. Legal website Nolo suggests removing the access ladder and storing it away from the trampoline.
Supervise. Have an adult supervise and spot children whenever they use the trampoline.
Instruct on safe use. Teach children to use the trampoline safely.
Set an age limit. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests that you not allow children under age 6 to use a trampoline.
One-on, one-off rule. Never allow more than one child at a time to use the trampoline.
Enclose it. Install a net enclosure to help keep children from falling onto the ground.
Ban tricks. Teach children never to try somersaults or flips. State Farm notes that these tricks are one of the most common causes of permanent spinal injuries.
Pad the ground. Lay padding around the trampoline in case a child bounces out.
Recess the trampoline. Keeping the trampoline at ground level can prevent injuries.
Know when to throw it out. You should remove a trampoline that has rusted or is in otherwise poor condition.
Good to know
Multiple people jumping on a trampoline at the same time cause more than 75% of all trampoline injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Trampolines and homeowners insurance FAQs
It’s important to understand how a trampoline affects your homeowners insurance. Learn more with these questions and answers.
Why do insurance companies avoid trampolines?
Insurance companies avoid trampolines because they pose a serious risk of injury.
Does any homeowners insurance cover trampolines?
Yes, some policies cover trampolines. Others cover trampolines if the homeowner has implemented safeguards to reduce the risk of injury.
What should homeowners do to ensure they’re covered?
A good first step is to read your policy carefully. Then, contact your insurance agent if you have questions or concerns about your coverage.
Is a trampoline accident covered by homeowners insurance or health insurance?
If the accident injures you or someone in your family, homeowners insurance won’t cover it — you’ll have to use your health insurance. If a guest at your home is injured in a covered accident involving the trampoline, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance will cover it.
Daria Uhlig is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade of experience creating personal finance content. Her work appears on USA Today, Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, GOBankingRates and AOL. As a licensed Realtor and resort property manager, she specializes in real estate topics, including landlord, homeowners and renters insurance. In her spare time, Daria can be found photographing people and places on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.