Trampolines and Insurance
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Owning a trampoline is a blast, except when it comes to insuring it. It doesn’t take a Rocket Science degree to recognize that there is an inherent danger in bouncing 15 feet above the ground in a relatively uncontrolled manner.
Anyone who has ever jumped on one of these puppies for more than one continuous minute will attest to the fact that serious injuries are never more than a bounce away.
Heck, America’s Funniest Home Videos owes half of its run time to trampoline mishaps. Probably a close second only to groin shots. If the entire U.S. can be entertained for over two decades based on mishaps on trampolines, you can bet insurers are aware of the danger!
Any time you ask an insurer to trade a measly $1,000 per year to insure various random children bouncing around in the air over solid ground – any one of which may result in a $300,000 insurance claim – you can expect some push back to say the least. Would you take that bet? We doubt it.
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While it all sounds pretty bad, you are not out of options here.
There Are Options?
The good news is that if you do some research, you’ll be able to find coverage for this particular toy. While many homeowners insurance companies exclude bodily injury and property damage liability resulting from the use of a trampoline, there are just as many insurers out there who will issue a policy for you without thinking twice about it.
Your best bet is to get homeowners insurance quotes online, where the question will likely be asked as part of the process, or you can speak directly with a local independent insurance agent near your home. Independent insurance agents represent several different insurers, all of which will have varying guidelines to their policies.
In fact, there are many standard homeowners insurance companies who don’t even ask about a trampoline. They just simply cover it. Most insurers, however, will ask a few questions about the matter.
Ultimately, they are looking to see if your yard is fenced (at least 4 feet is common) and whether or not you have a safety net around the trampoline. The latter is rarely taken into account.
Either way, there’s no cost. The insurer either allows it or they don’t.
Do I Need to Tell My Insurer About My New Trampoline?
Odds are you are not buying the trampoline the exact same day you are shopping for insurance. Insurance agents commonly take phone calls from their insured who are asking if they need to tell the insurer about the new trampoline…or if they can “neglect” to mention it in order to avoid a cancellation, non-renewal, or an increase in insurance premium on their policy.
You need to tread carefully here. Just because your insurer doesn’t know about your trampoline doesn’t mean they have to respond to a liability claim if coverage is specifically excluded in your policy.
You’ll want to bite the bullet here and make the call. An injured child’s parents probably won’t let you off the hook just because you don’t have insurance to pay for medical bills. Expect the worst.
What If I Have a Previous Trampoline Claim?
There is no helping you if you have a previous liability claim resulting from a trampoline and you don’t dismantle the darn thing and sell it on EBay. Your insurer, who was happy to give you the benefit of the doubt on the first go ‘round will certainly drop you after the claim is paid.
But hey…it’s America. You can do almost anything you want if you have enough money. A seasoned independent insurance agent can find you coverage for just about anything, which includes coverage for trampoline liability after you have had a claim stemming from the trampoline. Just don’t complain when your premium is triple what you paid the previous year!
Insurance geeks, like us at TTAI, recommend avoiding things like trampolines. Why? Because they are a claim waiting to happen. Even if your insurer provides coverage for a trampoline, you’ll pay through the nose (for 5 years) if a related claim appears on your C.L.U.E. report.
Unless your child is a shoe-in for the Olympic trampoline team, you may want to skip the whole thing. Any parent will tell you that kids will only enjoy a new toy for a short time – then it falls to the wayside.
Can you think of any other toy you could buy them that might cost you several thousands of dollars over the next few years? Probably not. Act accordingly.
(photo: Scott Ableman)