While the prospect of owning a trampoline might have you jumping for joy, you need to understand the risks and liabilities before taking the leap. Insurance policies vary from company to company and regulations vary from state to state, so do your homework thoroughly before purchasing that trampoline.
Some homeowner policies carry exclusions, meaning they don't cover certain items or occurrences under any circumstances. For example, your policy might state that it doesn't cover damages caused by flooding or acts of God. A trampoline might also fall in the exclusion category in your policy. This means that if anyone is hurt on your trampoline, including yourself and family members, the insurance company will pay nothing -- and you are personally liable for claims made against you. Unless you have deep pockets, such financial claims could amount to a financial catastrophe.
An insurance company might include coverage of a trampoline if your trampoline has certain safety precautions. It might require that you have pads covering the trampoline springs, a net enclosure for the sides, and/or a fenced-in yard with a gate and lock. You'll need to check with your insurance company to ensure that your trampoline complies with its requirements to warrant coverage. As a conscientious homeowner, mandating your own safety rules to prevent injuries is a proactive move to protect yourself and limit your liability. Consider rules for children such as no jumping without adult supervision. Don't place the trampoline in unsafe areas such as near roofs or trees. Inspect the trampoline on a regular basis to check for tears or broken springs. Also, limit jumping to one person at a time.
Why All the Hoopla?
Insurance companies have good reasons for putting the kibosh on trampoline coverage. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most trampoline injuries occur in children ages 6 through 14 -- and include broken bones, concussions, sprains and severe spinal cord injuries. However, adults are not immune to accidents that can occur from a jump gone bad. The Consumer Product Safety Review reported in 2006 that trampolines caused an estimated 109,522 injuries. Of the reported injuries, 22,716 occurred in those over the age of 14.
Contact Your Agent
Before you purchase a trampoline, speak to your insurance agent. You should expect a spike in your premiums -- or you might need to shop for a new policy -- to get trampoline coverage. If you receive any notices from your insurance policy, be sure to read them and take note of any changes because an insurance company retains the right to change or discontinue your coverage at any time.
Cindy Phillips began writing feature articles in 2007 with her work appearing in several regional newspapers. With more than 30 years experience in the corporate arena, her business expertise includes all aspects of marketing and management. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from SUNY New Paltz.