Insurance agents look at the world through different lenses. Risk lenses, if you will. Where a normal person sees fun, an insurance agent sees risks to be managed. Take for example walking into a friend’s yard and finding a trampoline. The family is excited. The children are bouncing up and down with wild, happy abandon. But the insurance agent? He immediately develops a slight tick just thinking about the insurance implications.
We’ve found that these risk lenses don’t always make insurance guys the top invite for neighborhood parties. However, knowing someone in the biz who’s willing to give you the straight story can save you some major headaches down the line.
When it comes to trampolines, the insurance scenario isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. In most cases, getting coverage is easy and often times there is no associated rate increase. Here are answers to some of the top question about insurance and trampolines.
Do I Need To Tell My Insurance Agent About My New Trampoline?
The short answer is no. You don’t need to tell your insurance agent about a new trampoline. However, if you do not report the change, you may be assuming full liability for any trampoline related accidents. The primary concern is the cost of medical care for guests or neighborhood kids who get hurt on your trampoline. If a suit is brought, you might be responsible for all expenses. And even if the injured individual does not want to bring a suit, their health insurance company has a right to come after you (subrogate) to cover expenses. As such, it is very important to find out if your homeowners policy covers trampoline related accidents.
Does My Homeowner’s Policy Cover Trampoline Accidents?
The best way to find out if your homeowner’s policy covers trampoline accidents is to call your insurance agent. And while you have them on the phone, be sure to ask out about other high risk items you might have or plan to acquire. Pools, tree houses, certain breeds of dogs… a pond full of piranhas (you know, just in case you were looking to give you insurance agent heart failure). These are all things considered high risk and it’s important to know if they are covered as part of your homeowners policy.
When you call your agent, you’ll likely find that one of three things is true regarding insurance on your trampoline.
- Your homeowners policy has no exclusions and any claims related to the trampoline will be covered up to your policy limits. In this case, you’re in good shape and the only thing to consider is if your policy limits are high enough to cover costs that might come as a result of a claim. We’ll address this below.
- Your homeowner’s policy will cover trampoline related claims, but only if certain safety precautions are in place. Those safety precautions vary from one insurance carrier to the next. They also vary based on local and state ordinances. Some of the safety requirements for a trampoline might include anchoring the trampoline to the ground, padding, locked netting, or fencing in your yard. Your insurance agent would be able to tell you what is required.
- Your homeowner’s policy excludes trampolines and you are therefore not covered at all for any related accidents.
What If Trampolines Are Excluded On My Homeowner’s Policy?
If you find that your homeowners policy excludes claims relate to trampolines, you should work quickly to get new coverage. If you don’t get coverage and someone is injured on your trampoline, you will be responsible for all related expenses. And, at the risk of going totally doomsday on the issue, it’s worth noting that every year approximately 100,000 people are hospitalized for trampoline injuries. This is no small risk.
Slightly less important, but also worth considering, is that if your insurance company discovers you have a trampoline you did not report, they can cancel your policy. The most common way insurance companies find out about non-reported trampolines is through random drive-by inspections. Also consider the possibility that a neighbor who is super safety attuned could report it. (Good time to consider taking some fresh baked banana bread to everyone within eyeshot of your backyard!).
All this is to say, you should make it a high priority to work with your insurance agent to find a carrier that will cover trampoline related claims. Typically, there either no rate increase associated with making the change or just a negligible increase. Again, this varies greatly depending on local and state regulations, but whatever the increase might be, it is small compared to the amount you could potentially pay out if someone is injured on your trampoline.
Are My Liability Limits High Enough?
Once you’ve made sure that your homeowner’s policy covers trampoline related accidents, the next thing to consider are policy limits. If someone is injured while jumping on you trampoline, are your limits high enough to cover related legal and medical expenses? This is something that you should discuss with your insurance agent. Increased limits means higher annual premiums, but the small added expense is often well worth it. Also talk to your agent about the possibility of adding a personal umbrella policy on top of your homeowners policy. For a few hundred dollars a year, you can typically get $1 million or more in added coverage.
The Biggest Mistake You Can Make
Failing to report a new trampoline to your insurance agent is risky for the reasons mentioned above. Failing to report an existing trampoline when you are applying for new coverage is a whole other ballgame. This is considered material misrepresentation. If the insurance company discovers this kind of intentional omission, it will typically void the policy and coverage retroactively. This means they could refuse to pay for any claim you bring, even if it is unrelated to the trampoline itself. Material misrepresentation is very serious, so when you apply for homeowners insurance, be sure to answer all the questions as accurately as possible. Not getting the age of your roof just right is an honest mistake. “Forgetting” to mention the trampoline? Not so much.
Trampolines & Insurance: The Bottom Line
As always, the bottom line is, call your agent. Make sure you have an agent you trust. One who works to get you proper coverage without trying to sell you things you don’t need. Don’t have an agent you love? Feel free to give us a call or send us a message.