Should You Make the Jump? How Backyard Additions Impact Your Coverage
With COVID-19 affecting the summer plans of many families, kids are staring down a summer vacation being stuck at home. Parents and children alike are probably looking at their old, worn-out swing-set and patchy grass and wondering how that will POSSIBLY be enough to stay entertained for weeks on end. Hence why we’ve been hearing about more families opting to add a pool, a new play gym, and/or a trampoline to their backyard setup. Homeowner’s insurance can have a whole caveat of loopholes, items that require specific coverage, etc., but few bring up more questions than trampolines. We often hear clients asking if a.) their existing trampoline will be covered by their policy if they choose to switch providers or b.) if their coverage will allow for them to purchase a trampoline. Trampolines, while when used properly can be a safe piece of recreational equipment, but they do tend to have a higher rate of injuries and therefore are considered a liability by many insurance providers. The problem is, trampolines result in a wide variety of opinions from these providers, which means each policy has its own set of parameters for coverage, if they’re willing to cover it at all.
Insurance policies typically fall under one of five different categories when discussing the topic of trampolines. Policies that state “no restriction” are just that…there is no difference between your trampoline and your front walkway. They don’t view it as an additional risk. Other policies offer restrictions in order to cover the trampoline (like requiring the setup to include netting and protective boundaries to prevent falls) or they require an annual surcharge added on to your existing premium to allow for additional coverage for the trampoline. Finally, you have providers who will exclude the trampoline from your coverage, meaning any claims you make would be denied if they relate in any way to the trampoline, OR your provider could opt for exclusion, which means your entire homeowner’s policy is void if you purchase and install a trampoline on your property. See what we mean? The possibilities are many when it comes to what your insurance company will/will not cover if you choose to get a trampoline for your kids…or for yourself.
Having an insurance advisement team that knows the industry and understands the boundaries of the various providers is a huge benefit when trying to shop for the perfect plan. While each policy will have it’s own requirements, there are some things you can do ahead of time if you already own a trampoline to give yourself the best chance of getting a good rate and coverage for your backyard play equipment. Remember to…
- Level the area where your trampoline sits. A flat, level surface free of debris, rocks, roots, etc. will mean a solid base and that means less likelihood of the trampoline flipping over, causing falls from being off balance, etc.
- Clear the surrounding area. Trampolines need a large amount of clearance not only underneath for the base, but also around the perimeter to ensure safety of the jumpers. Trampolines should be placed away from trees, other play equipment, hard surfaces, etc. A fall could be made much more severe if the individual encounters sharp objects, hard surfaces, etc. on the way down.
- Invest in quality netting and protective boundaries. Many trampolines offer safety nets and padded bars/rails that go around the perimeter to prevent jumpers from falling off the side. These are a must, and should be purchased with your trampoline or added to your existing setup if you don’t already have them.
- Monitor jumping! This is especially important with children. Don’t allow too many children to jump at once, discourage rough play while on the trampoline, and practice safe jumping by making sure individuals know to keep distance between themselves and other jumpers and to be aware of those around them to prevent falls and collisions.
If you choose to get a trampoline, or if you already have one, we’d love to chat with you about what that means for your homeowner’s coverage. Our goal is to make sure you’re protected, and that means working with you throughout life changes, including that trampoline purchase. Give us a call to make your appointment. We’re ready and waiting to assist you.