More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Homeowners insurance offers protection for your home and personal property if they’re damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. Your policy also covers your personal liability and medical payments if someone is injured on your property and sues or requires medical expenses.
Like home and property coverage, your personal liability and medical payments to guests are only covered if the condition that caused the accident isn’t excluded from your policy. If you recently bought a trampoline, or you’re thinking of buying one, check with your insurer to see if damage to the trampoline is covered by your policy’s personal property coverage. You should also check to see if your legal and medical expenses are covered in the event a guest or trespasser is hurt using your trampoline and they take you to court.
You also may want to consider additional coverage for your policy, as trampolines can cause serious accidents and are a litigation nightmare waiting to happen. If you have a trampoline, or a pool, or a dog, consider buying a personal umbrella policy (PUP) to increase your liability coverage limits in the event of an expensive lawsuit.
Insurers generally write policies in one of three ways in regards to trampolines:
Trampolines are covered.
Trampolines are covered but only under specific circumstances.
Trampolines are always excluded.
If you have an “always excluded” policy, your insurance company may even refuse you coverage in general or cancel your policy if you own a trampoline.
If your policy has no exclusions, your trampoline is covered under every circumstance. That means if a guest is bouncing around, launches uncontrollably off your trampoline and suffers a serious head injury, your policy’s personal liability and medical payments coverages may pay for medical bills and legal expenses if the guest requires medical treatment or decides to sue for damages.
You may also be reimbursed for damage to the trampoline by your policy’s personal property coverage if a storm rolls through and your trampoline is crushed by a fallen tree. While the tree’s removal from your property may or may not be covered, your insurer may cut you a check for a new trampoline.
Your insurer may consider your trampoline, like your pool and tree house, to be an ”attractive nuisance” for guests and trespassers alike, and some companies may only cover attractive nuisances if you meet certain conditions for coverage.
For trampolines, that usually includes surrounding its perimeter with safety netting up to a specific height, or ensuring the trampoline is completely fenced in and out of reach of potential unsuspecting guests. While you may not be liable for injuries to a trespassing adult (even if you don’t have enclosure netting), the same may not be said for your neighbor’s six-year-old if you don’t have safety precautions in place.
It may also be possible for your insurance company to increase your monthly or annual premiums if you own a trampoline. However, this option isn’t likely, as a nominal increase in premiums won’t come close to covering your insurer’s potential liability expenses. For that reason, it generally comes down to whether or not they allow trampolines to begin with.
You should also let your insurer know if you have a trampoline. If you plan on buying one, talk to your insurer about whether it can be covered. They may be cool with you owning a trampoline and they may not be, but if you don’t inform them at all and they find out you own one, they could potentially deny you coverage even if your claim had nothing to do with the trampoline, or simply refuse you coverage altogether.
Some policies will exclude trampolines even if you have protective netting and your lawn is actually just a giant foam pit. You’ll generally see insurance companies treat exclusions in one of two ways: some may let you take out a policy and let you keep the excluded property, and some may refuse you coverage altogether unless you get rid of the excluded property.
If you run into the latter company and you absolutely need to have a trampoline, you can simply shop around until you find a more lenient insurer. If you already have a policy with a company and they tell you to get rid of your trampoline, it may be in your best interest to simply get rid of it and spare yourself the trouble of finding a new policy. Starting a new policy means updated underwriting, a new inspection, and possibly increased rates, so you’ll want to think about this one carefully.
If you own a trampoline any other potentially hazardous property, you may want to consider buying a personal umbrella policy (PUP). Personal umbrella policies, like your homeowners insurance policy, are a form of financial protection that protects you and your family against potentially large liability claims that exceed the limits of your home or auto insurance policies.
Umbrella policies typically increase your liability coverage in million dollar increments, so if your liability coverage was $300,000 and you had a standard umbrella policy, you’d actually have $1,300,000 in potential liability protection. That means if a guest fell off your trampoline, was seriously hurt, sued, and you were found liable for $500,000 in damages, your homeowners insurance would cover the first $300,000 and your PUP would pick up the remaining $200,000, but only if your trampoline is covered in your policy.
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.