Sure, they're fun. What child doesn't like to bounce out in the sun or perch in a miniature home high above the ground? But before you turn the kids loose, it's important to understand that trampolines and tree houses may not play well with your homeowner's insurance policy because of safety issues.
Bounce the Idea Off Your Insurance Company First
First thing's first: if you're thinking about buying a trampoline, or if you've already purchased one, talk to your agent, who can speak to any of your insurance company's trampoline-specific policies, and also any state-specific exceptions that may impact your insurance.
The fun that comes with a trampoline can also be accompanied by serious risks—hence the possibility of insurance consequences. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that trampoline—related injuries nearly tripled in a recent ten-year period.
How Are Trampolines Handled in Your Homeowner's Insurance Policy?
Again, the best way to understand how buying a trampoline could affect you is by giving your insurance agent a call. While coverage varies from state to state—and between insurance companies—you'll find that trampoline insurance is often handled one of 3 ways:
This means that an insurance company doesn't place any restrictions on trampoline ownership or usage in accordance with your homeowner's insurance policy.
Coverage with Safety Precautions
An insurance company may include coverage if you have pads to cover the trampoline springs, a net enclosure for the sides, and/or a fenced-in yard with a gate and working lock.
In addition to insurance mandates, you can help make jumping safer by supervising and limiting the number of jumpers, and by placing the trampoline in a level, open area away from any structure children might be tempted to jump from or onto.
A Trampoline Exclusion
Some homeowner's insurance policies may not cover trampolines at all. That means if you, your kids, or the neighborhood kids get injured on the trampoline, the insurance company is not liable for those trampoline—related claims. It may also mean that adding a trampoline results in non-renewal of your current policy.
What About Tree Houses?
While tree house exclusions are less common than trampoline exclusions, your insurance company may still have safety precautions and guidelines that apply to these structures. With tree houses, trampolines, and other "high-risk" items you may be considering, you'll want to manage your insurance needs by checking your homeowner's insurance policy carefully or speaking with your agent.
If you decide to go ahead with a tree house, our Building a Safe Tree House article can help you get started on the right foot.
Check out our good friends building their tree housse at The Tree House Project on Facebook!