If you have children, it is inevitable. You will be asked, begged really, to get a trampoline. You may want to say yes, but somewhere in the back of your mind you recall hearing something about someone's homeowners insurance being cancelled for owning one. Before answering your pleading child you should understand how owning a trampoline can impact your homeowners insurance policy.
How is my homeowners insurance impacted by owning a trampoline?
As with most insurance questions, it depends. It is strongly advised that you speak with your insurance agent to find out if your insurance company allows ownership of one or not. If trampolines are acceptable to the company you will want to pay attention to any specific requirements the company may have, like a netting or padding.
If you are adamant in getting a trampoline, this may mean you will have to switch insurance companies, which may or may not be an issue. If you have had a claim in the past or perhaps own an older home that could use some TLC, you could wind up opening Pandora's Box with the trampoline being the least of your issues. Maybe your new insurance company is fine with you owning the trampoline, but has a problem with the age of your roof and now you have to replace it sooner than you wanted. A new company means new underwriting, and most likely a new inspection. Before changing insurance companies for the sake of a trampoline, I would be sure your home is in good shape and could pass inspection without an issue.
If you have a company that does not allow a trampoline, but you get one anyway; a cancellation or non-renewal notice will most likely be issued if the insurance company finds out. This can easily happen if the company does a drive-by inspection or the agent is notified. This would require you to find a new insurance company unless you permanently remove the trampoline from your home.
You may take the position that you simply won't tell your existing company about your new trampoline; however, this too is not recommended because the insurance company could have a trampoline exclusion on the policy, which means it would not pay for any suit involving the trampoline.
Will my premium increase if I own a trampoline?
Sometimes it is believed that your premium will increase if you own a trampoline, but that is not typically the case. The insurance company will either allow them or not. The reason why an insurance company will not specifically charge for a trampoline hazard is because it is very difficult for an insurance company to calculate a potential liability loss and charging the policy holder $20, $50 or even $100 will hardly cover the potential payout, plus legal fees, to even make the charge worthwhile.
What if I don't tell my homeowners insurance company about my trampoline?
If you are shopping for insurance and decide not to tell your agent or company about an existing trampoline, then you are taking a huge risk. If it is proven that you did not disclose on the application owning something that is considered a material misrepresentation (like a trampoline) then coverage for any claim can be denied. This could include a liability claim stemming from a trampoline injury to any claim including a total fire loss. The reason insurance companies take such a tough stand on this is because even if the claim had nothing to do with the trampoline itself, had the underwriter known about the trampoline in the first place, they would never have written the risk at all and hence not have to cover the loss you are now claiming.
If you already have an existing homeowners policy and you decide to buy a trampoline that is not necessarily a material misrepresentation as you signed your homeowners application based on the facts at that time. There may be coverage for a liability claim stemming from owning a trampoline; however it is suggested that you double-check with your carrier for the reasons stated above.
Can my homeowners insurance company cancel my policy for owning a trampoline?
Yes - if the carrier does not allow trampolines based on their underwriting guidelines, the company has the legal right to issue a cancellation notice; however you would be notified in advance.
Over the years, we have heard from a few clients that it is none of the insurance company's business if they own a trampoline or not. This is not entirely true because if that homeowner were sued for an injury stemming from the trampoline, you could be sure that the homeowner would then want to make the suit the insurance company's business.
Are injures caused by playing on a trampoline covered by my homeowners insurance policy?
Depends. If you insurance company allows for trampolines then there would most likely not be a problem with coverage. If however they do not, there would definitely be some questions as to when you got the trampoline with the possibility of coverage being denied. If there is a trampoline exclusion specifically on the policy, then there would not be any coverage offered through the policy.
Are their homeowner insurance companies that allow trampolines?
Yes - at HPM Insurance we have one company out of ten that will allow them. In thinking about this, you would want to consider if you want to limit your options to one company. What if you could save a significant amount of money elsewhere with an insurance company who does not allow trampolines? Is the trampoline worth it to you?
What if I am a landlord and my tenant owns a trampoline?
Never allow a tenant to own a trampoline. You should clarify this in the lease, up-front, so there is no room for misunderstanding. It is hard enough to control what our own children and family do, let alone a tenant. If someone is injured on the trampoline of your tenant, you will most likely get dragged into the suit as well because you own the property. Given the high incidents of injury you are exposing your financial wellbeing.
Why don't insurance companies like trampolines?
The frequency and severity of injury is simply too great. In 2006, the Consumer Product Safety Review estimated that 109,522 injuries were caused by a trampoline. Of these injuries, 71,265 were suffered by children from 5 - 14 years old. 104,729 were treated and released in emergency rooms, while 4,793 were either hospitalized or killed. Though no specific figures could be found and verified to the average trampoline settlement amount, these numbers alone shed light on why insurance companies don't like the risk. Even if each claim were settled for $1,000, which is a severely low estimate, that is already more than $1 million.
In short- don't get the trampoline. The physical and financial risk is simply too high. Stay safe!
This material is for informational purposes only. All statements herein are subject to the provision, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. For an actual description of all coverages, terms and conditions, refer to the insurance policy.
Written by April Weismann on 10/10/2014 04:03 AM in Homeowners Insurance.