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Trampolines -- Balancing the rewards and risk to your home insurance

By Gary Bangstad on October 9th, 2010 Homeowners Insurance

Fresh air, exercise and the sheer joy of jumping make owning a trampoline an attractive recreational choice for families. However, the enjoyment should be balanced with the risk of injury and even the risk to your family's financial health. In fact, your trampoline may increase your insurance risk and be an expensive liability.

Safety concerns

The Consumer Products Safety Commission, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) have revealed some alarming statistics:

  • In 2003, there were 211,646 trampoline injuries, some minor, treated in doctor's offices, clinics and hospital emergency rooms
  • In 2008, 104,752 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms because of trampoline injuries
  • The estimated medical, legal, insurance and disability costs due to trampolines, in 2001 alone, were more than $4 billion

Because of clear safety concerns with trampoline use, doctors are weighing in. The AAP issued the strongest statement advising no home, physical education or playground use of trampolines. The AAOS, in contrast, recommends using numerous safety procedures to reduce the number and severity of injuries from the use of trampolines, including:

  • Having adult supervisors and good instruction
  • Using spotters at all times
  • Restricting small children (under 6)
  • Limiting use to one jumper at a time
  • Installing a high fence with a locked gate

A complete list of AAOS recommendations may be found at the AAOS Position Statement on Trampolines and Trampoline Safety.

Home insurance policy liability coverage

It is wise to check your local safety standards and building codes before purchasing a trampoline. You should also consider how a trampoline may affect your home insurance policy and home insurance rates. Responding to the increasing risk posed by trampolines, some homeowners insurance companies might not insure your property if you have a trampoline, or the insurer may add a provision to your policy that excludes liability related to trampoline injuries. Many insurance organizations, such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the Insurance Information Institute and various state insurance commissioners, suggest you increase your homeowners insurance liability protection by purchasing an umbrella policy if you have a trampoline.

Limit your liability

If you have decided that a trampoline enhances your family's quality of life, be sure to promote safe use. Keep your family's physical health and financial health strong by controlling trampoline injuries and claims.

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