Trampolines & tree houses: Are they covered by homeowners insurance?
Last updated: January 1
Sure, trampolines and tree houses are 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 homeowners insurance policy because of safety issues.
The fun that comes with a trampoline can also be accompanied by risks — hence the possibility of insurance consequences. Here are some things to consider when it comes to backyard trampolines, tree houses and homeowners insurance.
Does homeowners insurance cover trampolines?
If you're thinking about buying a trampoline, or if you've already purchased one, it's a good idea to read your homeowners insurance policy or contact your insurance agent. Make sure you understand your policy's terms and conditions regarding coverage for trampoline-related incidents or damage and any state-specific exceptions that may affect your homeowners insurance.
Homeowners insurance coverage for trampolines may vary by state and by insurance company. Coverage for trampolines is typically handled in one of three ways:
No exclusions: This means that a homeowners insurance policy doesn't place any restrictions on trampoline ownership or usage. So, if a visitor or guest is injured while bouncing on your trampoline and you're found legally responsible for their resulting medical bills, the liability coverage in your homeowners policy may help cover the costs. Or if a storm blows through that causes your trampoline to damage your home or property, your dwelling coverage or other structures coverage may help pay for repairs. Finally, if a tree crushes your trampoline in a storm, personal property coverage may help cover the loss.
Trampoline exclusion: If your policy states that trampolines are excluded from your homeowners insurance coverage, your policy would not provide protection for trampoline-related claims. In some cases, it may also mean that if you add a trampoline to your property, you may not be able to renew your homeowners insurance policy. Your agent can help you understand the terms, conditions and coverages in your homeowners insurance policy.
Coverage with safety precautions: A homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage (up to the limits and terms of your policy) for a trampoline, assuming you have certain safety precautions in place, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Is a trampoline an 'attractive nuisance'?
In some cases, a trampoline may be considered an "attractive nuisance." An attractive nuisance is a dangerous feature on your property that children are naturally attracted to, according to Cornell Law School. Under this legal doctrine, you could be held liable if a child is injured on your trampoline — even if he or she used it without permission. That's because a child may not understand the risk of harm associated with an attractive nuisance. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to limit public access to the trampoline. Nolo.com says taking safety precautions, such as keeping the trampoline within a fenced area, may help limit your risk of liability for these types of injuries.
Does homeowners insurance cover tree houses on your property?
While tree house exclusions are less common than trampoline exclusions, some insurers may still have requirements that apply to your homeowners insurance. If you're considering "high-risk" items like a tree house or a pool, be sure you have adequate protection by checking your homeowners insurance policy carefully or by speaking with your agent.
Other insurance considerations
Even if your insurance offers coverage for trampolines or tree houses you may want to review your policy and decide whether your coverage limits meet your needs. A limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay toward a covered claim. Your agent can help you adjust your coverage limits or help you decide whether additional protection makes sense for you.
One way to increase coverage for tree house-related injuries is through a personal umbrella policy (PUP). A PUP provides liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners insurance policy — generally up to $1 million. PUP protection begins when you've exhausted the required underlying liability insurance amount of your homeowners policy.