SIOUX CITY – Kids love trampolines and wading pools with slides and diving boards. Homeowners insurance carriers usually do not.
Most insurance carriers will not cover homes with trampolines or pools at all. Or they will issue a policy on the property, but with an exclusion permit, which makes the company responsible for injuries from the trampoline- or pool, leaving the home owner completely on the hook.
Some may be willing to book trampolines and pools, but with attached ropes, and high fees for this problem.
“Usually what happens is, if it is a new account that we are writing, and you have a trampoline and / or a swimming pool, that will make a difference to the carriers that we can write. , come and jump in the pool, or go on the trampoline,” said Tim McClintock, president of McClintock Insurance in Sioux City.
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Insurance companies tend to be particular about these things. Chain link fences should not be “privacy fences,” as it is easy for a passerby to spot an attractive trampoline that is beyond the fence. A fence should hide whatever is behind it – a wooden fence may be sufficient, if it is tall and has a locked gate. Privacy fences are also often required by owners of trampolines under many city signs.
Insurers are sometimes more comfortable with trampolines that are on the ground floor, because children can’t walk around and hurt themselves. Trampolines with nets around them can also be viewed well, and pools without diving boards or slides will not be a big problem.
For insurers, pools and (especially) trampolines represent an “attraction problem” – meaning they have a history of attracting children and causing injury. According to American Family Insurance“Many insurance companies do not cover trampolines because they consider them too expensive due to the risks involved.”
(As an aside, the legal concept of “serious persuasion” was first used in the US in an 1873 Supreme Court case. Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Stout, which found the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad liable after a child was injured while playing on the tracks in Nebraska. the term “persuasion problems“was not in use, but the idea was the same; the word first appeared in another court some years later.)
Insurance companies’ insistence on trampolines and pools stems from the high risk that a user may require expensive medical care in the event of an injury. The excitement of youth can raise the stakes beyond insurance nightmares.
“If you see like TikTok videos, ‘Hey let’s try this challenge’ and they run across the roof of the garage, go on the trampoline, get into the pool, and the pool is only four feet, there’s a lot of potential for injury that way. Especially if they go over the pool. So it it could be a disaster,” McClintock said.
And health insurance companies do not want to pay a debt that would be the responsibility of another organization – if, say, an injury occurred in a way that would make it the responsibility of the home insurance provider.
“It’s something we’ve seen happen more and more, not just with homeowners, property issues, auto insurance, and everything else,” McClintock said.
“The health insurance agent comes back and goes, ‘Oh, this was an accident. We want this company to pay, and reimburse us,'” he added.
Installing a pool or trampoline without telling the insurance company is a bad idea. It may cause the insurance to be canceled, even before the expiration of the period, due to a misrepresentation at the time the policy was written.
Insurance carriers don’t make jokes like this, McClintock said. Some of them use Google Earth and drones to check the presence of visible problems on the things they confirm.
“There are accounts that exist, where if they add a trampoline or a pool, and do not tell their agent, they will find one loss – say an injury – then the company will not renew, because they do not. I do not like these displays,” he said. “So if the renewal is coming, or they can cancel it in the middle of the period because of the increased risk.”
Homeowners who take out the loan themselves (guarantee mentioned above) can appeal that decision. You can’t get blood out of mustard, but that won’t stop a plaintiff from trying to get their child injured on a trampoline.
“A lot of times what ends up happening is, if the medical bills are high enough, and they don’t have coverage, the family that has the property that’s injured on the property, they have to file for bankruptcy,” McClintock said.
McClintock is a stranger to trampoline and pool horror stories. “Dive boards where they hurt themselves – we’ve had one where they broke their neck. That was a huge crime. The company paid, and then they set it up to not offer repairs, unless they lost. They took out the diving board.”
“If someone is injured, the injury can be serious. So it can be a broken arm, we have had cases where the child’s teeth were knocked out because he caught them in the spring (trampoline),” he said.
It wasn’t always like that. Decades ago, McClintock said, insurance carriers weren’t afraid of trampolines and pools. Things were different then.
“(In the past), criminal cases were not as common as they are now,” he said. “Medical costs, medical costs are astronomical today compared to what they were then. You broke your arm, they put it in plastic, it could be $200, $300 back then. Now, you’re talking: ‘Okay, we’ll do X-rays, we can have plastic surgeon, how many injuries are we talking about, oh gosh, you need to go to the hospital to get your arm back.’ Back then it was, put it in, you’re done.”
No one thinks it’s going to happen to them – a person wouldn’t buy a trampoline or a pool with a diving board if they saw it as a problem and heartache waiting to happen.
“Everybody’s your friend, your friend is your friend when it’s time to be on the trampoline, but when someone gets hurt, they see you as a bank account,” McClintock said. “All these bills will be taken care of by you, not us, even with our son, or us, jumping off things or swimming in the pool.”