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My kids want a trampoline. Is that a problem for my homeowners insurance?

Q. My kids have been begging for a trampoline and I'm finally about to give in. Will this be an issue for my homeowners insurance?

A. If the proper precautions are taken, you should have no problem.

So you're about to take the plunge and buy a trampoline! Loads of fun, right? You might answer yes if you're buying the trampoline for yourself, but let's face it: most adults don't buy trampolines for themselves. More likely, there's a child in the picture who has been pestering you to buy one, and the fun that comes with jumping on a trampoline is offset by an entirely rational fear of a kid and his or her friends bouncing on a device that propels users high into the air.

Over the years, I've had more than one customer call me in the hopes that we won't cover a trampoline. They'd like to say no to the kids without technically being the bad guy. However, to the great joy of their kids, our homeowners policy does provide coverage for trampolines.

A couple scenarios come to mind when I think of trampolines and homeowners insurance: Damage to the trampoline, perhaps from a storm, fire, or other peril; and injuries to trampoline users, be they your kids, grandkids, or visitors. The homeowners policy may provide protection for both situations. We treat the trampoline just like your other belongings, so it's covered for damage in the same way as the rest of your personal property. And if you're legally responsible for injuries that arise from its use, your personal liability coverage can step in to defend you.

However, none of this implies that we turn a blind eye to the risks and dangers posed by trampolines. Insurers sometimes call trampolines an "attractive nuisance": that is, a person passing by may see it and be drawn to using it, even without the owner's permission. To reduce your risks we require that your trampoline be encircled by safety netting or that your yard is enclosed by a 6-foot high fence with a self-latching gate. Safety netting is important because it decreases the likelihood that someone will fall off the trampoline and be injured. A fence around the perimeter secures the trampoline from use by unauthorized individuals, lessening the likelihood you'll be drawn into legal battles over injuries.

We do ask that you let us know if you purchase a trampoline so that we can explain the risks and precautions, and to ensure that your policy covers you adequately.

If you came to this article looking for a "no!" answer to relay to your kids, I apologize for leaving you high and dry. However, if you came here in the hopes you're covered so that you can finally get the kids out of your hair about buying a trampoline, I hope this provides you with some peace of mind.

As always, please consult your agent or our Customer Service Department with questions about specific scenarios, or for answers I didn't address here

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