Turning the backyard into a family fun zone may cost you more than you expect. While trampolines, pools, play structures, swing sets, and even tree houses all help you get the kids to spend more time outdoors, these kinds of property additions also change your need for homeowner’s insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies often include exclusions for these kinds of backyard recreational amenities. Yet with the right coverage, you can still insure yourself against accidents and injuries that lead to lawsuits. Find out why these kinds of equipment are so often excluded from insurance and what kind of coverage you need instead.
It’s the attractiveness of these backyard features that cause many homeowner’s insurance carriers to specifically exclude them. Since someone passing by could try to jump in the pool or bounce on the trampoline and end up injured, there’s just too much risk involved for many carriers. In fact, these types home recreational equipment are even referred to as attractive nuisances in official insurance terminology. Your guests are also likely to gravitate towards them and end up injured when they would be fine if they had stayed inside the home.
Pools, trampolines, and play structures are also just naturally riskier to use than your average household equipment. Drowning is much less likely in a tub than a pool, and any physical activity like climbing or bouncing carries an innate amount of injury risk. Since homeowner’s insurance policies are based around the average amount of risk a resident or guest faces while enjoying the property, anything that dramatically increases the total injury risk will naturally effect your policy. These kinds of recreational features also tend to cause more serious injuries than might occur with a slip and fall or other home accident. This means you’ll need to carry a higher level of catastrophic injury insurance to protect against disability claims.
Many insurance companies will only insure homes with pools or play structures if secondary safety improvements are added. For example, most insurance carriers require homeowners to install safety fencing and secure gates around a pool. These kinds of safety features are also commonly required by local building and safety codes as well. Play structures and trampolines are less likely to require fencing, but it’s a good idea for keeping guests and strangers from accessing them without your knowledge. A small section of climb-proof fencing adds less than you think to the installation cost of a backyard jungle gym or trampoline.
If your homeowner’s insurance policy excludes these recreational structures or rises to a high premium with them included, consider a separate umbrella policy. Insuring just your pool or trampoline with its own policy can help you get coverage from a homeowner’s insurance carrier that would otherwise refuse your policy. Your insurance provider may also require you to hire a professional to handle installation and request proof you’re paying for ongoing maintenance so the pool or play structure doesn’t turn into a bigger safety hazard. Consider all of these additional costs before deciding if you can afford to add a pool or play structure to your property.
Does your current insurance provider know you’ve added a pool or trampoline to your backyard? If not, it’s time to update your insurance policy and make sure you’re still covered. Alliance & Associates will help you find an insurance company that is happy to handle play structures and other backyard upgrades will protect you in case someone is ever injured.
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