Trampolines tend to make belayers rather uncomfortable | Siouxland life

SIOUX CITY — Kids love the trampolines and pools with slides and diving boards. Home insurers generally do not.

A number of insurance companies will not cover homes that have trampolines or swimming pools at all. Or they will offer a policy on the property, but with an exclusion endorsement, which relieves the business of exposure to trampoline or pool-related injuries, leaving owners entirely on the hook.

Others might be willing to underwrite trampolines and pools, but with higher terms and premiums due to liability exposure.

“Usually what happens is if it’s a brand new account that we’re writing, and you have a trampoline and/or pool, it will make a difference as to which carriers we can Most will want a privacy fence with lockable doors, and that’s for protection from passers-by or neighborhood kids who are just coming in to jump in the pool or get on the trampoline,” said Tim McClintock, president of McClintock Insurance in Sioux City.

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Insurance companies tend to be particular about this. Chain link fences are not considered “privacy fences” because it is quite easy for a passerby to see the attractive trampoline that sits just beyond the fence. The fence should obscure whatever is behind it – a wooden fence might suffice, if it’s tall enough and has a locked gate. Privacy fencing is also often a requirement for trampoline owners under many municipal codes.

Insurers are sometimes more lenient with trampolines located on land outside the country, as skittish children are less likely to wander around and be injured. Trampolines with nets around them may also be viewed more favorably, and pools without diving boards or slides may not be as much of a dead end.

For insurers, swimming pools and (especially) trampolines represent an “attractive nuisance”, that is to say that they have the reputation of attracting children and then injuring them. According to American Family Insurance, “Most insurance companies do not cover trampolines because they consider them too expensive due to liability risks.”

(Incidentally, the legal concept of “attractive nuisance” was first applied in the United States in the 1873 Supreme Court case Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Stout, who determined that the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad was responsible after a child was injured while playing on railroad property in Nebraska. The term “attractive nuisance” was not yet used, but the concept was essentially the same; the term first appeared in another court case a few years later.)

The reluctance of insurance companies towards trampolines and swimming pools stems entirely from the actuarial risk that a user will need expensive medical treatment after an injury. Youthful exuberance can raise the stakes beyond an insurer’s wildest nightmares.

“When you see like the TikTok videos, ‘Hey let’s try this challenge’ and they’re running off the roof of the garage, onto the trampoline, into the pool and the pool is only four feet tall, there’s a lot of chance of hurt themselves that way. Especially if they go over the pool. So it can be a disaster,” McClintock said.

And health insurance companies increasingly don’t want to pay a bill that might be the responsibility of another entity – if, for example, an injury has occurred in a way that would make it the responsibility of another entity. home insurance company.

“That’s what we’ve seen happening more and more, not just with landlords, property issues, car insurance and everything else,” McClintock said.

“The health insurance fund comes back and says, ‘Oh, it 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. This can lead to the cancellation of an insurance policy, even before the end of the term, due to a misrepresentation at the time of writing the policy.

Insurers don’t mess with this stuff, McClintock said. Some of them use Google Earth and even drones to monitor the existence of attractive nuisances on the properties they insure.

“There are existing accounts, where if they add a trampoline or a pool, and they don’t tell their agent, they’ll suffer a loss — say an injury — and then the business won’t renew. , because they don’t. I don’t like these exhibits,” he said. “So if the renewal is approaching, or they might cancel mid-term due to increased risk.”

Owners who take on the liability themselves (the aforementioned exclusion endorsement) may end up regretting the decision. You can’t get blood out of a turnip, but that probably won’t stop the plaintiff from trying after his child suffered a trampoline-induced fracture.

“Usually what ends up happening is if the medical bill is high enough and they don’t have the coverage, the family that owns the property the injury happened on has to file for bankruptcy.” , McClintock said.

McClintock is no stranger to trampoline and pool horror stories. “Diving boards where they dived and hurt themselves – we had one where they broke their neck. It was a major lawsuit. The company paid for it and then set up to no longer offer renewal, unless they took out the diving board.”

“If someone gets injured, the injury can be significant. So it could be a broken arm, we had one where the child’s teeth were knocked out because he took them in the spring (from the trampoline),” he said.

It has not always been so. Decades ago, McClintock said, insurance companies were a little less nervous about trampolines and pools. Things were different then.

“(In the past) lawsuits weren’t as widespread as they are today,” he said. “The medical bills, the medical bills are astronomical today compared to what they were then. You broke your arm, they had it put in a cast, it could have cost $200, $300 $ at the time. Now you’re like, ‘Well, we “I’m going to do x-rays, we might have to get a plastic surgeon, how many injuries are we talking about, oh my God, you have to follow therapy to regain the strength in your arm.” Back then it was, put it in a cast, you’re done.”

Nobody ever thinks that’s going to happen to them – a person probably wouldn’t buy a trampoline or a swimming pool with a diving board if they saw it as impending disability and heartache.

“Everyone is your friend, your buddy and your homie when it comes time to be on the trampoline, but when someone gets hurt, they look at you like a bank account,” McClintock said. “All those bills are going to be picked up by you, not us, even if it’s our kid, or us, jumping on the stuff or swimming in the pool.”

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