Pools, hot tubs, trampolines and tree houses all provide enjoyable ways for kids and adults to spend the summer months, but they also come with risks. If you’re a homeowner, you’re going to want to check with your home insurance provider to ensure you have adequate liability coverage before anyone goes for that first dive, jump or climb.
Having a pool not only increases the replacement cost of your property, but it ups your risk profile as well—two reasons you’re going to want to ensure you have enough coverage. Your insurance provider will likely ask you to take precautionary steps to safeguard your pool from potential mishaps.
These pool safety steps may include:
- Adding a gated fence around the perimeter of your pool
- Ensuring your pool deck remains clean at all times
- Never serving or consuming alcohol in or around the pool
- Always having a responsible adult supervising children’s use of the pool
Hot tubs also likely require additional liability coverage. The biggest risk associated with any water-related activity is drowning. As with pools, to reduce this risk:
- Always keep the hot tub covered when it is not in use
- Do not serve or consume alcohol when in the hot tub
- Always supervise children if they are using the hot tub
Hot tubs and pools can also leak and cause damage to your property. This is typically covered under a standard home insurance policy, but again it’s a good idea to verify your coverage with your provider before you fill that tub up.
Trampolines may be excluded from some home insurance policies, which is why it’s important to take precautions to prevent injuries. Like pools, trampolines are often considered an “attractive nuisance” meaning they may appeal to trespassing children. If a trespasser or guest is injured via a trampoline on your property, a trampoline exclusion clause may prevent you from being covered.
Trampolines are fun, but can be dangerous. Related injuries send hundreds of Canadian children to the hospital each year. Most of these injuries are preventable by implementing a few safety guards and guidelines. The Canadian Safety Council recommends you:
- Always make sure the equipment is safe. Canada does not regulate trampolines, so check to see if yours meets ASTM requirements
- Inspect it before each use to ensure the shock absorbing pads cover the springs, hooks and frame. Also check it over to ensure that the trampoline is secure and not damaged.
- Avoid setting it up near structures, trees or other play areas
- Put up netting around the trampoline to prevent kids from falling off
- Don’t allow children under 6 to use the trampoline
- Do not put a ladder or any other access-providing devices near the trampoline
- Always supervise children when they are on the trampoline
To minimize injury further, the Canadian Safety Council recommends implementing three “non-negotiables”:
- One person at a time
- No flips or somersaults
- Don’t jump on to or off of the trampoline
Home insurance coverage for a tree house will depend on your provider. Some providers may not cover it at all, while others may insure it as an “accessory structure” as they would a gazebo or shed, and others may cover it so long as the homeowner follows certain protocols. If you’re thinking of building a tree house, give your insurance provider a call first to find out what you need to do to ensure you’re covered.
Premiums for Peace of Mind
Adding any of these features to your home may cause your premiums to increase in order to compensate for the additional risk factors associated with the equipment and activities. And as with any risks, ensuring you have adequate home insurance coverage and taking precautions to prevent injuries beforehand will help protect you in the event someone is injured on your property.
If your current insurance provider won’t cover your summer toys, don’t hesitate to shop around. Just because one insurer sees it as too big a liability, doesn’t mean another one won’t give you the coverage you need.