What are some of your favourite childhood summer memories? Did you and your friends use a treehouse for your secret headquarters? Did you defy the laws of gravity by leaping into the air off a trampoline?
Whatever your backyard childhood adventures entailed, here is some useful information about treehouses and trampolines that you may want to consider.
The obvious danger posed by both treehouses and trampolines is someone falling and hurting themselves. With trampolines, you also run the risk of injuries related to colliding with other people or other fixtures in the yard such as trees, and slipping on the trampoline itself, especially when wet. In these cases, your home insurance policy may provide liability coverage.
Similar to insuring a shed or a gazebo on your property, a treehouse is considered an accessory structure to your home. A trampoline is considered a piece of recreational or fitness equipment. Not only does this mean that your home insurance coverage may respond to injuries related to treehouse or trampoline use, but it could also provide contents coverage to whatever you store in your treehouse.
When installing a treehouse or trampoline on your property, we recommend contacting your local BrokerLink branch to inform them of your new additions, and to confirm the coverage options available. This is similar to the steps you would take when introducing a new shed or garage to your property. You may be asked to provide the monetary worth of your treehouse or trampoline, so your insurer can record the replacement costs, should you ever need to file a claim.
Safety should always be top of mind for a number of reasons. Any liability or contents coverage for your treehouse may be dependent on whether or not your treehouse meets municipal building codes, similar to renting out a secondary suite. As for the logistics of building a treehouse, this article by Popular Mechanics can serve as a good starting point.
When it comes to trampolines, we advise ensuring the springs, hooks and frame are completely covered with shock absorbing pads. We also recommend the entire trampoline be enclosed within secure netting to prevent users from falling off the trampoline. Additionally, springs and leg braces should be secure, and there should be no damage to any part of the trampoline. Canada Safety Council offers more trampoline safety tips.
Be a responsible neighbour
As with the case of backyard pools, it is important to restrict access to your treehouse or trampoline to members of your household and invited guests. A fence with a padlock should enclose your yard, and there should be no gaps in your fence to allow unwanted guests to sneak through. If you do not take adequate steps to restrict access to your treehouse or trampoline, you run the risk of having these backyard fixtures deemed “attractive nuisances”, meaning you are increasing your exposure to members of the public coming into your yard, using your treehouse or trampoline, and potentially injuring themselves.
It is also good practice to ensure the use of your treehouse or trampoline by children is always monitored by an adult. Following these safety precautions will help minimize potential injuries and keep the focus on the adventures in your backyard on fun, rather than accidents.
Backyard adventures have long served as cherished trademarks of the summer months and treehouses and trampolines can enhance these experiences. By incorporating relevant insurance and safety information, you can help keep the backyard adventures positive for many summers to come.
Contact your local BrokerLink branch if you have additional questions.