24 Jun Treehouse Liabilities
As a child, there are few places more magical than a backyard treehouse where the imagination can take flight, their curiosity is welcome, and all the energy they have in their little bodies can be let loose during playtime! While bumps and bruises are commonplace among children who love the outdoors, it probably comes as no surprise that treehouses are the source of many serious injuries to children. according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, almost 2,800 children are treated in emergency departments for tree-house related injuries each year and the most common injuries are fractures, more-so than bumps, bruises, or cuts.
Of course, we’re always trying to find ways to keep you and your family safe while still having fun and living life to the fullest. With that in mind, here are a few safety tips and precautionary concerns for you are your family to keep in mind regarding treehouses!
“Does my Homeowners Insurance cover a treehouse on my property?”
Treehouse exclusions are less commonplace than other exclusions, such as trampolines, but some insurance companies may still have requirements that apply to your homeowners insurance. You definitely don’t want to go through the effort of buying and/or building a treehouse at your home only to find out that the insurance company isn’t happy with it, or (worst-case scenario) that someone is injured because of the treehouse and that your policy won’t provide adequate protection. Before you add a treehouse on your property, please give your insurance agent a call so they can discuss your existing policy and options with you.
“How can I decrease treehouse accidents?”
- Build it low: Most treehouse injuries occur when children fall or jump. Avoid building a treehouse higher than 10 feet above the ground. Furthermore, lay down at least 9 inches of wood mulch or a protective surface to decrease the shock of a fall.
- Build it strong: If your structure is supported by a tree, make sure you choose a sturdy tree and perhaps consult with a professional to build the most secure structure you can. Build with solid barrier walls of at least 38″ in height rather than guardrails.
- Plan safe exits: Ropes and chains should be avoided because of strangulation hazards.
- Limit access & set rules: Set rules for when children are allowed in the treehouse as well as rules regarding supervision and behavior. Adult supervision is always recommended, and children younger than 6 years old should never play in a treehouse unless an adult is present & watching.
- Prevent other accidents: Ropes may be an attractive accessory at first, but they pose a huge risk as a strangulation hazard. Additionally, including falls and strangulations, cuts (from broken glass or exposed nails) are other common accidents with treehouses that are completely avoidable.
“Can I get a separate insurance policy for a treehouse?”
Even if your homeowners policy provides coverage for your treehouse, keep in mind how potentially pricy a treehouse accident could be. A treehouse accident could definitely exceed your coverage limit. Your insurance agent can discuss your current limits and make recommendations as to whether you should increase your limit, but you may also want to consider adding a personal umbrella policy.
An umbrella policy would provide liability coverage that exceeds the limits of your homeowners insurance policy. Thankfully, umbrella insurance is actually quite cost-effective compared to other insurances, and of course, we always work to find you the most cost-effective policy we can.
While a treehouse may bring lots of joy to your kids and the rest of your family, always be sure that you’re aware of the risks, actively working to keep your loved ones safe, and protecting yourself against the worst-case scenario. The best way to protect yourself is by ensuring you’re properly covered with the appropriate homeowner’s liability limits. If you aren’t sure you have the right amount for your summertime fun, give your Sava agent a call today. We’re more than happy to review your policy for gaps in coverage and make recommendations to keep you protected!