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Bounce House Tragedy Shows Need for Precautions and Extra Protection

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A tragic incident involving a bounce house that was set up at a family’s home in Casa Grande, Arizona underscores the potential dangers and protections needed for such attractions.

According to reports, a sudden gust of wind sent the bounce house into the air and onto a neighboring property, impacting two young children.

“It is heartbreaking,” said Andy​​​​ Sable, Senior Underwriter, Personal Insurance, Burns & Wilcox, New York, New York. “I have two grandchildren under two years old so, it hit home.”

“It is extremely tragic,” said Pamela​​​​ Alphabet, Associate Vice President, Regional Practice Group Leader, Personal Insurance, Burns & Wilcox, Scottsdale, Arizona. While any company involved in setting up the bounce house could also be liable for injuries or fatalities, the owner of the home where the structure was set up is likely to be sued. It is “absolutely” up to homeowners to ensure a bounce house is safe for guests to use, she said, and a lawsuit would be expected if “they were negligent in making sure that the bounce house they were inviting their guests to go into was properly secured or safe.”

Claim likely to exceed standard Homeowners Insurance limits

A New York Times report published shortly after the accident pointed to several other bounce house accidents and deaths that have occurred in recent years, including an 8-year-old who died in Spain in 2022 and five children who died in a bounce house accident in Australia in 2021. Injuries are far more common, with bounce houses linked to thousands of injuries per year, the publication reported.

These types of accidents can lead to a lawsuit, and can be covered by the host’s Homeowners Insurance, with additional coverage likely needed under Personal Umbrella Insurance — a type of insurance many do not realize they should obtain, said​​​​ Alphabet.


A lawsuit would likely exceed the full limit on the Homeowners Insurance policy and probably go well above and beyond that.

“A lawsuit would likely exceed the full limit on the Homeowners Insurance policy and probably go well above and beyond that,” she said. “When you are a homeowner, you do need to be careful and you should make sure you have a Personal Umbrella policy that would cover you for situations where you are found liable, and obviously in catastrophic situations where you are found liable, to make sure you are adequately covered.”

If an accident occurs on your property — whether on a bounce house, trampoline or other children’s play equipment — “you are definitely liable…not to mention the guilt you would face for the rest of your life,” said Sable.

Most Homeowners Insurance policies include between $300,000 and $500,000 in liability coverage, making Personal Umbrella Insurance necessary for any settlements exceeding that amount. “Your Personal Umbrella Insurance is going to go from $1 million up to $25 million, depending on the carrier,” Sable explained. “Your Homeowners Insurance policy would be exhausted almost immediately from a claim like this. In this case, one child was killed and another had injuries, and that adds to the cost as well.”

Unlike trampolines or pools, temporary bounce houses are not usually discussed while purchasing Homeowners Insurance. “It is not something anyone would typically ask about nor is there any type of exclusion,” Alphabet said.

Personal Umbrella Insurance policies, which can provide additional liability coverage on top of Homeowners Insurance as well as Auto Liability Insurance, can also extend to other types of incidents, from slip-and-falls on the property, watercraft accidents, incidents involving dogs, such as injury caused by a dog bite, or a homeowner’s teenager participating in online bullying.


Your home is usually the biggest asset you are ever going to own, you have got to protect it, and you have got to protect yourself.

“If somebody trips in front of your house going down your steps, whether it is your fault or not, they are likely to sue,” Sable said. “If your kid says something inappropriate online, that may also constitute personal injury, and you could be liable.”

Regarding dogs, it’s important that homeowners disclose the breed to their insurance carrier, because certain “high-risk” breeds may be excluded from coverage, he added.

Furthermore, many homeowners are not aware of these risks, Sable said. “There definitely needs to be more awareness. These days especially, homeowners are just shopping for the cheapest insurance, and Personal Umbrella Insurance is just another expense,” he said. “Your home is usually the biggest asset you are ever going to own, you have got to protect it, and you have got to protect yourself.”

Lawsuits common, even among friends

According to Health Canada, inflatable play structures come with health risks ranging from sprains and broken bones to skull fractures. Bounce houses should always be installed and anchored according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and they should not be used in high winds, Health Canada notes. In 2022, a study by the University of Georgia found that since the year 2000, at least 479 individuals were injured and 28 died worldwide in more than 130 bounce house incidents caused by weather — figures that are likely undercounted, the university noted in a press release. In addition, the study found that bounce houses cause an estimated 10,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. each year.

Any homeowner with a bounce house or other potential hazard in their yard should understand that they could be sued, even if it is a family member or close friend’s child who is hurt. “You might think it is just friends getting together, until something tragic happens — and then everything is off the table at that point,” Alphabet said, noting that these claims can end friendships. “It is more of a litigious society today and continues to be. The settlements are definitely higher than they used to be, and they continue to go up.”

Homeowners may also find themselves being sued by their neighbors after house fires or other incidents. In West Park, Florida, multiple neighbors are suing the property owner where a house exploded due to an apparent propane tank leak, which left neighboring homes with damage and some residents traumatized, NBC6 South Florida reported in April. In 2023, a homeowner in Surrey, British Columbia, sued his neighbor over a 2021 fireworks accident that caused fire, smoke and water damage, the Vancouver Sun reported.


Make sure you are buying coverage that is going to protect everything that you have worked hard for.

In New York City, Sable said, a condo owner’s broken pipe could lead to water damage in dozens of other units. “In that case, all of those individual apartments are likely going to sue you,” he said. “It might not always hit the point of Personal Umbrella Insurance but that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. If it originates in your unit, it is your problem. You are responsible.”

With Personal Umbrella Insurance, “you want to make sure that your policy really reflects your net worth,” Alphabet pointed out. “Make sure you are buying coverage that is going to protect everything that you have worked hard for,” she said.

Homeowners who face serious lawsuits without the additional liability protection of Personal Umbrella Insurance could ultimately have their wages garnished or have a lien placed on their property for settlements that exceed their Homeowners Insurance, Alphabet added. “It is something that you could be continuing to pay for years to come,” she said.

When having a bounce house professionally set up at your home for a special event, “make sure you are dealing with someone licensed, bonded and insured,” Alphabet emphasized. “That would be a big risk management recommendation.”


It is worth it for the peace of mind, which is what insurance is.

Given the possibility of any type of serious accident on a homeowner’s property, insurance brokers should “do their due diligence to offer Personal Umbrella Insurance to anybody looking for Homeowners Insurance, regardless of the size of the home,” Sable said. “It is worth it for the peace of mind, which is what insurance is.”

Homeowners should also know that Personal Umbrella Insurance would usually only provide coverage if the initial claim was covered by the individual’s Homeowners Insurance or Auto Liability Insurance. In most cases, “if it is excluded there, then it would be excluded on this as well,” Sable said.

Both experts emphasize that Personal Umbrella Insurance may provide coverage not only when Homeowners Insurance limits are exhausted, but it also extends beyond watercraft limits and possible dog bites. It’s also important to note that these policies do not cover a homeowner’s own damages or injuries.

Another benefit of Personal Umbrella Insurance is that it typically offers worldwide coverage. “That is always good while you are traveling to have this liability coverage. The liability on your home would not usually cover you in another country,” Alphabet explained. “It is also inexpensive compared to the limits you are actually purchasing, so it is worth it to just have that peace of mind.”

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