Do I Need Accidental Damage Waiver Coverage?

Posted: Mar 8, 2024

We've started seeing this trend across the inflatable industry, where party rental places are starting to offer or require accidentals damage waiver coverage, and its not just here locally its all over the US. What is it exactly, what does it cover?? When I first saw someone offer this I was like wait what there is damage waiver insurance? Like someone can get that and flamethrower the bounce house and no big deal?? Seems to good to be true right? Then I dug into the terms... well no you'd still be liable, and the more I read the terms I was more confused - WHAT DOES THIS COVER?

Flamethrower Guy - Bounce House Rental of Harvest, AL, Serving Huntsville, Madison, Redstone, Athens, Ardmore, Hazel Green, Elkmont, Meridianville

Well for the life of me I can't figure that part out, which leads me to the conclusion for most rental companies its just a cash grab. In my quest I asked in business owner groups point blank if you offer this coverage OPTIONALLY what would you charge a customer for if they declined said coverage and something happened vs. a customer who did get coverage, I got ZERO responses (other then someone else wondering the same thing). In another thread there were messages along the lines of just add it already you won't regret it, and its FREE MONEY just do it! (not joking you all)

I'm not saying its 100% a scam there may be some nice companies out there that cover above and beyond the fine print, but if they truly stick to what is in the print - again what DOES it cover? Example: One of the companies mentioned how they covered someone cutting a cord on a blower and another time a child brought a toy in, which punched a hole in the bounce house and he sucked up the repair, but strong word of caution BOTH of those instances can EASILY be deemed not an accident, that company was just being extra generous. A cord being cut, that doesn't just happen someone did something stupid (scissors, lawnmower, etc.), hole in the bounce you can say the child did it on accident (didn't know any better) ok sure, however an adult should have been watching and that toy shouldn't have been in there.

So lets dive into the fine print the below is +/- typical verbiage of these addons: 

"____ inflatables offers an optional X% non-refundable damage waiver on all rental equipment. Lessee must select coverage, pay in full, and sign rental contract before start of event for damage waiver to be bound. Acceptance of any and all claims that arise are based on sole discretion of ____.

This cost covers:

This Damage Waiver is NOT liability insurance.

This Damage Waiver does NOT cover theft, vandalism, silly string, misuse and/or abuse.

This Damage Waiver does NOT cover missing equipment.  ____ will bill for any and all missing equipment at new replacement cost."

OK so let me start with wear and tear, should that not be IN the rental price? As big of a rip off (cost wise) as rental car insurances are I'll give the rental car industry this one they don't offer any optional coverages to relieve you from having to pay for wear and tear!!! Can you imagine if they did and you decilned... you owe us for using 1/32nd of the brake pads while it was in your possession and half an oil change we're charging you an additional $100 for wear and tear? No way!!

Wind and storm damage coverage, that's nice, but it only applies if you did everything right (deflated the unit), the odds it'll be damaged when fully deflated is very slim. If you try and claim oh it was deflated and the bounce house went airborne and landed 2 houses down that is highly unbelievable if it was anchored and deflated. The only time I've had damage to any of our units was because someone left it running during a storm (e.g. electrical short from rain/water, or a vinyl roof getting messed up from wind).

Then it goes on to say all the things it does NOT cover, and I skipped accidental damage on purpose, because yeah it covers accidental damage, but after you read through all those exclusions what's left? You can't misuse/abuse it, if its stolen its on you, if someone writes on it its vandalism, silly string, wont cover missing items, if your dog damages the unit well you shouldn't have let the dog on, etc. etc. Basically your 100% at the mercy of whatever company your renting from as it clearly states: "Acceptance of any and all claims that arise are based on sole discretion of ____". I personally would NOT be OK with paying for said coverage, and for that reason as tempting as it is to make more money and sell customers piece of mind (albeit I'd argue a false sense of peace of mind). I can't do it! It's a sneaky way to raise your rental rates with hidden fees, all of what these plans cover are inherently included IN the rental price no matter if you pay for this or not in my honest opinion - if there was no negligence/misuse (remember those are excluded) on you or your participants parts what could you be charged for? I couldn't imagine picking my bounce house up and going hey you owe me money this seam is coming apart from wear and tear.