A swimming pool is considered a staple part of summer by many American families. When the sun is beating down upon you, nothing seems more fun or comforting than the poolside, whether you are hosting a barbecue or an evening soiree. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 390 deaths a year are attributed to swimming pool accidents.
Regardless of the type of pool you own, there is a risk of accidents resulting in injuries or damage to your property. Whether you already have a pool on your premises or are considering adding one, you should learn in advance if your home insurance will cover these risks.
- Not all property insurers will insure a home with a pool.
- The type of pool determines how it’s covered, whether through personal property coverage or other structures coverage.
- Your liability coverage may not be enough to cover pool-related injuries.
Will your homeowners insurance cover damage to your pool?
Whether your homeowners insurance policy will cover your pool largely depends on your property insurance company. Some insurers will not issue a policy if there is a pool on the property. Other insurers may have specific criteria that must be met before your policy goes into effect.
Once you have homeowners coverage secured, liability coverage would extend to your pool, and damage to the pool itself would be protected under a different coverage type on your policy.
If it is an above-ground pool, your insurance company will most likely consider it part of your personal property if there are no permanent structures, like decks, attached to it. This is because, if you wanted, you could take it with you when you move. However, personal property coverage may have both a policy limit and a category limit for your pool. Even though you may have $125,000 in personal property coverage, you may not get the entire amount for your pool if it is damaged or destroyed. Talk with your insurer about any coverage limitations your homeowners policy has toward an above-ground pool.
If the pool is below ground, covered claims will most likely apply under your other structures coverage on your homeowners policy. This coverage is usually set at 10% of your dwelling coverage. However, you may be able to purchase extra coverage to increase your level of protection.
Will your homeowners insurance cover pool-related injuries?
Pools are what insurance companies call an ‘attractive nuisance’— meaning both children and strangers may be tempted to get in your pool whether they have your permission or not. Even if they are uninvited, and they hurt themselves, you could still be held liable.
If someone were injured while using your pool, generally, the personal liability coverage on your homeowners policy would cover the associated costs. However, it is imperative that you implement safety features to reduce the risk of injuries. Many property insurers will ask if you have a fence around your pool with a locking gate or if you are able to remove the pool’s ladder to help restrict access.
Choosing the right liability coverage is important to protect your financial well-being. Even if your liability coverage extends to pool-related injuries, speak with an insurance agent to understand the right coverage limit for you.
Do you need a personal umbrella policy?
Getting a personal umbrella policy is not required but is worth considering if you have a swimming pool on your property as it provides you with much more financial protection than a standard homeowners policy.
An umbrella policy adds additional liability protection beyond your existing homeowners insurance policy and generally applies once your homeowners liability limits have been exhausted.
With an umbrella policy, homeowners typically have $1 million or more in additional liability protection. Should someone die or become seriously injured while using your pool, an umbrella policy would help pay for their funeral or medical costs, as well as any of your legal fees from the incident. These costs could easily exceed even the highest liability limit coverage option on your standard homeowners policy. If you do not have an umbrella policy and your standard homeowners policy is maxed out, any additional costs would have to be paid by you.
Are there other pool requirements to consider?
Though your swimming pool will most likely be covered under personal property or other structures, you should consider following these additional steps to reduce the risk of injury or damage to your pool. They will not only protect you, but protect others as well:
- Install a fence around your pool with a lockable gate.
Pools are alluring to everyone and a sturdy fence is a great first line of defense to prevent trespassers or young ones from getting hurt. Make sure the gate is lockable to help keep people away from your pool. Many insurers will ask if your gate locks, and some insurers may ask for the height of your fence and require that it is a minimum of 6 feet tall.
- Install an alarm on your gate.
Any door that leads to your pool should have an alarm that sounds whenever it is opened. The alarm should be loud enough that you can hear it anywhere in your house and should ring long enough that you clearly notice it. This way you’ll be alerted if someone is near your pool without your permission or knowledge.
- Never swim alone.
Perhaps the best thing you can do for both yourself and others is to mandate that no one ever swims alone. Doing this is absolutely essential if you have children, but it is also a great rule for adults. Accidents happen, and you do not want to be alone when they do.
- Get CPR training.
CPR takes very little time to learn and you can likely find free classes in your area. No matter how close you are to a rescue squad, CPR training is imperative if you have a swimming pool.
- Keep the area around the pool free of obstacles.
Whether you have lounge chairs or toys, everything should be moved back to help protect both you and your guests from falls.
- Remove or raise ladders if possible.
If your pool is above ground, consider removing or raising the ladder when your pool is not in use. This will help prevent people from getting into the pool without your permission.
Frequently asked questions
What type of swimming pool requires insurance?
All swimming pools should be insured to help cover the costs of pool-related injuries or damage to the pool. Both above-ground and built-in pools call for adequate property insurance coverage for financial security.
Where can I purchase insurance for swimming pools?
Many standard homeowners policies have an option to insure your swimming pool as an endorsement to your policy. Accidents and injuries to people that happen at the pool fall under your home insurance’s liability coverage. Damage to an above-ground pool is typically covered by personal property coverage, while an in-ground pool is generally covered under other structures coverage. Consult your insurance agent to understand if your insurer offers homeowners coverage for pool owners and for more information on how to insure your pool.
Is insuring a swimming pool expensive?
Insuring a swimming pool can increase your homeowners premiums due to the risk they create, but most home insurers offer discounts to help offset the cost of premiums. Consider bundling your auto and homeowners policies with the same insurance company or asking about safety feature discounts like door alarms and dead-bolt locks that may earn you a premium discount.