Summer’s coming and you’ve decided that your family needs a pool to get through the hot days ahead. Plus, it makes the perfect place to hang out with friends or the perfect setting to host a barbecue.
You’ve done the math on getting one, and now only one question remains: What about swimming pool insurance? Will your standard homeowners policy protect you? Yes and no. Keep reading to find out why.
Will your homeowners insurance cover your swimming pool?
Whether your homeowners insurance policy will cover your pool largely depends on your insurance company. For most people, it won’t be covered without additional costs. Before you start worrying, if you’re new to insurance just keep in mind we’re not talking about liability, but whether the pool itself would be protected should it be damaged.
So, how much does your homeowners insurance go up with a pool? To answer that, we need to know what kind of pool you have.
If it’s an above ground pool, your insurance company will most likely consider it a part of your personal property if there are no permanent structures attached to it. This is because, if you wanted, you could pack it up and take it with you when you move. To know how much you would get if it were damaged you will need to talk with an insurance agent. Personal property coverage has both a policy limit and a category limit. Even though you may have $20,000 in personal property coverage, you won’t get that much for your pool should it be destroyed. Talk with your insurer about both policy limits and category limits to know how much protection you’ll get for your pool.
If the pool is below ground, then you will likely need ‘other structures’ add-on coverage. How much it will cost you will depend on the size of your pool, the cost to build your pool and whether you want any other structures on your property protected. However, purchasing an ‘other structures’ endorsement shouldn’t add that much to your premium each year.
Liability coverage and swimming pools
Pools are what insurance companies call an ‘attractive nuisance’-— meaning both children and strangers will be tempted to go to your pool whether they have your permission or not. Even if they’re uninvited, if they hurt themselves, you could still be sued.
That said, you technically don’t need anything special to have liability protection for any injuries or mishaps that occur in or around your pool (but always tell your insurer when you get a pool). A standard homeowner insurance policy will suffice when it comes to liability.
However, insurers recommend that the bare minimum for liability should be $500,000 – but more is recommended (see below).
Do you need a personal umbrella policy?
Getting a personal umbrella policy is not required but it is recommended if you have a pool.
An umbrella policy adds extra liability protection to your existing homeowners insurance policy and only kicks in once your policy limits have been met with your standard policy. As discussed, it’s highly recommended that you have at least $500,000 in liability, but more is always better – which is where an umbrella policy comes in.
With an umbrella policy, homeowners typically get at least $1,000,000 in protection, but it is possible to get even more. This may seem excessive, but it’s not overkill by any means. Should someone die or get seriously injured while using your pool, an umbrella policy will pay for their funeral or medical costs, as well as any of your legal fees should you get taken to court. All of these costs could easily exceed $500,000 in many scenarios. Should you not have an umbrella policy, and your standard policy is maxed out, any additional costs will have to be either out of pocket or through your assets. Many people have lost their cars, business and even homes because they were found liable to someone else’s injury.
Other pool requirements to consider
Though your pool will most likely be covered under personal property or an ‘other structures’ add-on, you should strongly consider taking the following additional steps. They will not only protect you, but they will protect others as well:
- Install a fence around your pool with a lockable gate.
This is done to protect small children from your pool. Pools are alluring to everyone (especially small children) and a simple, sturdy fence is a great first line of defense to either prevent trespassers or young ones from getting hurt. Regardless of what type of fence you put around your pool, make sure that the gate is lockable.
- 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 using the 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’s also a great rule for adults, too. Accidents happen, and you don’t 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 a must if you have a pool.
- Keep the area around the pool free of obstacles.
Whether you have lounge chairs or toys, everything needs to be moved back to help protect both you and your guests from falls.
The bottom line
The type of pool insurance you need largely depends on what type of pool you have — meaning whether it’s an above-ground or in-ground pool. Regardless of which one you have, the main thing you need to think about is your liability protection. $500,000 is the recommended minimum, but if you can afford the added cost, a personal umbrella policy is highly beneficial. Lastly, to avoid injuries in and around your pool, make sure you take the appropriate safety precautions.