You’re getting a new pool and the family is looking forward to some fun in the sun. But before dipping your toe into the chlorinated water, make sure you are properly covered by your home insurance policy.
Here are three ways that you as a pool owner can protect yourself with home insurance:
- Increase liability protection
- Increase “other structures” limit
- Purchase an umbrella liability policy
Pool insurance cost
Pools are usually covered under the “other structures” portion of your home insurance policies. Homeowners insurance typically covers other structures up to 10 percent of your dwelling coverage. There is no added cost for this.
If your home is insured for $300,000, this would mean you’re covered for up to $30,000 for other structures. You can increase other structures coverage for an added cost if 10 percent is not enough. The cost to increase other structures coverage is usually minimal (about $5 per $1,000 of coverage).
Pools open you up to added liability so you’ll want to review your liability insurance. Insurance companies consider pools an “attractive nuisance.” The homeowner is responsible for anyone who uses it – even a stranger who decides to jump the fence and cool off in your pool.
Liability coverage will protect you if someone is injured in the pool. It pays an injured person’s medical bills and protects you against lawsuits so it’s important to check to see if you have enough liability insurance.
Though most homeowner policies include a minimum of $100,000 of liability protection, the Insurance Information Institute recommends that pool owners increase the liability amount to $300,000 or $500,000. This increase could cost you an additional $50-75 per year.
If you want even more coverage, you could purchase umbrella liability policy. This could add $1 million liability protection beyond what you have on your home. III estimates a $1 million umbrella policy costs between $200 and $300 per year.
Swimming pool insurance coverage
Insurers require that pools are in compliance with local regulations, such as having a fence to keep people from entering the yard. You’ll also want to check with your insurance company about whether pools with slides and diving boards are excluded from your home insurance policy. Some insurers do not provide liability coverage for injuries involving a diving board or slide.
Home insurance policies usually cover pool damage caused by:
Home insurance doesn’t typically cover pool damage caused by:
- Neglect, such as leaving water in the pool over the winter, which can cause cracks
- Wear and tear, such as foundation cracks and lining rips
Other structures home insurance
This is the part of home insurance that covers structures that are on your property, but not connected to the house by a fence, utility line or other connection. This can include a:
- Detached garage
An important piece to note is some detached buildings are covered at replacement cost. This means the policy will pay to repair or replace the building. However, other structures that are not buildings, such pools, will be covered at actual cash value, which takes into account depreciation and age. In that case, you’re not going to get what the item was originally worth. In other words, you will likely not get the full value for your $20,000 in-ground pool if it’s damaged.
While in-ground pools are covered under the other structures portion, your insurer may consider above-ground pools personal property. The company may view an above-ground pool as not being a permanent structure because it can be removed and installed somewhere else.
In that case, your above-ground pool would be covered under personal property, which is the same as furniture and jewelry. Check with your insurance company to see if there is a claim limit for swimming pools. If there is a limit, you may want to purchase additional coverage.
Pool safety tips
Pools are a great way to stay cool and have fun, but they are also risky. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were an average of 4,900 emergency room pool and spa drowning-related injuries involving children annually from 2011 to 2013. Also, 390 children ages 14 and under drowned in pools and spas during time period.
Once you have your insurance squared away and it’s time to use your pool, you will need to be extra vigilant when children are in the pool. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these pool safety tips for parents:
- Stay within arm’s reach at all times in and around the pool.
- Assign an adult water watcher.
- Fence your pool with a four-foot or taller fence with self-closing or self-latching gates.
- Install pool and gate alarms.
- Learn how to swim.
- Learn CPR.