Swimming Pools and Home Insurance
Considering getting a swimming pool? We don’t blame you! Just keep in mind that what you need from your home insurance provider is going to change if you do. Pools create a liability that you have to pay for, and you may want to increase your insurance if you get one.
But that’s just one of the factors to consider when getting a pool at your home. There are other potential issues to weigh, too.
If you’re considering the addition of a pool at your home, here’s what you need to know.
Does home insurance cover pool accidents?
The first thing you likely want to know is, “Does home insurance cover the pool?”
Yes, when it comes to liability protection. The standard liability protection you get with home insurance covers pool accidents. This means that if a guest is hurt or dies while using your pool, your home insurance will pay for their medical costs and your legal protection.
If you have a pool, you should think about increasing your liability protection if you haven’t done so already.
Basic home insurance policies usually come with $100,000 in protection, but this isn’t enough in many situations. Talk to your provider about purchasing liability as high as $500,000. This is because pools can attract uninvited ‘guests.’ So whether a person is trespassing on your property or not, they can sue you if they get hurt while using your pool.
What pool-related accidents are covered by home insurance?
Insurance companies don’t limit liability protection to specific types of accidents. If someone is hurt while using your pool, their injuries are typically covered by your homeowners insurance. Since you can never foretell how much someone would hurt themselves, you should purchase as much liability protection as you can comfortably afford to have ample protection against any liability claims.
What insurance companies cover pool-related accidents?
Most insurance companies cover pool-related accidents. The trick is finding the one with the cheapest premium.
All of the following national insurance companies offer pool-related accident protection:
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
However, there are many more.
Keep in mind that the cost of a premium is influenced by a lot of things, such as:
- State of home (California, Maryland, etc.)
- Location of home (for crime rates and claim frequency)
- Condition of home
- Construction of home (brick, wood siding, etc.)
- Credit score
- Marital status
- Policy Type
Having a pool is one factor among many that influences what you’ll pay. Additionally, each insurance company has its own pricing algorithm to determine what you’ll pay for protection. This is why it is so important to shop around for the best rates.
If I want to save on my home insurance, should I get a pool?
No. If you have a pool, you need the maximum amount of liability protection you can reasonably afford. Doing so comes at a price.
Above ground vs. in-ground pool:
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all pool types the same way. Depending on what you have— above ground or in-ground— changes the type of insurance you need.
What’s the difference between the two?
An above ground pool is often considered personal property as opposed to a permanent structure. This is because if you wanted, you could drain it out, pack it up, and take it with you if you decided to move. So if it’s damaged, you won’t receive the same amount of financial protection as you would if it was considered a permanent structure.
On the other hand, in-ground pools are generally considered an ‘other structure’— meaning you will need to purchase additional coverage if you want to financially protect it (hint: the coverage you need is aptly titled ‘other structures’). How much it will cost you to do so will largely depend on the cost to replace your pool, and if you have any other structures on your property you want to insure as well.
Are there coverage/hazard differences?
Hazard protection should remain the same, but there will be differences when it comes to coverage.
Assuming the pool is an above ground pool and considered as part of your personal property, any repair costs will come from your personal property protection, which is lower than your dwelling coverage.
If it’s an in-ground pool and you need to purchase ‘other structures’ protection, you will need to refer to your policy limits and exclusions.
Does the coverage rule apply to both the same? What’s the difference?
There are two things you need to keep in mind when it comes to home insurance with a pool:
First, what are the covered perils with the policy? If your pool is damaged by a peril not listed in your policy, your insurer isn’t going to help you. You will need to pay for everything out of pocket. This applies to either above ground or in-ground pools.
Secondly, you will want to look at your policy and see if your dwelling or personal property protection is an actual cash value policy or a replacement cost policy.
With actual cash value, depreciation and age are taken into account. This means your insurance provider will only pay you what it thinks your pool was worth before it was damaged. Though this is a drawback, an actual cash value policy is cheaper than replacement cost.
With replacement cost, the total cost to replace your pool after a covered peril is paid for. Many homeowners greatly prefer this, but it does come at a higher price.
How does having a pool impact my home liability coverage?
It increases your home’s ‘build price,’ which is the cost it would take to replace everything on your property. Because of this increase, you should see a rise in your premium if you get a pool installed.
Liability coverage is typically set at a standard $100,000, but, as discussed, this is often not enough. When you don’t have enough liability protection, you open yourself up to possibly having to pay for any remaining medical or legal costs out of pocket. This is not a situation you want to put yourself in!
Tips on how to ensure there are no pool accidents.
- Have a gate around your pool
- Be able to lock that gate
- Don’t allow diving into shallow areas
- Get CPR training
- Supervise children in and around the pool at all times
- Never get into a pool alone
- Don’t use the pool during a thunderstorm
- Don’t let anyone indulge in reckless behavior
- Never drink and swim
- Keep the area around the pool clear of toys and furniture to prevent tripping
- When the pool is not in use, remove all toys and flotation devices to prevent children from trying to reach or play with toys
- Always have a phone nearby for 911
- Ensure all children who have not yet learned to swim are wearing appropriate safety vests
- Understand that floating toys do not count as safety devices
- Wait one hour after eating before swimming
- If you have an above ground pool with a ladder, remove the ladder when the pool is not in use
- When there is a cover over the pool during the winter months, don’t let children or pets near it
- Remember: your pool is just as dangerous in the winter months as it is in the summer months
With pool home insurance, remember that:
- Your pool will most likely be considered personal property or any other structure
- The type it is considered determines what type of coverage you need
- You should purchase as much liability as you can comfortably afford no matter what type you have
- You need to take all appropriate steps to ensure no one gets hurt in or around your pool