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What Homeowners Should Know About Pools: Insurance and Risks

June 4, 2012

A pool is a great way to cool off in the summer, and those with a pool in their yard enjoy the convenience of a quick dip whenever they feel the urge. While a pool can be a lot of fun, having one at your home also carries some risks and requires the proper insurance coverage to protect against potential negligence claims. If you are considering a home with a pool, or thinking of adding one to your existing home, take a moment to understand the insurance implications and the risks first.

Insurance and Your Pool

When you purchase a home that has a pool, your home insurance company will create a policy that is rated for the specific risks of having that pool. This means that they will calculate into your rate the potential for a claim related to the pool. If you add a pool to your home, it changes not only the potential for a liability claim, but also the value of your home as well.

As a part of your home’s value, your pool increases the amount of coverage you will need on the property. It also puts you in a different liability position from someone who doesn’t have a pool. The insurance company needs to be informed of the addition of a pool to your home right away, so that they can rate your policy accordingly and cover you properly. It is likely that you will see an increase in your insurance rates as a result of installing a pool; this is because the insurance company is taking on additional risk and increasing your coverage.

You should consider increasing your liability coverage when you install a pool, as well as taking out a higher level of liability coverage when purchasing a new home with a pool. This will provide you with a higher level of coverage to protect you from potential claims against you.

The Risks Associated With Pools

The most obvious risk associated with owning a pool is the risk that someone could drown. It is vital that you have security measures in place to prevent neighbourhood children from accessing the pool unmonitored and always make certain that adults are present when children are playing in or around the pool area. Insurance companies will have certain safety requirements for any pool they agree to cover; this may include a required fence height.

In the event of an accident involving your pool, it is possible that you could be found at fault. If negligence on your part leads to an injury or fatality, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit. The liability portion of your insurance policy is in place to protect you from the financial ramifications of such a lawsuit. There are situations where the insurance company might refuse coverage; failure to maintain the safety standards required by your policy is one such situation.

Because the insurance company is taking on the financial risk of covering your pool and anything that might occur in or around it, they can set out certain requirements for you as part of the insurance contract. Failure to keep your end of the contract can result in refusal of coverage, so be sure that you are careful about keeping your pool at insurance company standards.

Avoiding Pool-Related Claims

The best way to avoid a claim against you is to ensure that you keep everything as safe and secure as possible. Keep the gate in your fence locked at all times so that no one can get into the yard when you are not aware of it. Be sure that any child using the pool is well supervised, and ensure that everything in the pool is in proper working order. Keep lifesaving flotation devices nearby for emergency use.

It’s also a good idea to be cautious with the use of alcohol at pool parties or even when the pool is not in use. A person who is inebriated as more likely to lose their balance and fall in, and may not be capable of getting out of the water safely; even when the party isn’t surrounding the pool someone could wander outside.

Post pool safety rules and remind all family members and guests that the use of your pool is conditional upon following all of the rules so that no one gets hurt. Be prepared to enforce those rules and refuse anyone who is not behaving safely access to your pool. You are responsible for what happens on your property, and the best way to prevent accidents is to follow all safety rules at all times.

A home with a pool can mean a lot of wonderful summer fun and memories to last a lifetime. Make sure that your insurance company is aware of the pool’s presence and that your policy is designed to protect you from the potential risks of having a pool so that you can enjoy it without worry.

  • Tomblin William C.

    MY HOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1911. IN 1970′S PREVIOUS OWNER QUALIFIED FOR R.R.A.P.P. PROGRAM AND REDID MUCH OF THE PLUMBING (MOST CHANGED TO COPPER), WIRING (BREAKER BOX & MOST CIRCUITS CHANGED TO ALUMINUM), NEW BSMT. FLOOR WAS POURED, NEW FORCED AIR NAT. GAS FURNACE, NEW SHINGLES AND EVES TROUGH.

    SOME OF THE WIRING HE USED WAS ‘ALUMINUM’. I HAD QUITE A BIT REPLACED WITH COPPER WIRE, BUT SOME ALUMINUM WIRE IS STILL LEFT.

    THERE IS STILL SOME STEEL WATER PIPE IN HOUSE (APROX. 25%) AND A VERY FEW ‘NOB AND WIRE’ (NOT SURE OF EXACT NAME OF TYPE OF EARLY WIRING?) STYLE WIRING CIRCUITS IN OUR HOME’S FRONT ENTRANCE (CONTROLLING 3 LIGHTS).

    THE HOUSE HAS BEEN EXTREMELY WELL MAINTAINED. WE EVEN WON AN INTERIOR DESIGN AWARD FROM A LOCAL MAGAZINE SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

    ARE THERE GOING TO ANY PROBLEMS GETTING INSURANCE WITH YOUR FIRM DUE TO THE PLUMBING AND WIRING?

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN THIS MATTER.

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Tomblin,

    Each insurance company is different. You will have to speak with the insurance company during the quoting process in order to determine if you will be able to obtain insurance.

    Thank you.