How Does a Swimming Pool Affect Home Insurance?
Pool sales are up as more people stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. But regardless of why you’re buying one, or what kind, it has an impact on your home insurance policy.
You should always let you your insurance company know there’s a pool on your property because it raises the replacement cost of your home. Just as important is the potential liability that comes with owning a pool as someone could be injured while using it. And if the pool is damaged, you want to know which repairs are recovered and which aren’t.
Whether it’s an in-ground or above-ground pool or even just a smaller inflatable pool, you need to have the right insurance coverage. Policies and rates vary from company to company, but no matter what, your insurance company needs to know you have a pool.
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Inflatable Pools Bring Big Risk
You wouldn’t think a small, inflatable pool would affect your insurance, but choosing an easy-to-install, affordable alternative comes with the same risks as more permanent options.
Gone are the days of the portable plastic pools that provided relief from the hot summer with ankle-deep water levels. Depending on their size, today’s Inflatable pools can hold thousands of gallons of water. Because of their size, they’re considered too big to dump the water out of every day, and also inexpensive for most people to consider installing a fence.
Despite their temporary nature, inflatable pools are often left unattended all summer long, creating a drowning hazard. That affects the liability portion of your property policy. If you decide to go with this low-cost option, be sure to read all instructions before installing, filling, and using the pool. Carry out regular maintenance to make sure all components are working properly and safely. Give preference to a pool with filter intake pipes with a drain cover, and have a qualified professional inspect cover for blockages.
Like any other pool, inflatable pools should be surrounded by a fence that has a self-closing and self-latching gate.
Safety First, Liability Insurance Just in Case
Fencing off your pool addresses a key reason why having one can affect your insurance — liability.
Occasionally people do have accidents. Your pool is covered by your home liability coverage, which protects you from paying legal and medical fees in case someone gets hurt on your property. Ideally, this is the type of insurance you want to have but never use, so taking preventative steps to keep your family, neighbours, and visitors safe is paramount.
Not only should you have a fence around your pool, but its gate should be locked when the pool isn’t being supervised. Everyone should be aware of the pool safety rules, including those around the use of alcohol, and they should be posted where family and friends can see them. Children should always be well supervised when using the pool, and lifesaving flotation devices kept nearby in case of an emergency. Always double-check that every aspect of the pool is in proper working order, including the pump, slide, and diving board.
Whether you install a pool or purchase a home with a pool, you should consider increasing your liability coverage to protect yourself from potential claims against you.
Protecting Your Investment in a Swimming Pool
An in-ground or above-ground pool not only increases the value of your home, but it also affects its replacement cost.
The average cost to install an in-ground pool is $35,000 and can hit six figures depending on the extras you add. It needs to be added to your insurance policy like any other extensive addition to your property in case something happens to your home. You should also have coverage for the installation, especially if it’s a more expensive, in-ground pool. Although you don’t need separate swimming pool contractor insurance, be sure to get a written copy of pool service insurance from every contractor that touches your pool.
Your insurance coverage for the actual pool is another story. Ripped liners and freezing damage to your pool’s foundation are considered day-to-day wear-and-tear and aren’t covered by your insurance policy. However, if your pool is damaged by dangers that are typically covered by property insurance, such as falling trees, windstorms or fire, you may be able to make a successful claim.
Coverage and policies vary from one insurance company to another. But any home insurance company will create a policy that is rated for the specific risks of having that pool and the value it adds to your property, whether it was there when you moved in, or you decided to add it yourself.
No matter what kind of pool you choose, you should make sure you meet all the relevant by-laws of your municipality you before buying, installing, and filling it. Be sure to have emergency equipment including reaching poles, ring buoys, first-aid kits, and a phone in the immediate area to make sure that any children, whether yours or those visiting, have sufficient swimming and water-safety training.
Pools are great to have during hot summers, but before you install one, take a deep dive into the details to find out what it means for your home insurance policy.