Will Home Insurance Cover Your Sauna?
Adding a sauna to your home could put you in the hot seat when it comes to home insurance.
Not unlike swimming pools, there are safety issues that can impact your liability coverage. As with anything that involves water or moisture, there’s always a danger it ends up where it doesn’t belong, causing both immediate and long-term damage to your home.
Whether it’s an indoor sauna or outdoor one, there are lots to consider before you choose which model to install.
Select Your Sauna Experience
You may be surprised as to how many different types of saunas there are. While they all boil down to a heated room set at roughly 65 degrees Celsius, each of the four types delivers different experiences.
The history of saunas goes back as far as 2,000 years ago in Finland. A traditional Finnish sauna is a wood-lined room with heated rocks, a bucket of water, and a ladle. By adding more water to the stones with the ladle, the humidity and steam can be adjusted between 20% and 40%. The higher the inside temperature, the lower the humidity. Similar to the traditional Finnish sauna is the dry sauna, which still has rocks, but no water, so it has lower humidity. They are commonly found in gyms.
Another type of sauna is the steam bath, which tends to be lower in temperature at around 49 degrees Celsius, but with 100% humidity. That makes the sauna feel a lot hotter than it is, just as humidity tends to do when you’re outdoors in the summer with a high Humidex level. Finally, at the other end of the spectrum, is the infrared sauna, which has zero humidity, and envelopes the body to heat its temperature.
Even though all these different types of saunas deliver different experiences, they all have potential risks that may affect your home and insurance coverage. If you plan to renovate your home and include a sauna, it’s best to inform your insurer before beginning construction.
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Get It Built Right
As with anything that involves water or heat, it’s important you must take the time to install a sauna in your home correctly. Not following proper building methods or taking necessary precautions can create mould and other moisture issues for your home.
Regardless of sauna type, you must make sure it’s properly sealed, waterproofed, and ventilated. Because they are designed to make you sweat, saunas generate a great deal of heat, moisture and humidity, but the last place you want that moisture to go is into your walls. If you build a sauna as a separate structure from your home or along a single wall, it’s easier for the moisture to escape. (Make sure you check the local municipal codes and confirm that building a separate structure for a sauna is permitted.) If you decide to put one in your home, perhaps down in your basement, that moisture can creep up into your walls and stay there.
No matter where you choose to put your sauna, make sure there’s a tight seal between it and the rest of your home, as well as adequate ventilation. Otherwise, you risk damaging the walls of your home. The type of sauna and where you put it add variables that can impact safety and insurance. If you build one outdoors, you’ll need to electricity and gas lines out to it. Whether it’s wet or dry, your sauna will produce humidity, so you’ll need waterproof floors.
Ultimately, your best bet is to get a professional who specializes in saunas to build one for you.
Be Sure Your Sauna Can Handle the Heat
Just like a swimming pool, adding a sauna has consequences for your insurance policy. Don’t assume your current homeowner policy covers the addition of a sauna, whether it’s built inside your home or sits outside as an independent structure.
Besides the damage from moisture due to improper installation, lack of proper maintenance can lead to mould and mildew buildup that left unchecked can cause structural damage to your home. At the very least, you need to let your insurance provider know you have a sauna on your property and whether your policy will cover any repairs due to sauna-related damage. Your provider may consider any structural damage as falling under routine maintenance for the home, leaving you unable to file a claim to cover the financial costs.
There are also liability concerns. If a visitor to your home should fall and suffer an injury while using your sauna, it may expose you to unexpected litigation for medical bills and other costs. While you may assume your home insurance protects you, your provider could baulk if you didn’t inform them of the sauna’s presence. At the very least, expect your premiums to go up, and they will expect you outline what steps you’re taking to ensure safety and minimize risk.
Rather than face significant home insurance rate jumps after there’s a problem with your sauna, you should work with your provider about what you can do proactively to keep your rates reasonable and ensure you’re adequately covered.