Does homeowner’s insurance cover swimming pools?
By simply having a pool in your own backyard, you make your home the center of summer fun not just for yourself but also for your family and friends. But while a pool is an amazing outdoor feature, it comes with responsibility and liability risk.
If you own a pool in your home, having proper insurance coverage for the risks that come with owning a pool is important. Yes, homeowner’s insurance does cover a swimming pool. However, not all insurers cover swimming pools and some of those who do actually require pool owners like you to take steps to minimize your risk, like adding safety features or fencing your property in.
Because not all insurers cover swimming pools, the best way to cover your pool property is not with pool insurance but to work with an insurance agent who will help you look for a homeowner’s insurance coverage that will also cover your pool.
While many pool owners believe that their homeowner’s insurance policy will cover their pools, the sad truth is that that is not always the case. Many insurance companies just don’t cover pools based on their own independent underwriting guidelines, so as a pool owner, it is imperative for you to assess your current home insurance policy to determine if it allows for any kind of pool. Don’t take this for granted, because if you fail to disclose your pool to your insurer, then your insurer will have the right to drop your entire policy altogether and render it void.
How does a homeowner’s insurance work with a pool?
If your home insurance policy covers your swimming pool, then you are one of the lucky ones. This is because if you have a pool in your backyard that is covered by your home insurance policy and someone gets injured, your policy can offer liability coverage for protection. The only downside of this is that these limits may not be enough to cover the medical needs of the person.
In reality, the liability risks that a swimming pool poses to you and your family are often much greater than the usual liability limits offered by most homeowners insurance policies. Since a standard home insurance policy usually offers around $100,000 in coverage, you may need to increase it to $300,000 if you want peace of mind. If that’s still not enough, you may opt for an umbrella policy.
Usually, your homeowners insurance helps protect your home and property from damages. The most common types of damage covered by home insurance include theft, vandalism, lightning, or pipes freezing. Some home insurances also cover damage from fire, hurricane, and wind. Unfortunately, these are not the types of things that usually cause damage to a backyard pool. Damages on pools are typically caused by earthquakes or maintenance issues, which are not covered by home insurance policies.
How does insurance for in-ground pools differ from above-ground pools?
Before you try to determine if your pool is covered by your home insurance, it is imperative that you know first how your insurance company classifies your pool. This is because your pool’s classification will greatly affect how it will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy and how much the insurance company will pay toward the costs of repair in case you file a claim. This information is usually found on your declarations page, which is the first page of your insurance policy.
Many insurance providers classify above-ground pools as personal property because they are impermanent structures that are simply assembled or constructed. Like bikes and computers, they are also portable. Because of these characteristics, these types of properties are protected against damage and theft under personal property coverage, which is a standard component of a homeowner’s insurance policy.
If you need insurance for your above ground pool, it is always best to consult with an insurance agent so you may know how much coverage you need to add to your existing policy. An above-ground pool has many of the same considerations as an in-ground pool; however, it presents an additional risk as it is full of water and can flood your basement or yard if damage ever hits the structure.
Meanwhile, in-ground pools are usually considered part of your dwelling, in which case they will be covered just like your house or roof. There are times, however, when in-ground pools are considered like a gazebo, in which you will need to explicitly list the pool as another structure on your homeowner’s policy.
Homeowner’s insurance usually pays out damages for both in-ground and above-ground pools, whether or not your policy classifies your pool as personal property or other structures.
What can affect your pool insurance coverage eligibility?
When you have a pool, there may be special requirements from your insurer for you to qualify for coverage under their homeowner’s policies. For instance, if you do not have a privacy fence securing free access to the pool from the public and from unsupervised use, your insurer may choose not to grant you coverage. Without a fence, when a pool accident occurs while you are not home—such as a kid getting into your pool and getting hurt–, then you can still be found liable. This is especially if you fail to secure your pool away from the public and unsupervised access.
Aside from that, there are many other factors that may affect your pool insurance coverage eligibility. For example, some insurance companies do not give coverage for pools that have a slide or diving board. Even if they do, they usually have the homeowner sign an exclusion, which will not cover any injuries that occur related to the pool accessories.
Take note also that some insurance companies can say they will only cover you under certain conditions. These conditions may include the fence, or a secure pool cover that will prevent people from getting into your pool. These are examples of safety measures that can help you get coverage and decrease your premium.
How much does your pool increase your homeowner’s insurance?
Since a swimming pool increases your liability risk, you can expect your pool property to cause your homeowner’s insurance premiums to rise. This means you will need to up your liability limits, so there is more coverage to pay for. This will also make your insurer see your home as something that is risky to insure.
The good news, however, is that there are many ways to save and reduce your premiums even if you have a pool at home to insure. Talk to an insurance agent so he can identify discounts and help you keep your homeowner’s insurance premiums always in check.
Do you need swimming pool liability insurance?
As you realize the risks that come with owning a pool in your backyard, you will find that it makes so much sense for you and your family to purchase an umbrella insurance policy that will support your homeowner’s policy. Homeowners with above or in-ground pools often add this policy so it can serve as excess coverage in case of a pool accident. With this policy in place, you as a pool owner can fully protect your assets in such events. An umbrella policy usually has an average of $1 million in liability coverage and is activated only when all the funds from your homeowner’s insurance policy have already been exhausted.
While a swimming pool can be a fantastic way to enjoy the summer months, it does bring with it a lot of responsibilities and liabilities year-round. So, whether you have an in-ground pool or an above-ground one, making sure that you are able to protect your investment and your liability is a must. With the right insurance policy for your pool, you can have peace of mind knowing that your financial future is protected for many years to come.
If you need a pool company that can help you renovate your pool for added safety, call us at Nelson Pool Company at 941-256-4079 and we will get your pool back in tip-top shape again.