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Insurance Issues Surface When You Rent Your Swimming Pool by the Hour

Woman in pool wearing hat

When the sun is high and the thermometer sweating, few things are more appealing than taking a dip in a cool pool. And now, through a new app called Swimply, anyone can fulfill that dream by renting a private swimming pool near them by the hour.

Simply is one of the latest entrants into the sharing economy. Through the Swimply website and app, people can search for pools in their area that they can then rent for various prices and times.

Sounds easy, except to maybe your insurance company.

Swimply representatives say that it is unclear who would be liable if there was an injury. Presumably the homeowner’s insurance policies would kick in if someone was injured, but because it is a business use of the home, it is not clear what policies would cover and what would be excluded.

The owner of the pool may need a business insurance policy in addition to a standard homeowners policy.

So, you definitely need to discuss listing your pool with your insurance agent before taking the plunge.

"If you operate a home-based business, you should notify your insurer immediately to discuss what policy changes may be necessary," says Scott Holeman, public relations manager at the Insurance Information Institute. "A standard homeowner’s policy protects the home and risks related to normal activities in and around the home. If you operate a business from your home, you’ll want to ask about an endorsement or commercial policy that will address risks specific to your business."

You can expect insurance company policies and availability to vary greatly so it's smart to shop around for insurance or visit insurancequotes for multiple quotes.

Swimply has said it is looking to eventually roll out an insurance option for its owners, but is still working with companies to iron out the details.

couch by pool

How Swimply works

Currently available in large population centers, such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Houston, as well as a surprising number of smaller cities, users can find pools for rent ranging from an urban oasis to a bare-bones concrete pond.

Some of the rentals come with outdoor kitchens, lounges, televisions and sound systems, while others ask you to provide your own amenities.

Many allow large parties of people, are pet-friendly and let you supply alcohol to your outings, while others specify that you must keep it quiet and leave your furry friend at home.

The more amenities available tends to mean the higher price. For example, a quick search of Chicago showed pools available for between $60 per hour to $150 per hour or more, with the $150 pool obviously offering much more to the renter than the lower-priced option.

Like other sharing sites, pool owners can use Swimply to list their properties for rent and specify price and availability. But with Swimply, you can limit your offerings to simply your backyard tropical getaway.

As a homeowner, you can either make your outdoor restroom available for guests, or if you don’t have one, you can give limited access to your home’s facilities. And if neither of those options work for you, Swimply will even work with you to provide and maintain an on-side portable toilet for your guests.

The owner can choose whether to be available on site during the rental or to let the guests have free control of the pool, however Swimply’s site says that most homeowners opt to be there when guests are over.

Make your own pool rules

Homeowners are also free to set the ground rules on Swimply, such as how many guests are allowed, whether children are welcome, and whether infants under 2 are allowed during the rental.

Swimply handles the transaction, taking the reservation and payment from the guest, and passing that along — less a 15 prercent service charge  on to the pool owner.

Like other sharing economy sites, Swimply has a crowd-sourcing tool, where guests and owners both rate each other after the appointment, and those ratings are available when people are either making reservations or deciding whether to approve a guest or not.

To list their pools, owners create a profile, set a price, add photos and details and then their pool is available. Swimply says the process takes about five minutes.

Then, when a guest decides they want to rent, they send a message to the owner, who then has the option of accepting the booking through the Swimply platform or saying no thanks. Once everything is confirmed, Swimply gives the guest specific directions and instructions on how to access the pool and other facilities.

Swimply charges the guests upfront and the owner gets payment deposited after the booking is completed.

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