Do I Need Swimming Pool Insurance?
When homeowners add a swimming pool to the property, they take on myriad risks.
Enter swimming pool insurance, which represents a financial backstop for pool owners who might otherwise be trapped in a high-risk injury (or worse) financial and legal liability scenario.
“A swimming pool is a staple part of summer for many families,” said Nick Schrader, an insurance agent with Texas General Insurance, in Houston, Tx. “When the sun is beating upon you, it seems that a barbecue in the poolside is a great idea. However, you have to be aware of some risks of having a swimming pool at home, it could cost you.”
Swimming Pool Insurance Tips
Protecting yourself from potential liability from swimming pool ownership is a multi-step process. Here’s how to get the most from swimming pool insurance, and how to work within the rules of your community and your insurance company to get the pool insurance that meets your unique needs.
1. Setting the Stage. Job one is to figure out the preventive measures needed to minimize risk from having a swimming pool on your property, and that usually means working with local community statutes and with oversight from your insurer.
While every community and each insurance policy have different wrinkles, these protective measures should be put into place beforehand, to better ensure you qualify for the best swimming pool insurance. Do this before the pool is completed and put into use.
— Make sure to install the necessary fencing and property protection. A pool fence alarm, an infrared detector that covers the pool’s perimeter, a pool safety net, and an underwater motion detector are all advisable. A floating buoy is also a good idea to mark off the deep end of the pool.
— Install security alarms around the home and around your pool that can alert you – and emergency medical help – of any potential problems.
— In the off-season or when you’re away from home overnight, install a pool cover that is both lockable and secure.
— Have the necessary medical safety equipment on hand, like throwing rope, a safety hook device, a first aid kit, and a poolside medical alert system that contacts 911 right away (preferably voice-activated) in the event of an emergency are recommended.
2. Start researching swimming pool insurance policies. With safety and security measures in place, you can start reviewing potential insurance policies.
“Know that pool insurance coverage is not a product your purchase on its own,” Schrader said. “It’s an add-on to your standard homeowner’s policy. It may include coverage “A” which is dwelling, or Coverage “B” – for other structures, depending on if the pool is above or in-ground.”
According to Schrader, the policy should cover lawsuits “in case you’re sued for an incident involving your pool, specifically for personal liability and for medical payments to cover others’ injuries near or in your pool.”
3. Ask your insurer the right questions
Since swimming pool accidents can and do occur, you always want to have adequate liability coverage so that if an accident happens, at least the homeowner will have some protection against the cost of a lawsuit.
“Remember, liability coverage protects you from the cost of a lawsuit when someone other than a
resident of the house is injured,” said Alan Himmel, a public claims adjuster at Florida Allstar Public Adjusting, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “The settlements in these types of insurance claims end up going to the injured party, as long as the injured person is not living in the house.”
Himmel recommends buying increased liability coverage on your homeowner’s policy when there’s a swimming pool.
“Oddly enough, some homeowners’ policies will come without liability coverage or too little,” he noted. “You have to look at your policy and ask your agent. Never assume the coverage is on the policy, automatically includes liability coverage.”
How Much Does Swimming Pool Insurance Cost?
Data from the Insurance Information Institute suggests aiming for between $300,000 and $500,000 for proper swimming pool-related liability protection. Depending on the size and features of both your property and your pool that figure can slide upward or downward respectively.
Your insurance agent will go over the cost of adding liability coverage or increasing the liability limit on your policy.
“The cost will vary by carrier and risk, and of course, the more coverage you purchase, the more you will pay,” Himmel said.
One industry study places the annual approximate cost of swimming pool insurance at $1,200, annually.
How can insurance help mitigate swimming pool risks?
There are a few different ways that insurance can help mitigate the risks associated with swimming pools. Linda Chavez, founder and CEO at California-based Seniors Life Insurance Finder breaks those risks down:
Physical safety – Homeowners insurance policies typically include liability coverage, which can help protect you if someone is injured while swimming in your pool
Property damage – Most homeowners insurance policies will also cover damage to your pool caused by weather or other events.
Liability – In the event that someone is injured while swimming in your pool, liability coverage can help protect you from financial damages.
What are the specific pool policy features homeowners should get with a pool?
According to Chavez, there are a different features to look for in a pool policy. These should be at the top of your swimming pool insurance list:
- Coverage for the physical structure of the pool – This coverage can help repair or replace your pool if it is damaged by weather or other events.
- Coverage for pool equipment – This coverage can help repair or replace pumps, filters, and other pool equipment.
- Liability coverage – This coverage can help protect you from financial damages if someone is injured while swimming in your pool.
- Medical payments coverage – This coverage can help pay for medical expenses if someone is injured while swimming in your pool.
- Personal property coverage – This coverage can help replace any personal belongings that are damaged or destroyed while in your pool.
- Replacement cost coverage – This coverage can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your pool if it is damaged or destroyed.
- Rental reimbursement – This coverage can help reimburse you for the cost of renting a temporary pool if your pool is damaged or destroyed.
- Towing and labor coverage – This coverage can help cover the cost of towing and labor if your pool is damaged or destroyed and needs to be removed.
- Trip interruption coverage – This coverage can help reimburse you for the cost of interrupted travel plans if your pool is damaged or destroyed.
Biggest Mistake Homeowners Make With Swimming Pool Insurance
While trap doors are commonplace with pol ownership, the biggest mistake is not having adequate liability coverage or no coverage at all.
“Often time this happens when shopping for insurance and you tell the agent that you want to pay as
little as possible,” Himmel said. “Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they should on insurance, but having a dangerous feature like a pool in your backyard means you also need to adequately protect yourself from potential lawsuits.”
“There is an old adage that works for swimming pool insurance,” Himmel added. “You get what you pay for.”