How Will a Pool Affect My Homeowner’s Insurance?
If you’re considering the installation of a swimming pool on your property, it’s recommended that you consult your insurance agent or the company that handles your homeowners insurance to learn about the effects that having a pool will have on your insurance coverage. Much like a trampoline, a backyard swimming pool is considered by insurance companies to be an “attractive nuisance,” which means it carries the risk of attracting small children who may come onto your property without your knowledge and thereby be at risk for injury or even death. You can be held liable for that injury or death, which is why your homeowners insurance company has concerns whenever one of its clients installs a swimming pool.
It’s important that, if you install a pool, you disclose this change to your insurance carrier. Failure to do so can give them cause to refuse covering any claims. Be aware that your current homeowners insurance policy may already cover a swimming pool on your property, although the increase of your property’s value may necessitate an increase in the amount of your coverage. The added risk that a backyard pool poses will almost certainly require that you increase the liability coverage limit on your policy.
It’s All About Liability
Typical homeowners insurance policies carry limits on the liability portion of $100,000 which, in most cases, may seem like an adequate amount for trip and fall or dog bite type injuries that may occur on your property. A swimming pool, however, adds an exponential amount of liability risk. Consider the fact that, in the U.S., approximately 350 children under the age of five years drown in swimming pools each year. Another 2,600 are treated in hospital ERs for swimming pool-related injuries, some of which are responsible for causing permanent brain damage.
Liability exposure for death or permanent disability can be many times higher than most home insurance policies limits of $100,000. Experts recommend swimming pool owners increase the liability protection on their policy to at least $500,000. Others recommend taking out an umbrella policy, which can add additional protection of one million dollars or more. This umbrella policy will also add protection to your vehicle insurance if you’re in a serious accident and vehicle insurance liability limits are surpassed.
As always, the best advice is to consult with your insurance agent to verify your insurance coverage regarding a swimming pool. Play it safe!