Homeowners Insurance and Swimming Pools

July 26, 2011

Swimming Pool

Whether your home already has a pool, or you’re considering having one installed, there are certain things you need to know about how a swimming pool could affect your homeowners insurance.

  • Contact your insurance company to discuss the cost of insurance with a pool, and be sure to ask if there are ways to save money by incorporating specific safety features, like fences and ladders into your pool’s design. If your yard is not surrounded by a fence, you’ll probably be required to install a pool fence, but if you have small children, this is a good idea, anyway.
  • On most homeowners insurance policies, swimming pools are covered under the “other structures” section. You’ll need to calculate the coverage for all the “other structures” on your property, and increase your coverage if your separate structures and your pool are valued at a higher amount than your existing coverage.
  • Having a swimming pool may mean that you have to increase your liability coverage, since pools increase the likelihood of injuries and accidents, and the risk of lawsuits.
  • If you have a home warranty, add the pool to your warranty. It will usually only cover the pool itself, and the filter system – not any vacuums or water features (like fountains or misters), but it can save you tons of money if something goes wrong.
  • Always take care of your pool, following a professional’s advice for everything from the chemicals that keep the water clean, to filter maintenance, to proper over-wintering procedures (in most places, it’s actually better to leave water in your pool over the winter, but if you live in a place where hard freezes are common, that may not be true). Be aware that damage from winter weather is usually not covered.
  • Practice safe pool use to minimize injuries and accidents. No glass near the pool deck, no running on wet surfaces, and no diving in water less than ten feet deep. Also, be aware that if a neighborhood child sneaks a swim while you’re away, you may still be liable, so re-read the parts about fences and liability coverage.

Having a pool increases the value of your home, and makes it easier to beat the heat in summer, but having adequate homeowners insurance to cover the pool is essential.