Does Owning a Pool Affect Insurance Rates?Posted on Jun 13, 2016
The idea of owning your own swimming pool may sound like the perfect, most refreshing idea for a summer day. Before you take the dive and start the process, it’s a good idea to explore how pool ownership will impact your insurance rates.
The Legalities of Pool Ownership
For insurance companies, pools are considered to be “attractive nuisances.” This means they are a liability issue for the home owner. In the case of swimming pools, you are liable for anyone who accesses your pool – whether they have your permission to do so or not.
Different cities throughout the country will have specific rules about pool ownership, including what qualifies as a swimming pool and, as a result, is subject to local statutes. This may include things like the size and capacity of the pool or other determining features.
For the most part, cities require pools to be completely fenced in, and gated. Different cities will have different restrictions regarding fence height and, perhaps, even the types of materials that are acceptable. These are designed to help reduce your exposure to liability issues concerning your pool.
Insurance and Swimming Pools
The actual pool itself is covered by most insurance policies. This means that if the pool is damaged by a covered occurrence, then the insurance will cover the costs of repairs. The problem is that it’s not a one size fits all situation and each company has different requirements. Some companies, for instance, may add a small increase in premiums for the coverage of a swimming pool.
Others may view it as an extraneous structure, which may cause the pool to fall under the personal property limits your policy has in place. This means you’ll need to purchase additional coverage in order to be able to replace the pool or install a new one – especially if your pool has custom features that will cost more to duplicate. All of these things can increase the costs of your insurance premiums.
Above-ground pools have different needs from in-ground pools altogether. Most insurance companies view them as personal property – even if they have permanent decks installed around them. Make sure your policy doesn’t have a claim limit for swimming pools. Or, if it does, make sure that you purchase an adequate amount of coverage above and beyond those limits to cover the costs of replacing your pool.
That is why it’s important to discuss your concerns over your pool with your insurance agent before you build – or buy a home with an existing pool in place. In fact, you may want to shop around to find an insurance company that is adequately “pool friendly” to meet your needs.
Liability Concerns with Swimming Pools
Swimming pools are risky for insurance companies, and is the reason why having one can mean an increase in insurance rates. They are attractive to children who love to play in the water, but one carelessly opened gate can lead to a nightmare scenario where a neighborhood child wanders in and drowns.
Your standard homeowner’s liability coverage is likely to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. The Insurance Information Institute suggests increasing that coverage amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $500,000 if you own a swimming pool. This can result in a significant increase in standard liability insurance and perhaps an additional $1 million in umbrella coverage, which can cost between $200 and $300 annually.
While owning a swimming pool can be a dream come true for many homeowners, it carries a great responsibility. Take action to keep your pool safe at all times in order to ensure great fun and good times. Get the right insurance protection as an added layer of security in case something goes wrong.