A swimming pool is a hot-weather friendly feature in many American backyards, but there can be a slightly risky side to their recreational existence. Nearly 7000 children under the age of 15 were seen in the emergency room in 2021 for injuries that took place in a swimming pool, with 45% of these injuries happening in residential pools. From a smaller size and shallow pool to Olympic-grade structures, there’s always a risk of accidents that could lead to injury when a pool is on your property. It’s always best to inquire whether your home insurance will cover these potential risks.

Is my Existing Homeowners Policy Adequate for Pool Coverage?

To answer this question properly, it’s best to look at if your pool largely depends on your insurance provider. Some insurers will not issue a policy at all if a pool exists on the property, and others have specific criteria that need to be taken into consideration, including:

  • Fencing the area around the perimeter
  • placing adequate lighting around the pool to reduce accidental risk
  • installing a useful, non-skid surface on the diving board
  • Placing a lock on your ladder when the pool is above ground

Once you have your homeowners coverage intact, liability coverage can extend to the pool structure, and any damage the pool itself undergoes is protected under a separate coverage type. Secondly, if the pool in question is above ground, your insurance company can consider it part of your personal property since there are no permanent structures attached to it. Personal property coverage may offer both a policy limit and a category limit for your pool, as there are separate coverage limitations to think about with each type of construction.

Above-Ground Pools are usually covered under personal property or other structures coverage as long as they are permanent installation.

In-Ground Pools are usually covered under the dwelling or other structures coverage function of your policy.

How are Pool-Related Injuries Handled by Insurance?

When an injury occurs in your pool, homeowners insurance coverage is the first means of assistance. Depending on how the injury took place, your local laws on residential swimming pools and what safety features you have will govern the outcome. If the pool is used without your permission, the responsibility level can lower drastically, but if they are invited to your house and get injured, you could still be held responsible for said injuries.

One general rule of thumb is that if someone is injured while using your pool, the personal liability coverage on your homeowners policy will take care of all the associated costs. Proper safety measures to reduce risk are also an excellent help for reliability extent, and many property insurers will ask you to put safety measures in place such as a fence around the pool with a locking gate or the removal of the ladder to keep uninvited guests away.

Is a Personal Umbrella Policy Right for You?

A personal umbrella policy is not required, but it is very much worth considering because of the added layer of financial protection it provides. With an umbrella policy, homeowners can rest easy with $1,000,000 or more in valuable additional liability protection. If there is a fatality on their property or someone becomes seriously injured while invited to the pool, this umbrella policy would help pay for their funeral and medical expenses, as well as any fees originating from legal action.

Steps to Take for Heightened Safety in and Around Your Pool:

Even if you are certain that your swimming pool will be covered under personal property or other structures, it’s best to consider taking additional proactive steps to reduce any risk of injury at all on the property. Here are some steps that will assure that the fun you’re enjoying with the pool and your property will be as safe as possible:

  • Installing a fence with a locking gate: it’s not just on graduation nights and when pranks are in play: swimming pools are often appealing to the public and a durable fence is an excellent first line of defense to keep trespassers away. If this gate can be locked, you are provided with an even better layer of protection. Some insurance coverage providers may ask for the fence’s exact height and require a 6-foot minimum.
  • Alarm Installation: Any door on the property that leads to the pool should have an alarm that sounds as soon as it is opened. It should be loud enough that you can hear it throughout the entire house, and have a very distinct ring. Following this protocol will allow you to know every time someone is near your pool that does not have your permission to be there.
  • Prohibit Swimming Alone: When anyone swims alone, the chances of a serious accident increase drastically. Even a minor bump or duck can turn severe without anyone around, and it can be practical to impose this restriction, even for the adults in your household.
  • Acquire proper CPR training: CPR training is a very valuable skill to have when considering everyone’s safety around the pool. Knowing how to administer CPR can absolutely save a life within an instant and can be obtained through hospitals or other cooperating agencies such as the American Red Cross.
  • Assuring That Your Pool Area is Obstacle-Free: Obstacles such as toys and built-in decor can greatly increase the chance of an unwanted injury. It’s best to keep items like toys and chairs away from the pool, especially when left unattended. This will prevent not only accidents in the dark but mishaps that incur when people begin running around recklessly or jumping in from a distance.
  • The Leisure Hour Minus the Ladder: Since most pools are above ground, raising the ladder or removing it completely when the pool is not in use is a good habit that promotes safety. This will at least provide a little bit of defense against unwanted visitors helping themselves to a dip. 

Do all Types of Swimming Pools Require Insurance?

Savvy and experienced insurance agents will tell you that each variety and size of pool will need to be insured. This helps cover the cost of any damages or injuries and provides financial safety and security for the owner. Come see us this summer at the Alexander Agency of Saint Charles while you are weighing your options, preparing your flip-flops and trunks, and adjusting the optimal chlorine levels for all out sunny summer fun!