You’ve decided to get a pool and now you can enjoy many fun-filled days in the water with friends and family. Whether above-ground or in-ground, a swimming pool introduces specific liability concerns that homeowners must address before they can comfortably relax and enjoy their new investment.
On average, there are close to 400 swimming pool deaths annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As a pool owner, you are liable for the safety of all swimmers in your pool. To ensure you can adequately protect anyone on your property, you not only need the proper insurance protection, but you might also consider lifeguarding, CPR and first-aid courses to help you respond to an emergency.
Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” by many insurance companies, which means people often use pools without understanding the risks. As a homeowner, you’re liable if someone is injured—even if they use your pool without permission.
Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, insurance companies say that you, as a homeowner, have a legal obligation to make your pool inaccessible to unwanted visitors or eliminate the danger.
What Pool Coverage Do I Need?
Whether your pool is above-ground or in-ground, it may be eligible for homeowners insurance coverage as a “scheduled structure.” But it’s important to know that because a pool is a detached structure, it’s not covered unless you’ve specifically added it to your homeowners policy.
Homeowners insurance can help by assisting with repair costs if a covered peril damages your pool. If your policy includes liability coverage and a guest is injured, it can also help with resulting medical expenses. You may also want to add umbrella liability coverage to account for pool-related injuries. This addition can help cover bodily injury, medical expenses and potential legal fees. Pools are risky compared to other areas around your home, and having an umbrella liability supplement may be worthwhile.
You must let your insurance provider know you plan to add a pool. Without this due diligence, claims may not be covered.
Other Safety Considerations
In addition to having proper coverage for your swimming pool, the following steps can protect you and others by reducing bodily injury and property damage risks:
· Install a fence around your pool with a lockable gate. A sturdy fence is a great first line of defense to prevent trespassers or children from getting hurt. Ensure the gate is lockable to help restrict access.
· Equip your gate with an alarm. Any door leading to your pool should have an alarm that sounds whenever it is opened. The alarm should be loud enough to be heard anywhere in your house and ring long enough to be noticed.
· Ensure no one swims alone. Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to mandate that no one ever uses your pool alone.
· Learn CPR. CPR training is imperative if you have a swimming pool. Learning this lifesaving process takes little time, and you can usually find free classes in your area.
· Clear the area around your pool. Ensure lounge chairs, toys or other obstacles are arranged neatly and do not become fall hazards.
· Remove or raise ladders if possible. If your pool is above ground, remove or raise the ladder when your pool isn’t used. This safety measure can help prevent trespassers from entering your pool.
Appropriate insurance coverage and safety measures can give you peace of mind and ensure your pool is enjoyed for many years. The Jaimes L. Fewer Agency, Inc. team can help you explore your insurance coverage options to help you with suitable pool protection.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.