Homeowners Insurance With a Pool: Coverage & Requirements
- Homeowners Insurance With a Pool: Coverage & Requirements
The luxury, convenience, and privacy of having your own pool can become a perfect retreat when the temperature starts to creep back up to an untenable degree. But whether you’re dreaming of a new in-ground or above-ground pool, counting up the cost could make visions of a personal lagoon go splashing from your mind.
More than just the building costs and routine maintenance, have you ever wondered how much installing a new swimming pool can affect your homeowners insurance? Before you take the plunge, here’s what you need to know about homeowners insurance with a pool.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Swimming Pools?
Yes, homeowners insurance generally covers swimming pools. If your pool is in the ground, it’s covered either under the dwelling or the other structures portion of a home insurance policy. If it’s an above-ground pool, it can either be covered as an other structure or as personal property. You’ll have liability coverage, too, no matter what kind of pool you have.
If your house already has a pool, it’s presumably been factored into your homeowners insurance premium already. If you’re thinking of adding one, you should let your insurer know. If you don’t notify them and you end up filing a claim for a pool-related incident, they may not cover you.
Understanding Coverage for Swimming Pool Insurance Claims
Your homeowners insurance policy is divided into different sections of coverage. The type of pool you have determines what section it’s in. This influences how your insurer covers your swimming pool, and how a claim would pay for damages. Let’s go over the different ways your pool is covered.
Other Structures Coverage
If you’ve got an inground or above-ground pool in your backyard, it may fall under other structures section of coverage in your policy. Other structures coverage is for fixtures on your property that aren’t part of the main structure of your home, like your driveway, fences, or a detached shed. Your pool may be included here, too.
Other structures coverage is usually around 10% of your dwelling coverage. So, if you have $300,000 worth of dwelling coverage, your other structures coverage could be $30,000, meaning your pool is covered up to $30,000 worth of damage from a covered peril.
While in-ground and above-ground pools are both covered by home insurance, you’ll want to follow up with your provider to understand how it’s classified for specific replacement or repair costs.
Personal Property Coverage
In some cases, an above-ground pool that’s separate from your home may be considered personal property. If it’s disassemblable and portable, your insurer may see it as an item that you own. This means it’ll be covered under the personal property section of your homeowners policy.
Personal property coverage safeguards your belongings. Depending on your policy, your provider could reimburse you for damage to your personal property with the actual cash value of the items, or their replacement cost. Replacement cost would get you more if your above-ground pool was damaged, but it’s the more expensive option.
No matter what type of pool you have, your homeowners insurance pool coverage will entail liability protection, too. Your insurer can cover medical bills due to accidental injuries and lawsuits that stem from them as a result of your pool.
Thousands of injuries and accidental deaths happen in and around pools every year, whether it’s a drowning incident, a slip and fall, or something else. If someone were to sue you for damages due to a pool-related mishap, your insurance company can reimburse the affected parties if you’re found liable.
Most homeowners insurance policies have a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage. If you have a pool, you should increase this to at least $500,000, if not a million dollars. Even though raising your liability coverage will marginally raise your rate, it could well be worth it if someone were to sue you for something that happened at your pool.
For instance, let’s say your neighbor’s child fell into your pool and ultimately drowned. Since pools are considered an attractive nuisance, you’re almost always liable for any injuries they cause. They could sue you for damages, which could include medical bills, funeral expenses, wrongful death, lost wages, and more. You can easily see how these costs could climb above the minimum $100,000 of liability coverage.
If you exhaust your insurance’s liability limit, you’ll be forced to pay any remaining expenses out of pocket. This can be devastating to your finances. If you have a pool, it’s safe to spring for extra liability coverage. You may even want to consider an umbrella policy.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pool Collapse?
Homeowners insurance covers pool collapse if the collapse is a result of a covered peril. Unfortunately, most pool collapses aren’t the result of a covered peril, though.
A covered peril is another term for a potential source of damage. Many of the perils that your insurance protects your home from don’t really apply to your pool, like fire, theft, and wind damage (for inground pools). So, your pool would likely be covered if a tree was blown over by a hurricane and damaged the frame, or your above-ground pool got destroyed by a tornado. But, pool collapses aren’t always destroyed by covered perils.
Above-ground pools often collapse due to the weight of ice or snow that accumulates on them during the winter. Damage like this could be covered, but oftentimes an insurer may believe that your negligence caused the damage and deny reimbursement. This brings us to our first obstacle with swimming pool insurance coverage: negligence.
If you could’ve done something to remove the snow, or there was a pre-existing issue with the pool in the first place, your insurer won’t cover the damage. For instance, the pool may have been improperly built or installed. Was there excessive rust, or a remarkably old liner? Your insurer will look at all these possibilities. Pools usually don’t collapse on their own if they’re properly kept, and your provider will expect you to perform regular maintenance on your pool to keep it in working order.
Your insurer also won’t cover you if water freezes in your pool during winter and causes the liner or frame to crack. To your carrier, this is another good example of policyholder negligence; you should have properly drained the pool to prepare for winter.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pool Damage?
Like with a pool collapse, your homeowners insurance will cover you if your pool sustains damage, such as leaks, torn liners, and more, only if the damage was caused by a covered peril.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pool Leaks?
Both above-ground and inground pools have been known to spring unexpected leaks. Unfortunately, unless you can directly attribute a leak to a covered instance of damage, like a fire or a hurricane, your insurer won’t cover the damage.
As we touched on earlier, if there’s any indication that standard wear and tear or old age contributed to the leak, then your provider will believe the burden should be on you to take care of your pool.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Pool Liner?
Again, if negligence or wear and tear is involved, your insurer won’t cover a pool liner, either. Signs of an aging pool liner include notable fades and stains. If you find that you need to replace your old pool liner, you can’t rely on your carrier to cover the costs. Expected home maintenance is your responsibility, not your insurer’s.
However, if the pool liner was directly damaged by a covered peril, you could be covered. We’ll go over a scenario shortly when you could receive coverage.
What to Look Out for When Your Pool Is Covered
If your pool is covered by your insurer, be aware of your policy limits. We mentioned earlier that other structures coverage is commonly 10% of your dwelling coverage.
An above-ground pool can cost a few thousand dollars. Inground vinyl pool liners can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. The cost to repair your pool may exceed your policy limits, which means you’d have to foot the rest of the bill.
For example, let’s say a tree gets blown into your in-ground vinyl pool and pierces the liner. A new liner costs $30,000. Your insurer agrees to cover the damage as part of your other structures coverage. You have $200,000 of dwelling coverage, and a 10% other structures limit, meaning you have $20,000 of other structures coverage.
Your insurer will reimburse you $20,000, but you’ll need to come up with the remaining $10,000 (or purchase an endorsement beforehand) to properly replace your pool liner.
It’s always wise to have enough insurance to completely make yourself whole again in case of damage. Don’t overlook your pool when considering the rebuild cost of your home when getting a policy.
How Much Does Having a Pool Increase Insurance?
You may pay more for homeowners insurance on a house with a pool than a house without a pool. But, the extent varies by your location, the age and size of your house, and much more. Adding a pool to an existing home policy may only raise your rates marginally.
If you’re adding a pool to your house, your insurer will likely recommend that you increase your liability coverage, as we mentioned earlier. While adding further liability coverage will increase your premium, the effect isn’t usually drastic. How much it will go up exactly depends on many factors about you and your home, but your insurer will want to work with you to keep the cost minimized and keep you as a happy policyholder.
Does an Above-Ground Pool Increase Insurance?
As with an inground pool, an above-ground pool increases your liability risk, so it may cause your insurance to go up. If it’s not attached to your house, it may be easier for a carrier to exclude your above-ground pool from coverage, as well. If it’s excluded, it won’t raise your rate.
As we mentioned previously, how much exactly an above-ground pool can raise your premiums fluctuates by insurer. Make sure you communicate with your provider about this to be clear on how it will affect your premium.
Swimming Pool Insurance Requirements
Before you receive coverage, there may be a few swimming pool insurance requirements you need to follow. Some companies mandate a pool fence or some sort of gated enclosure around your pool before they’ll cover it. Be sure to clarify this with your provider beforehand.
Also, your pool will have to abide by local building codes and laws before it can get covered. You’ll need to acquire the appropriate permits before you install it, and follow necessary safety standards. In some cases, having a slide or a diving board may cause problems with your insurance company.
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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.