As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, some Americans find a thought surfacing on their minds: “Should I invest in a pool?” Perhaps each summer you think it, but this summer you really mean it. You’re going to beat the heat in your very own backyard oasis. While owning a pool can be a dream for some, it can quickly turn into a nightmare without the right insurance. Here are some things to consider.
Your homeowner’s insurance covers your home, and this generally includes your pool. Now, just because your pool is covered doesn’t mean that you should start calling the contractors. First, you’ll need to take a look at your current policy to make sure you have the right amount of coverage in place. When assessing your coverage there are two main things to keep in mind: damage that could occur to the pool and safety of those in and around the pool.
If your pool is covered under your homeowner’s insurance, it would fall under one of two categories: Personal Property Coverage or Other Structures Coverage.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal Property Coverage covers you for unexpected damage to your personal belongings. Depending on your policy, an above-ground pool may fall under this category of coverage. Since an above-ground pool could potentially be disassembled and thus “portable” so to speak, it may be viewed as similar to a watercraft or firearm.
Most policies cover personal property for up to 75% of the replacement cost value of your home. For example, if your home's value is $100,000, 75% of that is S75,000; that’s how much you’d be covered to replace all of the personal property in your home. If your pool falls under this category of coverage, take into account the replacement cost of your pool as well as the replacement cost of any other item considered your personal property. If you believe you would need more coverage, speak with your insurance agent to increase your coverage.
Other Structure Coverage
Other Structures Coverage covers you for unexpected damage to structures that are on your property and separate from your home. Depending on your policy, an in-ground pool may fall into this category of coverage. Since an in-ground pool is seen as a permanent fixture on your property, it may be likened to that of a shed or a gazebo.
Most policies cover other structures for up to 10% of the replacement cost value of your home. For example, if your home's value is $100,000, 10% of that is $10,000; that’s how much coverage you’d receive for all items listed as other structures. Depending on the replacement value of your home, pool, and any other external structures, you may want to consider upping your coverage. Of course, you should always consult with your insurance agent before making any additions or changes to your policy.
A pool is considered an “attractive nuisance,” which means that it is enticing while also posing as a potential safety hazard. Owning a pool is a liability because you are held liable for any injuries that occur in or around your pool. This includes invited guests as well as unwelcomed guests—anyone who is injured at your pool is considered your responsibility. When adding a pool to your home, it’s vital to review your personal liability coverage and perhaps consider an umbrella liability policy.
Personal Liability covers you for any legal and/or medical expenses of anyone hurt on your property. Typical personal liability covers you for a minimum of $100,000 per incident. This is the typical coverage without an attractive nuisance in your backyard. For those thinking about adding a pool, it’s recommended by the Insurance Information Institute to increase your coverage from $300,000 to $500,000.
Umbrella Liability Policy
An umbrella policy provides you with more coverage than your regular homeowner’s insurance. If someone were to get injured at your pool, and the cost of their medical fees exceeded the amount of your personal liability, your umbrella insurance would kick in to take care of the rest. Umbrella insurance typically covers up to $1 million in fees, and umbrella insurance not only covers your home, but your car as well. Before deciding if umbrella insurance is right for you, be sure to speak with your insurance agent for guidance.
A fence, a lock, supervision, and other additions that would make guests less susceptible to injury should be considered, but it’s always best to expect the unexpected, and plan for any mishaps that may occur. Before diving into your dream of owning a pool, be sure to review your insurance and decide if you’re covered for whatever life throws at you.