Posted July 7th, 2017 by Alexa Goyette
Having a swimming pool is great! Kids love it and you’ll be a shoo-in for “Host of the Year” in your neighborhood. But like all good things, there are some drawbacks. Expenses for keeping up with a pool – cleaning it, maintaining it, opening it at the beginning of summer and closing it at the end of fall – can really add up. Having a pool can also cause your home insurance to rise.
Before building a swimming pool, you should contact your home insurance company. Pools are considered a liability, meaning the owner of the pool is liable for anyone that uses it. You should also consider what type of pool you’d like to purchase when speaking with your insurance company, as different types of pools require filing different claims through your policy.
In-ground pools are the most common types of pool in most areas, partially due to the fact that they are the safest from damage. Wind, flooding, and fire damage rarely harm in-ground pools substantially. The highest threat that might qualify you for an insurance claim is if a tree falls on your pool and damages a corner of the structure.
Different companies handle in-ground pools differently. In most situations, home insurance companies will cover this kind of pool but will add a small fee to your premium. From there, variations come into play.
Some companies include in-ground pools into the replacement cost value (RCV) of your policy. Once you build your pool, the amount it costs will increase the rates of your home insurance premium, as your maximum claim limit will increase as well.
Other companies consider pools to be external structures, like tool sheds or fences. In this case, you will need to declare your pool and list it on your policy, which may result in higher costs for additional coverage. Most companies cover the costs of replacing and repairing these external structures up to 10% of the total RCV. This means if your RCV is $200,000, your policy will most likely cover up to $20,000 in damages to these external items.
These types of pools are considered to be personal property, as they are assembled (or disassembled). The fact that they’re portable is what defines them under this category. A lot of home insurance companies will cover personal property up to 75% of your home’s RCV. If you check in with your home insurance provider and discover that there is no claim limit for pools, you won’t need to buy any additional coverage. If there is a claim limit, however, you should get extra coverage to protect the full value of your pool.
Your home insurance policy’s liability protection will also cover accidents that happen in or around the pool, excluding any members of the household that own the pool, as they would need to file a health insurance claim to cover these medical costs or pay out of pocket. Rather than the typical $100,000 of coverage for liability protection, many companies recommend that pool owners invest in up to $500,000 of protection, as a lawsuit for the injury or death of someone by drowning in your pool can exceed $100,000.
Aside from ensuring that your coverage is suitable for the type of swimming pool you own, be sure to follow the requirements your city or town has surrounding pools. For instance, a lot of local municipalities require a fence that’s at least 4 feet tall to be installed around the pool or property for safety reasons. If your carrier learns that you don’t have a proper fence, they may exclude your pool from your liability coverage.
It’s up to the pool owner to keep up with the wellbeing of the pool, keeping it clean and draining it in the winter. If your pool is damaged as a result of your lack of maintenance, your insurance company will not cover these repairs.
Having a swimming pool can be extremely rewarding, but it takes a lot of work, both in maintenance and in making sure your insurance is lined up correctly. Get in contact with your insurance company if you’re thinking of investing in a pool or have any questions surrounding your current policy.
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