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Homeowners Insurance and Pools: What’s Covered?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pools?

Yes, some insurance companies may cover your pool as part of the personal property, other structures, or dwelling coverage sections that comprise your homeowner’s policy. However, many insurers explicitly exclude pools from coverage due to the inherent risks involved with ownership.

Even if your homeowner’s policy allows insurance for swimming pools, most providers consider them to increase your likelihood of injury or damage claims and will raise the premiums accordingly. Further, the insurer’s concerns are founded. Nearly 6,800 children aged 15 and younger visited the emergency room for pool-related injuries in 2021, half of which occurred in residential environments.

Pools Can Increase Your Insurance: Make Sure You’re Covered

While swimming pools have many benefits and provide homeowners and their visitors with an excellent source of relaxation and entertainment, they present troublesome liability hazards. 

Pool-related injuries fill hospitals annually, notably with children between the ages of 1-3

Some of the most common risks associated with pool ownership involve drowning, entrapment in filters or beneath floating objects, diving board and slip-and-fall accidents, pool chemical poisoning, and poorly installed electrical systems. Resulting injuries include:

  • Brain trauma
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Dismemberment
  • Death 

Insurers classify swimming pools as attractive nuisances, a doctrine that holds property owners responsible for injuries to trespassing children enticed by hazardous objects. The liability implications of attractive nuisance law often lead providers to charge loftier rates or exclude swimming pools from homeowners coverage altogether. 

Additionally, swimming pools require regular maintenance. A neglected backyard pool can cause damage to your house or to itself, resulting in personal property claims.

Home Insurance Coverages For Swimming Pools

Coverages
In-ground Pool
Above-ground Pool, Portable
Above-ground Pool, Permanent
Dwelling
x
Other Structures
x
Personal Property
x
Liability
x
x
x

Required coverages vary depending on the type of pool on your property. Homeowner’s policy options include:

  • Dwelling Coverage pays to rebuild or repair any physical elements of your house compromised due to a covered peril or attached to your home. Many insurers consider in-ground pools part of the home.
  • Personal Property Coverage reimburses the cost of personal items like electronics, exercise equipment, or portable above-ground swimming pools.
  • Other Structures Coverage chips in to repair or replace structures other than your home–i.e., fences, sheds, treehouses, and permanent above-ground swimming pools.
  • Liability Coverage protects you from litigation or medical fees resulting from injuries or property damage to another person. All pools require liability insurance.

Insurers may choose to cover pools in one of three ways:

  • Complete Coverage would accommodate a pool in your homeowner’s policy without stipulations or exclusions.
  • Conditional Coverage applies to pools that meet specified safety criteria.
  • Complete Exclusion From Coverage occurs when insurers do not wish to accommodate the inherent risks of swimming pools.

Remember that even the most comprehensive homeowners insurance policies impose coverage limits and require you to maintain a safe swimming environment as part of your contract.

Swimming Pool Insurance Eligibility Requirements

Insurers subject all potentially dangerous edifices to intense scrutiny, no matter your level of coverage. To secure proper coverage, homeowners must fulfill standard swimming pool insurance requirements. Examples include:

  • Fences installed around the pool to prevent public and free access.
  • Perimeter lighting and retractable covers to reduce the risk of falling in.
  • Non-stick diving boards to prevent slippage.

Insurance providers offering conditional coverage often require you to meet additional safety features not listed above.

What If You Add Diving Boards and Slides?

Diving boards and slides can boost the entertainment value of your outdoor pool. However, due to the increased likelihood of injury, many insurers will exclude pools with these recreational accessories from coverage. Policies that allow slides and diving boards often require you to sign exclusion waivers, allowing your provider to withhold liability coverage for injuries resulting from either attachment.

What Damages Are Covered?

Your personal property, dwelling, and other structures coverages will pay you back for damages resulting from covered perils specified in your homeowner’s policy. What qualifies as a covered peril depends entirely on your insurer. Examples include:

  • Fire
  • Lighting
  • Hail
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling trees and objects
  • Explosions

Separately, your liability coverage protects you if anybody outside your immediate family hurts themselves swimming in your pool or jumping or running within the vicinity.

What Damages Are Not Covered?

Homeowner’s insurance will not cover damages to your swimming pool resulting from:

  • General wear and tear: Including degrading pool liner or eroded coping.
  • Lack of maintenance or poor installation: This includes damage that could lead to clogged filters or damaged pumps.
  • Failure to winterize your pool: If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, you must lower water levels and drain all attached equipment to prevent cracks and leaks.
  • Flooding or pool collapse.

The Cost of Swimming Pool Insurance

Insurers do not offer standalone swimming pool insurance policies. Instead, coverage must come from your home insurance or a personal umbrella policy (PUP). PUPs provide additional liability protection above your standard homeowner’s coverage in million-dollar increments.

Due to the risk of injury and damage magnified by outdoor swimming pools, you may find your insurer raises your home insurance premium whenever you decide to install a pool on your property. Pool insurance can raise homeowner’s premiums between $50-200 annually.

The Cost of In-ground vs. Above-ground Swimming Pools 

The cost and coverage spikes in your homeowners policies depend heavily on the kind of pool you have. In-ground pools get classified under your dwelling coverage, while portable above-ground pools are often classified as personal property plans. Each policy grouping has set deductibles and limits, directly impacting your extent of coverage and the affiliated cost. Keep in mind that this is solely at the discretion of your insurer, with some neglecting to factor in pools when determining premiums.

Average dwelling coverage limits fall around $300,000 annually. Typically, personal property coverage protects your belongings at 50% of your dwelling limits. Someone with an average dwelling policy could see their in-ground swimming pool covered for up to $300,000, while the same homeowner’s package would cover an above-ground pool for up to $150,000.

Increase Safety to Lower Pool Insurance Costs 

Installing proper safety features around your pool will make you eligible for coverage and potentially lower your premium costs. Reinforced safety measures include:

  • Building a locking gate around your pool:  While many insurers require basic gates for coverage, going the extra mile to install one that locks can help limit premium spikes. Bonus points for gates above six feet tall that would deter most casual intruders from pressing through.
  • Installing an alarm: This could be useful in scaring away trespassers and alerting you if they breach the premises.
  • Taking CPR classes: Taking CPR classes allow you to become your backyard’s personal lifeguard. Presenting CPR certification to your insurer may alleviate some anxiety around potential drowning accidents in your pool.
  • Maintaining a clutter-free swim and play zone: Keeping your pool area clean can reduce the risk of slip-and-fall injuries. Distancing lawn furniture away from the pool and resisting the urge to install a diving board or water slide might help lower insurance costs.

How to Get More Coverage For Your Pool

Personal umbrella policies (PUPs) offer extra protection for individuals with high-liability assets like swimming pools or trampolines. PUPs increase liability coverage in million-dollar increments, protecting policyholders from litigation fees, medical debts, and any other setbacks that could come from an at-fault accident

While premiums vary depending on your insurer, average personal umbrella policies start around $215 per year for $1 million of coverage. Considering the serious financial repercussions of swimming pool injuries, a PUP could prove well worth the investment for many homeowners. If PUP coverage sounds right for you, follow these steps to secure a suitable plan.

1. Determine How Much Personal Property and Liability Coverage You Will Likely Need

Imagine a child trespasses nearly drowns in your pool while trespassing on your property, leading to a drawn-out lawsuit. At a minimum, personal umbrella policies should equal your net worth to protect you against the most adverse outcomes. Count your assets and determine how much you could lose during an arduous legal battle.

2. Compare This Coverage Need With What Your Home Insurance Offers

If your homeowners coverage does not equal or eclipse your net worth, you should research a personal umbrella policy. Most homeowners insurance policies stop at around $500,000 of coverage.  

3. Explore Your Options for Umbrella Insurance

Talk to your homeowner’s provider to see if they have a personal umbrella policy that meets your needs. Many insurers offer discounts for policyholders who bundle multiple coverages like home, auto, and umbrella policies within the same sphere.

If finding coverage through your homeowners provider does not make sense, most other prominent insurance companies will offer personal umbrella policies. Some policies will cover up to $100 million, though most typically cap out between $5-10 million in coverage. Weigh your assets against your risk level and find a company with the best plan for you.

4. Select and Purchase Umbrella Insurance and Receive Confirmation of Your Policy

After purchasing umbrella insurance, you will receive policy documents explaining your coverages and terms. All future medical and legal expenses exceeding your other insurance limits should qualify for coverage under your new personal PUP.

Notify Your Insurer If You Already Have or Plan to Install a Pool

Most insurers require homeowners to notify them of property updates that significantly increase risk, like installing a swimming pool. If your provider catches wind of an unauthorized pool in your yard, they can terminate your homeowners policy by the next renewal cycle.

Worse, if somebody does get hurt in your swimming pool and decides to sue you, your insurer does not have to cover you for a home addition they never knew existed. All legal and medical bills would become your sole responsibility.

What This Means For You 

Installing an outdoor swimming pool can provide you and your family with hours of entertainment and keep you cool through many summers to come. Consider the stakes when shopping for a pool, and keep your insurance company keyed into your intentions. All liability for injuries sustained on your property by friends or trespassers rests on your shoulders, so ensure you understand how your homeowners insurance will change with a pool. Most importantly, supervise swimming children and maintain a safe poolside environment.