Many homeowners dream of having a swimming pool of their own. They can be a fun backdrop to special gatherings or family time. There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in America, according to the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. In Florida alone, there are 1.59 million residential pools, which is the most out of all of the states.
While pools can be great, they can also be the source of tragedy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 3500 people drown each year in pools. There are also thousands of injuries stemming from pools that are not fatal. Because of these risks, homeowner’s insurance for homeowners with pools will look different than coverage for homeowners without pools. It is very important that any home with a pool is covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. Otherwise, this can lead to the denial of claims. Here are some tips for keeping people safe and ensuring you have the correct coverage.
The Right Coverage
If you are either thinking of installing a pool or have a pool, it is important to consult your current homeowner’s policy to see what it covers. Is there coverage for a pool? If not, then you will either need to expand your coverage or switch providers. It is also important that if your homeowner’s insurance does not cover pools but you plan to put one in, you should not try and keep your old coverage and not tell the insurance policy. You must disclose that you are installing a pool whether or not your homeowner’s policy covers pools. As a result of having a pool, your premium will increase. This reflects that you will be covered in the event of a pool accident.
Even if you have coverage, that does not mean that you are fully covered. Many homeowners’ insurance policies cover damages that happen to the pool itself. For instance, a hurricane knocks over a pool and causes significant disrepair. The homeowner will likely be able to get money to cover the cost of the damage. This does not mean, however, that the insurance policy also has liability coverage. This means that if there is an accident in the pool to a person—but not the pool itself—you may be left holding the bag. And, even if the policy does include liability, there may not be enough coverage.
Consulting with an attorney to discuss what level of liability coverage you need will help protect you in the case of an accident. For instance, you may just think that you need coverage for the people in your home that use the pool. There are other scenarios that you may not consider—for instance, a guest or even an uninvited child has an injury in your pool. Pools are known, in the law, as an “attractive nuisance.” This means that people are attracted to use them, even if they are not actually invited to use them. Even if they are not invited and suffer an injury, you may need to pay for those injuries.
Not every incident involving your pool is preventable. However, there are things that you can do to minimize the possibility of filing a claim. These are things that may be required by the insurance company or, if optional, can lower what you pay for the premium. Regardless of what your insurance company says about these strategies, they are easy ways to prevent headaches and heartbreak later.
When you explicitly invite guests to your home, make sure that they are supervised. It is best to now allow guests to use your pool when you are not home. In the case of children or adults who cannot swim, make sure that those people are supervised at all times.
If you visit a pool in a hotel or health club, you will notice that they post rules. You can do the same thing at your home. While you may feel awkward about making rules, remember that you will be the one that is on the hook if there is an accident. Do not feel bad about making rules, posting them and—importantly—enforcing them. For instance, do not let guests run on the pool deck. If they slip and fall, you will have to pay for that injury. Also, do not let guests swim when the weather is not good. Even though guests may want to continue to enjoy the pool with the threat of a storm, things could easily turn bad if lightning makes its way into the area.
Turn Filters Off When In the Pool
Pool filters serve to keep the debris and bacteria out of the pool, making it better for guests to enjoy. While they should be on when people are out of the pool, one way to avoid incidents is to turn them off when people are enjoying the pool. It is safer to swim when the filters are not running. They can explode and cause serious damage. Additionally, hair or parts of the body can get stuck in the filter, leading to serious injury or even death.
Place a Fence Around the Pool
Fences are one of the best ways to prevent injury, particularly for small children. Depending on the height or type of fence, this can completely prevent tragedy. While adults and larger children may be able to get over the fence, it still will act as a deterrent or at least slow down a person who is trying to access the pool. Some homeowners do not go with a fence because of the expense of the installation or the aesthetic. Another option that could protect small children would be a temporary baby fence.
Properly Maintain the Pool
One of the best ways to keep guests safe and protect yourself is to have the pool inspected annually by an expert. They can help identify any areas that are unsafe or require maintenance. Additionally, homeowners should inspect their own pools at least weekly as they clean them.
Get Help From a Skilled Insurance Claim Attorney
If you have insurance questions or concerns about liability related to your swimming pool, contact our knowledgeable insurance claim attorneys right away to discuss your specific situation.