Q

Does having a pool affect your homeowners insurance?

A

Yes, if you have a pool, you should consider adding more liability coverage to your homeowners insurance policy to cover legal and medical expenses in the event of a pool-related accident. Increasing this coverage will likely raise your insurance premiums.

Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home and personal property, including your pool. If a guest is injured in a pool-related incident, your home insurance may also cover medical bills and legal expenses that result from the accident.

Owning a pool means one more thing to cover with insurance, which could necessitate increasing your coverage amounts or adjusting it accordingly, especially given the pool’s liability implications as an “attractive nuisance.”

An attractive nuisance is an insurance term for a hazardous condition or object that might cause harm to children. If your home has an attractive nuisance, like a pool or trampoline, you should consider additional liability protection to cover expensive medical bills or legal settlements in the event of an accident. Your insurer may also require a protective fence surrounding the pool as a condition for coverage.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A pool can affect multiple sections of your homeowners insurance policy

  • Homeowners insurance will cover pool repairs if it’s damaged by one of the perils covered by your policy, including fire, hail, and vandalism

  • Having a pool can increase your home’s liability risk. It’s recommended pool owners increase their liability coverage amount to anywhere between $300,000–$500,000

  • Insurers may classify an above ground pool as personal property and an in-ground pool as part of other structures coverage. How your pool is classified can affect how you’ll be paid out for a claim

Homeowners insurance with a pool: What you need to know

Homeowners insurance covers damage to your pool against the same risks that your house or garage are covered by, like fire or weather-related damage. It also protects your liability in the event that someone gets hurt while using your pool and decides to sue.

Having a pool increases your liability exposure since it opens up the possibility of someone getting injured or drowning while using it.

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Does homeowners insurance cover damage to my pool?

Homeowners insurance may help cover pool repairs if it’s damaged by a covered peril. These are most of the same perils that are covered by dwelling coverage, or the main component of a homeowners insurance policy that covers the structure of your home. The most common types of covered perils include:

  • Fire

  • Lightning strikes

  • Hail

  • Explosions

  • Vandalism

Homeowners insurance never covers flood or earthquake damage, and while you can purchase flood or earthquake insurance to protect your home from such natural disasters, both of those policy types typically exclude coverage for swimming pools.

Homeowners insurance also doesn’t cover pool maintenance issues or general wear and tear, so if the liner rips because of years of use, you likely wouldn’t be covered.

Homeowners insurance also likely won’t pay to repair your pool if the water inside of it freezes up and damages the liner, or if the weight of rainwater or ice on the pool's cover causes it to collapse. It’s up to you as the homeowner to take care of your property, and not draining the pool cover may be considered negligence.

Home insurance for above-ground pools vs. in-ground pools

The section of your policy that your pool is covered by can differ from company to company. Depending on whether your pool is in- or above-ground, it will be covered by one of three parts of your policy: dwelling coverage, other structures coverage, or personal property coverage.

For example, an insurer may consider a portable, above-ground pool to be personal property, but may consider an in-ground or permanent above-ground pool as its own separate structure.

Below are coverage provisions your pool may be covered under, depending on if its in- or above-ground.

  • Dwelling coverage - An in-ground pool may be considered part of your home's structure and covered by your policy's dwelling coverage

  • Other structures coverage - Your insurer may consider in-ground pools as an additional structure on your property, like a shed or gazebo. Other structures coverage is usually 10% of your dwelling coverage. That means if you insured your house for $400,000, your pool would be covered up to $40,000

  • Personal property coverage - Some providers, like Allstate, for example, classify above-ground pools as personal property because it is an impermanent structure that is assembled or constructed and ultimately portable, like a bike or computer, usually constitutes 50% to 75% of your overall dwelling coverage. So if your house is insured for $400,000, then your insurer could cover up to $300,000 in personal property coverage damage

How much is homeowners insurance with a pool?

Having a pool will make your homeowners insurance more expensive than if you did not have a pool. However, how much a pool affects the cost of your homeowners insurance will depend on the type of pool you have and how your insurer classifies it. Increasing your liability coverage will raise your premiums, but the protection is necessary due the added risk that comes with owning a pool.

In addition to increasing your liability coverage if you own a pool, it’s also important to know how your pool is classified by the insurance company, as that will affect how much coverage you need in the section of your policy that the pool falls under. If your pool is considered personal property, for example, you may consider increasing your personal property coverage limit.

How does having a pool impact your liability coverage?

Since pools are considered an attractive nuisance and a liability hazard, it may necessitate more than the standard amount of liability coverage. Homeowners insurance policies are typically equipped with anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 (in increments of $100,000) in personal liability coverage, which will cover you for costs like medical bills and legal fees if a guest is injured in your home.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends that pool owners set their liability insurance around  $300,000 to $500,000 . If you think you need additional coverage, you may want to consider an umbrella insurance policy, an additional liability policy you can tack on to your homeowners policy.

Pool safety tips

What exactly constitutes a pool is determined by your town. Make sure you’re in compliance with local municipality laws, which may have their own safety and building codes.

Take these pool safety measures to help reduce your personal liability and to help keep you, your family and your guests safe:

  • Build a child-safe fence around the pool

  • Install lights around the pool area

  • Use a solid, mesh, or automatic safety cover when you’re not swimming

  • Post a list of pool rules and emergency contact numbers

  • Keep a first aid kid nearby

  • Create a non-slip surface around the pool area

  • Clear the pool area of hazardous items, like toys, plastic bottles, or electronics

  • Supervise young children around the pool