There’s nothing like a refreshing dip in the pool on a hot summer day. That’s why a swimming pool can be a great investment for your property. However, pools come with their fair share of risks, which is why protecting them with the right insurance is so important.
Swimming pools are covered under your homeowner’s insurance. They are covered in two ways: (1) other structures or personal property coverage and (2) liability insurance. The first covers damage to the pool. The second covers injuries to guests—both invited and possibly trespassers.
Other Structures or Personal Property Coverage
If your pool is in the ground or installed permanently above the ground on your property, it is covered under Coverage B – Other Structures. This is an insurance term describing a detached structure on your property. Other structures include pools, fences, gazebos, sheds, etc. However, if your pool is above-ground but portable, it is considered part of your personal property and covered by Coverage C – Personal Property insurance.
- Coverage B – Other Structures – insurance covers open perils. That means a loss is covered unless it’s excluded. Typical exclusions include flood, earthquake, or wear and tear.
- Coverage C – Personal Property – insurance covers named perils. That means the loss is only covered if it is one of the 16 named perils (for example, fire, explosion, theft, etc.).
If a tree falls on your pool and damages it, your policy would help with repairs, minus your deductible, the amount you chose to pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.
- The coverage limit for other structures is generally set at 10% of your home’s coverage limit. That means if your home is insured for $200,000, the coverage limit for your pool would be $20,000. For an additional premium, you can add an endorsement for additional coverage: Other Structures – Increased Limits. You may wish to do so if your pool is worth more, such as if it has a deck, waterslide, diving board, or waterfall. (Note that some companies will not insure pools with slides and diving boards, as these can present additional risk.)
- Portable pools are covered under personal property. Depending upon the personal property limit that you set for your policy, you will get reimbursed if your pool is damaged by a covered peril. If your home is insured for $200,000, and your personal property coverage is 50%, 25%, your policy will pay up to $100,000 for repairs for covered perils. Personal property coverage for homeowners is 50% or 75%; renters may choose the amount that they wish for Coverage C.
This coverage comes with stipulations. You need to shut off the water supply and drain all systems and appliances of water at the end of the season. The loss may not be covered if the pool’s plumbing freezes. Insurers do not cover loss of property caused by faulty, inadequate, or defective maintenance.
If someone is injured — or tragically dies — in your pool, your liability policy can help to cover expenses from medical bills to lawsuits. This doesn’t apply to you or the members of your household but potentially covers any invited guests or even uninvited strangers.
Typical homeowner’s policies include $100,000 for base liability coverage. You will want to increase to the highest limit available if you have a swimming pool Alternatively, you can purchase a personal umbrella policy for additional coverage. An umbrella policy kicks in when you’ve reached the limits of your homeowner’s policy.
An Attractive Nuisance
Attractive nuisance is a term used to describe anything that might attract children and present a potential danger to them. Swimming pools are classified as attractive nuisances. As a homeowner, and owner of a pool, you are responsible to secure your pool to keep it as safe as possible from curious kids—or anyone else. Under the law, you may be found liable for any incidents even if you didn’t give someone permission to be on your property or in the pool.
- Install a fence around your pool and a locked gate to secure it.
- Install a locking pool cover that will hold the weight of an adult.
- Move the ladder away when your pool is not in use.
- Install an alarm that alerts you when someone is in the pool.
- Consider a security camera to help you monitor the pool.
- Follow any local laws on pool construction and safety.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
If the pool is portable, it is eligible for replacement cost under Coverage C. If it is not portable, you will insure it for actual cash value (ACV). ACV is the amount the item is worth, minus depreciation for its age. In a loss for other structures such as a pool, you will not receive more than the amount required to repair or replace it.
Refer to your policy to know what is covered and what is not covered so that you aren’t surprised in the event of an injury or damage. Choosing the right insurance will help give you peace of mind as you enjoy your pool this summer.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.