Homeowners insurance is designed to protect homeowners from liability for visitors' accidental injuries as well as from damage to the property. If you have a swimming pool, it's important to understand exactly what your insurance does and does not cover. Some insurance companies exclude pools from coverage; in addition, not all injuries are covered even if you have insurance. It's important to determine what coverage you have before you use your pool so you won't end up owing a visitor thousands of dollars for injuries.
Make Sure There's No Pool Exclusion
Homeowners insurance covers most injuries to guests, visitors and residents of a home. However, insurance companies have the right to exclude certain injuries. Insurance companies do this so that they won't have to pay a lot of money to cover injuries that are extremely likely.
Many policies exclude backyard swimming pools from coverage. Swimming pools are sometimes considered high-risk because there are so many possibilities for injury. Many people are injured or killed each year because they fall into pools, dive into a pool that is too shallow, swim without proper skills or safety equipment or engage in horseplay in the water. Thus, your insurance company may specifically exclude your backyard swimming pool from coverage. Read your policy carefully and completely to find out if this is the case.
Follow All Instructions
In some cases, your swimming pool may only be covered if you follow certain safety precautions. It's common for insurance companies to require:
- The pool to be covered when not in use and secured behind a fence with childproof locks.
- The pool does not include a diving board or slide
- The pool is installed by a professional
If you don't follow these instructions or any others your insurance company requires, you may not be covered if someone is injured while using your pool. Insurance companies often set thee requirements in order to lower the risk of accidental injury while using the pool.
Make Sure Your Insurance Company Knows You Have a Pool
Homeowners insurance covers your home and property in your yard. However, when you sign up for insurance, you usually have to report everything in your yard in order to gain coverage. If you don't report something, it may be automatically excluded, depending on the terms of your insurance policy.
Thus, it's important to mention that you have a pool when you sign up for your policy. If you install a pool after you get your homeowner's policy, make sure you contact your insurance agent to let him or her know. Otherwise, you may not be covered if someone is injured while using your pool.
If you have a swimming pool, it's important to find out which damages or injuries are covered before you use it for the first time. Swimming pool injuries are as expensive as they are common; if you don't arrange proper coverage via your homeowners insurance, you could be liable for thousands of dollars in injuries and may end up getting sued if you can't pay them.
You may want to contact your insurer before you even install the pool. Some insurance companies have strict requirements regarding what type of pool you may install or how to install it, so you need to discuss the issue with your insurer before you begin in order to get coverage.
Damages to Pool are Not Covered
In most cases, damages to the pool itself are not covered even if injuries to pool users are. Your policy may have exclusions for weather damage to the pool or for damages to the pool when someone is injured. Check your insurance policy or contact your insurer to find out.