Do you have a pool at your house or are you thinking of building one?
Most people forget how important your homeowners insurance can be and how it works for a swimming pool.
How is the pool structure itself covered?
Homeowner’s insurance generally provides coverage for damages to your home and “other structures” on the premises. As far as your insurance company is concerned, your pool is considered a separate entity from your house—which means it is covered under the “other structures” portion of your policy, along with detached garages, sheds, fencing and gazebos.
With most homeowner’s policies, the maximum amount of insurance coverage for these other structures is 10 percent the amount of coverage on your home. In other words, if your insurance policy covers $400,000 on your home, the coverage you would receive for your pool and other structures would be $40,000 combined.
If you have several outbuildings and an expensive pool you may need to purchase extra coverage on your policy.
The type of pool damages your insurance will cover varies depending on your specific policy. Be sure to read the fine print and ask your agent exactly what your policy covers. Most policies do not cover damage caused by freezing, thawing, pressure or weight of ice water. Therefore, be sure to properly protect and “winterize” your pool before the colder months hit.
How much liability insurance do I need?
Insurance can also protect you against liability issues related to your pool. Obviously, there are serious dangers associated with pools, including injuries and drowning.
Although the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy will protect your assets if someone sues you, it may not be enough. Most homeowner’s policies pay up to $300,000 in coverage each time a person makes a legitimate civil claim against you for an injury that occurred on your property. When you install in a pool, you are increasing the chances that someone could be seriously injured or even killed on your property—and $300,000 may not be enough such a tragedy.
Therefore, you should consider purchasing additional liability coverage after you install your new pool. First of all, find out if you can purchase higher liability coverage limits on your existing homeowner’s policy. You may be able to increase your coverage to $500,000 for just a few dollars a year.
However, this still may not be enough for a pool owner. You should also consider purchasing what’s known as a personal umbrella policy. This type of policy offers a higher level of liability coverage and ensures that you and your family will be protected if someone sues you for damages. Umbrella policies typically pay up to a predetermined limit, which is usually $1 million to $5 million, for liability claims made against you and your family. Personal umbrella policies are usually not very expensive and can provide piece of mind to you.
If you are interested in having us review your insurance situation or if you are thinking of building a pool and just want some advice on your insurance please give us a call at 804-559-1200.