Installing a pool in your family’s backyard is a fantastic way to thrill the kids – and some neighbours and extended family, too. If you experience hot summers, a pool can be a great way to relax when the sun’s rays start to become unbearable – and nothing can beat the convenience of having a pool right in your backyard. Owning a pool is fantastic, albeit it takes some ongoing maintenance, construction, and it can be expensive. If you are already set on purchasing and installing a pool, there’s one last thing to consider – your home insurance. Did you know that a swimming pool could impact your home insurance? That’s right. A backyard swimming pool can be a liability.
We’ll explain in further detail.
Do swimming pools raise home insurance rates?
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a pool is how it may increase your liability risk. Your homeowner’s insurance policy covers you for liability events if a guest or a third-party injures themselves at your home or as a result of your actions, which technically includes any instances of swimming pool usage. However, swimming pools are considered a higher-risk liability when compared to other common features in a home. Swimming pools attract interest, especially from children, who may be neighbours or simply passing by – and can injure themselves using a pool, whether or not they were given permission. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of being a pool owner is that your standard home insurance policy’s liability coverage limits may not be enough to handle the lawsuit over a grave injury or even the potential death of someone who was using your pool. It is advised that you extend your liability limits beyond the standard amount or have a discussion with your insurance broker about purchasing an umbrella policy to cover any gaps.
It’s also important to note that you need coverage for damage to your swimming pool as well. Depending on whether your pool is covered under personal property or replacement cost, you may need to increase the value of your home as written on your policy. Doing both this and increasing your liability limits will be reflected in an increase in your premium costs.
TL;DR, yes, a swimming pool can raise your home insurance rates.
Preventing pool-related home insurance claims
One of the biggest contributors to a rise in home insurance premiums is your insurance history. The more claims you have made in the past, the more likely you may be perceived to make future claims. Your insurance provider may require you to implement a number of mandatory safety measures, and these can vary from provider to provider. The most common safety measure required is generally the installation of a locked fence around your family’s pool. It may also be the case that this is required anyway, as per the bylaw regulations of where you live, but this isn’t always true. Fences may need to be a certain height, constructed from a certain material, and include a warning sign.
In addition, you may wish to cover your pool whenever it isn’t in use. Children should never be left unsupervised around your pool, and individuals consuming alcohol should be prohibited usage of the pool. If you plan to host events or parties at your pool, consider posting a sign with rules. It may be a requirement in your municipality (or per your insurance provider) that your pool has a minimum depth of around 1.2m, but the exact number may vary from provider to provider.
Home insurance is a great way to preserve your peace of mind, but it shouldn’t be your only fallback. Take proper care of your pool. Clear out the debris, check chlorine levels regularly, check the plumbing, look for any cracks or splits in the surrounding cement, etc. Also, note that if you are building a fence around your swimming pool and it connects with a neighbour’s shared property line, get written approval from them first.
Finally, use your common sense. If your teenage son is looking to have some friends over, be smart about allowing them access to the pool or have them follow the written rules, just as you would any other guest. If your neighbour regularly allows their pet dog to wander into your yard, make sure that the pool cover is properly lain out for when the pool is not in use to avoid any mishaps!
Curious to know how your home insurance might be impacted if you purchase and install a pool? Discuss with an Excalibur Insurance Group broker to review how your existing rates may change with the inclusion of a pool.