Make Sure You Are Not Underinsured If You Have a Pool

23 Aug

While having a swimming pool in your backyard is always fun, they can also be dangerous and if you are underinsured, you could end up covering the cost of injuries or legal bills out of pocket. According to CDC statistics, there are 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S. every year which breaks down to roughly 11 drowning deaths per day.

If you have a pool at your home, it is always advisable to make safety a top priority and to take actions to mitigate the risk. In addition, pool owners should talk to their insurance company about the amount of liability insurance they should carry in order to be protected in the event an accident happens at their pool.

Pools come with tons of liability risk

Pools come with lots of liability risk, and you want to be sure you are fully protected. Liability can vary by state as negligence laws can differ from state to state but in general there are a couple different types of liability you should be aware of if you own a pool. Here is a quick rundown:

  • Negligence: If you have people over to swim at your pool and one of them drowns or a child drowns, you may be found negligent, particularly if no one is monitoring the swimmers. If it is determined that you were negligent, you could be sued by the family of the person that drowned. 
  • Unsecured pool: Your liability doesn’t go away just because you are not at home. If a neighbor or child gets into you pool while you are out and drowns or is injured, you could be found liable. This is particularly true if you were aware that people were coming to your pool when you gone and did nothing about it or if your pool is not gated with a locking gate. 
  • Commercial activities: If you are giving swimming lessons to local kids or rent out your pool via Airbnb or Swimply, these may be considered commercial activities by your insurance carrier and it could result in a denied claim if there is an accident in your pool, leaving you to cover any medical and legal costs. 

Consider extra liability coverage

In most cases, a standard homeowners policy doesn’t offer enough liability protection if you own a pool. A typical homeowners policy comes with $100,000 in liability coverage which will not be enough if a serious injury or death occurs at your pool. 

Pool owners should consider an umbrella policy that kicks in once your homeowners liability is used up. An umbrella policy not only protects you if someone is injured in your pool but also if someone slips and falls in your home or even if you injure someone with your car. Umbrella policies are typically sold in $1million increments and while pricing varies, expect to pay between $200 and $400 a year for coverage. 

Safety precautions can help

While carrying the proper amount of insurance is a necessity for pool owners, so is taking a number of precautions to make your pool area safe and secure for your family and guests. In addition, your insurance company may require certain safety features be installed before they will insure your pool. As an example, most insurance companies will require that your pool is fenced and has a locking gate. 

Here are a few other safety features you should consider to keep your pool safe and help prevent accidents:

  • Install locking gates that close automatically
  • Safety covers for the pool
  • Install alarms at your home and at the pool
  • Install monitored video cameras to keep people out of your pool when you are gone
  • Keep ring buoys and reaching pools near the pool
  • Have a first-aid kit near the pool
  • Know water safety and rescue skills
  • Get CPR certified

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