Whether you have an in-ground pool, above-ground pool, or even an inflatable kiddie pool, it is important to carefully consider the all the safety and insurance risk implications. All kinds must be properly insured and comply with local regulations. Here’s why both are important. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 3,200 people drown each year. Among children of the ages one to four, the majority drown in residential swimming pools. More alarming, most of these young children had been out of sight for less than five minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
Things to Consider
Your pool is officially termed an “attractive nuisance” by your insurance company. Dictionary.com defines that as: “a doctrine of tort law under which a person who creates or permits to exist on his or her land a dangerous condition attractive to children, as an unfenced swimming pool, is liable for their resulting injuries, even though the injured are trespassers.” Since you can be held legally liable for any such incident, it is naturally a concern of your insurance company. When you put in a pool, in-ground or above-ground, always disclose the change to your insurance agent, otherwise you could find that your insurer refuses to cover any claims.
In a most circumstances you will pay more in premiums when you install a pool, but the amount of the increase can vary depending on your insurer, your location and even how you situate your pool. For example, if your pool is visible from the street you’re likely to pay more than if it’s discreetly tucked out-of-site behind your property. Your insurance company may also ask you to install a secure pool cover, or you may be asked not to install additional equipment such as a slide or diving board that could increase the risk of injury to those using the pool. In some cases, added safety measures may also lead to a break on any premium increase.
It is always best to consult an agent before you begin your pool project, to take these and other cost factors into account.
Many homeowners’ policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing the amount to $300,000 or $500,000.
Each town will have its own definition of a “pool,” often based on its size and water depth. If the pool you are planning meets the definition, then you must comply with all local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain height, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.
You may want to talk to your insurance agent about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium of about $200 to $300 a year, you get $1 million of liability protection over and above what you have on your home. It would also provide added liability protection when you drive.
If the pool itself is expensive, or if you decide to install an in-ground structure, you should also make sure you have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster.
Here are some pool safety tips recommended by the Insurance Information Institute
- Put fencing around the pool area to keep people from using the pool without your knowledge. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating “layers of protection” around the pool, i.e. setting up as many barriers as possible (door alarms, locks and safety covers) to the pool area when not in use.
- Never leave small children unsupervised—even for a few seconds. And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them.
- Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing. In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information for easy use.
- Be sure all pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible.
- Don’t swim alone or allow others to swim alone.
- Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards.
- Keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
- Don’t allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol to use the pool.
- Pay attention to the weather. Excessive heat can cause dizziness, which can dangerous around a pool. And never swim during rain or lightning storms.
- Never dive into an above-ground pool and check the water depth before plunging into an in-ground pool. Keep clear of the area near a diving board.
- Don’t swim if you’re tired or have just finished eating.
- In the event of an accident, clearly post emergency numbers on the phone. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider basic first aid and CPR training.
So, enjoy your pool this summer. They are an enjoyable source of fun and exercise. To add peace of mind to your enjoyment, be sure to check with your insurance agent to see that you are adequately protected in case of an accident.
The professionals at Freedom Insurance Agency care about your safety and financial well-being. Speak to an agent today to be sure you can enjoy your pool worry-free.
We care about you and your loved ones!