How Does Having a Pool Affect Your Home Insurance Coverage?
The demand for swimming pools, which skyrocketed during the pandemic, appears to be settling down. If you already have a pool — or are looking to buy a home that does — you might be wondering if it will affect your homeowners insurance coverage. The short answer is yes, but the extent largely depends on the type of pool you have and the level of coverage offered in your policy.
Here’s a closer look at how a pool could impact your coverage and rates.
A quick review of how homeowners insurance works
Before we get into the details, let’s first review how homeowners insurance works. It’s an insurance policy that protects homeowners if a covered event damages or destroys your home. This includes the structure of the home itself, as well as certain assets within the property. Most homeowners insurance policies also provide some degree of liability coverage. If someone gets hurt on your property, that liability component may cover medical bills and legal fees for the injured party. Mortgage lenders typically require homeowners insurance, but the level of coverage can vary depending on your needs, budget, and risk tolerance.
Homeowners pay a premium to keep their home insurance policy active. If you experience a covered event, you’ll have to file a claim and meet your deductible before the insurer kicks in their share. The deductible usually resets on a per-claim basis. Going with a higher deductible generally translates to a lower premium, and vice versa.
How does a pool affect homeowners insurance?
Insurance companies look at pools as an additional risk. In 2021, there were 6,800 cases of nonfatal pool- or spa-related injuries in the United States, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That number doesn’t include fatal drownings.
If you already have a pool, it’s wise to contact your homeowners insurance company sooner rather than later to clarify your current coverage. The Insurance Information Institute recommends upping the liability portion of your policy to a minimum of $300,000 to $500,000, though you may choose to go higher if you have a lot of assets. Increasing this coverage will also push up your premiums, but in the event of an accident, it could provide much-needed financial protection.
You’ll also want to get clear on how your insurance company classifies pools. Some carriers, for example, consider a swimming pool as “other structures” akin to a shed. That means you’ll want to make sure you have enough coverage for the pool. Other companies, however, may cover an in-ground pool under your policy’s dwelling coverage. Meanwhile, an above-ground pool could be considered personal property if it is designed to be stored during colder months.
This is all to say that you’ll want to connect with your insurer to understand how the pool will be classified. Doing so might prompt you to increase your other structure coverage, which is typically 10% of your dwelling coverage amount. (If you have a $300,000 policy, that translates to $30,000.) Be sure you have enough other structure coverage to protect the pool itself, along with any decking or surrounding structures. You might also choose to increase your liability coverage. It’s important to know in case your pool is damaged during a covered event. In that case, you could file a claim to cover some or all of the repairs.
Just bear in mind that certain events are generally not covered. This includes earthquakes, flooding, burst pipes, hurricanes, and water or sewage backup. You would need to add extra coverage to your policy for these kinds of events.
How much does home insurance cost with a pool?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer because every home, pool, insurer, and policy is different. Dialing up your liability coverage is certainly recommended if you have a pool. The extent to which this increases your homeowners insurance premiums will vary based on how much coverage you have. Generally speaking, home insurance rates are shaped by a number of factors, including:
- The age of your home
- Your level of coverage
- Your deductible
- Prior insurance claims
- Your credit score (depending on your state)
Tips for staying safe in the pool
Keeping your pool safe can help prevent dangerous accidents — and the unwanted financial consequences they could bring. Consider implementing the following pool safety tips:
- Never leave children unattended by the pool
- Put up a safety fence around the pool
- Install an alarm system that notifies you if someone walks onto the pool deck
- Lock doors that lead to the pool area
- Enroll young children in swimming lessons
- Post pool rules in clear view of swimmers
- Get household members CPR-certified
- Keep the pool deck free of toys and debris that people could trip over
- Discourage horseplay
Having a pool is an amenity you and your family may love. It might even increase your property value, which is certainly a good thing when it comes time to sell. Meanwhile, you’ll want to be sure your homeowners insurance policy adequately covers your pool. At the end of the day, it’s about keeping everyone safe — and financially protecting yourself from the unexpected.
Looking to ensure you have adequate coverage or save on your home insurance? Get a personalized quote from our network of 40+ A-rated carriers.