Fencing Your Pool | Having a pool in your backyard is undeniably awesome—except when it comes to cleaning it and figuring out insurance rates for it. Does homeowners insurance cover swimming pools? Definitely. But there are some angles that not everyone considers before installing one or buying a house with one. We’ve put them together here so that you know what to expect at every step of the way, including how insurance for swimming pool contractors works for you as the pool owner. Homeowners insurance protects you financially if your property is damaged or someone has an accident while visiting you. Raising your deductible, installing a home alarm system and using the same company for home and auto coverage lower your insurance costs. A fence might reduce your homeowners insurance premium, too.
Video courtesy of: Protect A Child
If you live locally in Murrieta and have a pool, you may have asked whether or not installing a pool fence can lower your insurance rates. Today we are addressing this question.
Having a pool in your backyard may be fun, but it is important to understand all the costs and responsibilities associated with installing a swimming pool. The presence of a pool can increase a homeowner’s insurance rates (compared to homes that do not have pools) as swimming pools are considered to be “attractive nuisances” to insurance companies. In fact, pools are a homeowner’s liability. Pool owners are liable for any individual who uses it with or without permission.
But will a pool fence lower homeowner’s insurance rates?
A property perimeter fence is mandated at minimum* if you have a pool, and many people have both a perimeter fence and a pool fence installed. Installation of pool fences is a great way to prevent accidental drownings, but it may not have a direct impact on the cost of homeowner’s insurance rates. No additional credit will be given to homeowners for having a pool fence in addition to the perimeter fence. A pool fence is considered as an indirect expense by most insurance companies. However, pool fences may help prevent a homeowner’s liability from increasing since it proactively reduces the risk of accidental drownings (and other accidents).
You May Not Be Aware of the 2018 California Backyard Pool Law
POOL SAFETY FEATURES
The law requires new and remodeled pools and spas to have at least two of the following:
- An enclosure isolating the pool or spa from a single-family home
- A qualified, removable mesh fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate with a lock
- An approved safety pool cover
- Exit alarms on the home’s doors that provide direct access to the swimming pool or spa
- On home doors leading to a pool or spa, a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism that is at least 54 inches above the ground
- An alarm that, when placed in the swimming pool or the spa, sounds when an unauthorized person enters the water
- Another means of protection accepted under the law
Most insurance companies require pool owners to comply with their local municipality ordinances. Almost all towns on Long Island require the installation of fences to enclose around swimming pools; however, Life Saver Pool Fence of New York recommends that you to contact your town’s building department for the most accurate swimming pool building regulations. Doing so is the only real way to identify the exact laws that you need to follow. You should also contact your insurance company and collect detailed information to answer your questions. Read more…
Although expensive to install and maintain, having a pool is a luxury that many people seek. Because of their popularity, homes with pools sometimes sell for higher values than similar homes without pools, though this is not uniformly the case.
Home insurance policies aren’t only about your house – when you insure your home, you are also insuring your property. Unfortunately for pool owners, the value of a home’s contents are generally calculated as a percentage of a home’s value. If your property value increases 10 per cent from $250,000 to $275,000 because you installed a pool, your contents value could also increase by 10 per cent.
A swimming pool’s impact on your homeowner’s insurance premiums will be determined by your policy’s specific terms. Specifically, whether your premiums remain the same or increase when installing a swimming pool will depend on whether your policy already includes coverage for pools, which is somewhat common in the Southern United States, and whether you would like to increase your coverage limits. Even if you decide to enhance your policy’s coverage or limits, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize the impact on your homeowner’s insurance premiums. So, is fencing your pool one of them?
Swimming pools are an attractive nuisance
In the insurance industry, swimming pools are the most often cited example of an “attractive nuisance.” USLegal explains that an attractive nuisance is anything that might attract a child and pose a danger to the unsupervised child. Examples of attractive nuisances include trampolines, farm equipment, man-made ponds, and, of course, swimming pools.
Homeowners are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect naive children from the potential danger posed by an attractive nuisance. For homeowners with pools, reasonable measures may include installing a(n):
- fencing your pool around the perimeter
- automatic safety cover
- solid or mesh safety cover
- posting a sign
- providing accessible safety equipment
Increase your homeowner’s coverage and limits
Even if you take reasonable precautionary measures such as fencing your pool, you may still want to increase your homeowner’s insurance coverage and limits. Of course, any increase in your homeowner’s insurance will result in a higher annual premium because the insurance company is assuming a greater risk.
First, you will need to confirm that your homeowner’s insurance policy covers swimming pools. Many policies for Houston-area homes already do, because pools are so common in the area. If yours doesn’t, you will need to add this coverage.
Second, you may want to increase the liability coverage afforded by your homeowner’s insurance. Most homeowner’s policies come with a standard $100,000 of liability coverage, and many homeowners never consider increasing that limit. According to Zacks Investment Research, insurance companies typically recommend increasing liability coverage from $100,000 to $500,000 when installing a swimming pool. In states where swimming pools aren’t standard, Zacks says, such an increase might add $50 to $75 to a homeowner’s insurance annual premium. In areas like Houston, where insurance companies often plan on residents having pools, the increase might be less.
Third, if your assets are significant, you may want to purchase additional liability coverage through an umbrella insurance policy. An umbrella insurance policy provides a lot more liability coverage, well beyond the typical limits of a homeowner’s policy, at an affordable price. Zacks research shows that most umbrella insurance policies cost $200 to $300 annually for $1 million in coverage. While this technically is not an increase in your homeowner’s insurance premium, anyone who would purchase an umbrella policy when installing a pool should take this additional cost into account. Read more here…
It’s important to realize that all insurance pairs up a financial value to certain levels of risk. Every one of us loves to lounge in a pool on a hot summer day, but occasionally people do have accidents. Most of the time it’s just your neighbour’s kid refusing to get out of the pool to go to the bathroom (watch out for those warm spots!), but sometimes the situation can be a bit more serious.
A pool can add value to your home, but it can also add some insurance complications. That’s why this guide exists: to clear up some common questions we get about swimming pools. (Specifically about fencing your pool.
Find out what kind of pools we can cover, how they are covered under your home insurance policy, and exclusions you should know about.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Swimming Pools?
Yes, but your pool might need to meet some safety requirements before insurers cover it. For example, at Kin, we prefer pools that:
- Don’t have diving boards or slides
- Have at minimum a four-foot fence with a locking gate (this can be your backyard fence)
- Are filled with water (they can’t be empty)
If your pool meets these requirements, it can be covered. If a windstorm blew a branch into your pool that ripped the lining, your insurance could potentially pay for that repair.
Your homeowners insurance also usually offers personal liability coverage for visitor injuries that happen in or around your pool. However, pools do increase the risk of an injury happening on your property, so check your coverage limits. If you need more protection, consider an umbrella policy. This can supplement your liability coverage limits without drastically increasing your home insurance premium.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Above Ground or Inground Pools?
Insurance can typically cover both above ground and in-ground pools. The difference between these two types of pools from an insurance standpoint is which part of the policy protects the pool.
Insurance providers may use:
- Coverage A (dwelling portion) or Coverage B (other structures portion) to cover inground pools. The logic here is that inground pools cannot easily be disassembled and removed from the lot.
- Coverage C (personal property portion) to cover above ground pools. That’s because these can be disassembled and transported, like a trampoline. They are not necessarily part of the lot, so they are classified as personal property.
When in doubt about what part of your policy applies to your swimming pool, ask your agent. Click here for more info…
Although you can’t avoid the higher insurance costs associated with pool ownership, implementing safety procedures will help avoid potential accidents on your property. By lowering the risk of accidents, you decrease your chances of having to make a claim.
Dee (Deidre) writes and Curates for several Financial Services Site Blogs. We’re glad to have her.