Swimming pools and your homeowners policy
With Memorial Day and warm summer weather just around the corner, many homeowners are beginning to consider opening or installing a swimming pool. From the perspective of your homeowners insurance, there are numerous factors to consider before diving in the deep end.
1. What is my insurance carrier's policy towards swimming pools?
In Pennsylvania, not all insurance companies will write a property with a swimming pool. Others will allow a pool only under very specific conditions, such as requiring a fence or not allowing a water slide or diving board. Other carriers may require an inspection or charge drastic premium increases or simply refuse the policy. In any case, be sure to contact your local agent to make sure your policy is written correctly.
2. Why is insurance for swimming pools so complicated?
Swimming pools are an example of what the insurance industry refers to as an "attractive nuisance." An attractive nuisance is defined as anything that might attract a child and also pose a danger for that child. Other examples of an attractive nuisances include trampolines and ATVs. Homeowners are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect children from this potential danger. For a swimming pool, reasonable measures include a fence, an automatic safety cover, or a sign. Different carriers require different precautions, so contact your insurance agent to be certain you are taking the appropriate steps.
3. What other steps can I take?
Even if you have taken reasonable precautionary measures, it may still be wise to consider increasing the coverage limits on your homeowners policy. Obviously, any increase in coverage will bring an increase in premium, so it is important to contact your agent to make sure you have the appropriate amount of coverage. Additionally, it may be prudent to increase the personal liability limit on your policy. Many homeowners policies have a base of $100,000 in liability, so speak with your agent about potentially increasing that limit to protect yourself in the event of an accident or a lawsuit. Other steps, such as purchasing an umbrella policy, are also worth considering, particularly if you have a higher-value home or significant assets.
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun in the sun. Contact your local insurance agent so you can enjoy your swimming pool worry-free.