Having a pool in your backyard is a luxury, especially if you live in a warm climate. But many people don’t consider how a pool can affect homeowners insurance. Having a pool can lead to potential liabilities, not to mention, they can be extremely expensive to repair and rebuild.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a house with a pool, or adding a pool to your existing property, it’s a good idea to understand how it might impact your home insurance policy. Here are some things to know about rates, requirements, and your coverage needs.
Does homeowners insurance cover in-ground pool damage?
Most homeowners insurance policies do cover in-ground pool damage. If your pool is damaged in a covered peril, your policy’s other structures coverage will pay for the repairs.
Here’s an example. If a tree falls onto your pool during a hurricane and damages the deck, your home insurance will help pay for the repairs, up to the policy’s limit. It also covers damage from fires, hail, windstorms, lightning, and similar weather events.
Keep in mind that home insurance policies don’t cover pool damage stemming from floods or earthquakes. If you live in an area where either are common, it’s a good idea to purchase a standalone flood or earthquake insurance policy.
Swimming pool insurance requirements
In most cases, your swimming pool doesn’t need to meet any specific requirements in order to get insurance coverage. However, it’s possible that some insurance companies will require your pool to have a fence or always be filled with water.
Ultimately, pools pose an added risk for insurance companies, so they want to make sure your pool is not an obvious liability when they underwrite your policy. Because of that, the insurance company may be hesitant to cover pools with slides or diving boards, which could increase the likelihood of an accident.
How much does a pool raise insurance rates?
If you have an in-ground pool in your backyard, you will most likely pay a higher home insurance premium. The exact rate increase depends on many factors, including your insurance company.
There are two ways that having an in-ground pool can lead to a higher insurance premium.
First, home insurance premiums depend on your home’s rebuild value, or the cost of rebuilding your house back to its original condition after a covered loss. Having a pool increases the rebuild value, which in turn will increase your premium.
Additionally, your home insurance company could increase your premium due to the added risk that comes with an in-ground pool. Having a pool means there is a higher risk of claims, both bodily injury claims and other structures claims.
If you are thinking about building a pool in your backyard, it’s a good idea to ask your insurance company how much your premium will increase. There might be certain things you can do to avoid a huge rate hike, like building a fence around the pool area.
How does a pool impact liability coverage?
Standard home insurance policies include liability insurance, which pays for third-party bodily injury claims if someone gets injured at your home, including while using the pool. Another portion of your policy, called medical payments coverage, helps to pay for the injured person’s medical bills.
Depending on your home insurance policy’s coverage limit, you might consider raising your limits for more protection if you have a pool. If you get involved in a lawsuit and your coverage limits don’t cover the full cost of your legal defense and settlement, you would have to pay the difference out-of-pocket.
If your liability coverage limit is already maxed out, another option is to purchase a separate umbrella insurance policy. Umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage, which can be useful if you have an in-ground pool.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), umbrella insurance usually costs between $150 and $300 per year for a $1 million policy.
Are above-ground pools covered by homeowners insurance?
Above-ground pools are usually covered by homeowners insurance, but it’s not the same policy that covers in-ground pools. Above-ground pools are typically covered by your personal property coverage because they are not a permanent addition to your property.
Before you install an above-ground pool, check your personal property insurance coverage. The III explains that most personal property coverage limits are between 50% and 70% of your dwelling insurance limit. Because above-ground pools can cost several thousand dollars or more, make sure you have enough coverage in case something happens and it needs to be replaced.
Do you need extra insurance to have a pool?
You aren’t required to get additional insurance if you have a pool. However, it can be beneficial, depending on the type of pool you have and your current coverage limits.
Make sure you have enough other structures coverage to pay for the cost of rebuilding an in-ground pool or enough personal property coverage to replace an above-ground pool. It’s also a good idea to consider raising your liability coverage limits in case of an accident.
Do insurance companies require a fence around a pool?
Most insurance companies do not explicitly require your pool to be fenced in. However, every insurance company has slightly different rules. Also, it’s possible that you could get a slightly lower insurance premium if you have a fence around your pool.
Do I need to tell my insurance company about my above-ground pool?
You should tell your insurance company if you install an above-ground pool in your backyard. Otherwise, it’s possible that the pool might not be fully covered in the event of a claim. An agent can also review your coverage limits and recommend more protection if you need it.
Are homeowners insurance rates higher if you have a pool?
Yes, homeowners insurance premiums are usually higher if you have a pool. This is because having a pool increases your liabilities and the risk of a claim. Plus, the cost of repairing or replacing a pool can be very expensive. Additionally, your insurance carrier might recommend a higher level of coverage, which comes with a more expensive premium.