A backyard swimming pool may be a fun way to relax in the summer sun, but it can also be a liability. So before you install a pool on your property, consider how it’ll affect your home insurance.
Do Pools Raise Home Insurance?
Premiums will often increase because you’re asking your insurer to take on more risk – both with possible damage to the pool and for any potential accidents it may cause.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, installing a backyard swimming pool starts at $20,000, but it’s even more expensive to pay medical bills or lost wages if a friend’s toddler drowns or a neighbour hits their head on the deck.
If you’re considering installing a pool, be sure to get some home insurance quotes that reflect this change so you can get a better idea of the costs associated with owning and maintaining a pool. Depending on the size of the pool, estimates range from $30-$75 extra per month to insure your pool against damage. It doesn’t seem too bad when you consider a ripped pool liner can cost thousands to repair or replace.
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The Home Insurance Risks of a Pool
Between 1991 and 2013, an average of 518 Canadians died in water-related accidents each year, according to a recent Canadian Red Cross report. While half of those deaths occurred in lakes, ponds, and oceans, 8% happened in backyard pools. Homeowners can be held liable for deaths and injuries that take place in their pools, even if the victim was trespassing.
While your homeowner’s insurance policy can respond to any pool-related lawsuits, make sure you follow the safety precautions they set out. Not doing so could invalidate your policy.
How to Avoid Pool Related Insurance Claims
Mandatory safety measures vary by insurance provider, but many require homeowners to install a locked fence around the pool. Your municipality may also require you to do so, as well as specifying a minimum height for that fence. In Toronto, for example, fences around pools have to be at least 1.2 metres high. Also, consider posting a warning sign and installing solid or mesh safety covers for when the pool isn’t in use. A cover can help keep both people and water out of the pool.
Make sure children are always supervised when in the pool. If anyone chooses not to use the pool safely, get them out of the water. For instance, if your neighbours have a few too many drinks at the block party, get a little rowdy, and start a game of tag on the slippery deck, move the party inside as soon as possible. Create and post the rules of the pool to avoid any arguments with anyone. You don’t need that liability headache.
Finally, remember that insurance isn’t meant to replace run-of-the-mill maintenance tasks. During the summer, get rid of debris in the water, check chlorine levels and make sure toys aren’t stuck in the plumbing. In the off-season, hire a professional to open and close the pool, as well as to check for cracks.
A pool is so fun in the hot summer sun and can lead to many great memories for you, your friends, neighbours, and children. If you take the necessary precautions, you can enjoy the pool worry-free. Happy swimming!