During the summer, a swimming pool can be the center of summertime fun, family time, and exercise. Having a pool at home can be great fun for the entire family. It can enhance your property’s value and provide the perfect backdrop for social events ranging from BBQs to outdoor parties or even just enjoying a casual summer afternoon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States.
A pool is considered an “attractive nuisance” by the insurance industry. As enjoyable as it is, it will increase your liability risk so it’s advisable to contact your insurance professional and review your insurance if you’ve got a pool or are planning to install one.
Pool owners should consider increasing the liability portion of their homeowners policy to at least $300,000 or $500,000—more, if their assets warrant it.
You might also want to consider an umbrella liability policy, which provides additional liability protection over and above what you already have on your home.
Be sure to have enough insurance protection to replace your pool in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster—including the amount of any pool-related items, such as deck furniture.
It’s important to always make safety a priority. Below are some tips you should know.
- Install a pool fence and alarm. To eliminate unsupervised entrance to the swimming or spa area, install a fence with self-closing gates or other barrier on all sides of the pool. If the house forms part of the barrier to the pool, install alarms on doors leading to the pool area to prevent children from wandering into the pool or spa unsupervised. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating several “layers of protection” such as locks, alarms, locks and safety covers to secure the pool and pool area when not in use.
- Create and post a list of safety rules and strictly enforce them with guests.
- Post emergency numbers on the home phone nearest the pool, in the event of an accident. Keep a copy and a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool.
- Know how to shut of filters and other devices and clearly post this information so others can do so in case of an emergency.
Learn—and have your family members learn—basic water rescue skills, including first aid and CPR training.
- Get your children swimming lessons as early as possible. Having a backyard pool makes this a vital and important safety skill.
- Take safety precautions in the pool and pool area.
Despite even the best precautions, unfortunately accidents do sometimes happen. Therefore, you will need to be prepared for emergencies. One way to do so is to make sure that your home insurance will cover you if someone gets injured on your property. If you have recently installed a pool or have moved to a home with one, contact your agent to make sure that you are covered and follow the correct city or town guidelines.