Homeowner’s insurance and residential swimming pools: are you covered? A 5:00 AM swim in your backyard pool can be both invigorating and refreshing. Nevertheless, carefully consider these chilling statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before you begin the installation of a residential swimming pool:
- Nine people drown each day in the United States.
- Among children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental injury-related death.
- Among children 1 to 4, drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death and it mostly occurs in residential pools.
- 77% of those involved in a home-drowning accident were missing for less than five minutes when found in the swimming pool.
- In nearly 9 out of 10 child-drowning deaths, a parent or caregiver claimed to be watching the child.
Having your own pool can be a great way for your family to relax, socialize and exercise together. To help you minimize the risks that accompany a residential swimming pool (and remember: with insurance, higher risks can lead to higher premiums), take the following five steps:
- Research your local building codes for residential swimming pools.
- Determine the required safety equipment, such as fences, locking gates, locking pool covers and lifesaving floatation devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four-sided fencing that isolates the pool from the house and the yard has shown to decrease the number of drowning injuries from 90 to 50 percent.
- It helps if the pool is not a temptation (especially to children) visible from the road. On the other hand, if the pool cannot be readily seen, perhaps in your backyard, it can be helpful to post signs to warn that a pool is present. Remember, even if someone were to trespass on your property and drown in your pool, you could be held liable. Many states believe a pool to be an attractive nuisance that can increase your negligibility.
- Do not install a diving board, or, if you have one, remove it. The diving board is the single piece of pool equipment on which most injuries occur. Most companies consider a diving platform to be a slightly better alternative. Some companies will not insure a home that has either a diving board or a diving platform.
- Be very careful with chemicals. Certain common pool chemicals create lethal gas when combined. For example, muriatic acid is used to reduce alkalinity in pools. When combined directly with chlorine, it creates a very toxic gas. Obviously, storing these two chemicals in close proximity could potentially cause problems.
Most importantly, discuss installing a residential pool with your homeowner’s insurance independent agent. Your agent may suggest you increase your amount of liability coverage for protection in the event of a lawsuit, especially if you open up the pool for parties and invite neighbors (and especially the neighbors’ children).
Your homeowner’s insurance independent agent can provide you with insurance options. They have a wide range of companies for you to choose from. Your independent agent can help you match what you can afford to pay with a prudent insurance plan.
Your insurance needs and the laws regarding accidents are complex. Coverage varies wildly from company to company. Laws are vastly different from state to state. Your independent agent knows the laws and companies that provide coverage options.
Don’t try to handle your insurance needs (especially those that incorporate a residential swimming pool) without first consulting with a homeowner’s insurance independent agent you trust.
Some other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Home Insurance:
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