Home Insurance

How does insurance work for pools and hot tubs?

By: Steven Brennan on June 4, 2024
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Backyard pool builds have become increasingly popular throughout Canada since the pandemic. From January 2023 to January 2024, around 12,901 permits were registered for in-ground swimming pools, according to Statistics Canada. And in recent years, pool builders have been busier than ever with the wave of new pool builds showing little sign of slowing down post-pandemic. 

But how does your homeowner’s insurance cover the introduction of a pool to your property? And how can you protect yourself from the various risk factors that swimming pools or hot tubs present?  

Related: Should you tell your home insurance company about your renovations?  

Insurance factors to consider 

Whether you’re planning to build a pool, install a hot tub or buy a home with one already in place, there are plenty of details to consider when it comes to your home insurance. Not all providers will cover your pool or hot tub under a standard policy, plus there are a lot of risk factors that might be easy to overlook. 

Liability risks 

One of the biggest insurance risks with pools and hot tubs is third-party liability. If someone is injured while using your pool, you could potentially be on the hook for medical expenses, legal fees or even damages. Slips and falls, as well as more serious events such as severe injury or drowning, are all potentials that would ideally be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.  

In addition to these, Kari Calver, service manager at Mitch Insurance Brokers, also highlights some more subtle risk potentials.  

“Not handling your pool or hot tub chemicals properly could result in skin irritation, respiratory problems or even chemical burns,” she says. “There’s also the potential for bacterial or fungal infections if the water in your pool or hot tub isn’t adequately maintained.” 

Related: Renting out your pool? Beware the home insurance liability pitfalls 

Property damage 

Pools and hot tubs can be a risk in terms of damage to your and your neighbor’s property. A leak or structural malfunction could lead to costly water damage that you would be responsible for. 

Regulation compliance 

Another important aspect of insuring a pool or hot tub is compliance. Depending on your municipality, you may need to meet certain rules and regulations to qualify for full insurance coverage. These could include having to put up a protective fence with a lock, installing a ladder or step to access the water, and other regulations.  

Increased premiums 

Naturally, having a pool will increase your insurance costs. The actual amount will vary between providers, and depends on the specific details of your home, your pool and any other related structures you have in place. 

Read more: So you want to get a pool. Here’s what it will do to your home value and insurance premiums 

Securing adequate protection for your pool 

Because insurance coverage for pools, hot tubs and related structures will vary among providers, it’s important to know where you stand when it comes to your current policy. 

“Some property insurance providers will automatically cover damage to your pool under section A of the coverages, while others only cover you if you have the appropriate endorsement added to your policy,” says Calver.  

The safest way to make sure that you’re adequately covered is by asking your insurance broker and being detailed about your home and pool.  

Whether or not your pool or hot tub is fully covered against third-party liability and property damage claims will depend on your current homeowner’s insurance policy, as well as the size and value of your pool.  

Checking your policy to understand the coverage provided, particularly when it comes to liability, is essential when building or installing a pool or hot tub. If your pool is of a certain size or value, or you simply want to ensure full coverage, Calver recommends one of two options. 

Calver recommends increasing the personal liability coverage limit on your property insurance or purchasing umbrella insurance to cover all your bases and beyond.  

And while the cost differential will depend on your provider, as well as the details of your pool, this added coverage doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. 

For example, Calver says that doubling your liability limit from $1 million to $2 million could cost less than $100 per year. And if you need separate coverage, a $5 million liability limit could cost less than $500 per year. 

Related: How is fault determined in the world of home insurance? 

Stay safe around the pool 

Whether or not full coverage is necessary for your backyard pool setup, it’s important to know where you stand with your policy.  

However, reducing your risk isn’t just a matter of purchasing additional coverage - there are all kinds of safety precautions and best practices you can implement to stay safe and reduce your risk of accidents. 

When it comes to structure and maintenance, install non-slip surfaces around the pool, and keep up regular, responsible maintenance of the pool and any related equipment. It’s a good idea to check your local regulations and pool codes, too, as these can be updated from year to year. 

There are also other steps you can take to reduce your liability risks, like putting up a fence around your pool (depending on where you live, it may be mandatory) and making sure that children are never playing in the pool without adults supervising nearby. Avoiding any excessive alcohol or substance use can also lower your risk potential. 

Whether you’re looking to splash out on a new in-ground pool build, or upgrade your existing homeowner’s insurance policy, it’s important to know exactly where you stand when it comes to full coverage. Buffing up your insurance coverage and safe pool practices will keep you and your friends and family safe, secure, and swimming free.  

Read next: Renting out the cottage this summer? Consider the insurance implications 

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