Insuring your home when you have a pool

By: Nelson Smith on September 23, 2016

As the temperature soared to 30 degrees Celsius and higher this summer, I wished I had a pool in my backyard. Nothing beats taking a dip on a scorching hot day. And as Bart and Lisa Simpson taught us, having a pool will instantly make you popular among your friends.

But at the same time, it isn’t all good. Pools are expensive to install, especially the in-ground variety. Filling the pool will send your water bill soaring, and somebody has to take care of it – often at a cost of a few hundred dollars a month.

And then there’s the insurance factor. Here’s how your home insurance will be affected if you have a pool:

Expect higher premiums

Unless you live in a region where pools are commonplace and home insurers expect them, expect to pay a bigger premium for having a pool.

Basically, it goes like this: Children like to play in pools. Children are not good swimmers and can’t touch the bottom of the pool if they get in trouble. If a child gets hurt or drowns, it’s very bad news for the insurance company.

Every home insurance policy comes with general liability, which protects a homeowner if something bad happens on their property. A pool increases the chances of that happening.

Say somebody snuck into a yard with a pool in it, swam in it, and drowned. There is a chance the deceased’s estate could come after the homeowner even though they had no knowledge somebody was going to use their pool. Homeowners are responsible for making sure there’s reasonable protection around a pool.

Liability insurance protects the homeowner in that situation, and that means higher premiums.

The other reason the premium will go up is a home with a pool is likely worth more than a home without one. It isn’t cheap to get one installed, and many buyers ay a better price for the amenity.

Tell your insurer

Some people, especially those who are getting a pool installed after living somewhere for a number of years, might choose to not tell their insurance company they’re getting a pool.

This is a major mistake.

If a homeowner makes a major change like that and doesn’t tell their insurance company, it’s likely the insurer will refuse to pay out any pool-related insurance claims.

An insurer is likely to recommend a homeowner with a pool increase their general liability coverage for an additional cost. Since having a pool increases the chances of using that coverage significantly, it might be a good idea. Wrongful death lawsuits can cost a lot of money.

Be cautious

The last thing a pool owner wants is an insurance claim. More claims mean higher premiums.

Putting in safety measures is a good start. Homeowners are responsible for making sure there’s reasonable protection around a pool, including things like having a cover on it when it isn’t being used, a fence around the perimeter, or putting up signs that warn potential visitors (invited or uninvited) that there’s a pool there.

Limiting the use of alcohol around a pool is another good idea. Even if the pool isn’t being actively used, it’s not hard for a partygoer who has had too much to drink to fall in and not be able to recover. Even in the winter someone could injure themselves falling in an empty pool.

Having a pool can mean a lifetime of good summer memories. As long as homeowners are careful, those memories won’t be attached to a huge insurance bill.