How installing a pool can affect your insurance
With it being the season for hot and sticky weather, it’s only natural to think about ways to cool off.
If you already have a pool, that’s great. But if you’re considering installing one, there are lots of things to mull over, including how it will affect your home insurance.
Premiums will often increase with a pool because the insurer assumes more risk. First, there’s any damage that can happen to the pool itself. Second, it covers any accidents it may cause as part of your home’s liability insurance. In that case, it would protect you from paying legal and medical fees if someone gets hurt.
In-ground pools with a concrete deck can cost as much as $25,000 to $65,000 or more to install. Above-ground types can be $6,000 or higher. Insurance estimates range from $25 to $680 depending on the type of pool and carrier. Insurance estimates can range from $35-$75 extra, which is a rough estimate for rebuild value and pool type.
Safety is paramount
As a pool owner, you need to do everything you can to ensure people use the pool safely whether it’s in-ground or above-ground. A 2018 Canadian Drowning Report prepared for the Canadian Lifesaving Society revealed between 2011 and 2015 eight per cent of fatalities occurred in backyard pools. And, 36 per cent of drownings of children aged 1-4 occurred in private pools.
Homeowners can be held liable for deaths and injuries that take place in their pools, even if the victim was trespassing. Not following safety precautions can invalidate your insurance. Be sure to follow these tips and any others set out by your insurer or municipality:
- Install a locked fence with a self-latching gate around the pool and keep it locked when not in use.
- Ensure children are always well supervised. Never leave them unattended.
- Keep lifesaving flotation devices nearby for emergency use.
- Be very careful about the use of alcohol at pool parties. If someone is getting a bit rowdy, get them away from the water.
- Post pool safety rules to avoid arguments and remind users about them before they swim.
- Keep the pool deck free of debris or anything that could be a tripping hazard.
The Canadian Red Cross is a good source for further Backyard pool safety tips.
Maintenance also plays an important role. While the pool is in use during the summer, ensure debris is removed, chlorine levels are checked and that the plumbing is in proper working order. At the end of the season, use a professional to close it and check for leaks and any other necessary repairs.
Above and beyond general wear and tear – there could be some circumstances which warrant a claim. If your neighbour’s tree crashes into your pool and tears the liner, for example, there may be a claim in the making. However, if your in-ground pool is leaking and affecting the foundation of your home, it would depend on your coverage. That’s why you need to be clear about what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. In other words, read the fine print.
One thing is for sure, your insurer needs to know about the pool. Talk to your broker to get the best advice on the policy that’s right for you.