homeowners insurance for backyard pools

Aside from a 60-inch screen TV, having a swimming pool in your backyard is the epitome of quality home leisure. But owning a pool comes with many responsibilities for homeowners — and risks.

does homeowners insurance cover swimming pools?

When the mercury outside is nearly bursting through its glass casing, backyard swimming pools offer the perfect refuge from the heat. They also provide a great setting for friends and families to get together and fire up that grill. But pool ownership is about more than maintaining optimum pH levels and having the coolest house on the block — it also means ensuring you have the right protection in place in case disaster strikes.

Homeowners insurance generally covers both your property and your liability. So if you have a backyard pool — or are planning to build one — your policy could offer some protection.

Liability coverage and swimming pools

One of the biggest issues related to backyard pools is safety — both for you and your family, as well as guests. Every year, there are 7,000 drowning deaths in the United States, and 80 percent of them occur in residential swimming pools.

A backyard swimming pool is considered an "attractive nuisance" — which is a way of saying something on your property has alluring entertainment value, but is also a potential safety hazard.

As a homeowner, you are liable for the safety of anyone on your property. In fact, even if people chicken fight in your pool without your knowledge, you could still be held accountable for any injuries sustained.

If someone has an accidental spill or slip around the pool area, you may be subjected to medical and legal costs — which is where liability coverage can help.

Liability protection comes standard on an Esurance policy, with default limits of $100,000. But, if you have something potentially dangerous like a backyard pool on your property, you could consider increasing your coverage.

Property coverage and pool damage

Home insurance could also help cover damage to your backyard pool in some situations. If a windstorm fells a tree, for instance, and damages your pool, your policy could help cover repair costs. Or, if thieves make off with your pool cover, homeowners insurance could help pay to replace it.

However, there are some circumstances in which the homeowner would be responsible for getting things fixed. Homeowners insurance usually doesn't cover damages caused by "ground movement" — so you'd be liable for cracks in your pool that result from natural shifts in the earth.

Issues that arise from a lack of maintenance, or general wear and tear, are also not covered by most homeowners insurance companies.

in-ground vs. above-ground pools: how does insurance coverage differ?

Other structures insurance coverage, which comes standard on an Esurance policy, typically offers protection for things like car ports, toolsheds, and in-ground pools. So, if a lightning strike results in damage to your pool, this coverage would kick in and pay (up to your chosen limits) for the necessary repairs.

An above-ground pool, on the other hand, is often considered personal property (like that coveted 60-inch screen TV). That's because it can be assembled, disassembled, and is, therefore, considered a transportable item, regardless if a permanent deck is built around it.

While homeowners insurance could protect both types of swimming pools from covered risks, it's good to note that pools with diving boards or slides increase the risk of liability, and are, therefore, often not covered at all. With that in mind, it's always a good idea to speak with your insurer and review your coverage to ensure your protection is up to snuff.

5 safety tips for backyard pools

While having a pool can often impact how much you pay for homeowners insurance, there are ways you can at least help reduce the risks associated with them — taking preventative steps never hurts.

Here are some tips that could help reduce the risk of injury at your pool, and thereby, keep your family and guests safer (and ward off unsolicited chicken fights).

1. Fencing in your pool

While they are not foolproof, swimming pool safety fences could help provide the first layer of defense against the neighborhood kid, dodging supervision.

Fencing the perimeter of your pool with a 4-feet-high barrier buys you time, and is one more way to keep the unexpected at bay. Also, make sure to minimize the gaps in the fence's construction so that no children can squeeze through.

2. Swimming pool safety covers

A good second line of defense are lockable pool covers, which come in an array of styles so you don't have to sacrifice aesthetics for safety. Be sure to maintain your pool covers regularly, and keep the control equipment out of reach from children.

3. Door alarms

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends equipping any doors or gates that allow access to the pool with alarms. The alarm should persist for at least half a minute, and loud enough that it is within earshot anywhere in the house.

4. Swimming pool drain covers

Make sure your pool has drain covers that comply with the Pool & Spa Safety Act. These are a critical way of helping to prevent dangerous entrapment incidents for your family and guests.

5. Pool supervision

Swimming pool safety signs are a good start, but it's imperative that you always monitor any children who are swimming or playing near the pool deck. It's also important to teach your kids basic water safety (and it's such a great way to bond!)

get reliable homeowners insurance from esurance

Esurance is all about helping homeowners learn the ins and outs of their policy. Speak with our licensed agents or get a free online quote in just a few minutes to customize a policy that feels best for you.

Thinking of adding an extra layer of protection? If so, you could consider umbrella insurance, which can kick in if you have a costly accident and you exceed the limits of your home or auto policy.

The true cost of installing a swimming pool
While it can add value and appeal to your home, there are many things to think about when installing a swimming pool.

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