If you’re considering building a swimming pool, the pool might be covered in your current homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurance companies deem pools a liability, however, they are affordable to insure. Building a swimming pool means the homeowner is liable for any children using the pool, regardless of whether they have insurance. This guide will look into whether homeowner insurance policies cover you for pools, in-ground/above-ground pools, and how to get the best insurance possible for your swimming pool – one that protects you against all possible damage and liabilities.
So, does homeowners insurance cover swimming pools? Yes, homeowners insurance covers swimming pools. If the pool is damaged by any named peril in the homeowner’s HO-3 plan, the insurance company will pay for the repairs. Swimming pool coverages include liability in case a guest is injured at your pool and decides to press charges.
Is All Damage to the Swimming Pool Covered?
Yes. All damage caused by perils under a “named perils” or “open perils” policy is covered. For instance, if a tree falls on your house roof and your insurance includes falling objects, the house will be insured. If the same tree falls over your swimming pool, it will be covered under the same policy. Swimming pool insurance covers you for all repairs and damage, as long as the cause of the damage is named in the insurance policy.
These policies usually include perils such as fires, smoke, storms, falling objects, and more. The only exclusion for swimming pools is if the water freezes in the pool and causes damage. This is caused by owner neglect and most insurers will refuse to pay out on such a claim — make sure to drain the water in your swimming pool on time.
Does the Swimming Pool Type Make a Difference?
There are different kinds of swimming pools and the biggest difference is whether they’re in-ground or above-ground pools. In-ground pools are the most common pools in America and they’re swimming pools located in the backyard or pool area of the house.
In-ground pools are typically covered under home insurance policies like HO-3 and HO-5 policies. Above-ground pools are considered personal property (rather than external structures) and do not always have the same coverage unless they’re permanently installed. The coverage amounts are capped at a certain sum for all pools. Consult your agent to discuss your pool coverage and increase the limits if you need full replacement cost for your pool.
Homeowners Insurance: In-Ground Pools
In-ground pools are the most common pools we use in the US and they’re typically covered under a standard policy. The average in-ground pool costs $20,000-30,000 to install while some can cost above $100,000 – depending on how luxurious they are.
Most secondary structures on the property are covered at about 10% of the total value of the home, which means you may have to upgrade your coverage on these individual structures to get the full replacement value. An average in-ground pool will only increase your premium by about $50 if you decide to install a new pool today. This premium might be slightly higher if you have a high-value pool. Consult with your insurance agent to check whether your pool is insured for the full replacement value. They will give you the option to upgrade the maximum claim limit.
Certain insurance companies have separate plans for swimming pools. They can upgrade your existing HO-3 depending on the cost of the pool and the liability risk (ex. trampolines increase liability for pools). However, most insurance companies consider a pool to be a secondary external structure just like any other detached structure. This is automatically covered if you purchase a house with a pool because the insurance agent will estimate the full replacement value and include the pool.
The home will have to be re-evaluated if you’re installing a pool brand new and this will also slightly increase your premiums. You can also choose to keep your premiums at the current level as long as you are satisfied with the level of coverage you have on external structures. Example: If the home is valued at $400,000, and you only have $40,000 (10%) available for external structures, this amount may be enough to cover you for any potential pool repairs.
Pro Tip: In-ground pools are affordable to insure and they won’t boost your premiums significantly. This is because insurance companies don’t get many claims for in-ground pools – they are hardly susceptible to wind, and they are separated from the home which makes them less susceptible to house fires. There are very few perils that can damage pools.
Homeowners Insurance: Above-Ground Pools
Above-ground pools are portable unless there’s a deck/permanent structure built around them to support them. The accessories in the above-ground pool can also be insured under the personal belonging’s list on your homeowners’ insurance. For instance, you can insure swimming gear and children’s toys.
Above-ground pools have different rules but they are also insured under a standard homeowner’s policy as a personal belonging. Similar to how you have insurance for your clothes, electronics, and jewelry, you can also insure high-value items such as above-ground pools. Above-ground pools also don’t cost a lot to insure because there are very few things that can damage them. They usually come out of a box and can be assembled & disassembled depending on the need.
Personal property claims are also different from claims for external structures (as it applies to in-ground pools). The average coverage on personal property homeowner’s plans is between 70-80% of the total value on the item. Special items such as firearms, jewelry, art pieces, cash, and above-ground swimming pools are insured separately.
If the replacement cost on your above-ground pool is around $10,000, you can probably get between $7000-8000 by simply listing the pool under your current HO-3 policy. Consult your insurance agent to make sure the company will cover you for all damage and replacement costs of your above-ground pool. If you don’t have the coverage, you can just purchase that extra coverage you need and add it to your homeowners’ policy.