That oh-so-covetable experience of taking a dip in your very own pool? Millions of American households enjoy it, at least when the weather’s nice.
With the summer heat ratcheting up, you may be coming down with a serious case of pool envy, obsessed with having a pool right outside your door for cooling off and entertaining friends. A swimming pool can even increase the value of your home. But, will it increase your homeowners insurance rates too?
Before you dive in and add a pool to your property or buy a home that already has one, here are three important things to keep in mind:
1. Anytime you have an increase in property value or risk, you may need to increase your insurance coverage too.
A pool increases your exposure to risk. You could be on the line for medical bills and other damages if people get hurt in or around your pool, even if they weren’t invited over for a swim. At the same time, a pool increases the value of your property. Your homeowners insurance needs to reflect both the increased value and risk of a pool, and you may want the added protection of an umbrella policy.
2. Safety measures aren’t just nice to have. They may be required.
Your town, municipality or insurance company may require a fence and locked gate for your pool and even have specific guidelines on the height of that fence. If your house opens directly into the pool area, you may also consider a door alarm and safety cover to keep pets, children and other non-swimmers safe.
3. Pool equipment, furniture and accessories increase the value of your personal belongings.
Be sure to include any pool- or patio-related items of value when you add up how much your personal belongings are worth, and ensure you have enough coverage on your homeowners insurance policy. Keep in mind that per-item limits may apply, meaning the maximum amount payable on a single item is capped. If, for example, you have an expensive outdoor sound system, you may want to check the per-item limit for electronics. Expanded coverage is often available for high-value items.
Above all, pose question after question to your independent insurance agent. Against which risks is damage to my pool covered? Is the pump covered too and under what circumstances?
Working closely with an insurance agent in your area who understands your property and the local zoning laws is one of the best ways to fully understand how a pool may affect your homeowners insurance rates. Your local agent can help you find the right balance of coverages for your specific situation and help ensure your relaxing oasis isn’t an unmanageable risk.
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