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Personal Liability

Swimming PoolA swimming pool is more than summer fun. In the law of torts, a swimming pool is an "attractive nuisance", especially with respect to children. In short, civil law doesn't anticipate that children will understand the inherent dangers of a swimming pool and take precautions to avoid those dangers. Therefore, if the owner knows that children might come onto the property, he has a responsibility to mitigate that danger, and if he fails, then the courts will find him liable for both actual and possibly punitive damages.

What does that mean to swimming pool owners? It means that along with making sure the pool is safe, fenced, and monitored, the owner needs to make sure he is properly insured in case there is an accident. Given the extreme medical response to a drowning injury, including helicopter life-flights, a typical homeowner's policy may not have sufficient coverage unless there is a swimming pool rider. 

However, the owner can take steps to lower the cost of this rider, for example, by following all local laws and regulations regarding fencing and signage. No court expects an owner to render his property absolutely childproof, so taking active steps to prevent accidents from happening is the first step to controlling insurance costs.  

Property Damage

Very few homeowners understand what their insurance does and doesn't cover on the exterior features of their home. For example, damage to landscaping and outdoor structures during a fire or natural disaster may be limited to a percentage of the home's value. 
While it is unlikely that a fire would damage a swimming pool, a tornado or hurricane could destroy it. Swimming pools are also expressly excluded from coverage under flood insurance issued by the National Flood Insurance Program. 

In-ground concrete swimming pools in hot dry climates are also susceptible to cracking from ground movement and subsidence. Unless it is spelled out in the homeowner's policy, this type of property damage may not be covered. Homeowners need to review their policy and make sure they understand their coverage and discuss the need for a rider to cover their swimming pool. 

A swimming pool adds value to your home and pleasure to your life. However, it is a big responsibility to own, maintain, and safeguard. Making sure you are properly insured before an accident or property disaster is part of responsible home ownership. Call us at 708-957-7020 to make an appointment with an agent to review your Homewood homeowners insurance coverage and determine if you need to add a rider for your swimming pool. 

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