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Swimming pool liability coverage: Are you fully covered?

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Swimming pools are a great asset, but they can also be a major liability. If someone is injured in your pool – even if that person isn’t a guest you invited to use your pool – you could find yourself being named in a lawsuit. Therefore, maintaining swimming pool liability coverage is an important part of responsible pool ownership.

Swimming Pool Accidents

The CDC says that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children between the ages of one and four. It’s not just children who can drown, either. Adults are also at risk. In addition to the danger of drowning, swimming pools can have risks associated with the chemicals used to clean them and the germs that can flourish in pools. People could also be injured if they slip on a wet surface near the pool or hit the bottom or side of the pool, especially when diving.

Pool owners may be held liable if someone is injured in their pool. In one example, according to Trib Live, a jury awarded $19 million to a man who was paralyzed after breaking his neck in an accident in a friend’s swimming pool. The man’s lawyers claimed that the homeowners improperly allowed a five-foot rubber raft to be used in the pool, and the man jumped into the raft, resulting in his injuries.

Does homeowners’ insurance cover swimming pools?

Because pools are associated with increased liability exposures, having proper insurance coverage is essential. A homeowners’ insurance policy may cover a swimming pool and related liability claims, but you may need to list the pool on your policy for this coverage to exist. Talk to your insurance company about your pool and make sure you have coverage. Review your policy carefully for any exclusions or requirements.

A pool injury can result in very expensive lawsuits. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends potentially increasing your liability coverage. You can do this by raising the liability limits in your homeowners’ policy. You can also purchase an umbrella insurance policy to provide additional liability protection.

Talk to a Swimming Pool Liability Insurance Specialist

Businesses with Swimming Pool Liability

Business owners also need to be aware of pool liability and insurance. Even if you’re not running a waterpark, if you have any type of pool, you need to make sure you’re covered.

For example, you may have a motel with an in-ground pool. Homeowners’ associations with pools also need to consider appropriate insurance coverage. Additionally, consider the risks associated with large fountains, ponds or other potential drowning hazards on your property.

According to Courtroom View Network, a hotel in California faced the possibility of a $68 million verdict after a child almost drowned in a hot tub and experienced serious brain damage. However, the hotel was able to reach a settlement with the family and avoid the $68 million verdict.

According to KOLD, a jury in Arizona awarded $2.75 million to a family after the mother drowned at a hotel pool. The lawsuit claimed that the pool’s dangerous design led to the incident.

A water park in Nevada reached a $49 million settlement in a lawsuit involving a boy who almost drowned, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The boy incurred over $900,000 in medical bills, and the lawsuit claimed that the water park did not have enough lifeguards at the time of the incident.

The Type of Pool Can Affect Insurability

When talking about pools, insurance and liability, it’s important to note that there are different types of pools.

In-ground swimming pools are pools that are built into the ground. They are permanent structures. As the name suggests, above-ground pools are placed on top of the ground. These pools can be less expensive than in-ground pools, and you may be able to move them. There are also infinity pools in which water flows over at least one edge, lap pools which are long and narrow for swimming laps, small inflatable pools and hot tubs. Pools can also be made from different materials and have different depths.

When considering insurance coverage for swimming pools, it’s important to look at the specific type of pool. Some policies may cover some types of pools while excluding others.

Before Building a Pool

When the weather gets hot, building your own pool may sound increasingly appealing. However, before acting, you need to consider a few things.

Find out what your local laws are. Check with your city, county and state to determine regulations and requirements. Inquire about building codes and requirements for construction as well as rules about owning a pool and safety concerns.

Consider the costs. The costs of pool ownership don’t end after your pool is built. Maintaining your pool and keeping it filled can also be expensive. On the other hand, a pool may increase the property’s value.

Contact your insurance company. Your insurers will need to know about both construction and liability risks.

Pool Ownership and Attractive Nuisance Laws

An attractive nuisance is a feature that poses a danger but is also likely to attract children who don’t fully understand the risks involved. Examples of attractive nuisances include swimming pools and trampolines.

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine in tort law makes property owners responsible for treating children who trespass as invitees. If you own a pool, children may enter your property without your permission because they want to use the pool. As the owner, you’re responsible for their safety in the same way that you’re responsible for the safety of your invited guests.

Tips for Preventing a Swimming Pool Accident

  • Learn how to swim and perform CPR. To prevent drowning, the CDC recommends making sure everyone has basic swimming skills and water safety awareness. Swimmers should be supervised closely and continuously. It’s also important to know signs that a swimmer is in distress and how to respond and perform CPR.
  • Make sure guests know the rules. The III recommends posting safety rules and emergency numbers nearby.
  • Prevent access to the pool. To make sure that people – especially children – don’t use the pool when you’re not there, it’s important to prevent access. The CDC recommends installing four-sided fences and other barriers, as well as locks and alarms.
  • Use pool covers. A pool cover can prevent things from falling into the water and reduce evaporation of pool water. However, certain types of pool covers may have safety issues. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned that people can become trapped and can drown under solar pool covers.
  • Monitor your pool’s filters and drains. Filters and uncovered or improperly covered drains are another potential danger. The suction can cause injury, and a person’s hair or clothes can become trapped. Have filters repaired and maintained by professionals, and make sure you know how to turn the filtration system off quickly in an emergency.
  • Consider pool equipment and toys carefully. These items may contribute to injuries.

Purchasing insurance coverage that includes pool liability may increase your premium costs. However, securing appropriate coverage is important for your own financial protection. If you have a pool or if you’re thinking about getting one, talk to your insurance broker about your swimming pool liability coverage needs. In addition to making sure your pool is covered, you may also want to increase your liability limits. Contact us for assistance.

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