Having a pool in your backyard is undeniably awesome—except when it comes to cleaning it and figuring out how much it’s going to affect your home insurance rates (spoilers!).
Does homeowners insurance cover swimming pools? Definitely. But there are some angles that not everyone considers before installing one or buying a house with one in the backyard. We’ve put them together here so that you know what to expect at every step of the way, including how insurance for swimming pool contractors works for you as the pool owner.
The scoop on swimming pools and insurance
The first thing to note about swimming pools and insurance is that they increase the cost to rebuild a home, which does raise the home insurance rate by default. Installing a pool tends to cost at least $10,000, and averages $35,000 in Ontario. Your insurance rate won’t jump by anywhere near that much, of course, but it’s factored into the overall cost to rebuild your home.
It’s important to realize that all insurance pairs up a financial value to certain levels of risk. Every one of us at aha insurance loves to lounge in a pool on a hot summer day, but occasionally people do have accidents. Most of the time it’s just your neighbour’s kid refusing to get out of the pool to go to the bathroom (watch out for those warm spots!), but sometimes the situation can be a bit more serious.
This is where your personal liability insurance coverage protects you. It steps in to pay the legal and medical fees in case someone gets hurt on your property and you are sued because of it. You know the drill to avoid those kinds of accidents, though:
- Keep your gate fence locked when you’re not supervising the pool.
- Be sure that any child using the pool is well supervised.
- Ensure that everything in the pool is in proper working order, such as the pump, diving board, and slide.
- Keep lifesaving flotation devices nearby for emergency use (just in case).
- Be cautious with the use of alcohol at pool parties or even when the pool is not in use. Don’t let people slip and fall in there.
- Post pool safety rules and remind all family members and guests about them before they go for a dip.
- Make everyone use the pool in pairs so that there’s always someone around to help, if needed.
This kind of advice applies to above-ground pools for homeowners insurance and in-ground pool insurance policies alike. You need to do everything in your power to make sure that people use the pool safely.
Swimming pool insurance requirements
Rules and regulations for swimming pools change between municipalities, but always start with this list:
- You’ll need a pool enclosure permit to build a new pool.
- Building a fence on the neighbour’s shared property line? Get written approval from your neighbour, first!
- In-ground pools should be at least 1.2 metres deep.
- Pools can’t be easily climbed (for child safety).
- Build a fence or enclosure around the pool (backyard fences usually count).
We’ve also collected rules and regulations for residential swimming pools for major Ontario cities here, just for you. Cheers!
- Thunder Bay
Frequently asked questions about pools and insurance
Dealing with a more specific situation? We’ve collected our experience for it right here.
Do I need swimming pool contractor insurance?
As the owner of the swimming pool and insurance policy, you’re not generally expected to account for contractor-caused damages to your pool. But pools are expensive, so you might not want to leave it to chance.
Make sure that you get a written copy of pool service insurance from every contractor that touches your pool. You don’t need swimming pool contractor insurance for yourself, but someone needs to cover the work done on your pool. Most pool service companies will have their own insurance policies for this exact situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance.
Note: contractor insurance is a type of business insurance and is different from construction insurance, which covers the cost of repairing, replacing, or rebuilding structures that haven’t been finished yet.
Can I get Airbnb pool insurance?
Pools can make insurance for Airbnb a bit more complicated. You’ll need to look at insuring your entire home while using it as a rental property. Not all Ontarian cities have developed thorough policies about short-term rentals using this service, but insurance companies have had this figured out for a while.
You can definitely buy home insurance policies that cover both short-term and long-term rental coverage from certain companies. However, those options aren’t a part of most standard home policies. You’ll need to ask for the additional coverage and price it out with your current provider.
If you manage several properties for short-term rentals, then you might even need to consider purchasing a commercial property insurance policy.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover pool leaks?
This one’s tricky because it depends on the circumstances, so let’s dive into them.
- Did the pool leak damage anything else, like the concrete deck or the foundations of your home?
- Did the leak occur due to negligence or lax maintenance?
- If an act of nature caused the leak: is that cause specifically excluded from the policy?
Homeowners are generally held responsible for maintaining their own properties, so general wear and tear on the pool wouldn’t warrant an insurance claim. It’s the same for insurance covering burst pipes. If the damage would be considered foreseeable and preventable, then it wouldn’t be covered.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover the pool liner?
Pool liner leaks or repairs generally fall under the “regular maintenance” category, but certain situations could warrant filing a claim.
For example, if a storm knocked a neighbour’s tree branch into your pool and ripped the liner, then you could very well have a successful claim in the making. You’d still need to review your policy to make sure that it doesn’t specifically exclude any of those circumstances in your agreement, but it falls outside of “wear and tear” in that situation.
Whether it’s a leak or liner repair, remember that successful insurance claims work out because everything was done within a reasonable measure to prevent damage. Liner-related claims would work the same way.
Does insurance cover an above-ground pool collapse?
It depends on every policy, so the best answer is to search your existing home policy for any specific exclusions concerning pools, above-ground pools, or structural collapses on your property. That’s step #1.
Above-ground pools contain a lot of water (genius observation, we know), so you’ll also need to consider the ramifications of potential water damage to your home if that structure collapsed. What kind of water damage coverage does your policy have? What kind of damage could that much water cause if it seeped into your basement or foundations? An all-risk insurance policy might be worth buying if you’re concerned about this happening (or happening again).
There’s also the cause of the collapse to consider. Were support struts rusted and in need of replacement? That’s on the home owner. But if an intense and rapid temperature change caused the screes to expand, contract, and fall out, then it gets more complex. Only the fine print in the policy agreement can answer questions that specific.
Does insurance cover an in-ground pool collapse?
You’re looking at similar questions for a claim about in-ground pool collapses. The difference will be that the water could seep into the foundations of your home much faster, without you noticing soon enough (we figure you’d notice an above-ground pool collapse pretty quickly, though).
It’s not just the cost to rebuild or repair the pool. It’s the cost of repairing water damage to your home as a result of the pool collapse, too! Water damage can cost quite a bit to repair. Don’t forget about your home insurance deductible, either. If you set it to $500 or $1,000, then you may need to weigh it against the money you get back from a successful claims payout.
Not sure what your insurance rate would look like with a pool? Get a 3-minute quote with us for the exact home you want to insure, pool included.