Pool Owners Advised to Play it Safe, Avoid Getting All Wet When it Comes to Liability

May 17, 2005

Soaking in a new pool can be a tempting and relatively inexpensive way to beat the summer heat.

But before one starts planning a pool party, Erie Insurance advises them to contact their insurance agent. With all of the excitement of being a new pool owner it’s easy to overlook the insurance implications.

“You should always talk to your agent when you buy a pool, since it will increase your liability risk and you may need additional liability insurance,” said Scott Huber of Erie Insurance. “Pools can be an expensive investment. You should have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a covered loss. Limiting access to your new pool is also very important.” Huber suggested fences, locked gates, and retractable steps as ways to limit access.

Many homeowners’ policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing that amount to $300,000 or $500,000. Owners may also want to talk to their agent about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium, they can get $1 million of liability protection over and above what they have on their home. It would also provide added liability protection when they drive.

“Remember that your homeowners’ policy is not a maintenance policy,” Huber added. “No matter what type of policy you have, you will not be covered for damage to your pool by freezing, thawing, pressure, the weight of ice or water, or various other causes. Be sure to review your policy. If you live in colder climates, make sure you winterize your pool every year.”

Individuals should also contact their local town or municipality when purchasing a pool. According to the Insurance Information Institute, each town will have its own definition of a “pool,” often based on its size and water depth. If the pool one is planning to buy meets the definition, then they must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.

Erie Insurance also recommends that homeowners with a pool take a basic first aid course and CPR training.

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