Having a pool makes you everyone’s favourite friend during a summer heatwave. But how does your backyard oasis affect your home insurance? Having a swimming pool on your property increases your home insurance premium because pools increase the value of your home and, therefore, the cost of rebuilding it. After all, pools can cost tens of thousands of dollars to install. The good news is your premium increase will only be a fraction of the cost of building your pool and will cover its rebuild in the event of a disaster. But how else does installing a pool affect your home insurance? Let’s dive a little deeper.
What do I need to insure a home with a pool?
You need to tell your insurance provider about your new pool and update your home insurance policy, including your home’s rebuild value and liability insurance. You’ll also need to ensure you follow legal, safety and maintenance regulations to get the full benefits of your coverage.
Follow safety bylaws.
Every city has slightly different rules for backyard pools, but most include the following:
• Securing a pool building permit.
• Constructing and maintaining a fence around the area intended for your pool, with your neighbours’ permission.
• Ensuring your pool is a certain distance from your fence.
For details like fence height and distance rules, consult your municipality’s bylaws.
Take precautions to keep everyone safe.
• Maintain and test your pool equipment, including your pump and additional features like slides or diving boards.
• Securely cover your pool and lock the gate or fence around it when it’s not in use.
• Closely supervise children in your pool.
• Don’t let anyone (even adults) swim alone.
• Take precautions when serving alcohol to guests near your pool.
• Display and remind swimmers of safety rules like no running on the deck and no diving in shallow water.
• Keep safety equipment available for emergencies, including flotation devices and first aid supplies.
Read our summer safety tips for more advice on how to stay safe and insured this season.
Update your liability insurance.
Safety is always first, but accidents can still happen. If an accident occurs on your property, the liability portion of your homeowners’ insurance is crucial. In the case of a pool-related accident, your liability insurance can pay for legal and medical expenses.
Keep your pool well-maintained.
Proper pool maintenance is vital because your insurer will deny your claim if your pool damages your property due to a lack of upkeep. So, inspect your pool regularly and stick to a maintenance schedule to ensure there are no surprises, like leaks or other “wear and tear” issues that aren’t covered.
Read more about how to close your pool in the fall to keep it protected all year. In addition, make sure anyone who works on your pool’s construction or maintenance has insurance.
Does my contractor or pool maintenance professional need insurance?
Yes. You need to tell your insurance company before installing a pool to ensure you have enough coverage during and after installation. But you don’t need to purchase special insurance to cover the pool installation as your contractor should have their own policy to cover the process. On top of that, professionals building your pool should have construction insurance.
Before you let a professional work on your pool, ask them for proof of their insurance.
Can home insurance pay to repair my pool?
Home insurance can pay to repair or replace your pool if your policy covers the damage circumstances. Generally, the damage must be caused by an unforeseeable event. For example, your home insurance policy could cover a natural disaster or fire that damaged your pool or essential equipment if those events are not excluded from your policy agreement.
Always check your insurance policy or ask your representative for your policy’s details and fine print, including your deductibles and maximum coverage limits. Keep in mind though, your claim will still be denied if you put off maintenance that leads to an equipment malfunction. This is why regular pool maintenance is so essential.
What if my pool leaks or collapses and damages my home?
Pool leaks can be challenging, and an above-ground pool collapse could cause water damage to your home’s foundation. You and your pool crew should always keep a close eye on water levels, the seal of your liner and anything that could jeopardize structural integrity, like rust.
Ask your insurance representative if your policy covers flooding from a pool collapse or leak and under what circumstances to ensure you’re prepared. Also, consider purchasing burst pipe, sewer back-up and overland flood insurance to protect your home from various flooding events that are expensive to repair.
What if I go on vacation or rent out my home with a pool?
Did you know that Canadian insurance companies can void your policy if your home is left unattended for more than 30 days? Learn more about home insurance and the 30-day rule before your next vacation. Always have someone check on your pool when your family is away.
With services like Airbnb, standard home insurance won’t cover long-term or short-term rentals. Short-term rental services may offer limited insurance coverage. But it’s best to work with an insurance broker to ensure you have enough landlord or short-term rental insurance for your home, including liability coverage, which is especially important for homeowners with a pool.
Owning a pool comes with a lot of responsibilities. Still, most homeowners will tell you it’s worth having a refreshing recreational space that adds value to your property. Now you can build and enjoy your pool with the confidence that your home and finances are protected. So, stay safe, and have fun hosting every backyard party from now until September!