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Preparing for Swim Season

Backyard pools are a lot of fun and may make your home a social hub for friends and family. They do not however come without liability issues that as a homeowner, you should be aware of. Safety devices and proper insurance coverage can help lessen the worry and financial risk associated with having a pool in your backyard.

Swimming pools are an attractive nuisance

In the insurance industry, swimming pools are the most often cited example of an “attractive nuisance.”  An attractive nuisance is anything that might attract a child and pose a danger to the unsupervised child. Examples of attractive nuisances include trampolines, farm equipment, man-made ponds, and, of course, swimming pools.

Homeowners are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect children from the potential danger posed by an attractive nuisance. For homeowners with pools, reasonable measures may include installing any or all of the following

Automatic or solid mesh safety cover

Safety covers look like giant trampolines but are crucial when it comes to safety particularly during the winter months.  They will hold the weight of a child should they find themselves near or upon them.  Safety covers are available for both inground and above ground pools

 

Fence the perimeter of the pool area

Most towns across the country now require a fence to be installed when buying a new inground or above ground pool. It is recommended that you install a pool fence that’s at least 48″ inches high and has a self-closing, self-latching, child-resistance gate

 

Pool alarm

There are 4 different types of pool alarms you can purchase:

  • Perimeter Alarms are akin to invisible fences for pets. Simply by setting your desired perimeter a laser field is created that sounds an alarm should someone cross the field. 
  • Pressure sensitive Alarms sit on the edge of the pool with a sensor tube that goes into the water. When someone or something falls into the pool, a pressure wave causes the alarm to sound. Most alarms of this style can detect 18 lbs or more entering the water and gives off a car alarm-like sound.
  • Gate Alarms are devices that attach to your gate and use a magnetic field. When the field is broken the alarm will sound.
  • Wearable Alarms only work with adult supervision. An alarm is worn by your child around his or her wrist. The alarm sounds when child’s wrist gets immersed in water.

Increase your homeowner’s coverage and limits

Even if you take reasonable precautionary measures, you still need to ensure that your Broker is aware that you have a pool and that it has been taken into consideration on your current policy and that your liability is sufficient considering the increase in the risk pool ownership poses

If your assets are significant, you may want to purchase additional liability coverage through an umbrella insurance policy. An umbrella insurance policy provides significantly more liability coverage, well beyond the typical limits of a homeowner’s policy, at an affordable price. Research shows that most umbrella insurance policies cost $200 to $300 annually for an additional $3 million in coverage. An umbrella policy should be a serious consideration anyone to anyone installing a pool.  Consider it part of the operating cost when budgeting for your pool.

 

 

Janet Palmer CIP
Advisor, New Business Development