Memorial Day weekend is upon us and the heat and humidity indexes are already climbing in Texas. Pretty soon we'll all feel like we're wearing wool sweaters in a sauna, but that's what we're used to around here. If it's your inaugural season living in Texas, welcome to the great Lone Star State and drink plenty of fluids, because the next few months will most likely make you wonder if your tires could actually melt beneath you on your commute. Don't worry, after your first summer you'll call yourself a seasoned Texas summer veteran and impress family and friends in the cooler locales with tales of your survival.
Though it may get hotter than Hades, one of the saving graces we have as Texans is that Texas residential real estate is known for having a vast amount of homes with swimming pools. If you recently purchased a home with a pool or installed one in time for the summer, you'll get used to the feel of lukewarm swimming pool water when the dog days of August rolls around, but, until then, you can enjoy the cool relief it brings.
After all, your pool should bring relief and not regret. That's why it is important to understand how buying a home with/or installing a pool will effect your homeowners insurance.
What Am I Liable For?
While your policy should cover damage to your pool from the common perils affecting homes, the liability coverage of your home insurance policy should cover any incidents related to accidents occurring at your swimming pool. As a pool owner, you always want to take the steps to make certain others, whether invited or uninvited, do not get injured due to your negligence. If you have a pool, it usually means you'll host a summer pool party at some point and you are liable for your guests. Allowing oxygen breathing beings in non-breathable elements has its inherent risks, but add diving boards, slides, concrete and stone and the playing field gets a little riskier.
Also, though you may think your pool guests are all excellent swimmers, the possibility of injury and incident rises as the crowd increases. Throw children into the mix, adults drinking alcoholic beverages and loud music, and you have all sorts of opportunity for risk. You'll want to make certain all pool equipment, the surface and water are properly maintained. It is also your responsibility for establishing safety standards (e.g., no running or diving) and warning of any possible hazards (e.g., shallow water, slippery tiles)
What type of incidents usually occur at a residential pool? Injury claims can range from simple bruising, cuts and scrapes, to serious slip and falls that may lead to paralysis or drowning. We know the latter type of events are the furthest thing from your mind when you invite your guests over for a pool party, but you'll want to make certain you're serving up more than bratwurst if the worst-case scenario should happen.
What about uninvited guests? If someone, say a mischievous teenager decided to climb your fence and access your pool one night when you weren't home and has an injury, will you be held liable? Probably not. But, what if a neighbor's child wanders into your non-fenced yard or accesses your pool due to an unlocked gate and gets injured? You'll want to make certain your yard and pool gate (if required by your insurance carrier) are in proper working order and locked so that a lack of providing adequate safety measures won't cost you.
How Much Will It Cost?
Will owning a pool cost more? Due to the liability, yes. Fortunately, even with the potential risk surrounding owning a pool, having a well-maintained and protected pool on your property can still be affordable, given your insurance carrier's requirements. However, you won't want to sacrifice coverage for cost. Maybe your current coverage wouldn't cover an injury or death claim if it should unfortunately arise.
That's where Insurance For Texans can help you. As an independent insurance broker, we have great partnerships with a wide variety of insurance carriers that know the risks and price the coverage accordingly. We can find you the best home insurance while answering questions related to your specific pool on your property. We'll make certain you know what will satisfy your insurance carrier and that you are properly covered with the right liability limits. Give us a call, text or email and we'll find you some cool savings while the temps increase. And don't forget to drink those fluids, Texas.