How to make sure you’re protected with pool and hot tub insurance
Home insurance covers all the rooms and property in your home. But it doesn’t necessarily cover a pool or hot tub you have installed. For those, you need to take extra precautions and beef up your insurance policy with a special endorsement. Read on to learn more.
What insurance do you need for your new water feature?
After any improvement, add-on, or modification to your home, you need to check whether your home insurance still meets your needs. When installing a pool or a hot tub in your home, you need to consider a few questions. What situations are covered by your home insurance? How can you improve this coverage based on your situation?
Home insurance coverage
As soon as your house is built, you need a home insurance policy that’s tailored to your needs and leaves you sufficiently protected in the event of damage. This insurance is useful because it covers you if any of your property is damaged or stolen, regardless of the cause* and perpetrator of the loss, and covers injuries or property damage to any third party visiting your home. However, the rules are different for pools and hot tubs.
When it comes to swimming pools and hot tubs, the most likely risks are drowning, water damage from overflows, and connection problems. Any water damage from your pool or hot tub is covered by your home insurance policy.
The same goes for injuries or damage to a third party. For example, if your pool structure cracks and the water spills into your neighbour’s property, causing water damage to their home, your home insurance third-party liability coverage will protect you. Whether the overflow causes damage to your neighbour’s home or your neighbour trips and falls or sustains any other type of bodily injury or property damage, your home insurance third-party liability coverage will provide adequate protection.
Damage to in-ground pools
For in-ground pools, some home insurance plans automatically cover damage to the pool, while others only cover you if you have added the appropriate endorsement to your policy. That’s why you need to immediately let your insurer know you have this type of pool so they can explain the types of coverage you might need. If your insurer tells you that your home insurance policy covers your pool without the need for an endorsement, most types of damage to your in-ground pool will be covered. However, if your home insurance does not cover your in-ground pool, you’ll need to ask your insurer about adding an endorsement to cover any damage it may sustain. If you don’t take out an insurance endorsement for your pool, you won’t be protected if it is damaged by the freeze-thaw cycles in winter and early spring.*
Damage to above-ground pools
Unlike their in-ground cousins, above-ground pools are never considered an integral part of a building. Having an endorsement is therefore a must in order to receive compensation from your insurance company if your pool is damaged (subject to certain restrictions).
Inflatable pools and hot tubs—which are not considered as installed or built structures, but rather purchases—are handled differently. These inflatable objects are considered part of your personal property. But what about the water damage they could cause? If the damage affects a third party, third-party liability coverage will come into play. If the water damage affects the insured, it will be covered by their home insurance policy, under the building or property section, depending on the policy.
Home insurance provides extended coverage so you might think that extra pool or hot tub coverage would provide ample protection. But home insurance does not cover all risks your home may be exposed to. To be safe, ask your insurer what’s actually included in your pool insurance coverage.
Damage to hot tubs
Hot tubs are more straight-forward than in-ground and above-ground pools. Check with your representative to find out whether you need a special insurance endorsement to cover damage to your hot tub. If so and you don’t add the extra coverage to your policy, you won’t be compensated if your hot tub breaks, regardless of the cause.
As a general rule, your endorsement covers damage to your pool or hot tub. The endorsement not only covers damage to your pool or hot tub, but also all equipment that comes with it, including the heat pump or water heater, filter, and ladder. A patio that is built specifically for the pool but not attached to the house is also covered.
You need to be aware of what your endorsement doesn’t cover. Exclusions include, but are not limited to, damage due to gradual deterioration and faulty workmanship, as well as damage caused by poor quality materials, natural ground movement, and vermin. So you need to take good care of your pool or hot tub and follow manufacturer recommendations on opening and closing your pool or hot tub.
How to prevent risks associated with your hot tub or pool?
As we mentioned, your extra coverage will not cover all types of damage to your pool or hot tub. If you are wondering how to make sure your pool is protected, feel free to contact your representative.
To reduce the risk of damage due to poor workmanship and ground movement, you need to be sure your pool or hot tub is installed safely—it’s a good idea to call in professionals. If you’d rather to do it yourself, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. The steps include inspecting the installation area (both under and above ground) and checking with neighbours. Next you’ll need to apply for and obtain a permit from your municipality.
When it comes to materials, quality is the most important factor, not how much you pay. Opting for quality materials might seem expensive, but in the long run it will save you on repairs and wear and tear. Taking these precautions are a good way to avoid risks not covered by your pool and hot tub insurance.
Once you’ve installed your pool, you need to protect it (breakage, wear and tear, etc.) and anyone else who may come into contact with it. Just because your insurance has you covered in the event of a problem, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can to prevent problems from happening in the first place. Check with your municipality to learn about the by-laws in place and visit the Société de sauvetage du Québec website for guidelines on how to safely install your pool.
You’ll need certain equipment to keep your pool or hot tub ship shape.
In short, here’s what you need to do to safely enjoy your pool for many years to come:
- Keep maintenance tools such as leaf skimmers, hoses, and a vacuum close to the pool
- Have lifesaving equipment such as a buoy or life jacket on hand nearby
- Have first aid and resuscitation equipment on hand in case of drowning or other emergencies
- Install a ladder or steps to make it easier to get in and out of the water
- Install pumps and filters in hard-to-reach locations
- Install gates to block or limit access (especially younger children and pets) to the pool and hot tub as much as possible
- Use a cover or tarp at night and in winter
You also need to prep your pool or hot tub for winter every year, watching out for wear and tear cause by icy temperatures. Once it’s swimming season again, you’ll need to prep your pool to limit the risks of damage , as things start to thaw. You’ll need to examine, treat, and repair the pool before diving back in. All this will help bring added peace of mind to you—and your insurer.
How to ensure your coverage is tailored to your property
All these steps to make your pool safer will reassure your insurer. To get the best protection, you need to notify them of your plans before you begin installing your pool or hot tub and check with your representative to see what steps you need to take to reassure them even more. You also need to notify them after you build on or modify your property.
Your coverage will only extend to the items you tell your insurance company about. So you need to be as open and honest as possible when talking to your representative. Your insurer will tell you how much compensation you’re entitled to and explain your coverage and the claims settlement process (replacement cost, depreciated cost by age, etc.). In the event of damage, you’ll be compensated and protected against a whole host of potential financial headaches.
To have the safest possible pool or hot tub, you need to take all the necessary precautions to limit the risks of damage and drowning. For added security you can also add extra pool coverage to your home insurance policy.*Some exclusions apply.