Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pool Leaks? Facts & FAQ
A leaking pool can be a huge hassle that can be difficult and expensive to fix, especially if you have an inground pool and can’t see the pipes, which can cause many people to wonder if homeowners insurance will cover the damage. The short answer is that it’s possible, but keep reading as we explain what causes the insurance to kick in and when you’ll need to pay for damages and repairs out of pocket.
When Won’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Pool Leaks?
One of the easiest ways to determine if homeowners insurance will cover a specific type of damage is to ask yourself how long it took for the damage to occur. Homeowners insurance rarely pays for damage that occurs over time, stating that you should notice a problem and repair it before damage occurs. Homeowners insurance is typically only for sudden, unexpected accidents that are no fault of yours.
If one of your underground pipes springs a leak that enables water to build up and cause damage to your home or pool, the insurance will not cover it because the damage occurred over time, even though you can’t see the pipes and would have no way of knowing that one was leaking. However, if a motor vehicle crashes into your swimming pool, the damage might be covered by your homeowners insurance.
Some Companies Make You Purchase an Add-on Policy for Pool Leaks
Many homeowners insurance companies do not cover swimming pools at all. However, some will offer additional policies that you can purchase to cover problems that might arise, like property damage or medical expenses for injuries sustained in the pool. You will need to contact your insurance company to find out exactly what kind of coverage you have and to read the policy carefully to learn how it protects you.
Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Problems
Inform the Insurance Company
If you are installing a swimming pool, first check with the insurance company to see how it affects your homeowners insurance. You will need to make this call whether you are installing an above-ground or an inground pool. Many insurance companies will require you to purchase an additional policy to cover the pool. Waiting until after you install the pool to contact the insurance company could lead to problems, including the cancelation of your homeowners insurance policy.
Frequently Inspect Your Pool
The best way to prevent your swimming pool from causing damage that might require money from an insurance company is to inspect it frequently for problems. Check the liner hoses and gaskets at the beginning and end of every season, and make any required repairs immediately. If the pipes are not visible, install a hygrometer in the soil to test for moisture that could be coming from leaking pipes.
Fix Any Leaks That Develop Immediately
One of the first things that any insurance company will ask is how long it took to cause the damage, as they will not cover any damage that you had technically time to fix. So, make sure you repair any leaks or broken parts immediately, before it results in damage.
Maintain the Equipment on Schedule
You will have a better chance of receiving help from the insurance company if you follow the recommended maintenance schedule set by your pool manufacturer. For example, suppose that the manufacturer recommends changing your liner every 10 years, but you’ve been using it for 25 years. In that case, they will likely see it as willful neglect of your pool and refuse coverage. Always make repairs to your pool at the recommended intervals for the best shot at getting insurance coverage.
How Do I File a Claim?
You will need to follow the guidelines of your insurance company to make a claim. Most require you to call the company directly and speak to a representative. However, many companies are embracing modern technology, so you can make a claim online or even using an app on your smartphone.
Swimming Pool Requirements
Before any insurance company is likely to cover your pool, you will need to follow a list of guidelines. One is usually enclosing your pool with a fence or wall to keep out children or animals when you are not using it, to prevent accidental drowning. The height of the fence will usually be about 6 feet, but it can vary depending on where you live.
Building Code and Safety Standards
The best way to learn how tall the fence needs to be around your swimming pool is to check with your local building code. You will also need to check the building code to ensure that your pool is far enough away from your house and other structures and far enough away from the street and any underground utilities for an insurance company to cover you. Many municipalities will also require permission from your neighbors before installing a swimming pool, as the water might spill onto their property.
Many insurance companies may require you to install lighting around your pool to improve safety.
Some insurance companies can require you to install a non-skid surface around the pool to reduce the risk of slipping and improve safety before covering your home.
Unfortunately, leaking pipes and other long-term problems cause much of the damage from a pool, and your homeowners insurance will not cover it. It also won’t cover installing or removing the pool. However, it may cover certain kinds of accidental damage caused by storms, reckless drivers, etc. Many will also make you take extra steps to ensure pool safety and keep the coverage on your home, while still not covering the pool. In many cases, your best option is to purchase a blanket umbrella policy to cover problems arising from the pool.
Featured Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock