Whether you have a luxury in-ground pool, or plan to blow up the simplest of inflatable above-ground pools, it is important to consider the insurance and safety implications. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I) suggests taking the following steps when considering a pool:
- Contact your town or municipality
Each town will have its own definition of a “pool,” often based on its size and water depth. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the definition, then you must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.
- Call your Insurance Agent
Let your Agent know that you have a pool, since it will increase your liability risk. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” and it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. You may also want to talk about purchasing a Personal Umbrella policy. Additionally, if the pool itself is expensive, you should also have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster.
The I.I.I. also recommends taking the following safety precautions:
- Put fencing around the pool area to keep people from using the pool without your knowledge. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating “layers of protection” around the pool, i.e. setting up as many barriers as possible (door alarms, locks and safety covers) to the pool area when not in use.
- Never leave small children unsupervised – even for a few seconds. And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them.
- Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing. In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information.
- Be sure all pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible. And, don’t allow anyone to swim alone.
- Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards. Also, keep stereos and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
- Clearly post emergency numbers on the phone, in the event of an accident. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider taking basic first aid and CPR training.