Whether you want to buy a home that has a pool OR are considering installing one in your existing home, Ohio homeowners insurance companies see pools with concerns.
Swimming pools can even prevent you from getting homeowners insurance OR cause your insurance to be canceled. Before you take the "step", read this blog for reasons why homeowners' insurance companies are so concerned about pools as well as helpful tips to prevent problems with your Ohio homeowner.
Swimming pools and the idea of "Attractive inconvenience"
There is a term in the insurance industry called "attractive inconvenience". Attractive inconveniences are simply features of a home that appeal to others and can often lead to death or in the worst case. And before you answer, people should not be on your property without your permission, please know that many states do not care. If it is YOUR property, you are responsible.
When "Attractive nuisance" becomes fatal
As you can imagine your swimming pools inviting, but mostly to small children. And it's overwhelming children who suffer the worst fate when a pool is involved. The following statistics relate to accidental drowning (CDC ̵
- From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (related to boating) annually in the United States – about ten deaths per day.
- About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 years and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five emergency departments receive non-fatal immersion injuries.
- Among children aged 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).
Some of the risk factors affecting accidental drowning include (also taken from the same CDC report as above):  Lack of swimming ability: Many adults and children report that they cannot swim (if your child has not yet had swimming lessons, this is too likely, and many older children did not learn to swim either).  Lack of barriers: Barriers, such as pool fencing, prevent young children from accessing the pool area without the awareness of the care staff. A four-sided insulation fence (which separates the pool area from the house and the yard) reduces the child's risk of drowning 83% compared to a three-sided fence of property lines.
Can I get homeowners insurance with a pool?
Maybe. I know a terrible answer, but it honestly depends on many factors, the simplest being if your homeowners insurance company allows one in the first place. Yes, it is possible that an insurance company does not allow them. So ask. IF your homeowner's insurance does not allow a pool, there is plenty to do, subject to certain guidelines.
Other factors such as access to the pool and pool functions may also make or break eligibility. Let's dig deeper into the next few sections.
How does access to the pool make a difference to homeowners' insurance?
Remember the risk factor Lack of barriers above? This is the biggest requirement for Ohio homeowners insurance companies. You must restrict access to the pool, no exceptions. The most common way to do this is with fencing. For inground pools, property line fencing that encloses the pool (and usually most of the garden) is most common. It must also have a locking gate. For above ground pools, it is also important to limit access. A removable ladder, as well as some form of fence / barrier, is necessary. We have seen examples of pools that are attached to the house via a deck and side rails that have been built around the entire structure.
Fencing should also be a minimum height. When checking our insurance policy, most of our companies say at least 3 feet OR by code. The higher the better honestly. The point is to keep people out and if you make it easy to get in you are just wasting your money and defeating the purpose.
This is just an example of what we've seen over our 30 years – you MUST ask your insurance agent what's acceptable to your business. And make sure it is as specific as possible. There is nothing worse than doing a bunch of work just to find out it's not what they wanted. And the cancellation message is still coming.
What other pool features can make or break my homeowners insurance?
Diving boards are also a problem. Some insurance companies may allow them, others not at all. If allowed, there will likely be a minimum depth requirement based on the type of dive board. With diving boards, the risk of head injury is greatest.
What about pictures? Can also be a no-go. Again, when in doubt, ask your insurance company what is acceptable. Swimming pools and their related functions are just a breeding ground for injuries, and some can be extremely serious.
One last recommendation – a personal umbrella policy
Although we make it a common habit to recommend a personal umbrella insurance (because you are never that big the claim will be), a pool is one of the special situations where a personal umbrella is a must. All that is required is a slip and a head injury and your homeowners insurance coverage has gone fast. The personal umbrella policy provides additional coverage in addition to your homeowner's insurance and for a penny on the dollar.
Swimming pools do not necessarily mean NO from your Ohio homeowners insurance. If you are concerned that your homeowner may not be able to help you or would like additional options, call us at (937) 592-4871 for a review. You can also fill in the form below and we will contact you.