A backyard pool can be a lot of fun, but it does not come without some liability issues that homeowners should be aware of. Safety devices and additional insurance coverage can help lessen the financial risk associated with having a pool in your backyard.
Responsible swimming pool ownership means understanding the safety precautions:
Homeowners are wise to incorporate every safety precaution available with regard to their backyard pools. While these precautions do not absolve the homeowners from liability, they can decrease the risks associated with owning a backyard pool. While no safety precaution for pools can eliminate the associated risks, not putting safety precautions into place may be viewed as outright negligence.
Responsible swimming pool ownership means understanding the liability issues:
Homeowners are typically held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as a result of a backyard pool and this is also generally true even if the person who is injured or drowns does so when accessing your pool without your permission. This means that if neighbors hop your fence and use your pool while you are away, or if a neighborhood child wanders into your backyard without your knowledge, you are liable if anything happens in the pool to cause harm.
The fact that you are not aware of the pool being used does not absolve you of liability. Pool accidents are not limited to instances when the homeowner is not aware of the pool’s usage. Drowning can occur swiftly and without other people noticing, as can near-drownings that require immediate medical attention.
Decrease the risk of pool accidents by making sure your backyard pool is as safe as possible:
- Make the pool inaccessible when you are not present. A gate with an alarm and a lock placed high is a good start, but a safety pool cover is another good step.
- The pool should always have a capable and sober adult present when people are swimming or hanging around the pool.
- Don’t store items in or near the pool that might entice a young child, such as inflatable toys.
Other factors, such as having a telephone near the pool in case an ambulance needs to be summoned or placing a sign by the pool that warns swimmers that they should only swim at their own risk, may decrease risk but will not decrease liability.
Responsible swimming pool ownership means understanding the insurance considerations:
It is important to reveal to your homeowner’s insurance company that there is a pool in your backyard and to obtain appropriate coverage.
Adding safety features in and around your backyard pool may lower the total cost of your homeowner’s insurance, but expect to pay additional for swimming pool coverage. The insurance company may also require certain safety features before issuing a policy and may request an on-site inspection to assure safety measures were taken. Insurance claims may be denied if appropriate pool safety features were not implemented.
Pool owners may find themselves subject to costly lawsuits, which is why it is so important to have adequate insurance. This may include homeowners insurance in addition to extra liability insurance. Speak to your insurance provider about the type of insurance coverage you should maintain when you have a pool in your backyard.
Of course one of the best ways to assure you are taking every precaution when it comes to responsible swimming pool ownership is to have the pool completely enclosed. Find out more about our pool enclosures here.