Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo
Swimming Pool Safety & Insurance can help keep your summer afloat
- More than 3,500 people drown each year in pools and spas. One in five drowning victims is a child 14 years old or younger
- Injuries to guests using your pool are covered by your Homeowners Insurance policy up to the limits of your Liability Coverage
- A pool increases your liability risk so you may need to increase your liability coverage
SEATTLE – A swimming pool can be an oasis of fun and relaxation during summer, but a good time can turn tragic if you don’t exercise safety and responsibility. If you have a pool, NW Insurance Council encourages you to implement safety measures in and around your pool and ensure you have adequate insurance if something goes wrong.
More than 3,500 people drown each year, averaging 10 deaths per day, and one in five drowning victims is a child 14 years old or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2016 report shows an average of 367 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than age 15 each year from 2011 to 2013, with 77 percent of the victims being younger than age five.
“It’s important to make sure your pool is only accessible to your guests,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president. “After that, you need to be vigilant and follow safety precautions, especially when young children are swimming or playing near the water.”
Injuries to guests using your pool are covered by your Homeowners Insurance policy up to the limits of your Liability Coverage. Your Liability Coverage also will pay your legal defense costs, up to the coverage limits, if you are sued because of an injury to a guest.
Standard Homeowners Insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 Liability Coverage. Most insurers offer Liability Coverage up to $500,000 per incident. If you need more coverage, ask your agent or insurance company about an Umbrella Liability Policy. Umbrella policies offer additional liability protection of $1 million to $5 million.
Your Homeowners Policy will likely cover damage to your pool caused by common homeowners’ hazards such as theft, vandalism, fire, wind and frozen pipes. Damage to your pool because of ground movement or neglect typically is not covered, however.
If the ground settles and creates a crack and leak in your pool area, for example, it likely won’t be covered by your Homeowners Insurance. If damage occurs because of an earthquake, an Earthquake Insurance Policy is needed to cover damage to your home and pool.
The NW Insurance Council recommends checking with your insurance agent or company to make sure you understand what is and is not covered and that you have adequate protection in place for your swimming pool.
NW Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute offer the following safety tips to help you, your family and guests enjoy the pleasures of a swimming pool:
- Let your insurance company know if you’ve recently installed a new pool at your home. A pool increases your liability risk so you may need to increase your liability coverage.
- Never leave small children unsupervised – even for a few seconds.
- Install fencing around the swimming pool area to keep young children and others from using your pool without your knowledge.
- Keep children away from pool filters. The suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing.
- Make sure everyone using your pool knows how to swim. Novice swimmers should be accompanied by good swimmers.
- Inspect the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential hazards.
- Never dive into an above-ground pool and always check the water depth before plunging into an in-ground pool.
- Don’t swim in the rain or during lightning storms.
- Keep electronic equipment away from the pool and wet pool decks.
- Don’t swim alone.
- Don’t allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol to swim in the pool.
For more information about swimming pool safety or other insurance issues, contact the NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.