Pool owners should be on lifeguard duty with their insurance
This time of year, Florida backyard pools are the temperature of bath water. Yet, pools pose a year ‘round hazard. If you own a pool, you must always be on lifeguard duty – even if you are not at home. The duty extends to being mindful of safety precautions and to consider the insurance you’ll need if you ever get sued because someone is injured or drowns in a pool you own.
Owning a pool increases your liability risk. It doesn’t matter if it’s an architectural stunner with waterfalls and spa features or one of those inflatable pools that sit above ground. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” – and that may require you to have additional liability coverage. Most home insurance policies have a minimum liability of $100,000. Pool owners should consider having at least three to five times more than that. You can also buy an umbrella liability policy, which for an additional premium, gives you $1 million of additional liability protection. This extra coverage can cost an additional $200 to $300 a year.
Florida statute 515.27 outlines safety feature options and penalties for owners of residential swimming pools. There are pool barrier requirements, including that the barrier must be at least 4 feet high and have no openings that a young child could squeeze through. Many Floridians with pools have either a fenced-in yard or a screened-in pool – or both. These so-called “pool cages” protect from more than just mosquitoes. But if the pool cage lacks a barrier between the back doors and water, families with young ones are wise to consider putting up another barrier to the pool edge. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a four-sided isolation barrier reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83 percent.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has safety tips at Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives. The Insurance Information Institute has a swimming pool safety video with tips and a tale of the survivor of a pool accident.