New in-ground swimming pools are a HOT commodity right now in Southwest Florida. I know of 4 pools being installed in my very own neighborhood as we speak, and all I can think is “gee, I wonder if they notified their insurance agent!?!?”. They are in such high demand right now that a pool installation can take 2-3 times as long as they did before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today I am going to ‘dive’ into the deep-end and explain the ins and outs of a new pool and how it may affect your homeowners insurance policy. As with any upgrade or renovation you make to your home, it’s important to notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible to ensure you are properly covered - and installing a pool is certainly no different.
You may need to increase your coverage.
Your new in-ground swimming pool will be covered by your insurance policy if it is damaged by a covered peril, so that means you need to increase your coverage after installing a new pool to account for the cost of it. After all, before this change your insurance limit was based on the cost to rebuild your home as it was before the pool – not after the pool. If your new pool is being built so it butts-up against the house without a clear space in between (like most pools are constructed in our area), then it will typically be covered as a part of Coverage A – Dwelling. If it is being built away from the house, a less common option, then it will typically be covered as a part of Coverage B – Other Structures. It’s important to increase your coverage before the construction process so if a covered peril damages the pool during or right after construction, you are adequately covered.
What about the pool cage? It isn't automatically covered.
Virtually all insurance carriers currently providing coverage for homeowners in our area DO NOT cover pool cages or other similar screened enclosures unless it is specifically disclosed, and additional premium is being charged for it. Not only that, but some carriers, such as Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company, do not even offer the ability to purchase coverage for a pool cage. If available with your carrier, coverage for a pool cage can be expensive – and rightfully so. In the event of a windstorm or hurricane, the pool cage will arguably be one of the first things to suffer damage. If you have a pool cage and want it insured, this may be the perfect time to request a new quote since all carriers treat screened enclosures and pool cages differently - and charge premiums for them differently. I have seen some carriers charge as little as $80, and as much as $800 per year to add on only $10,000 in coverage for a pool cage.
Are there solar panels installed for the pool equipment?
Solar panels can be another reason people drown in insurance woes when installing a new pool. If you have chosen to add-on solar panels for whatever reason, you should disclose this to your insurance carrier for a variety of reasons. Your insurance carrier may not cover them, or they may no longer want to provide coverage to you, at all, as a result – and you do not want to find this out during a claim.
TIP: If you are adamant about having solar panels installed, it is best to install them on a structure OTHER than the main house. The homeowners insurance market has not been reacting to the adoption of solar technology in a desirable way, as it adds more risk. Just think about it - having any foreign object attached to a roof just adds another way for water to enter. And that means the risk of a leak as time progresses is that much greater. As a result, many carriers charge a higher premium or won’t offer coverage at all to a home equipped with solar panels – especially if installed on the roof.
Are you planning on installing a pool slide or diving board?
For many insurance carriers, a diving board or a pool slide is considered an increase in risk and therefor many carriers will not agree to insure you if these items are installed. If you plan on having a pool slide or diving board installed, contact your insurance carrier to discuss your options. At Evolve Insurance Agency, we have relationships with many carriers, some of which have crafted a solution for homeowners with pool slides or diving boards – so be sure to request a quote from us if you are being denied by your current carrier due to this.
At Evolve, we have the answers!
These are only a few reasons it’s important to discuss adding a pool to your home with your insurance agent. If you are adding a pool, or recently added a pool, we’d love to speak with you about your insurance needs regarding your home and new swimming pool! Give our office a call or request a quote from us and we’ll get started on quoting your little slice of paradise right away!
Photo Credit: William LeMond