Have you ever heard the term “attractive nuisance”? It sounds like an oxymoron, and it is definitely one of those insurance terms that seems to not make a lot of sense, but it covers a very serious issue.
The attractive nuisance doctrine states that a homeowner can be held liable for a child trespassing on the property and then being injured by something that is attractive to that child with risks the child does not understand. That includes pools and hot tubs. That said, planning for your summer fun by working with your insurance agent will ensure that you are protected appropriately in case any incidents occur.
What does your homeowners insurance cover if you have a pool or hot tub?
The great thing about homeowners insurance is that it does not specifically exclude pools and hot tubs—which means you are covered in the event of an accident in either one. However, you still should purchase the highest limit your homeowner policy will allow. As part of the underwriting process, the homeowner policy does face a higher premium due to the higher risk of an accident that could occur in a home that has a pool versus a home that doesn’t have one.
It is important to be aware that homeowners insurance does not protect against physical damage to a pool or hot tub unless your policy has been specially written to include this coverage; you are only covered in the event of bodily injury to a guest (a non-resident of the household).
Higher risk equals higher premium
I enjoy the debate that people engage in when complaining about any increased premium that must be endured as a result of a lifestyle choice. Underwriting involves evaluating risks that could result in an accident or incident, based on studies and statistics researched by the insurance companies. A policyholder with teenagers or a certain breed of dog, for example, has a higher risk of accidents than someone who does not have these same concerns in their home.
This also goes for someone with a pool or hot tub on the property; according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. Therefore, if you choose to have a pool or hot tub, you can expect to pay a higher premium to balance out the risks.
Purchase an umbrella liability policy for additional protection
As a homeowner with a pool or hot tub, it’s not a question of if you should have an umbrella liability policy but rather how high the insurance coverage of your umbrella policy is. The umbrella policy may include a higher premium for having a pool, but it is money well spent.
I’m not saying insurance companies are always right, but there is a great benefit in having an agent on your side to assist in clarifying and qualifying your insurance portfolio. Without proper insurance coverage for your pool or hot tub, you could be underinsured or even completely uninsured. Make sure you take the time to discuss with your agent any questions or concerns you may have.
Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property, and casualty insurance, as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies. Follow her on Twitter: @ReyInsurance