April 9th, 2015
A backyard pool can be a welcoming way to cool down during the hot summer months, but it also carries a lot of risks. According to the National Safety Council, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four, most of which occur in the pool or bathtub. If someone gets injured in your pool, you could be stuck paying the medical expenses. While home insurance usually covers that liability, it's important to fully understand your policy. Consider working with your insurance agent about enhancing your liability coverage to make sure you don't sink in debt after a pool accident.
Not only do insurance companies encourage the use of safety equipment, but local governments set ordinances that legally require homeowners to have a certain amount of preventative measures in place to reduce the risk of an accident. Find out all the ways you can protect yourself financially and others physically:
Block the perimeter
Some local ordinances will require a number of blockades around the pool. Las Vegas, for example, requires homeowners with pools to have both an outside fence and a secondary barrier, according to Intermountain West Communications Company affiliate KSNV-DT in Las Vegas. Wooden fences are especially useful for pool owners because they are more difficult for children to climb over. Swimmingpool.com recommended fences be at least six feet tall around all sides of the pool or yard. Regardless of the type of fence, gates should have locks to which only the homeowner knows the codes.
If you have a pool deck, install a gate at the base of the stairs leading up the deck. Otherwise, consider installing a pool safety alarm. The alarm will sound when the water is disturbed, such as when a child falls in. For above-ground pools that require a ladder to step it, use a ladder that can be easily removed from the pool or one that has built-in safety mechanisms.
Whether there's a fence, alarm or deck surrounding your pool, make sure that you've done all you can to prevent an accident. That includes moving outdoor furniture a safe distance away from the barriers so kids don't use it to climb over the fence.
Education as a prevention tool
If you have children, start enrolling them in swim classes at age three. The NSC recommended teaching kids to always swim with a partner, jump feet first into unfamiliar water and never push or shove people by the pool.
While you have authority over your own children's knowledge and behavior, you can't always control what guidelines are taught to other kids in the neighborhood. On a hot day, a splash in the water could be very enticing to a wandering child. When other kids live in close proximity to your home, speak with their parents about pool safety. Let them know what safety measurements you currently have in place, and ask that they explain to their kids the pool is off-limits without an adult present.
Preventative measures in combination with home insurance can help protect homeowners from the financial burdens of a pool accident. Use CoverHound as your go-to guide for comparing home insurance quotes.