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Your Swimming Pool and Your Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy: What You Need to Know

Thu Jun 30th, 2022 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

Florida is famous for many wonderful things, not the least of which is the warm weather. People flock to our sunny shores year-round to enjoy the temperate climate and pools are a common sight. One estimate even has there being 1.4 million backyard pools in Florida in 2020. It really isn’t a surprise, as they are the perfect way to relax and cool off on the hottest days while enjoying time with family and friends. Unfortunately, pools also come with certain risks that all owners should be aware of so they can take proper precautions. One of those precautions is ensuring that the pool is properly covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. A Miami property insurance lawyer from our firm explains. 

Common Florida Swimming Pool Accidents 

While there are many different accidents that occur with swimming pools, some of the ones more commonly seen by our Miami property insurance lawyer are drowning, slip and fall accidents, electrocution, and filter and drain-related injuries. 

Drowning

Drowning remains a common pool-related accident. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, in 2021 a total of 98 children drowned in the state. This is an increase of nearly 30% and the most reported in Florida in the last 12 years. 

Causes of drawing include not knowing how to swim, lack of supervision, swimming while under the influence, and a lack of safety protocols. When you own a pool, it is imperative that you take certain precautions to ensure the safety of your guests, including ensuring they know how to swim and have supervision.

Slip & Fall

The water in pools often escapes, making decks and walkways slippery. A running child, or any person that is moving around the pool, can easily slip in the water and fall, causing injuries. Pool decks and pools themselves are typically made from hard material, and one hard blow to the head can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Electrocution

Electrocution is not one of the first accidents that come to mind when discussing swimming pools, but it does happen. The most common cause is faulty wiring. 

Filter & Drain Related Injuries

The drains and filters in pools and hot tubs must be properly covered as they operate with an enormous amount of suction. There have been cases of children sitting on drains at the bottom of swimming pools and becoming disemboweled. In other cases, hair or limbs have gotten caught in filters and drains causing a person to be trapped under water.

Ways to Keep Your Swimming Pool Safe

Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your pool safe and decrease the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Some of these precautions may actually be required by your homeowners’ insurance carrier, or even if not required, they may lower your premium amount. 

Put Up a Fence

Fences can hide and deter from your pool people that might be tempted to go for a swim. This includes small children that may not know better and are drawn to the water. Even if you do not put up a full fence, there are temporary baby fences that can be placed around the pool to keep out young babies and toddlers.

If you do put up a fence, make certain that the gates can be locked.

Post & Enforce Rules

It’s your pool, and you are the one that will likely be held responsible if there is an accident. Don’t be afraid to create, enforce, and post rules for your guests to abide by. Examples include “Supervise Your Children At All Times” and “No Running On Pool Deck”.

Ensure Supervision of Guests

Do not allow guests to use your pool when you are not at home, and make sure guests that cannot swim are supervised by an adult that can swim at all times. 

Don’t Swim In Inclement Weather

Do not swim, and do not allow others to swim, when the weather is not conducive. If there is thunder and lightning, make sure everyone is out of the water and a safe distance from the pool. 

Turn Off Filters While Swimming

Turn off all filters and electrical devices while people are swimming. It is safer to run these things when there is no one in the pool. 

The Homeowners Coverage You Need

The first thing you need to do if you are thinking of putting in a pool, or if you already have a pool, is read your existing policy. Are swimming pools addressed? If so, what coverage is offered? If you have questions about your policy, ask your Miami property insurance lawyer. Once you have decided to move forward with your plan to put in a pool, make certain you disclose this information to your agent and understand that your premium will increase. 

Most homeowners’ insurance policies will cover damages that happen to the pool. For example, if a storm causes damage to your pool, you will most likely be able to recover for that damage. However, it is also likely that your policy does not offer liability coverage, or if it does, it is limited. Exactly how much you need depends on many different factors. Remember, you may not only be held liable for accidents and injuries that happen to your guests but also for other people that you have not invited to your home. A pool is known as an “attractive nuisance” in the insurance industry, meaning they are a draw to other people and may cause them to venture onto your property uninvited. 

Speak With A Miami Property Insurance Lawyer at Ver Ploeg & Marino

If you own a pool and need assistance with a claim, or if you have questions regarding the insurance coverage needed for pool owners, contact our firm to speak with a knowledgeable Miami property insurance lawyer. Our practice is focused on helping policyholders receive the coverage they deserve.

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