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Swimming Pools Offer Fun, Fitness and Danger: Tips for Reducing Your Liability

Jumping into a swimming pool can be a great way to cool off, and pools often serve as a fun place to host a party and form happy memories. However, the fact is that pools of all sizes, as well as hot tubs and spas, present risks to family members and friends. Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death worldwide.

In addition to the human cost, there is also the potential for catastrophic financial loss. If you have a swimming pool or hot tub in your backyard, talk to your HUB International broker to ensure you have sufficient personal liability insurance coverage. Your homeowner's insurance alone will not be enough to protect you in the event of a lawsuit resulting from an accident on your property. Because your homeowner's plan has coverage limits, you should discuss Personal Excess Liability coverage, which is a separate policy that generally picks up where your homeowner's insurance leaves off. The cost for personal liability insurance is reasonable, considering the level of security it provides.

In addition to obtaining the right insurance coverage, you also need to take steps to render your pool area - and your property in general - as secure as possible.

Safety Tips for Pool Owners

Like most efforts to increase safety and reduce the risk of injury or death, the guidelines are relatively simple. However, limited time, resources and the lull of logical fallacy ("It could never happen to me") often prevent homeowners from following these common sense guidelines. Don't let your family become a statistic.

  • Install four-sided fencing. A four-sided pool fence that completely separates the house and backyard from the pool area is safer than a three-sided fence that connects to the home. The fence should be at least four feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward, with latches that are out of children's reach. Also, consider additional barriers such as automatic door locks to prevent access, or alarms that notify you when someone enters the pool area.
  • Clear the pool and deck of toys. Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use, so children are not tempted to enter the area unsupervised.
  • Cover hot tubs or spas. Covers will keep uninvited guests out of your hot tub, as well as reduce your energy costs.
  • Supervise children. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children swimming or playing in or around water. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, talking on the phone or gardening) while supervising children.
  • Use the buddy system. Implement a rule that everyone always swims with a buddy.
  • Supervise those at risk of seizure. If you or a guest has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water.
  • Make sure everyone has learned to swim. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young children from drowning, but are not a substitute for adult supervision.
  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it might take for professional to arrive in the event an emergency, your CPR skills could save someone's life.
  • Do not rely on air-filled or foam toys. Air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes cannot take the place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol before or during swimming activities can compromise judgment and reaction time. Do not drink while supervising children.

Take action to prevent tragedy and protect yourself financially, so you can enjoy the benefits of your pool, hot tub or spa. Contact your HUB International broker to learn more about personal excess liability insurance.