Subscribe to our blog for all the latest news, updates, and events from MMA and our partnersSubscribe
Are you installing a pool? Pools can transform backyard fun for families and friends, but there is much to consider before you dig. Here are six major factors for installing a pool in your backyard:
1. Neighborhood restrictions
Finding out your zoning laws is an important first step before talking with a pool contractor. Many neighborhoods or cities have zoning laws that include ordinances for pools. They may include whether pools are permitted as well as maintenance and liability laws. Additionally, homeowners’ associations, historic districts and wildlife protection zones may have restrictions or guidelines on pools. To get approval for a pool and/or its location, you may need to go through an approval process with the governing organization.
2. Easements and setbacks
Pools cannot be built on easements or setbacks. Easements, such as a shared path or driveway, give legal permission for neighbors or others to have partial access to your property. To find out if there are easements on your property, check with your city or county records office. Setbacks are the amount of space required between the edges of your property and a pool (and other structures). Your city or county development office can provide the setback requirements for your property.
3. Utility lines
For obvious safety reasons, pools cannot be installed under utility lines. If utility lines need to be relocated or moved underground, the cost to do so will likely be at your own expense. Before you dig, be sure to also locate underground utility lines running through your backyard. You can consult home plans for the location of water, sewer, gas, electrical or other utility lines as well as make an 811 call to confirm what lines run underground your property. An underground sprinkler system will also likely need to be rerouted during the project.
Installing a pool is not just a one-time expense. Knowing your maintenance costs will help determine if you can afford the pool in the long-term. Maintenance costs to factor in include monthly chemicals, seasonal opening and closing usually done by a professional, equipment such as pumps, utility bill increases for electricity for the pump and to heat the pool, and maintenance of the interior finish potentially ever 5-10 years.
To ensure the well-being of children, pets and wildlife around the pool, safety should be a number one concern when considering your pool design. Zoning laws may also require certain pool safety measures. Making safety discussions with your pool contractor and insurance agent a priority will help determine which measures are best for your family, such as safety covers, pool fences, water alarms or high-tech laser technologies. In your project design, also consider the accessibility and placement of safety equipment including rescue hooks and life vests. Your insurance agent will also help you determine which pool safety measures and design features may be required by your insurance policy and help lower your liability.
Proactively discussing both suitable safety measures and liability coverage with your agent can mitigate potential issues down the road. Insurance coverage for swimming pools is generally covered under a homeowner’s policy. Like trampolines and man-made ponds, underground and above-ground pools are considered an “attractive nuisance.” Homeowners are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect children from the potential danger posed by an attractive nuisance. Your agent may recommend changes to your liability coverage through your homeowner’s policy and/or the addition of an umbrella policy. When working closely with your pool contractor and insurance agent, you can likely minimize a pool’s effect on your premiums.
This content is for informational purposes only. Consult your actual insurance policy for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, and exclusions.