Does Your Vegas Dream Home Have a Pool? What to Know About Insuring It
A residential swimming pool can be an oasis in the Las Vegas desert.
If you’re installing a pool or thinking of buying a home with a pool, it’s in your best interests to protect your pool according to local laws and building codes, as well as learn pool safety rules for swimmers. But did you also know that a pool affects your homeowners insurance?
Liability Coverage and Beyond
Most homeowners policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). However, the I.I.I. advises that pool owners should think about increasing the coverage limits to $300,000 or $500,000. Another level of protection is an umbrella liability policy, which increases liability protection to $1 million, over and above what you have on your home.
Since 1991, Las Vegas resident Jack S. has owned a home in Spanish Oaks—and the swimming pool that comes with it. Jack takes good care of his pool—in July, he had the masonry around his pool and spa refinished and repainted. Jack also carries $600,000 overall liability insurance on his homeowners insurance policy in case anyone visiting his property gets injured.
While liability coverage typically covers costs associated with injuries, homeowners with a pool might also consider the cost of replacing or repairing the pool if it were damaged or destroyed by a storm or natural disaster. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure your homeowners policy has enough protection to cover that type of loss—and don’t forget to include the value of property, such as deck furniture, that you may have around the pool.
Safety and Surroundings
Swimmer safety and pool surroundings are key for homeowners with a pool. The Pool Safely Campaign works to educate pool owners on how to comply with federal law. The 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act requires that all pool drains have secure covers, to prevent entrapment, drowning, and/or death.
In southern Nevada, advocates for pool safety pay attention to what’s happening above the water line, too. Greg Blackburn, building official for the City of North Las Vegas, says that the most important pool safety feature is a secondary barrier or fence between the house and the pool.
Clark County has specific building requirements for pools, including structural, electrical, plumbing, architectural and access considerations.
Among the specifications for pool barriers:
- Barriers (fences) surround the pool and be at least 5 feet tall.
- Entry points (gates or doors) must be self-closing, self-latching and open outward from the pool area.
- A secondary barrier, such as a fence or alarm, must be installed to cover all doors and windows with access to the pool.
Clark County explains that the pool code aims to restrict children’s access to pools to help prevent accidental drownings.
Blackburn, who also serves as chair of the nonprofit Southern Nevada Child Drowning Prevention Coalition, says that awareness campaigns also help reduce the number of drowning incidents.
The Southern Nevada Health District’s ABCDs of Drowning Prevention, for instance, educates about the lifesaving importance of these things:
- Adult Supervision
- Barriers (for your pool)
- Classes (CPR and swim lessons)
- Devices (life jackets, personal flotation devices, and rescue tools)
“Know what the risks are regarding children who live in and visit the home,” says Blackburn. “This is especially important in communities where parents don’t know how to swim, and weren’t raised around swimming pools.”
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