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4 Tips to Avoid Swimming Pool Tragedies and Liability

Nearly all people love to engage in recreational activities especially at their free time, after doing some work or during the holidays to entertain and relax themselves. There are several indoor and outdoor activities that can be done for recreation such as skiing, swimming, snorkeling, skateboarding and many more. 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.

Tips for All Pool Owners

1. Understand your potential liability

At the federal level, one of the most important laws related to pool safety is the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, which sets minimum standards for drain covers and related equipment in many pools and spas, to prevent drain entrapment and similar accidents. This Act also lays out requirements for enclosure and other safety measures for certain kinds of pools.

A number of states have adopted similar laws that apply to public and residential pools, and many states have passed more broad-reaching statutes that may require child-resistant fencing, pool alarms, anti-entrapment devices, warning signs, and more. These laws vary by state and locality. 

2. Know your local laws and get up to code

A property owner's most expansive legal duty extends to anyone who is allowed to enter the pool premises for social reasons, such as a hotel patron using the hotel pool or a party guest who swims in a pool at a private residence. Generally, property owners in these situations must make reasonable inspections of the pool and the surrounding area and warn invitees of dangers they are (or should be) aware of. There is typically a corresponding legal duty to fix any unsafe conditions within a reasonable amount of time.

On the other side of the coin, when can an injured person file a personal injury claim against a property owner after a pool-related accident

3. Be a little paranoid

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. 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.  Covers will keep uninvited guests out of your hot tub, as well as reduce your energy costs. Swimming pool covers should be chosen to help avoid accidents. This can include sturdy covers that can potentially be walked on by small children, without them falling in.  

4. If you’re a landlord, CYA with a good liability waiver

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.

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