Maybe you've moved out on your own, or your family has moved into a rental house and you can’t believe your luck -- there's a pool in your backyard! While you’re dreaming about how much fun you can have, though, it’s easy to underestimate the risks. If someone gets hurt, you or your family could be held responsible for his injuries. That's why you need a renters insurance policy that addresses those risks.
Won't Our Landlord's Insurance Cover Us?
Your landlord’s coverage is intended to shield him from any liability resulting from injuries you or your guests suffer on his property. It also protects the structures, so if the pool itself is damaged, his insurance may pay to repair or replace it. If one of your friends slips and breaks her ankle on the slippery pool deck, for example, he’s protected. If you get sued over it, however, his coverage won’t do anything for you. Even though he owns the pool, you’re still responsible for your visitors’ safety.
It's Never Safe to Assume
Your renters policy generally includes liability coverage that protects you if a guest is injured, but it might not extend to your pool without a special policy addition. That’s because pools are what the insurance industry calls “attractive nuisances.” That means they’re special hazards that attract children who may not fully understand the danger until it’s too late. A pool is a hazard that makes insuring you more risky, and in the insurance business, higher risk equals higher premiums. Check with your agent to see if the pool is covered; if it’s not, he can help you get the coverage you need.
Hazards Other Than Injuries
When you think about the risks of having a pool, injury and drowning are probably at the top of the list, and for good reason. Those sorts of dangers fall under the bodily injury section of your coverage. But pools -- especially if they’re above ground -- can present other hazards as well. One common example is flooding. Your pool can hold thousands of gallons of water, and if it collapses, that water has to go somewhere. If it finds its way into a neighbor’s basement, you could be liable for the resulting damage. There is some gray area here, though: Because the pool belongs to your landlord, her insurance might cover the loss. Regardless, that’s not a reason to forego renters insurance.
When Your Landlord’s Policy Might Work
As the tenant, you’re generally responsible for the safety of your guests and liable for injuries they suffer. That said, if you can prove that the injury resulted from something your landlord was responsible for, the liability may be hers. For example, if your guest gets hurt because a weak deck railing gave way, you might not be liable.
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