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Swimming pools and hot tubs: 3 best practices to adopt for your safety

Published on July 26, 2019

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Summer time means relaxing in a hot tub or taking a refreshing swim! Did you have a swimming pool or hot tub installed and now want to enjoy it as much as possible? Follow these three best practices from the L’Unique General Insurance team to prevent accidents and home insurance claims.

1. Contact your broker to get adequate coverage for your unit

Did you purchase an inflatable unit? This type of temporary unit is already covered under your home insurance contract. However, for any other type of hot tub or swimming pool, you must add coverage to your contract to be adequately covered for certain damages, for example, damage caused by the weight of snow or ice. 

Different coverages are available depending on the type of unit. They typically cover:

  • The swimming pool or hot tub itself
  • The equipment used to maintain the structure or treat and heat the water
  • The platform or patio attached to the unit that provides direct access to it
  •  Labour fees for the replacement or repair of the swimming pool or hot tub after a loss 

To get adequate coverage for your unit:

  1. Inform your broker that you have a swimming pool or hot tub when you insure your home for the first time, or notify your broker as soon as you know when the unit will be installed.  
  2. Provide your broker with a list of the equipment you use with your hot tub or pool, particularly for heating and maintenance.
  3. Find out how indemnities would be calculated in the event of a loss. Why? Because the method varies from one insurer to the next. Some insurers take depreciation into account, i.e. a decrease in the value of the unit since it was purchased. Therefore, the potential indemnity decreases as your pool or hot tub ages. For example, if your pool liner is over 10 years old, the maximum indemnity amount may be limited to 25% of the value of a new liner.

Good to know: Some insurers, such as L’Unique, do not take the depreciation into account when a loss requires an in-ground pool or hot tub to be replaced. Also, labour fees for the replacement or repair of the unit are not depreciated. Ask your broker!

2. Comply with all rules in place

Despite prevention efforts being promoted every year, some people still drown in residential swimming pools or hot tubs. The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Regulation outlines bylaws designed to secure your installation and reduce to a minimum the risk of drowning.

As a current or future home owner, you are liable for:

  • Obtaining a permit from your municipality before you build, install or replace a swimming pool or a structure allowing or preventing access to a swimming pool.
  • Installing a fence with an automatic closing and locking system to prevent access to the swimming pool.Complying with dimension regulations: minimal height of 1.2 m and spacing between bars should be less than 10 cm. 
    OR
    Placing a hard cover equipped with a lock to prevent access to the hot tub.
  • Placing a ladder or stairs for access to in-ground and semi-inground pools.
  • Keeping a life jacket or buoy within reach of swimmers at all times.
  • Installing related devices such as pumps or filters in accessible areas: Under the patio, inside the fenced area or more than 1 m away from the pool or fence.

3. Be extra cautious

Even if your units are solid and up to current standards, there is still a risk of drowning. That’s why the Lifesaving Society reminds us that we have to make safety a priority and make sure there is adequate surveillance at all times.Summary:

  • Be prepared to act in the event of an emergency.
    Would you be able to recognize signs of drowning? Here are three main warning signs: Gaze is upwards, face and eyes look panicky, arms flailing wildly. You should also follow first aid and CPR training.
  • Never leave children under age 12 unsupervised.
    Before going for a swim, make sure everything you need – phone, drinks, towels, sunscreen – is within reach.
    When the little ones are swimming, watch over them and don’t take part in any other activities.
    Need to step away from the pool? Ask another adult to watch the kids or have the kids get out of the pool and accompany you.
  • Never enter the pool or hot tub alone.
  • Don’t drink and get in the hot tub.
    If you’re under the influence of alcohol, don’t get in the hot tub. The same rule applies to your guests! The hot water can make you sleepy or increase the effect of alcohol.
  • Remember that using a hot tub is not advised for some people: Pregnant women, children under five and people with high blood pressure or cardiac problems.
  • Pick up all toys floating in the pool and make sure all points of access are securely closed after swimming so children are not tempted to go back and swim by themselves.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!

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