Above-ground pools that can be purchased from big-box stores are an affordable option for families that can't afford to hire a contractor to install a traditional residential pool. These boxed-up pools that anyone can purchase, however, could void your homeowners insurance policy. If you're considering purchasing a pool from a national chain this summer for your home's backyard, you might also need to get some fencing.

Pools Are Attractive Nuisances

In insurance parlance, pools are considered "attractive nuisances." As Investopedia explains, attractive nuisances are things on your property that children find appealing or enticing but are potentially hazardous to kids. Pools fall into this category, because children like swimming and playing in them, but they can drown in the water

You Must Protect Children from Attractive Nuisances

As a homeowner, you're responsible for protecting kids from any attractive nuisances on your property. You aren't expected to maintain an armed guard around-the-clock to watch your pool, but you will need to install something that prevents children from entering the pool unsupervised.

If your homeowners policy covers a swimming pool, it will likely have a clause mentioning this. Should you fail to install an obstacle around your pool, your insurance company might not pay on any claims related to your new pool.

Fences Are Perfect Obstacles

Fences are the most common way of preventing unsupervised children from accessing an outdoor swimming pool. They are

  • affordable
  • attractive
  • effective

When you want to use the pool, it's not difficult to go through a gate. As long as you keep the gate locked when you aren't using the pool, children will have to climb over the fence to access the pool. Teenagers may be able to jump your fence, but, if something happens, you'll at least have tried to prevent kids from accessing your pool when an adult isn't around.

Insurance companies don't expect you to make it impossible for children to access an attractive nuisance, but they want you to make it difficult. According to Hurricane Fence Company, a fence meets most insurers' requirements, as long as the fence

  • is at least 48 inches tall
  • has a mid-rail that sits at least 45 inches above the bottom rail
  • has a bottom rail no higher than 4 inches from the ground
  • has bars no wider than 4 inches apart
  • has a self-closing gate that opens away from the pool and is 54 inches from the ground

As summer progresses, big-box stores will begin discounting their remaining supply of above-ground pools. Before you spring for a pool because it's on sale, however, review your homeowners insurance policy. You might have to install a fence around your pool. If you do need a fence, talk with a local fencing company about the cheapest way of meeting this requirement, so you can enjoy swimming in your backyard without voiding your homeowners insurance policy or breaking your bank.