A Florida family came home one night this week and were startled to see that their in-ground pool had popped up out of the soil. Now it turns out that that when it comes to covering the thousands to repair it, the insurance payment may be only a drop in the bucket.
"We had this disastrous scene in the backyard," Brandon, Fla., homeowner Jessica Pedraza told Fox 13 Tampa Bay. She and her husband initially suspected that the problem might be a sinkhole, even though the pool, rather than sinking, was pushed up about three feet above ground (as pictured above and shown in the video below). The family in west central Florida soon discovered that because they had drained the pool the day before to clean it, groundwater beneath it swelled the soil, dislodging the pool and part of the patio.
Pedraza thought her insurance company would cover the damage, the TV station reported, but instead it told her that the claim will likely be denied because of a clause in the policy that excludes damage caused by "water below the surface of the ground ... which exerts pressure on ... a swimming pool or other structure."
Pedraza said the insurance company offered her $1,500, roughly the cost of sending out one of its engineers to determine if the damage was caused by groundwater. The total damage is likely to be at least $5,000 and could reach the tens of thousands, according to various news reports.
"The insurance is not wanting to cover it by any means," she told another local station, WFTV. "You pay for an insurance policy assuming that you have coverage and the coverage isn't actually there when you go to file the claim."
So what does homeowners insurance usually cover when it comes to pools?
Homeowners insurance policies may cover any personal liability for personal injury to guests or visitors, however it would most likely provide very little coverage for damage to the swimming pool itself, writes Basil Housewright, manager of Texans Insurance & Financial Group in Sugarland, Texas ( for the Fort Bend Independent).
Damage that is usually covered to a backyard swimming pool would typically be from fire, wind, hurricane or hail -- standard coverage on a homeowners insurance policy -- but these are also acts that are least likely to cause damage to a concrete, in-ground pool, he said. "Most damage to the in-ground pools consists of cracking from ground movement or maintenance-type issues to pool equipment, which most likely will not be covered by a standard home insurance policy."
The Hartford Financial Services insurance group says that coverage for "pop up" issues due to elevations in the water table can be covered if a homeowner adds on "specialized coverage," such as its "Pool & Spa Insurance Program."
More on homeowners insurance:
Homeowners Insurance: What's Covered and What's Not
New Flood Insurance Rates Stir Storm of Anxiety in Gulf
Does Your Insurance Cover Hurricanes and Earthquakes?
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