The True Cost of Installing a Swimming Pool

After enduring endless summers of sweltering Chicago heat, I’ve been begging my parents to install a pool at their house. I even recently mentioned that a pool would be a great reason for their unborn grandchildren to visit them. Can you put a price on your future grandchildren’s smiles? I think not.

Getting Mom and Dad to foot the bill just makes sense — a pool is loads of fun, but it’s also loads of money. So, if you’re thinking about installing a pool for your future summer enjoyment, it’s crucial you research the costs thoroughly to avoid unexpected bills. From insurance premiums to maintenance, here are a few costs to consider.

The hidden costs of a swimming pool

Installation

Your location, pool size, materials, and a plethora of other factors can significantly affect the price tag. At the end of the day, an in-ground pool’s going to cost $25,000 to $50,000. When installing an above-ground pool, you don’t need to break ground, so these typically cost less than $4,500.

If you gasped at those numbers, keep in mind these are approximate costs for the initial installation. Your location, pool size, and materials can significantly affect the cost. In-ground pools can be constructed with fiberglass, vinyl, concrete, or gunite, and each option can affect the price by thousands of dollars.

Another cost differentiator is temperature. For example, if you live in a warm climate, a deeper pool helps regulate cool water temps, but the depth will cost more.

On top of that, extra features like a waterfall or slide can rack up the price as well. It makes sense that pool owners often end up paying double the cost of the initial installation — yowza!

Insurance premium

From an insurance standpoint, a swimming pool is considered an “attractive nuisance.” So, while the pool is super fun, it escalates risk. Playgrounds, trampolines, and other fun-but-risky recreational features will also likely raise your insurance premium.

Why does your liability increase? Well, guests on your property could be injured while using your pool. Even if someone uses your pool without permission or knowledge, you could still be held liable. And fencing or pool covers can help reduce the risk of an accident, but these safety precautions won’t decrease your rate.

Ask your insurance company how your rate may be affected before deciding to install a pool. And if that’s us, you can call us anytime at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

Home value

If you think it’ll increase the value of your house in the long term, it really depends. Homebuyers usually feel strongly one way or the other. Safety concerns for kids or the hassle of maintenance might actually discourage a potential buyer from making an offer. Conversely, if you’re the only house in the neighborhood without a pool, your for-sale sign might be dismissed. But, whether you end up recouping your investment or not, experts generally agree that a pool isn’t the best way to add value to your home.

Upkeep

Even after your pool’s up and running, the costs will continue. Opening and closing the pool each season, the use of hygienic chemicals, the equipment (like a pump or pool cover), resurfacing, a potential utility bill increase — these services and equipment can add up to hundreds of dollars per month.

Issues like leaking, stains, or cracks, can also add unexpected costs. And hiring a professional for these services is expensive.

According to SFGate.com, “A pool can cost about 10 percent of the original installation cost per year, more if you use a pool service company. Multiply the installation cost by 10 percent, then divide by 12 to get an idea of this cost per month.” So, if your in-ground pool costs $37,500 to install, you’re shelling out $312.50 per month for maintenance.

Bells and whistles

With a new pool, you can probably expect a boost in popularity. If guests are going to ooh and aah over your pool, it can be hard to resist refreshing your entire backyard with pool toys, a patio table and chairs, landscaping, lighting, a pergola, a hammock, an outdoor stereo system …I could go on.

But, if it’s financially feasible, a pool’s a great way to make lasting memories with family and friends (are you listening, Mom and Dad?).

For all you pool owners out there, what other costs aren’t listed here? Leave your insights in the comments section.

The 7 Best Road Trip Movies You’ve Never Heard Of

Road trips are the perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation. They’re all about initiating cruise control, taking in the scenery, and truly appreciating the journey. Whether you’re by yourself or with a group, a road trip can be magical.

But what’s not magical is when the driver’s seat spontaneously spins around as you speed down the highway. And that’s exactly what happens in the soon-to-be-released movie Vacation. In this sequel to 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, grown-up Rusty Griswold schleps his family on what he expects will be an unforgettable road trip to Walley World. “Shocking” spoiler alert: things don’t go as planned.

If you’re feeling like you need even more road trip entertainment, these 7 flicks can soothe your longing for (vicarious) adventure.

7 must-see road trip movies

1. Badlands (1973)

Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek star as 2 criminals on the run through South Dakota and Montana. The story is rumored to be roughly based on a 1958 killing spree that occurred across rural towns in Nebraska. Does the Tinseltown tale end with a high-speed chase and shoot-out, just as it did in real life? You’ll have to watch to find out.

2. Paper Moon (1973)

Set during the Great Depression, this film follows unlikely co-travelers Moses Pray and 9-year-old Addie Loggins. After Addie’s mother passes away, Moses agrees to drive her to Missouri to live with her aunt. At first considered a burden, Addie proves helpful in carrying out his con-artist schemes. Along the way, Addie insists that Moses is actually her father. Tatum O’Neal, who played the role of Addie, won an Academy Award for Supporting Actress in 1974. Tatum’s real-life father Ryan O’Neal played her maybe-father in the film.

3. Fandango (1985)

This film depicts 5 college seniors on an epic “bromance” expedition, taking their shenanigans to Mexico. The film was set in 1971, before the Vietnam War ended, and some of these young men had just received draft letters. The story captures the impending doom of postcollege life through a reflective and hilarious lens.

4. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

This dramedy follows 3 drag show performers as they literally “take their show on the road” in a purple bus named Priscilla. As you’d expect, their road trip from Sydney to a rural town in Australia sets the tone for humor (along with insightful moments). The film won an Oscar for best costumes, naturally.

5. The Go-Getter (2007) 

It’s the classic tale of boy’s mother dies, boy steals car, boy talks to car’s owner using a cell phone left in the car. Okay, maybe not so classic. But that’s what indie movies are for, right? The plot centers around a teenager on a quest to find his estranged brother. Viewers can expect a quirky string of humorous mishaps along the way.

6. The Lucky Ones (2008)

In this movie, 3 injured soldiers return home after their tours of duty. When their flights are canceled, they decide to share a rental car to St. Louis, Missouri. Their road trip turns into an inspirational journey involving a tornado, a car accident, and the emotional struggles of living life postwar. Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña, and Tim Robbins star in this film that speaks to the true power of a road trip.

7. Road to Paloma (2014)

I’d be remiss to leave out a motorcycle trip. A Native American named Wolf is on his way to the Teton Range with his mother’s ashes in tow. Oh, and he’s also on the run from the FBI. Jason Momoa (from Game of Thrones) directs and stars in this rough ‘n tough journey of violence and redemption.

Road trips always make for great stories. What road trip movies have we forgotten? Leave your vote in the comments section below.

Related links

Best Insurance Movie Characters of All Time

Top 10 Insurance-Themed Movies: Intrigue, Romance, Deductibles

The Esurance Guide to Taking a Road Trip

From Car Hacking to Wi-Fi Highways: How Technology Is Changing Our Roads

Here at Esurance, we’ve always been at the intersection of technology and road safety. But as a modern company always trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible, we also understand that technology often comes with challenges.

So Andy Greenberg’s car-hacking story on WIRED earlier this week caught our attention.

As cars get more and more modern, they have the potential to make us safer, more comfortable, and more confident on the roads. But they can make us more vulnerable too. In the following mash-up, we present an overview of how technology is impacting modern driving … in good ways and a few not-so-good.

Car Hacking: A Modern-World Problem
In spite of the media coverage this week, car hacking’s nothing new. Learn a little more about the background of car hacking, and see what’s being done to keep pace with the threat.

Can Cars Help Prevent Distracted Driving?
In the age of smartphones and on-board entertainment systems, some automakers are trying to prevent us from taking our eyes off the road. Will it work?

Self-Driving Cars: The Good
Self-driving cars are no longer a thing of the future, but are they here to stay? Find out how they could change our roads (and our world) forever.

Self-Driving Cars: The Bad
Sure they sound cool, but how safe can they really be? We take a closer look.

Roads to the Future: Smart Highways and Connected Cars
Cars aren’t the only things that are evolving fast. See how the roads themselves could utilize technology to keep us safer.

Cars Get Their Own Social Network … and It could Save Your Life
Could vehicle-to-vehicle communication eliminate the risk of a car accident? The NHTSA hopes it can.

You decide

The jury’s still out on what so much fast-moving technology will ultimately mean for us as drivers. What do you think will happen? Any predictions for the future? Leave your comments (for posterity) below.

Esurance Homeowners Insurance Is Available in the Lone Star State

We all know that Texas is big. At a whopping 268,601 square miles, Texas is the largest state in the contiguous U.S. and is bigger than every single European country.

And with that much land, it’s no wonder that Texas has the second largest population in the country. Out of 27 million residents, about 63 percent own their homes. So, to the 17 million homeowners in the Lone Star State, we are proud to announce that Esurance now offers homeowners insurance in Texas.

So what does that mean for you, Texans?

A policy with your best interest at heart

When you get Esurance homeowners insurance in the great state of Texas, you can count on more than just great coverage, 24/7 help from knowledgeable experts, and easy online policy management. You can also depend on the following features to help you tailor a policy to your needs and save time and money in the process.

Claim forgiveness

With this feature, if you do need to file a claim, we’ll forgive it (meaning your rate won’t increase) and you can still keep your Claim-Free discount.

Manage all your policies in one place

By bundling your Esurance policies, you can access your policy docs and important info in one centralized place.

Protection in the Lone Star State

Our package of standard coverages offers extensive protection for your home, your stuff, and your personal liability.

Dwelling protection

Your Esurance homeowners policy can help protect your home — your largest investment — from fire, wind, hail, vandalism, and more. If the unexpected occurs, we’ll help repair or rebuild your home, porch, deck, and other attached structures, restoring them to their good-as-new condition.

Family liability protection

If you (or a family member living with you) accidentally cause property damage or injure someone, your liability costs could be covered — think legal fees, medical bills, and settlement amount.

One hundred thousand dollars of liability coverage is automatically included with your policy, but you can choose to increase your limit up to $500K. And, best of all, you won’t have to pay out of pocket (a deductible) for the coverage to kick in.

Personal property protection

Insuring your home also means protecting everything inside it. With an Esurance homeowners policy, your stuff (furniture, electronics, appliances, clothes) is covered.*

Coverage around the country

Not a Texas resident? Don’t worry, Esurance offers homeowners coverage in many states around the country. Find out if Esurance homeowners is available in your state to see how much you could save.

And if you’re not a homeowner, Esurance also offers renters coverage and auto insurance.

*On some categories of personal property, Esurance will pay a set limit. Some exclusions and limits may also apply.

7 Ways to Cook Big in Your Small Kitchen

Cozy. Petite. Volume-challenged. However you like to describe your small kitchen, the fact remains that a lack of space is sometimes, well, challenging. But don’t fret! There’s no reason a tiny kitchen can’t also be a powerhouse of culinary innovation. With just a few changes to your workflow and organizational methods, you could turn the smallest of kitchens into the mightiest. And since Esurance is all about embracing innovation, here are 7 ways to get the most out of your small cooking space.

1. Declutter your kitchen

There’s a whole world of fancy kitchen gadgets out there, but only a handful of them are absolutely essential. Any big item that only has one function can easily be nixed. This includes things like ice-cream makers, bread machines, or any other gizmos you ordered off the TV at 3 a.m.

2. Transform your storage space

When cabinet space is limited, the wall becomes your best friend. A few simple additions can open up a veritable Pandora’s box of new storage space. Wall-mounted magnetic strips keep your cutlery off the counter and eliminate the bulky knife block. A pot rack takes your cookware out of the cabinets and puts them right at arm’s reach. You can even install magnetic strips and hanging units on the insides of your cabinet doors.

3. Magically create more counter space

Every inch of your counter is valuable real estate in a small kitchen, so making the most of it’s the first step. But sometimes, even the tidiest of cooks need a little backup. Enter the handy “over the sink” (or “over the stove”) cutting board — the tool that magically turns your sink or stove top into a new surface for cutting and chopping. It’s particularly helpful when you have multiple operations in play (or even a few extra cooks in the kitchen). And when it’s time to use the stove or sink, this modestly-sized cutting board can be discreetly put away.

4. Clean as you go

It might sound elementary, but keeping things tidy is the best way to minimize clutter, confusion, and existential crisis. One trick is to do your cutting and peeling near the trash, compost, or garbage disposal. That way, getting rid of scraps is just a one-swipe maneuver. If you can get away with it, toss all your cut veggies into a single bowl to save space. And if you really want to be a kitchen rock star, you can even clean your knife, cutting board, and any other utensils the minute you’re finished using them and put them back where they usually live. Repeating this last step will help ensure that you’ve got a clean kitchen by the time your meal is cooked.

5. ExPANd your Horizons

One pan, endless possibilities. The cast iron pan is a veritable superhero of cooking tools, able to tolerate whatever types of blazing heat your kitchen contains. Even more awesome is the fact that you can use it to cook an endless variety of complete meals. It’s optimal for searing meats and veggies, simmering your sauces and curries, and even roasting your larger proteins. Throw some potatoes and veggies in there and you’ve got all the components of a complete meal cooking in one place. (And did you know you can also use it to bake a cake?)

6. Just roast it

Okay, let’s say you’ve got bigger fish to fry (or roast, that is). You might want to graduate to the slightly deeper roasting pan. Just like the cast iron skillet, a good stainless steel roaster can be used to cook an entire meal in a relatively small space. Turkeys, chickens, hams, and pot roasts cook beautifully in one of these. Much like its cast iron cousin, it can go from oven to stove top so you can make sauces and gravies right in the same pan. As an added bonus, cooking whole uncut meats ends up saving you money on groceries and producing tons of leftovers.

7. Harness the power of the slow cooker

For anything that you need to cook “low and slow,” the slow cooker is your jam. It’s compact, it’s cost-effective, and amazingly low maintenance. Aside from whatever prep you need to do, all the magic happens in the slow cooker, which means minimal cleanup. But the real beauty is that you can toss in all your ingredients before work and then come home to a hot meal 10 hours later. And sometimes the best solution for cooking in a small kitchen is simply eliminating all the fuss.

It may seem like a daunting task, but at the end of the day, getting the most out of your space is just a matter of making a few smart purchases and using a little strategy.

Once you’ve made the most of your space, find out how to let the kids join in the fun, and keep those pests out (no, we don’t mean the kids!).