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.

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.

Data driven: do you know what data your car’s sharing about you?
When Esurance interviewed consumers shopping for a new car about data and its use, it became obvious that many of us don’t have a clear understanding about what’s myth and what’s reality. To help separate fact from fiction, we asked car technology experts to set the record straight on some of the top areas of confusion and concern.

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. To get the whole scoop, check out this recent report on smart cars and data (and what you should know about both).

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!).

Esurance Homeowners Insurance Has Arrived in Nevada

If states could take personality tests, Nevada would be the life of the party. This extroverted state is synonymous with extremes, from the glitzy nightlife of Sin City to the mountain peaks of the Snake Range and the world-famous Hoover Dam.

The Silver State plays by its own rules — a trait that has served it well. In 1931, they legalized gambling statewide, a move that eventually turned Las Vegas into the entertainment capital of the world. At Esurance, we like to think we share that innovative spirit. And that’s why we’re launching our homeowners insurance in Nevada.

Homeowners insurance your way

Your home is more than your largest investment — it’s your pride and joy, your dream. And a sound homeowners policy from Esurance can help you protect it.

Here are just a few of the benefits Nevadans can now enjoy with Esurance homeowners insurance.

Protection for what matters most

Homeowners insurance from Esurance can help protect your home 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.

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

Payment options

Your homeowners policy comes with a 12-month policy term, which you can pay monthly or in full. And if you do pay in full or through your escrow account, you’ll save big.

Additional living expense coverage

If you choose to add this coverage option, we’ll help cover your hotel bill, food costs, and other reasonable extra expenses for up to 12 months if a fire (or another covered incident) damages your home.

Savings for the Silver State

Saving money is smart business, something Nevadans know a thing or 2 about. Here are a few discounts Nevada homeowners could qualify for.

Welcome Home discount

Just by choosing Esurance, you qualify for this discount. It’ll be applied during the first 2 years of your policy.

DIY Inspection discount

Send us a copy of an official appraisal or inspection report done within the last 12 months and you could save $50 immediately.

Loyal Customer discount

Renew your policy with us for at least one term and you’ll qualify for this discount. It’s just our way of saying thanks for being true blue.

Claim-Free discount

This discount will be effective the moment you buy your policy if you haven’t filed a claim within the past year!

Bundle your home and your car insurance and save even more

Insure your home and your car with Esurance to save with the Multi-Policy discount. Plus, save time and hassle by managing all your policies in one place.

Coverage around the country

Not a Nevada 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 haven’t taken the leap to homeowner status yet, Esurance also offers renters coverage and, of course, auto insurance.

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