Opening your cottage: tips and need to know

With cottage season just around the corner, many of us are excitedly packing our bags for the scenic drive north. But even though our summer homes beckon toward seeming bliss and idyllic sunshine, risks and pitfalls lurk in this utopia. We’ve rounded up some of the most common struggles people face when vacationing at their cottages and ways to avoid these struggles. Read on to find The Shepherd Group’s top tips for successfully opening your cottage this summer.Follow our be in the know cottage series rolling out in the coming weeks to make the most of your summer.

Inspect your property. Inspecting should be your first order of business when prepping for summer. This is as simple as just walking around and through your cottage to observe any damage and note any work that may be needed. Some things to check for are rodent and insect holes, broken windows, loose shingles, exposed wires and wobbly decks. Repairs will not only improve the look and functionality of your summer residence, but also reduce your risk of liability.

Check your insurance policies and coverages. Verify that your policies respond to your summer cottage needs. Just like your condo or house in the city, your cottage has similar risks and things that could wrong. In some cases, these risks are even greater than in the city. For example, if your cottage is in a treed area, it may face a higher risk of sustaining damage from falling trees or branches. Cottages near lakes and rivers may be particularly susceptible to flooding and water damage.

Peer into the belly of the whale. That is, make sure the internal workings of your cottage are sound. This means examining the plumbing, checking the sewer tank level and verifying all of the fuses and other electrics are in good shape. Some of these checks are particularly tricky because any damage in these areas may not be immediately obvious like roof damage or broken windows.

Prepare for emergencies. Stock up on emergency food, medical and utility supplies in case extreme weather strands you at your cottage. This way, you can turn your vulnerable property into an oasis of security. And once the foul weather clears, you’ll be all set to resume your leisure having weathered the storm through superior preparation.

Survey your surroundings. The world around us is soaked with liability, injury and damage risks. Cottages are no different. Chances are that you or your neighbors have ATVs, quad bikes, boats, jetskis and snowmobiles. As with a regular car or truck, any time you operate these vehicles there is a risk of injuring other people or damaging their property meaning you must have similar policies to cover similar risks. Indeed, you can insure your ATVs under your auto policy and bundling waterskis, quad bikes and boats with your cottage may reduce premiums.

Have fun! By now it’s beginning to seem like preparing a summer cottage vacation is an exercise in stress and anticipation, too similar to your city life. Isn’t this what you’ve been trying to get away from all this time? On the one hand, yes, but, you cannot enjoy unless you lay the groundwork. That being said, once the initial flurry of activity winds down, do not forget to actually enjoy and savor your vacation.Tell us how you’re preparing for cottage season. Comment below or tweet us at @TheShepherdGroup