Cottage insurance is like home insurance. Homeowners insurance has comprehensive coverage and will cover all risk except for exclusions to your policy.
A year round winterized cottage can be insured as a Secondary Homeowners. Seasonal cottages are often written on a Named Peril or Broadform Policy. The most common Named Perils include, Fire, Theft, Lightning, Explosion, Hail or Windstorm, Vehicle Damage.
The most common reason for loss or damage at the cottage are wind storms. If there are lots of trees on your property, you should have them checked by an arborist. It is often cheaper to have a tree removed then to pay your policy deductible.
The second major cause of loss is plumbing failure and this damage can be extensive, especially if you forget to drain the pipes in the Winter, and the pipes freeze. This can cause the pipes to crack or burst, and if no one is there the water will run continuously until the cottage is revisited. By that time the water damage would be considerable.
The third is theft and Vandalism ( make sure that you add this coverage to your policy), and the Fourth is Fire.
Other key coverage to consider purchasing:
- Building collapse by snow
- Smoke and Animal Damage
- Rental of your Cottage
Even though your cottage may be worth less than your primary residence, cottage damage is can often be more extensive, as city homes are hydrant protected with fire departments located nearby. Cottages are almost always located more than 13KM from a fire hall (a distance Insurance companies use to determine the premium).
Cottage insurance may cost more if there are multiple buildings ie, bunkies, dining shelters, boat houses, storage sheds etc..
The most significant cost is for reconstruction. You need to be sure you are insured for the full replacement value of your cottage - for example, if a cottage is insured for $100,000.00 and a fire occurs and the insured suffers a total loss and the cost to rebuild is $175,000.00, the insured would be out of pocket by $75,000.00. Be sure to review all of the details with your broker such as square footage, number of stories, bathrooms, bedrooms, construction type, etc., to be sure that you have adequate coverage.
In every cottage community, no matter how close to the nearest firehall/police department, there are some people who insist that they cannot purchase Cottage Insurance. The truth is that they have not shopped around or do not want to pay the premium. Don’t be one of these people, have peace of mind and purchase coverage for your cottage.
Remember these Fire Tips for a Safe Cottage
Change all Smoke Alarms batteries and install one smoke alarm on each storey and in all outside sleeping areas and buildings
Replace Smoke Alarms that are over 10 years old
Install Carbon Monoxide alarms especially if you have a fireplace, wood stove, gas or propane appliances
Clean heating appliances barbecues before use and keep an eye on heating appliances to ensure all combustibles as well as children and pets are kept away
Check Fire regulations with your local fire department or municipality or the Ministry of Natural Environment with regards to restrictions on campfires, burning brush etc.Happy Cottaging!