How to insure your seasonal property
Insuring a cottage or seasonal property
Cottage season is here! (Or cabin season if you’re west of Ontario.) Ready to escape the city? Before you pack the sunscreen and bug spray, make sure your seasonal property is protected, too. Just like your home, your cottage needs insurance, but it’s not quite the same. Here’s the 101 on insuring your seasonal or vacation property, so you know your home away from home is covered.

What is my cottage covered for?

What your cottage is covered for will depend on the insurer and policy you choose to go with. When you insure your vacation property, a typical policy will cover you in case something happens to your cottage, but could also include coverage for your garage or boat house and your personal belongings.

Since you probably only live at your cottage part-time, your cottage will likely not be covered for everything that your house is. Most policies only cover certain risks when it comes to seasonal properties. In insurance speak, this is referred to as a named perils policy, which means you’re covered for only specific things, such as fire and smoke damage. Seasonal property coverage also often excludes septic backup and flooding, earthquake damage, and campers or trailers. Be sure to talk with your insurer to know exactly what they do and don’t cover, and if the option exists to add any extra coverage.

TIP: While you’re away from your cottage, it’s a good idea to have someone stop by regularly to check up on your property. This can help to prevent a loss from happening. When closing your cottage for the winter, be sure to drain the plumbing system and close the water inlet to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting. If you’ve got central heating, set the thermostat low enough to save energy but high enough to protect your pipes.

Structures on your property and their contents aren’t the only things that can be covered. Accidents happen – even at the cottage. In case someone is hurt on your property (even while you’re not there) or you cause damage to a neighbouring property, you’ll be covered for legal and settlement costs with liability coverage.

Does insurance for my cottage include boat coverage?

If you’ve got a place on the water, then chances are you’ve got some kind of boat. On most home policies, your boat, motor and trailer are covered up to a stated limit as long as they’re for personal use. But when it comes to liability coverage, there are some other limitations.

Only boats of a certain length and horsepower may be covered by your policy, so be sure to check this out. To make sure you're covered, you can also specifically add your boat to your policy.

TIP: Check out these boating tips to stay safe on the water this summer.

Does insurance for my cottage cover my recreational vehicles?

Whether it’s an ATV in the summer or a snowmobile in the winter, your cottage offers a lot of fun activities to enjoy. But, your cottage’s insurance policy usually excludes coverage for these types of motorized vehicles. In order to have coverage for your off-road toys, you’ll need to purchase specific coverage for your ATV or snowmobile, which not every insurer offers.

How much does it cost to insure my cottage?

Just like your home, a lot of factors are looked at to determine how much it costs to insure your cottage. But compared to your home, you may find yourself paying more to protect your cottage. In part, this is because cottages are typically in more remote locations that can be hard to access. For example, if there was a fire, it may be more difficult to fight if your cottage is hard to get to, which means there could be more damage. Also, since cottages are often only part-time residences, it is more likely that if something were to happen, it would go without notice for a longer period of time and potentially cause more damage.

TIP: Quote around to find the best price for the coverages you’re looking for.

Do I have to insure my cottage with my house?

In order to insure your cottage, some providers will require you to also insure your home (or primary residence) with them. Depending on the insurer, you may be able to list your cottage on your home insurance as a secondary or seasonal property, or you can buy a separate policy just for your cottage. One pro for insuring your home and cottage with the same company is that you could be eligible for a multi-location savings or discount!

TIP: Looking to insure your cottage with Sonnet? You can insure your vacation property with our home policy. If you’ll be renting out your cottage, then you’ll want to read on before getting a quote.

What insurance do I need if I am renting out my cottage?

This depends on how you decide to rent out your cottage. If your cottage is primarily being rented out, then you should cover it under a landlord policy. If you only rent it out from time to time, speak with your insurer to make sure you have the best policy to fit your situation.

TIP: When it comes to short-term rental insurance, if you’ll be using an online home-sharing network be sure to check out if they offer you any coverage as part of their service.

Just remember that your belongings are not covered for theft while your cottage is being rented and the belongings of any tenants, roomers or boarders are also not covered.

Your cottage is an investment and, not to forget, a place where memories are made with friends and family. It’s important to protect your cottage for today and for years to come. Now that you have the basics of cottage insurance down, take the time to explore the coverage options available for your summer (or year-round) getaway. With your cottage covered, you can truly spend your days there relaxing.

Protect your home and the things you love most. Cottage Coverage