5 tips for insuring your cottage

Written by Unica Insurance
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Cottage deck with Muskoka chairs

For most cottage owners, their getaway destination is a chance to unwind from the daily hustle and bustle. Keep your cottage stress-free by making sure it’s adequately insured and safe from preventable losses by following these tips:

1. Secondary or Seasonal?

When choosing insurance, there’s a difference:

  • Secondary
    The cottage is accessible year-round and you split your time between the cottage and your primary residence (weekends, vacations, etc.)
  • Seasonal
    The cottage is only used during the winter or summer.

From the perspective of an insurer, a property is at higher risk the longer it remains unoccupied—there’s no way to limit damages in the event of a loss if there’s no one there.

Good to know
Make friends with your neighbours so they can keep an eye on your property while you’re away!

2. Determining Coverage

Insurance premiums on your cottage insurance are influenced by:

  • Location and accessibility
  • Value of the cottage including furniture and equipment
  • How the property is used
  • Age of the building

Your Broker will work with the insurer to tailor your coverage based on your needs and how often you use the cottage. Additional coverage can also be added for protection against theft and vandalism.

Good to know
If you’re planning for renovations, let your insurer know. Coverage will be re-evaluated to make sure your cottage isn’t under-insured.

3. Civil Liability

You have a responsibility to keep your cottage well-maintained and secure. With civil liability coverage, you’re protected in the event someone becomes injured on your property or you cause damage to someone else’s property.

4. Rental Property

The rise in vacation rental services such as Airbnb has made renting cottages much easier, for owners and trip seekers. An otherwise empty cottage can now be a source of revenue for owners.

However, your Broker must be informed of your intentions to use your cottage as a rental property, as many insurers do not allow this type of usage on seasonal properties and coverage may be denied in the event of a loss.

5. Keeping Your Cottage Safe

To reduce the risk of theft, vandalism, fire or water damages, always:

  • Store all outdoor valuables such as bikes and barbecues or bring them home with you
  • Lock all doors, windows and sheds
  • Shut off the property’s watermain
  • Unplug all appliances
  • Install an alarm or detection system that can be centrally monitored to watch for fire, theft and water leaks

If your cottage has a combustion heating appliance or system such as an oven range, space heater or fireplace:

  • Have a fire extinguisher available
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector
  • Perform maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Store combustibles away from a heat source
  • Dispose of all excess residues safely

Keeping your cottage safe and well-maintained will help you make the most out of your home away from home.

Do you need more advice on getting proper insurance coverage for your cottage? Have a conversation with your Broker who will help you assess your needs and recommend adequate coverage.

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About Unica Insurance

Unica Insurance provides innovative niche Commercial and Personal Insurance solutions to protect VIP clients’ homes, vehicles and businesses. Delivering best-in-class insurance protection backed by a renowned claims experience, Unica allows its customers to safeguard their hard-earned assets and protect their momentum.
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