With vacation season descending quickly upon us, it’s a great time to talk about seasonal property insurance. Like most, your vacation property is your home away from home – a place to escape, unwind, relax and enjoy your favourite summer activities. Or maybe your vacation property is actually a second income for you, in which case commercial insurance may be the better option.
Either way, in this blog we’ll cover all you need to know about cottage insurance so that you’re all set to enjoy the summer months ahead.
What is Cottage Insurance?
Similar to your home insurance, cottage insurance is property insurance that is designed to cover your vacation property including the replacement and repair costs of your property as well as the items inside the building should any of the following occur and cause damage:
- Wind and hail
- Fire and lightning
- Water and freezing
- Non-theft property damage, such as vandalism
- Liability (injuries sustained on the property)
Cottage insurance in Ontario can differentiate between two types, seasonal property insurance, and secondary property insurance. The difference between the two is that a cottage you visit most weekends in the summer and have access to in the winter would be a secondary property, but a cabin that’s only accessible in certain months of the year would be seasonal.
What’s NOT covered in Cottage Insurance?
Generally speaking, your cottage insurance may exclude items like septic bed backups, motorized vehicles, buildings used for business or farming purposes, and damage caused by animals or earthquakes.
Boats and other watercraft require separate coverage, especially if you are storing your boat in a marina or storage facility. Watercraft liability insurance may be limited or not included at all, which is an important criterion, as this will ensure that adequate liability insurance is in place to respond to injury to third parties related to your watercraft.
Outbuildings like a dock, boathouse, or garage may have a limited amount of coverage in your seasonal property policy, but additional coverage can be added to ensure you are adequately protected. Talk to one of our Agents to learn more!
What if you Rent your Cottage?
With most policies, liability coverage is provided and covers the occasional rental of your cottage. This kind of insurance will help protect you from any costs associated with someone being injured while inside your cottage or on the surrounding property. It can also be useful to protect yourself from any claims filed by neighbours for negligence.
However, it’s important to communicate how often you’ll be renting out the property in order to decide how much coverage you’ll exactly need. Failure to provide truthful details in this area can result in the termination of your cottage insurance policy.
In the event that renting out your cottage essentially turns your vacation home into a business then your insurance coverage should reflect this, and you may want to consider a commercial insurance policy instead.
More Cottage Insurance Tips
- Personal Umbrella Liability insurance policies should be considered as part of every cottage owner’s insurance portfolio. In case of an accident resulting in serious injury or death and you are sued because of negligence or ownership, then your Umbrella liability policy will be triggered to provide the necessary funds.
- As you may heat your vacation property differently than your home, always use safe heating practices. If you use a wood stove, for instance, then use properly dried hardwoods as fuel and never use gasoline, charcoal starter fluid, or other flammable liquids to start your fire. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and when you’re ready to dispose of the ashes then make sure to do so safely in a metal container.
- In the event that you need to repair or rebuild your cottage due to a significant loss, then it’s important to understand if your insurance policy covers the cash value of a property or the replacement cost, and if your policy covers the cost of rebuilding to code. A replacement cost policy commits the Insurer to rebuild the cottage with like kind and quality materials without deduction for depreciation. This is most ideal in the event you replace a decades-old structure after a flood or fire, for example.
The upcoming warmer weather is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and your seasonal property. Give us a call at (800) 567-3381 and allow Cayuga Mutual to be your cottage insurance provider! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about your home policy, auto insurance, or seasonal property insurance.