Seasonal property insurance is similar to insuring your primary residence. In fact, it is possible to include your cottage on your home insurance as a seasonal or secondary location, or you could arrange for cottage insurance as an entirely separate policy.
Unlike your permanent residence, you may not always be at your summer cottage. The property is often left unattended during the workweek, or for long stretches between the freezing winter and the first sign of spring. Leave your worries behind with the proper coverage for your cottage.
In Ontario seasonal property policies generally come as a standard package similar to a home policy. With coverage for:
Dwelling – This basically describes the actual living structure and anything that is attached to it such as porches and garages
Detached Private Structures – Detached private structures include structures like sheds, garages, decks, fences etc. This amount of coverage is determined as a percentage of the Dwelling value
Personal Property – This is insurance for your “stuff”. Anything you use in or around your seasonal property and detached structures
Additional Living Expenses – Enough to get you back from your vacation and into your primary residence
Legal Liability – In simple terms, liability insurance covers legal matters in relation to your property. Liability coverage comes into play when yourself or a family member has been found partially or wholly responsible for third party property or personal injury damages due to an accident in relation to your property.
There are some insurance options to think about that are unique to insuring a seasonal property and will affect the rate you pay to insure it. Essentially Seasonal Homes mean higher risk. Even though your cottage or seasonal home is probably not as valuable as your primary residence, it can cost more to insure because of the increased risk.
Waterfront exposure – This means you might own expensive recreational items like boats or jet skis, which you may want to insure specifically.
Recent property valuation – If you have been renewing your cottage insurance for many years, the original value will definitely not be enough to help you rebuild it or even make significant repairs if needed.
Contents insurance – If your cottage is mainly furnished with second-hand items and garage sale gems, you could save money here if you are comfortable with minimal or no contents coverage.
Fireplace or wood stove – With approval from a certified professional (WETT inspection), a cottage with a safely working fireplace or wood stove can be insured.
Do you rent it to others – This makes Third Party Liability insurance even more important to protect you if you rent your cottage to someone else and they’re injured on your property.
Outbuildings – If you have a boathouse or shed or other detached buildings on your property, be sure to find out if they are included or need separate coverage.
How often are you there – If no one is there to monitor your dwelling it is at a greater risk for a loss that goes undetected for example theft and water damage.
Accessibility – Is it far from a responding fire hall? Are there hydrants close by? Is the road accessible in the winter? Is the road difficult to access, navigate and is a great distance to a fire hall there is greater potential for a total loss.
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