Insurance matters: Ahhhh! Cottage Life

The Great Outdoors! Smores – Campfires – Family Time – Sun

Cottages today are homes.  They are seldomly built as shacks with an outhouse anymore.  Most of us want to have that country lake side escape but do not want to forgo any of the amenities of a city home.

Many surprises exist when it comes to insuring cottages.  Most of us do not take the time to understand their policy and simply look for the cheapest price.  When it comes to cottages buyer beware!  Insurance policies vary tremendously depending on use and accessibility.

What does this mean?

Most cottages need to be insured as a secondary home and not just as a seasonal dwelling. 

What eight things should you consider when purchasing and/or building a cottage? 

  1. Distance to Firehall
    • The magic number here is 8km to the nearest firehall. With many insurers anything over that will translate into unprotected rates and you needing to pay more money for your insurance.
  2. Woodstove – Heat
    • The magic word here is WETT Certification.
      • In Ontario, all woodstoves need to be WETT certified to eliminate insurance surprises. The goal here is to ensure fire safety but it also means you will be able to get insurance.
      • In Quebec, WETT certification does not exist so you need to have a certified fireplace installer provide you with a receipt stating that the fireplace was installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  1. Septic System
    • Eliminate stinky and very expensive surprises. Have the septic bed checked and checked again.
  2. Year Round Access
    • Your round access usually means you will enjoy 4 seasons of cottage life. This means that you may qualify for all risk insurance.  This policy will include coverage for vandalism, theft and water damage.
    • If there is no year round access this usually means it’s a three season cottage and as a result the type of insurance available will vary greatly.
  3. Electrical
    • Think Fire Safety here. Has it been updated and is it to code?
  4. Trees
    • Big beautiful trees means wind storms can cause severe damage to your cottage. The root system can also create havoc underground.  Be mindful and aware that as the property owner you are responsible in making sure that dead or sick trees are cut down and that dangling branches are removed.
  5. Waterfront
    • Water Safety must be top of mind! Think liability.  Do you have kids?  Do you own a boat or a jet ski? Be mindful of liquor liability.   It is really important to have a discussion with your insurance broker and review your risks.
  6. Alarm
    • You can save good money with a monitored alarm and you could prevent or reduce losses.

Writer Sylvie Forget-Swim is a partner with Assurances Palladium Insurance.

Categories News Renovation Planning