There's nothing quite like spending glorious Ontario summers up at the lake, or in your countryside cottage. Indeed, for many Ontario homeowners escaping to paradise and leaving the hassle of city life behind is the highlight of the year. Children can take a break from school while splashing about in the water, and parents can escape for a few rounds of golf. Enjoying time up at the cottage not only is a welcome reprieve from city life, but it's also a place where precious family memories are created.
However, like any other valuable asset in your life, it's essential that you have Ontario cottage insurance to protect your home away from home. Since your cottage is likely vacant for part of the year, you'll want to have peace of mind knowing that it's covered in the event of an emergency in your absence. Not to mention, while you're at the cottage it's important to know you are financially protected with cottage insurance should an accident occur.
Buying cottage insurance financially protects your cottage and outdoor structures from risks such as fire, theft or vandalism. It also protects your personal items and provides liability coverage, which is essential for protecting yourself financially from having to pay medical bills or legal costs in the event of a suit.
Cottage insurance is a necessity and provides more relevant protection than a typical home insurance plan would, and is the best way to protect yourself and your recreational property from perils. For example, if there is a burglary at your cottage and extensive damages, cottage insurance can help to pay for these losses. Without the proper Ontario cottage insurance, you will have to pay for the costs of losses yourself. This can leave you in serious financial trouble, and suddenly your little patch of heaven has become a major source of financial strain and stress.
Whether your Ontario cottage is located in Georgian Bay, Haliburton, The Kawarthas, Huron County, Prince Edward County, Frontenac County, Muskoka, Wasaga Beach or elsewhere, cottage insurance brokers can tailor a policy to your specific needs. Our team of licensed, qualified brokers are experts at working with individuals who own multiple properties, including cottages. We will work diligently to ensure you have the best coverage for your needs at competitive rates. Our goal is to give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy time at the lake without worry.
Anyone who is listed on the cottage deed should be included on the cottage insurance policy. Sometimes vacation properties are owned by more than one individual. Be sure that each person on the property deed is named on the cottage insurance policy. For instance, if you share a family cottage with a set of siblings, and you all share the financial responsibility of the cabin, then you all need to be included on the cottage insurance policy. This is to ensure that anyone using the property at a given time is financially protected from a wide range of perils.
Seasonal homeowners should purchase cottage insurance to protect their investment against risks such as fire, vandalism, and personal liability. Whether your retreat is a cabin in the woods, a ski chalet, or a cottage, your seasonal property is your special place. It makes sense to protect your investment.
Just like your primary residence, your cottage needs protection. While we may not like to think about it, cottage properties can be at more risk for perils such as theft and damages by wildlife, not to mention, damage from storms and weather events if you are only there for part of the year. For instance, if you only use your cottage in the summer, then there is a chance that over the winter, pipes could burst or snow could cause damage to gutters and siding.
It's simply not worth the risk to go without cottage insurance. If you find yourself having to pay out-of-pocket for repairs or to replace the entire building, your dreams of languishing lazily at the lake each summer could be completely dashed—should you find the repairs are too much of a financial strain. Not to mention, it's not safe for you or your family to be without cottage insurance. Protect your investment, and protect your loved ones with the right cottage insurance policy for your needs.
The items covered by your cottage insurance package depend largely on whether you purchase a comprehensive or broad form policy.
Comprehensive cottage insurance coverage, which is an inclusive type of home insurance coverage, covers your cottage building, outbuildings, and contents for all risks, except those specifically excluded in the cottage insurance policy.
Broad form cottage insurance coverage is the opposite, it only covers specific perils detailed in the policy. The broad policy is a basic insurance policy. However, you may be able to add other particular coverages to a broad form policy if you need specific types of coverage.
While what is covered in your comprehensive or broad coverage cottage insurance policy will vary per insurance provider, some of the most common perils that such policies protect against include:
There are multiple ways that your cottage can be damaged. It's very important to have cottage insurance in Canada to provide coverage for damage caused by weather events, accidents and emergencies. After all, the last thing you'll want is to pull up to the cottage and realize your beloved property has gone up in smoke—and you have no way to rebuild it out-of-pocket. Don't let the place where you build precious memories become exactly that, a memory. Most cottage insurance policies will provide financial support to rebuild or replace the cottage—up to the policy limits. Common causes of property damage include:
If you spend long periods of time away from your cottage, it could become a target for burglars. Likely, you leave certain valuables and tools up at the cottage while you're away. This could include a television, computer, lawnmower or power tools such as a chainsaw. When you're gone, it's all too easy to break-in—especially if you don't have a security system. Even then, your cottage may be too remote for local authorities to get there in time to arrest the thieves. That's why it's important to have a cottage insurance policy that will insure your valuables in the event they are stolen.
When it comes to cottage insurance, there are two main areas where you may experience loss. The first is damage to the physical structure itself. The second is damage to or theft of your valuables. While you likely don't have as many valuables at the cottage as you may in your primary residence—unless you are staying up at the lake for a while—it's still important to protect the items that you store regularly while you are away. Replacing items such as electronics, antiques and even jewellery you have on-hand while staying at the cottage can be very frustrating without proper coverage.
A liability claim is usually because of two reasons. Either a third-party was injured while on your property's premises, or you caused damage to a third-party's property. For instance, say a neighbour comes by to visit your cottage, but they trip on uneven paving stones and get injured. This could open you up to a liability claim. Should you be found at fault, you could be liable for medical costs and/or a legal settlement. Not to mention, paying for legal fees. This could also happen if you damage another person's property—even if it was unintentional. For instance, say your gutters have not been properly cleaned and the spillage causes severe damage to your neighbour's cottage's structural foundation. You could be responsible for paying to fix the damage—let alone, for a legal settlement should they decide to sue. With the proper cottage insurance policy, you would be protected from these potential liabilities.
With a comprehensive cottage insurance policy, your outbuildings and landscaping may also be insured. This would protect sheds, boathouses, tree houses and more from damage as well. If you have a larger property, it's possible that a fire in the boathouse may not extend to your cottage. While this is good news for the cottage, you still want to be sure you have adequate coverage to replace the boathouse structure. Likewise, if you have costly trees or landscaping on your property, it's worthwhile to see if these can be covered by your cottage insurance policy as well. Your dedicated Morison cottage insurance broker will be able to go over the details of your policy, so you know exactly what is included in the policy.
Speaking of what is not covered on your Ontario cottage insurance policy, like most policies even the most comprehensive coverage will have exclusions. Some items that are generally not covered by cottage insurance policies include the cost of your mortgage, faulty workmanship, freezing pipes during the heated season, rust or corrosion from extreme temperatures, mold, or damage caused by your pet, raccoons, mice, skunks or squirrels. Below is a list of more items not covered by a cottage insurance policy.
Yes. One of the main benefits of working with a cottage insurance broker is that they can help you purchase add-ons that provide greater coverage and further peace of mind. Additional cottage insurance coverages that you may be able to purchase include:
The price of cottage insurance generally ranges from $800 to $3,000 annually. This cost depends on many factors, including location, the size of your cottage, how often it is occupied, and the replacement cost. If your cottage is large and features lots of amenities, it will cost more to insure. If your cottage is small and simple, the cottage insurance rate will be less.
It’s also important to let your cottage insurance broker know how often you’re using the cottage. For instance, is it a seasonal property that you mainly occupy during the summer months? Or, is the cottage equipped for year-round visits? Permitting your cabin has a heat source, enabling you to be out there during the colder months, and you visit at least once every 60 days (or according to what is stipulated in your policy by the insurer), then it may be possible to insure your cottage as a secondary home. This provides different benefits to insuring it as a seasonal property. Your Morison cottage insurance broker will be able to provide further insight as to what level of insurance is best for your cottage.
Here are some other factors that go into determining the cost of cottage insurance. When applying for cottage insurance, be sure you know the answers to these questions:
Absolutely. Renting is a terrific way to help cover the costs of owning and operating a cottage, however, if you rent your cottage, be sure to share this information with your cottage insurance broker. Your insurance broker needs to know the details of your cottage and its uses to be sure you are adequately insured. If you rent your cottage and do not disclose this to the cottage insurance company, you may not be covered sufficiently. Renting tends to open property owners up to additional risks, so your insurance needs change as soon as you rent out the property.
Some cottage insurance companies will cover your cottage while it's rented. The length of time of the rental period will come into play. Do you rent for a week or two? A month? More than 180 days? The entire season? Even if you're only renting your cottage out short-term, you should ask about rental income coverage. Some insurance companies include rental income replacement in a cottage insurance policy. Others may add this coverage to your cottage insurance as an endorsement. If there is a loss and you are unable to rent out your cottage, the endorsement can ensure the income you would have received from the rental is available to you.
Also note that some insurance companies include rental watercraft liability coverage in a cottage insurance policy, which is useful if your tenants are also using your boat or sea-doo.
You should consider insuring recreational items such as boats, ATVs, jet skis, snowmobiles, canoes, kayaks, and other similar items. Coverage needs vary depending on the recreational item. Some items, such as trailers and canoes, may be covered under your home insurance policy or cottage insurance policy. Others, such as larger watercraft, require separate insurance policies.
You will want to be sure that you and your guests are covered by cottage insurance when using your recreational items. We always advise $2 million third-party liability coverage on your cottage insurance to protect you in case of accidental injury or damage while they are in use. Some insurance brokers may recommend $1 million in liability coverage. The cost for an extra $1 million in liability coverage is very reasonable, especially when you consider the costs of legal fees and judgments for liability claims. If judgments and expenses exceed your coverage limits, you will have to cover costs that are over and above the policy limits.
There are several ways to save money with home insurance discounts on your cottage insurance. Discounts are offered for measures taken by the cottage owner to reduce the risk of a loss. By taking measures to reduce the risk of a loss, you can in turn often reduce your cottage insurance rate. For example, if you have monitored year-round heating or you are claims free, cottage insurance savings may be available.
Here are some discounts that may help to lower your cottage insurance rate.
Always ask about available cottage insurance discounts you may qualify for. These can save you money on your cottage insurance.
No. You should insure your cottage no matter how small or simple it is. Cottage insurance will protect your seasonal home investment. Without cottage insurance, you will have to cover any losses entirely yourself.
Cottage insurance is different from home insurance because the risks of protecting a seasonal home are different from the risks of protecting a permanent home. For example, unlike at your full-time home, you may only stay at your cottage for a few months each year, sporadically, or for several short periods annually. For the rest of the time, the property may not be occupied. A vacant cottage can increase exposure to risks such as burglary and vandalism.
Also, cottages are often in remote areas. This can mean your seasonal retreat is farther from a fire station and/or not served by fire hydrants. There may be an increased risk of extensive damage if there is a fire because it may take longer for firefighters to respond, and lack of hydrants can impact firefighting efforts.
An insurance broker will ask you about your cottage and the surrounding property. Details such as its location, size, frequency of use, and amenities are things a broker will ask about. The insurance broker will need details such as if you have a bunkie, a boathouse, a fireplace, a hot tub, a garage, and further information.
We promise to guide you through the process of getting cottage insurance as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We will answer your questions, explain essential details, and review coverages, limits, and costs. Our team of qualified brokers will shop at cottage insurance companies across Ontario to get several cottage insurance quotes. As a family-owned and operated business, we always put the needs of our clients first. When you choose Morison cottage insurance brokers for your insurance needs, you can rest assured that you are in the best hands. We truly care about our clients and daily go above and beyond to secure them the best coverage possible.
To get started today, give us a call at 1-800-463-8074, or fill out the online form below for more information.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.