Ontario Cottage Insurance
Cottages are all about rest and relaxation. Leave your worries behind. Enjoy the outdoors, sun and fun. Carefree living. What cottage living comes down to is freedom to do what you want with your time. Sounds terrific!
A key to making the most of your recreational property – whether it’s a cabin, a cottage, or a mobile home – is to make sure your vacation retreat is insured correctly in case of vandalism, third-party liability issues, or other perils that may arise.
What is Cottage Insurance?
Cottage insurance financially protects your seasonal home and outdoor structures from risks such as fire and vandalism. It also protects your personal items and provides liability coverage.
Cottage insurance 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 cottage insurance, you will have to pay for the costs of losses yourself.
Cottage insurance is also sometimes referred to as seasonal home insurance, recreational insurance, recreational home insurance, vacation property insurance, vacation home insurance, holiday home insurance.
How is cottage insurance different from home insurance?
Cottage insurance is different from home insurance because the risks of protecting a seasonal home are different from those at 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 seasonal property may not be occupied. A vacant cottage can increase exposure to risks such as burglary.
Also, recreational properties 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 damages to your vacation home if there is a fire because it may take longer for firefighters to respond to your seasonal home, and lack of hydrants can impact fire-fighting efforts.
Insurance brokers are trained in cottage insurance. We encourage you to ask any questions that you may have when you are looking for seasonal home insurance. We look after your insurance protection. When you are speaking with an insurance broker about your cottage insurance, the broker will ask questions about your seasonal retreat.
Questions To Ask An Insurance Broker
Here are some questions you may want to think about and ask about when speaking to a broker about seasonal home insurance:
- What should I think about insuring at my seasonal home? Do I want cottage insurance that covers a wide range of perils, or do I want cottage insurance that covers only specific risks listed in a cottage insurance policy?
- Do I need third-party liability coverage? We advise that you always get third-party liability coverage of at least $2 million to cover you in case of legal action against you if there are damages or personal injuries suffered by others while at your cottage.
- If you have a boathouse, garage, bunkie, or other outbuildings?
- How do I insure my boats, watercraft, ATVs, snowmobiles, or other recreational items?
- What belongings and contents coverage do I need?
- Should my cottage insurance coverage include replacement cost of the buildings?
- What is the impact on my cottage insurance if I rent out my cottage?
- What is the impact on my cottage insurance if my cottage is not accessible year-round?
- Do I need to visit my cottage at specified intervals to ensure my insurance remains valid?
- What factors impact the cost of my insurance?
- Are there money-saving discounts that I qualify for to help lower the cost of my cottage insurance?
Why Should I Buy Cottage Insurance?
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, a cottage, or a mobile home, your seasonal property is your special place. It makes sense to protect your investment.
Just like your primary home, seasonal homes need protection. While we may not like to think about it, cottage properties can be at more risk for perils such as vandalism and damages by wildlife – just to name two risks – if you are only there for a limited amount of time during the year.
Do you think your vacation home is too small to need insurance?
Seasonal homes are sometimes smaller and have fewer amenities than our year-round homes. However, 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 at your cottage entirely yourself.
Cottage insurance is a way to manage risks associated with owning your seasonal property. You, the owner, purchase cottage insurance from an insurance company that agrees to assume certain risks related to your recreational property. The cottage insurance policy outlines what risks are covered by the insurance company, limits of coverages, exclusions, and other details. It also details the amount of the insured’s deductible. A deductible is money an insured agrees to pay for a loss before the insurance company begins to pay. For example, if there is a burglary with losses, and your cottage insurance has a deductible of $500, you must pay the first $500 of the claim. The insurance company will pay for the remainder of the insured loss to the limits of the policy.
Are you on the property deed for your cottage?
Anyone who is on a deed for a seasonal home should be included in a seasonal home insurance policy. Sometimes vacation homes are owned by more than one individual. Several family members may own the cottage property. Be sure that each person on the property deed is named on the cottage insurance policy.
Do you rent your seasonal home?
Renting is a terrific way to help cover the costs of owning and operating a seasonal home. The rent can sometimes be enough to pay for the annual taxes. Rental income can provide a substantial financial boost for the owner. If you rent your seasonal home, be sure to share this information with your insurance broker. Your insurance broker needs to know the details of your seasonal home and its uses to be sure you are adequately insured. If you rent your seasonal home and do not disclose this to the insurance company, you may not be covered sufficiently.
Who needs Cottage Insurance?
If you own a cottage, you need to insure it. Fixing a damaged deck, replacing stolen furniture, or repairing water damage can cost thousands. With cottage insurance, you can be protected.
What Does Cottage Insurance Cover?
Cottage insurance can cover your recreational property inside and outside with coverage for your cottage, outbuildings, and other features. It also includes personal liability coverage.
The scope of your cottage insurance protection comes down to what you choose to insure in the policy you purchase. Not all cottage insurance policies are a “package” policy, so be sure you always discuss coverage details and options with your insurance broker.
Here are some of cottage insurance basics
You may be eligible to purchase a comprehensive cottage insurance policy, which is an inclusive type of home insurance coverage. A comprehensive policy covers your cottage building, outbuildings, and contents for all risks, except those specifically excluded in the cottage insurance policy. Depending on your needs, you may want to add endorsements to cover additional risks.
You may be eligible to purchase broad form insurance coverage, which covers specific perils detailed in the policy. The broad policy is a basic insurance policy. You may be able to add other particular coverages to a broad form policy.
No matter what type of cottage insurance coverage you purchase, be sure to review the coverages, limits, and exclusions. Be sure you buy any endorsements for additional protection that you need. If you suffer a loss that is not covered by your cottage insurance policy, you will have to pay for the loss yourself. The insurance company is only responsible for covering losses insured in the cottage insurance policy.
Note also there are standard exclusions to your cottage insurance. Some exclusions are damage from freezing outside, intentional application of heat, damage by fuel oil leaks, rodents, insects, and vermin, property acquired illegally, acts of war, terrorism, and nuclear risks and losses or damages caused when your home has been vacant for 30 consecutive days.
The insurance you purchase comes down to your protection needs and preferences. You need to decide what kind of cottage insurance protection you want. The help of an insurance broker to explain coverages, exclusions, limitations, rates, and other details is very helpful. Contact an insurance broker for assistance making an informed choice for your cottage insurance.
What will an insurance broker want to know when you are getting cottage insurance?
An insurance broker will ask you about your cottage and the 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.
Some additional things to consider when purchasing cottage insurance:
- What contents are left at your cottage all year long?
- What are your third-party liability coverage needs?
- What insurance protection is needed for the cottage dwelling alone?
- Do you have outbuildings that require insurance?
- Do you have a bunkie?
- Do you have docks?
- Do you have a boathouse?
- Do you rent your cottage?
- Coverage for ice damage, wind damage, and damage by bears varies among insurance companies. Ask your insurance broker about these perils.
- Some insurance companies provide coverage for small boats with small engines. Larger watercraft, ATVs and snowmobiles will require separate policies.
- Some insurance companies provide coverage for the weight of ice and snow, which can cause roof damage. However, many companies do not. Speak to your insurance broker about this for more details.
- Overland flood, and sewer or septic back up coverage is often not offered for cottage properties. Ask your broker for details on this.
- If you have a trailer, coverage for this can often be added to your home insurance or purchased as a separate insurance policy.
It is essential to discuss your cottage insurance needs with the insurance broker. A broker can help you to determine what coverage you want, and which insurance companies can provide the best coverage for your cottage insurance at the most competitive rates.
Insurance brokers represent many insurance companies across Ontario. Once the insurance broker has asked you questions about your seasonal property, they will shop at insurance companies to get you several cottage insurance quotes. The insurance broker will review costs, coverages, coverage limits, exclusions, and other details with you. You can then select the cottage insurance policy that best meets your needs. An insurance broker is a trusted advisor. Insurance can sometimes be complicated. We are here to make getting cottage insurance fast and straightforward.
What are the benefits of working with an insurance broker to get cottage insurance?
Here are several benefits of working with an insurance broker when you are looking for cottage insurance:
- The services of an insurance broker are free. You do not pay extra to benefit from the expertise of an insurance broker, purchase a policy, or use our services.
- Insurance brokers work for their customers only. We do not work for insurance companies. Insurance agents or some direct insurance sellers work for one insurance company and are interested in selling products from that company only. This is not true for brokers. Brokers are different from agents when it comes to providing insurance. Insurance brokers represent several insurance companies and shop around to get you several insurance quotes with coverages that meet your requirements at competitive prices. Insurance brokers do not have a financial incentive to sell insurance to any one insurance company. An insurance broker’s goal is to get your insurance at a competitive price, and the broker will shop at several insurance companies to achieve this goal.
- Insurance brokers are trained and licensed to provide cottage insurance. Insurance brokers in Ontario are licenced through the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO), which regulates independent general insurance brokers in the province.
- You have choices. You can choose between insurance quotes from different companies – with different coverages and prices – to select the insurance you want to purchase. It’s good to have choices. Prices can vary a lot among insurance companies. Coverages vary a lot too. It’s good to have a broker contacting several companies to find the insurance that best meets your needs at a good price.
- Insurance brokers are here to help you.
- We can look after all of your insurance requirements.
- We will answer your insurance questions at any time.
- We provide expert advice.
- We save you money with insurance discounts whenever possible.
- We provide a choice of insurance options and prices.
- We are your trusted advocate when dealing with the insurance company. It can be stressful when you have a loss and a clam. Who do you talk to? How do you make sure your concerns are listened to? How do you get things resolved quickly? Insurance brokers are here to help advocate for you to the insurance company to help settle any claims promptly and fairly.
- Brokers offer all types of insurance. Most insurance brokers provide home, auto, cottage, recreational vehicle, business insurance and other lines of insurance. We can look after all of your personal and business insurance, making the whole process of getting insurance simpler and faster. We can also save you more money if you bring all your insurance to one broker and insure with the same insurance company. Ask your broker about this money-saving opportunity.
What Is Not Covered by Cottage Insurance?
Just as it is essential to know what cottage insurance covers, it is important to understand what is not covered by a cottage insurance policy.
If you have a comprehensive form home insurance policy, you will have an inclusive cottage insurance policy. With a comprehensive form insurance policy, it is up to the insurance company to prove that something is not covered. Easy translation: If a loss is not listed as excluded, it is likely covered under the cottage insurance policy.
If you have a broad form insurance policy, only perils listed on the cottage insurance policy are insured.
The bottom line is you should always be aware of what cottage insurance coverages you have and don’t have. An insurance broker is trained to explain these details to you.
Note that some cottage insurance policies may require that you visit your cottage at certain intervals each year and have open road access all year long (and plowed for access in winter). These details are important when it comes to your cottage insurance coverage, especially if your cottage is in a seasonally accessible location, on an island, or on a road that is not maintained all year. We advise that you discuss these matters with your insurance broker prior to purchasing cottage insurance.
Here are some other standard exclusions to cottage insurance policies:
- Cost of your mortgage
- Faulty workmanship
- Freezing pipes during the heated season
- Rust, corrosion from extreme temperatures
- Damage caused by your pet
- Mechanical break down
- Higher HP engine boats
- Septic or sewer back up unless it is added to the policy
- Damage by bears (may be able to add as an option)
- Damage by raccoons or vermin, bats, skunks, squirrels.
- Other people’s contents (If friends leave belongings on your cottage property or if anyone stores their items on the property.)
- Damage intentionally caused by the insured or family member.
- Wear and tear
- Weight of ice and snow (You may be able to add this to the cottage insurance policy. Ask your broker about this.)
- Contents you take home (These items may be insured under your home policy)
- Risks with two or more claims in the preceding three years.
There are standard exclusions to policies such as acts of terrorism, losses due to war, damage due to earthquakes and other perils, of which you should be aware.
Are there additional cottage insurance coverages?
Yes, here are some additional cottage insurance coverages that you may be able to purchase:
- Sewer back up (or septic back up) coverage
- Overland water coverage
- Income replacement if you rent your cottage
- Damage by bears, raccoons and squirrels
- Bylaw coverage
- Fire truck coverage
- Watercraft coverage
- ATV coverage
- Snowmobile coverage
- Trailer coverage
- Frozen food protection
How much does Cottage Insurance Cost?
The price of cottage insurance can range from $800 to $3,000 annually. The price of cottage insurance depends on many factors of your cottage including location, size of the cottage, how often it is occupied, and the replacement cost. If your vacation home is large, featuring lots of amenities, it will cost more to insure. If your cottage is small and simple, the cottage insurance rate will be less.
Here are some factors that go into determining the cost of cottage insurance.
- Seasonal access only?
- Is there maintained year-round road access?
- What is the size?
- What are the amenities and features?
- What is the replacement cost?
- How often you are there?
- How do you use your seasonal property? Do you rent it out?
- What is the distance from fire services such as a fire station, hydrants?
- How do you heat your cottage? Oil? Electricity? Propane? Do you have a wood stove?
What insurance do I need if I rent my cottage?
If you rent your cottage, you need to tell the insurance company. You should also ask about rental income coverage. Cottages can be expensive. There are taxes, maintenance, hydro, even insurance costs to pay. Renting your cottage will bring in some extra cash. So how does renting your cottage affect your cottage insurance?
Some insurance companies will cover your cottage while it’s rented. Among the factors that come into play are: How long is the rental period? Do you rent for a week or two? 30 days? More than 180 days? The entire season?
Make sure your cottage insurance includes rental coverage before you rent out your seasonal property. Speak to your insurance broker about this.
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.
Speak to an insurance broker about your particular situation. It is best to speak to your insurance broker about how renting your cottage will impact your cottage insurance. Coverage details and prices vary among insurance companies.
What Discounts are Available?
There are several ways to save money with discounts on your cottage insurance. Why do insurance companies offer cottage insurance discounts? Discounts are offered for measures taken by the cottage owner to reduce the risk of a loss at the cottage. This makes your vacation home safer and reduces the insurance company’s risk exposure. The outcome for you, a cottage owner: You can 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.
- Bundled coverage – You save more when you insure more. If you insure your home, vehicles, seasonal homes, recreational vehicles – even your business if you are a business owner – with the same insurance company you can save on your insurance. – 10% savings with some insurance companies.
- Claims-free discount – 7.5% to 15% savings with some insurance companies.
- Water alarm – 3% to 5% savings with some insurance companies.
- Power loss detector alarm – 5% savings with some insurance companies.
- Mature-age discount – 10% savings with some insurance companies
- Centrally monitored burglar alarm – 10% savings with some insurance companies.
- Centrally monitored heating alarm – 10% savings with some insurance companies.
Always ask about available cottage insurance discounts you may qualify for. These can save you money on your cottage insurance.
Do I need to insure my recreational items?
Yes, you should insure recreational items such as boats, ATVs, jet skis, snowmobiles, canoes, kayaks, and other similar items. We advise that you speak to an insurance broker about insurance coverage for these items. Coverage needs vary depending on the recreational item. Some recreational 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.
Some considerations include:
- Is the item motorized?
- Do you rent out your recreational items?
- Who will be operating them?
You will want to be sure that you and your cottage guests are covered by 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.
Insurance brokers are experts at insuring boats, jet skis, ATVs, snowmobiles and other recreational toys.
The best advice is to speak to an insurance broker to discuss your insurance needs for recreational items and your cottage insurance.
Some info for you when you’re not ‘parking it’ at the cottage!
Is it too much to presume that cottagers love the great outdoors? We don’t think so. There are so many parks to explore and enjoy in Ontario and all of Canada. Parks Canada’s website is a gateway to parks, conservation areas, activities, events and more. Enjoy!
Talk to our Morison Insurance Brokers
Our Morison Insurance brokers are here to help you. We know cottage insurance. We will provide expert advice, and help you get cottage insurance at a competitive price.
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. We will shop at insurance companies across Ontario to get several quotes on cottage insurance for you.
And we are here to assist you at any time. If at any time you need to change your insurance or have any insurance questions, we are available by phone, email, text, and in person at any of our seven offices in southern Ontario. At Morison Insurance, you are not known by your policy number. We are not a call centre. We are people-focused. You are a valued customer who has a dedicated insurance broker who looks after your insurance. At Morison Insurance we provide extras that make the difference.
At Morison Insurance, we can also look after all of your insurance needs – home, auto, cottage and seasonal home, recreational vehicles and items, business, life insurance, and more. We are nationally and provincially recognized award-winning brokers dedicated to providing outstanding insurance and service to each and every customer.
And here is another Morison Insurance promise: We will work to save you money on your insurance – cottage insurance and all of your insurance – whenever possible.
This blog 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.
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