Cottage Season: 10 Tips for Opening Weekend

May 20, 2023
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Cottage season has arrived! It’s hard to believe where the year has gone. Here is a quick refresher on how to get your cottage ready for the season.

Check these ten steps off your to-do list as you prepare for cottage season:

  1. Arrange to have your utilities turned back on or inspected. If utilities, like water or gas, need to be turned on by professionals, remember to make an appointment ahead of time. This way, your cottage will be ready when you plan to settle in for the season. You should also have your septic system inspected by a professional if it’s due for a check-up.
  2. Make sure your seasonal property insurance policy is up to date. Adding some new toys to your cottage property like an ATV or boat? Or, are you planning to rent out your cottage for the first time this year? Either way, it’s a good idea to review your seasonal property insurance policy each year with your insurance broker.
  3. Your broker can help ensure that your secondary property, such as a cottage or cabin, is adequately insured. This includes coverage for third-party liability. This way, you can enjoy your cottage season stress-free knowing you’re covered for the unexpected.
  4. Pack everything you need for a safe and successful opening weekend. Items like bottled water and a first aid kit are good to have on hand during cottage season. You’ll probably want to pack a toolkit and cleaning supplies, too. Before your first visit of the season, double-check that you have spares of keys. That way you can be sure you won’t be locked out.
  5. Get your car ready for the drive up to the cottage. If this is your first road trip of the season, ensure your car is in shape before you hit the road. While you’re reviewing your cottage insurance policy, take the time to review your auto insurance policy with your broker, too.
  6. Walk and inspect the perimeter. Before going inside your cottage, walk around the outskirts of the building. Note any broken windows. Check for damage caused by pests. Be aware of any break-ins. Look for any changes since you left your cottage last fall.
  7. If you notice any unusual changes, it is a wise idea to document them by taking a series of photos. While you’re at it, set a reminder to take photos of your property when you close it down for the season. Include documenting how your cottage property is left in your regular maintenance routine. This will help you identify any changes.
  8. Inspect your roof. Winter weather can damage your roof. It is important to inspect your roof regularly. Replace any missing shingles right away. If you notice that part of your roof has caved in or sustained significant damage, have it repaired by a professional and look for any water damage that may have occurred as a result.
  9. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. When entering your cottage, one of the first things to do is check the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If the batteries have stopped working or have reached the expiration date recommended by the manufacturer, replace them.
  10. Air it out and look for mould and mildew. The air inside a cottage that has been closed up for months is likely stale. There could also be mould or mildew, which needs to be taken care of. Especially before spending an extended period of time inside.
  11. Open all of your windows and doors, and if your cottage has an air conditioning system, change the filter before starting it up. Once you’ve opened up all the windows, check all window frames and walls for signs of mould and mildew. If you notice mildew or mould, you may be able to clean it up yourself, but if it’s affecting a larger area, you should contact a professional.
  12. Turn on your water. If you turned off the pipes when you closed up your cottage last fall, it’s time to turn them back on. Before you do so, open one faucet and leave it open when you turn on the main valve. Once your main valve is turned back on, let the water run from the opened faucet for a few minutes, then close it. If you have a pump that draws water directly from the lake, you’ll need to take some different steps to turn on your water. Contact a professional if you have questions about starting up your pump system.
  13. Check for damage caused by rodents or other pests. Look for holes in your walls and flooring, as well as any debris or waste left behind by pests. If you notice any damage or waste, you may need to contact a pest control professional to prevent further damage.

Most cottages have unique quirks and features that require special attention before opening for the season. Are you new to cottage life? Not sure how to turn on your electricity, water, or other systems? Consult a local professional. They can help you have a smooth start to the season.

If you have any questions about your seasonal property insurance coverage, reach out to your licensed insurance broker. If you’re shopping for insurance for a new cottage, a broker can help you look into your options.


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Blog Source: Economical Insurance

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