Fact or Fiction: Top Cottage Insurance Myths Debunked

April 5, 2021
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Hint – Lake Life may be more accessible than you think!

Did you know that owning that dream lakefront summer living property may be more manageable than you thought?

Many of your fears in cottage ownership come from the “what ifs”. We get that.

As insurance brokers we’re here to ensure that if the what if happens, you are covered. Since a seasonal property is not your primary residence it requires you to review a different set of considerations in policy coverage to calm your stressors. After all, lake time is for s’more good times and tan lines, right?!

To help you feel more confident in your dockside dreams, we’re debunking the top eight cottage insurance myths in a classic Gifford Carr game of fact or fiction.

It’s a-boat time, let’s go!

1. I’m covered whether I visit my cottage or not.


Similar to how insurance companies will require you to have someone check on your primary residence while you are on vacation to maintain coverage – most insurance companies have a set number of times you must visit your seasonal property either per month or per year.

Check with your broker to confirm what length of time away requires you to take extra precautions. Different policies may require different frequency of off-season visits.

2. My cottage and home insurance has to be with the same provider.


It’s true, many companies require you to have your primary home insured with them before they will insure your secondary/seasonal property. There are exceptions though!

There are insurance companies that will allow a stand-alone seasonal property. But it is important to note that there are lots of good reasons to have your cottage with the same provider as your primary residence, including potential multi policy discounts and convenience in managing your policies and payments.

Connect with your broker to discover what options may be available for you.

3. I have cottage insurance, so I’m covered to rent out my property.


Renting out your cottage could void your insurance policy! If you are thinking of renting the space out, let your broker know. They can help you make the necessary changes (which in insurance we call “endorsements” to your policy) so when you do rent it out, you are protected.

4. It’s not worth insuring that old, rusted boat sitting at the dock.


That old rusty beater boat at the edge of your property may seem like an afterthought. But really, it’s “an attractive nuisance”. What does that mean? Basically, it could cost you big money – even though it’s not in use regularly. Should something happen and it harms you, your property, or someone else, having liability insurance in place on it ensures you are covered. Just in case.

Ps. the same goes for the other toys laying around your property – ie, ATV’s and Snowmobiles.

5. Docks are NOT included in your insurance policy.


Well, it depends on the dock style. Floating dock – No. However, if the dock is attached to the property – there is a chance it can be. It depends on your insurance provider and the installation and design of your dock. Best to confirm with your broker, but it is less likely to have your dock included with the standard seasonal property coverage.

6. Flooding is covered, always.


This is not always the case. More often than not, this peril (an insurance term that means the exposure to the risk) is not covered, but some insurance providers will offer it as an “add on”.

Talk to your broker about what is (and just as importantly, what is not) included in your seasonal property coverage, as it may differ from a typical primary residence policy.

7. Island properties are more expensive to insure.


But not for the reason you’d think. A factor of consideration for insurance companies when it comes to premiums is the cost to rebuild. As island properties require added costs in rebuilding – transportation of materials, access to builders in a remote area – which drives up replacement costs which increases the insurance premiums on the property.

8. Damage from pesky intruders is NOT covered.


Squirrels and raccoons made a mess of your lakefront retreat? The damage from a small pest can be extensive. But unlike most assumptions, on some insurance policies, like that of our partners at Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group, it IS COVERED! However, it is always best to check, connect with your broker to confirm the details on your policy.

Our top tip from Gifford Carr brokers, always confirm you can get the coverage you want and need for the property before you buy a new property (that goes for both primary residences and seasonal properties). 

To help protect your seasonal property: 

  • Lock it up – seems obvious but always a good reminder for your laidback retreat. 
  • Turn off the water supply and drain your pipes when not visiting the property in the winter months – it’s the best way to reduce the risk when things freeze over. 
  • Install a “smart” thermometer for your heating system – with an app to monitor it straight to your smartphone/computer. Then you can even have it alert you should the temperature drop. 
  • Ask a neighbour or a local friend to check on the property in the off season – it can be as simple as a weekly drive-by just to make sure all is good. With heavy snowfalls it’s good to know your roof is still intact. 
  • Install motion sensored lighting – it’s a great way to deter burglars or vandals. 

Getting the right coverage for your needs starts with trust. Trust you have the coverage and protection you need should a day come that you need to access it. Working with the right insurance broker ensures you have an advocate on your side keeping you protected. At Gifford Carr Insurance Group, we are on your team. We are here to be your insurance advocates and protect your best interests. Find a broker you trust – so you can enjoy your time at the lake with the peace of mind you are protected. 

Connect with us today to get your seasonal property and gear covered!

Questions about Cottage Life?

Tune in to our recent chat with experts in Real Estate, Finance and Insurance answering your questions on seasonal properties.


Learn more about Recreational Insurance solutions with Gifford Carr Insurance Group

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