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A quick question for all the cottagers out there: what’s the difference between a bear and a skunk?

When it comes to seasonal property insurance, it’s about more than their physical differences — damage done to your cottage by bears is probably covered, while damage done by skunks probably isn’t.

Take note of these five little-known facts about seasonal property insurance coverage and talk to your broker about what is (and what isn’t) covered in your policy:

  1. The onus is on you to prevent losses or damage to your property — and if a loss can be easily prevented, it may not be covered. So if you forget to tie up your boat and it goes out with the tide, for example, you’re probably out of luck. Damage or loss caused by things outside of your control (not things you could prevent) will most likely be covered by your policy. In the bears vs. skunks scenario, the idea is that you could prevent a critter from entering your home by taking some simple precautions — but keeping a bear out might not be so easy.
  2. If you leave your cottage unattended for an extended period of time, losses or damages might not be covered. Seasonal properties need to be checked regularly for safety and security. In fact, most insurance companies have a maximum number of days you can be away before coverage could be denied (60 days, for example). So if you haven’t checked on your cottage over the winter months and the roof collapses due to snow load, you might have to cover those damages out of pocket. That’s because if you had checked on your property more regularly, removing the snow could have prevented the roof from collapsing.
     

    Make sure you’re checking and maintaining your property, even if it’s not prime cottage season. And don’t forget to confirm with your insurance company or brokeropens a pop-up with definition of broker just how many days the property can be left unattended. Your claimopens a pop-up with definition of claim could be denied if you’ve left your property unattended for too long.

  3. Renting out your cottage could void your insurance policy if it’s not permitted by your insureropens a pop-up with definition of insurer. While you won’t necessarily need to pay a higher premiumopens a pop-up with definition of premium or take out commercial coverage for occasionally renting out your seasonal property, you do need to tell your insurance company or broker. If you don’t and your renters cause damage, it may not be covered by your policy.
     

    Bonus tip: If you’re planning on renting out your cottage this season, check out these handy cottage rental tips to keep your property in tip-top-shape and make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your seasonal space.

  4. Water damage, not fire or theft, is the most common type of insurance claim. If you’re using your cottage year round, think about installing temperature and water alarms to notify you remotely of potential frozen pipes or flooding. If you close your property in the cooler months, don’t forget to shut off the water supply and drain your pipes, and consider using a monitored alarm or make arrangements for someone to check your property when you’re away to avoid water damage.
  5. That old boat you don’t care about could cost you big money. Even if you think it isn’t worth insuring your boat against theft or damage, getting liability protection on it is essential. If you don’t and it causes harm to someone or something, you’ll be on the hook for any injuries or damages. The same goes for other toys around your property that wouldn’t be covered by your seasonal property insurance policy, like ATVs and snowmobiles. If they present the potential to cause damage or injuries, they should be insured for liabilityopens a pop-up with definition of liability.

Want to learn more about your seasonal property insurance policy or update your coverage? Contact your licensed insurance broker.


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