Mackay Insurance Blog
2023 Cottage Insurance Checklist: For Your Best Season Yet!
2023 Cottage Insurance Checklist: For Your Best Season Yet!
Cottage season is right around the corner!
Who doesn’t love a fun, relaxing trip to the cottage? Whether you’re eight years old or eighty, the novelty never ends!
Those calm mornings you spend reading in your favourite Muskoka chair. The sunny afternoons you spend boating through waves and swimming off the dock. Those cosy evenings around a family fire - roasting more marshmallows than you can count.
These memories make cottage living so memorable for the whole family!
While it’s too early to pack your bags, now is the perfect time to start preparing your policy.
Make the most of your cottage weekends this summer with Mackay Cottage Insurance in Belleville, Ontario!
At Mackay Insurance, we strive to make your summer as stress-free and relaxing as possible. That’s why we created an easy-to-follow Cottage Opening Checklist!
Before You Go
If this is your first year as a cottage owner, the amount of prep work there is before you even get there may surprise you. But each step is crucial to your family’s safety and the protection of your investment(s).
Below are four things you should do before you head up to the cottage:
1. Turn On Utilities
Nobody should spend their first cottage weekend without access to lights and water.
Call your cottage utility providers to turn on all essential services before you head up there. That includes water, electricity, gas, phone, internet, etc.
These utilities make your first weekend more comfortable, convenient and safe!
2. Book HVAC & Plumbing Inspections
Booking a quick inspection and tuneup ensures no unwanted surprises upon your arrival.
Your cottage HVAC and plumbing just spent a whole winter cooped up inside. It’s important to ensure everything is working efficiently and safely.
3. Review your cottage insurance.
This is one of the most crucial steps in preparing for your cottage opening weekend.
Make sure that all your cottage-related insurance policies are up-to-date and active. These include those for your cottage, boat, RV, trailer, other recreational watercraft, etc.
Need a new insurance policy? Want to lower your rates?
Call your Mackay Insurance broker and ask about our cottage insurance packages!
What insurance policies should I review before opening weekend?
4. Pack all the essentials
Lastly, you’ll want to ensure you pack all the essentials.
Your typical cottage packing list will include food, water, emergency supplies, etc.
But a successful cottage opening weekend may mean packing a few extra items.
Your first trip back is the time to clean up, assess and repair your cottage and property. This visit sets the stage for the rest of the summer.
So pack everything you need to ready your cottage for a safe summer season - that includes basic tools and materials.
Making the necessary repairs ensures your cottage insurance policy stays valid.
Here’s a list of essential items we recommend packing for your first trip:
- Cleaning supplies.
- Batteries for fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Tools for simple repairs.
- Flashlights (to check basements, attics, outdoor buildings, etc.).
- Keys (don’t forget the ones to the boathouse!).
When You Arrive
You’ve arrived! Time to get to work.
There’s a list of things to check off before kicking your feet up. Here’s how to get started!
1. Inspect Your Cottage Interior
First things first, how’s it look inside? After almost seven months, who knows what you’ll find!
- Look for signs of rodents and other animals. Telltale signs include droppings, gnawed wire, torn insulation, etc.
- If you have a basement, check for signs of spring flooding.
- Check for water damage. This could be mould, mildew, leaks, cracks and discolouration in walls/ceiling.
You cannot make an insurance claim for rodent infestation. But some insurance companies offer specific water damage coverage.
At Mackay Insurance, we offer optional add-on coverages for your cottage insurance policy. One of these is overland water coverage.
This coverage protects you from damage caused by sudden ground/surface water accumulation.
Do you have water damage or basement flooding due to spring run-off or an overflowing river? Contact your Mackay broker!
Your broker will check your policy and let you know if the incident has coverage.
2. Inspect Your Cottage Exterior
After thoroughly inspecting your cottage interior, it’s time to peak outdoors.
Here, you’ll want to check your cottage exterior. This includes your property, patio, decking, docks, outdoor buildings etc.
Here’s where you should check for damages:
- Power lines (stay far away from these!),
- Windows and doors,
- Outbuildings, etc.
Cottages located in heavily forested areas or near water are typically quite vulnerable. Wind, rain, heavy snow and fallen trees can all present extreme risks!
If you’re unsure whether your policy covers specific damages call your Mackay broker!
3. Look for fire hazards.
Fire prevention should always be top of mind for an Ontario cottage owner. So while inspecting your cottage, remember to check for potential fire hazards too.
Indoors, you’ll want to:
- Check exhaust vents and flues of all fuel-burning appliances. Make sure no flammable debris or obstructions surround the area.
- Clean your chimney.
- Dispose of hazardous waste properly (cleaning solvents, paints, etc.).
- Check all electrical fuse boxes and wiring.
Outdoors you’ll want to:
- Stack dry firewood well away from your cottage.
- Clear any fallen leaves, branches and dried brush away from the surrounding area.
Learn more about fire coverage for your cottage.
4. Prepare The Plumbing.
First, you’ll want to prime your sump pump system.
Second, you’ll want to set up your hot water tank.
Third, test your taps and toilets to ensure they operate well.
Fourth, check around your septic tank. Is it damp or smelly? If so, you may need to get it pumped before the season starts.
Are you worried about your sewer backing up?
Our cottage insurance package at Mackay offers optional sewer backup coverage!
Contact your Mackay broker today to update your policy.
Protect Your Investments With Mackay Cottage Insurance
You’ve waited all winter to get back to the cottage. And we want you to enjoy every moment of the season ahead!
The above steps can help you lower the risks for a safer cottage season! After that, leave the worries to u and go enjoy the summer vacation you deserve.
Below are the cottage insurance policies you should review before opening weekend:
Cottage insurance is a specialized policy designed for secondary or vacation homes. It’s typically added to your home insurance policy.
Depending on your specific plan, your cottage insurance may cover
- Vandalism, fire and theft,
- Damage from falling objects,
- Lightning, hail and windstorm damage.
Learn more about cottage insurance!
Boat insurance typically covers
- The boat itself, and
- Your liability in the event of an accident.
This coverage financially protects the boat from physical risks. This can include fire, loss, vandalism or damage.
It also protects you, the boat owner, if you cause injury or damage to another party/property.
Learn more about boating insurance on our blog!
Travel trailer insurance covers the trailer itself, the contents and loss of use.
This coverage protects the boat from loss, theft, damage, collision, etc.
It also protects the trailer contents (i.e. personal items, appliances, etc.).
Lastly, if your trailer becomes damaged or destroyed, a trailer policy can help get you home.
Your insurance company will provide you with a substitute vehicle or transportation funds.
Learn more about travel trailer insurance!
Get In Touch
Are you excited about the upcoming cottage season? We sure are!
If you need help with a new cottage insurance policy or want to review your existing policy, give us a call!
We make your cottage insurance easy and affordable.
Contact our Belleville office at 613-966-5740 or our Napanee office at 613-354-2555.
Is Boat Insurance Still Useful In Winter When It's In Storage?
Is Boat Insurance Still Useful In Winter When It's In Storage?
It’s tempting to cancel your boat insurance in the off-season. But should you?
Now that summer is ending and you’re getting your boat ready for storage, it probably seems natural to cancel your insurance coverage. After all, why would you need your boat protected when it’s not even on the water?
While some consider winter boat insurance coverage to be an unnecessary expense, it’s quite the opposite.
During the summer, your boat is likely skimming across the Bay of Quinte, carrying multiple passengers. And while it’s on the water, it’s obvious how much of a risk it can become - whether that’s to you, the boat itself, your passengers or even other boats on the water.
In this case, this insurance coverage makes absolute sense.
But is boat insurance still useful in winter, when the boat is in storage?
It may not put other boats and passengers at risk while stored away, other factors can put it at risk - like theft, vandalism, fire etc.
In this article, our Mackay Insurance brokers discuss the value of winter boat insurance - keeping your investment as safe and protected as possible during the off-season.
What Does Boat Insurance Typically Cover?
Boat insurance typically covers two things - the boat itself and your liability in the event of an accident.
Let’s break down these coverages in more detail below:
Physical Boat Coverage
Boat insurance coverage protects the physical boat and attached/onboard boating equipment, such as the hull, boat motor, sails and engine.
This all-risk boat insurance covers physical risks such as:
- Weather-related perils,
- Theft and
If your boat is no longer useable (due to one of the above events), your insurance plan provides a loss settlement.
In an Agreed Value policy, insurance companies provide the agreed-upon amount in the policy. Physical depreciation is not factored into the agreed-upon value.
Actual Cash Value (ACV)
In an ACV policy, insurance companies reimburse the current market value. In this case, the insurance company does factor in physical depreciation.
Additional Boating Insurance Coverage:
Most insurance companies also offer additional boating insurance coverages. These are add-ons to your existing policy and offer further protection.
1. Personal Property Coverages
Extra insurance coverage that many boaters invest in is personal items coverage. This coverage protects personal belongings aboard your boats - such as clothing or fishing equipment.
2. Emergency Towing & Assistance Coverages
Just as CAA insurance goes hand in hand with car insurance, emergency boat assistance goes hand in hand with boat insurance.
Emergency Towing & Assistance coverage reimburses you for costs associated with emergency services. This could include towing, fuel delivery or even emergency repairs.
What happens if you experience a boating accident and another party makes a claim against you?
In this situation, liability boat insurance is imperative.
It financially protects you, the boater, if you cause injury or damage to another person’s property or boat.
Note: Liability boating insurance is not required by law. However, it is highly recommended.
5 Reasons Why You Should Insure Your Boat In The Off-Season
Now that you know what boating insurance covers, let’s explore why it’s useful to keep this insurance over the winter months.
1. Theft and Vandalism
Although the in-water risks associated with boating are extensive, out-of-water risks to your boat exist too.
Over the winter months, you can store your boat in several different locations:
- On your property (i.e. in the garage or a boathouse).
- At a marine.
- In a storage facility.
But no matter where you choose to store it, your boat is still at risk of theft, damage and vandalism.
Anyone can steal the boat from your property, vandalize it at a public marine or damage it in a storage facility.
Thankfully, boat insurance covers these types of losses.
But if you do not have boat insurance, you are responsible for repairing/replacing your boat out-of-pocket.
2. Weather Damages
Your boat may have an off-season, but weather conditions are ongoing.
Even if your boat is safely stored away, weather damages can occur.
While your boat may not experience the same weather damages as it would on the water, there are others to consider.
For example, fire and flooding are two high-risk weather events that can cause extensive damage and loss. And without coverage, these damages and losses are your responsibility alone.
3. Homeowners Insurance Might Not Cover Your Boat
If you choose to store your boat on your property, does your home insurance policy cover it?
Yes and no.
Homeowners insurance can cover damages to your boat while it’s on your property, but these coverages have a strict limit.
Smaller watercraft, like canoes and kayaks, are typically covered in full. However, powerboats, pontoons and sailboats are not - leaving you to pay for most of the loss yourself.
4. Some Lenders and Storage Facilities Require Boat Insurance
Although boat insurance is not required by law, some lenders, marines and storage facilities do require it.
These parties are protecting themselves and their investments, just as you should!
5. Canceling or Pausing Your Coverage Could Cost You More In the Long Run
It may seem like cancelling your boat insurance during the winter can save you money. But this is not always the case.
Firstly, you could experience cancellation penalties if you exit your insurance plan before the end of your policy term.
Secondly, insurance companies typically prefer to ensure a boat that has already had insurance coverage in the past.
And thirdly, many insurance companies reward clients with a reduced deductible for each claim-free year. Cancelling your coverage plan would eradicate this reward.
Contact Mackay Insurance For Your All-Season Boat Insurance
Your boat is a major investment. Just like your home, trailer or car is! Keeping it protected, whether it’s in use or not, is invaluable.
Learn more about your Belleville Boat Insurance options from our Mackay Insurance Brokers today! You can reach our Belleville office at 613-966-5740 or our Napanee office at 613-354-2555. We also offer free boat insurance quotes online!
Take Water Safety to a Whole New Level With Boat Insurance
Next to your home and personal vehicles, your boat may represent one of the biggest investments you make in life.
Yet far too many boat owners neglect the one task that will protect this investment no matter what life or open waters may bring: boat insurance.
We know buying boat insurance isn’t exactly fun. It isn’t why you wanted to invest in a boat. Just tending to the maintenance itself is no joke – that boat of yours probably keeps you pretty busy even in the off-season!
But this is also why winter is the best time of year to talk with your Mackay Insurance broker and find out what boat insurance has to offer. This way, you can look forward to your launch this spring with confidence that your investment is completely protected!
What Is Boat Insurance?
Boat insurance is designed to protect certain categories of watercraft, whether motorized or not.
The main categories of covered watercraft include:
boats (both motorized and non-motorized)
watercraft (like jet skis, inflatables)
equipment (GPS equipment, dinghies)
If you are not sure if your boat or watercraft will qualify for boat insurance, our friendly Mackay brokers are happy to talk about it with you.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Boat insurance policies are designed to cover you in a number of different categories. You may need all or some of the types of coverage a boat insurance policy is designed to provide.
Boat insurance, like most insurance products today, can be customized to your unique needs and concerns.
These are the basic categories a standard boat insurance policy will offer coverage for:
Liability coverage is the big one for most boat owners, regardless of craft type; it will protect you if you get into an accident with your boat that causes injuries or fatalities or harms another person’s property.
Emergency services can include coverage for boat repairs or towing.
Damage to the boat itself
All-risk coverage protects you for the types of events you simply cannot foresee.
Some examples include damage, theft, vandalism, destruction, weather, fire, explosion, lightning strikes and other situations that are beyond your control that cause damage or destruction of your boat and related property.
Do You Really Need Boat Insurance?
This is a really good question! Be aware that some types of low-value, low-liability watercraft may actually be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Examples include canoes and kayaks.
But when you start to get into boats as an investment, it is time to look at standalone boat insurance rather than a rider on your homeowners policy. (As a side benefit here, taking out a standalone boat insurance policy will also safeguard you from an increase in homeowners insurance premiums if you have to make a claim for your boat.)
When it comes to determining how much boat insurance you need, there actually is no “one size fits all” answer to this question.
Rather, the boat insurance you need is dependent on the value of your boat and related property, the type of power your boat uses, your usage patterns, the type of storage you have for your boat/property, who can use the boat, what type of trailer or hauling vehicle you use and other factors.
How Much Boat Insurance Do You Need?
One big question all new boat owners typically have is how to figure out how much boat insurance you need.
As a general rule of thumb, if your boat is valued at $100,000 or less, you will pay about 1 percent of its value annually for your boat insurance policy.
Here, this would mean that insuring your $100,000 boat would cost you about $1,000 in boat insurance annually.
All things considered, paying $1,000 for a boat worth $100,000 is a very reasonable cost to protect the value of your investment.
Are There Discounts for Boat Insurance?
Many boat owners are happy to learn that discounts can apply to boat insurance.
Here are some discounts to be sure to ask about when you talk with your broker about boat insurance:
Multiple policy discounts (if you carry more than one policy with the same insurer)
Full lump-sum premium payment (if you pay for the full year at one time)
Power Squadron or other boat safety courses
Homeowners insurance discount
Member discount (if you belong to a boat club or association)
Dry dock discount (if you store your boat at a dry dock instead of on the water)
Usage discount (if your usage patterns are moderate or seasonal)
Good credit discount (if you have an excellent or good credit score)
Get in Touch
Are you considering a boat purchase? Contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable brokers before you buy to find out what your insurance rate will be.
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.