Mackay Insurance Blog
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
14 Valuable Cottage Insurance Tips For a Successful Cottage Closing
Summer is quickly coming to a close - bringing a sad so-long to the heat and adventures of summer. And after spending as many long weekends and vacation days at the cottage as possible, it’s time to shore the docks.
As a cottage owner, you know the importance of closing down your cottage for the winter. And as insurance brokers, we have all the tips you need to get the job done right!
In this article, we have 14 valuable cottage insurance tips that will help you,
- Close your cottage down successfully.
- Limit the risk of unnecessary loss and damage over the winter season.
- Ensure your cottage insurance coverage is up to date.
Ready? Let’s get your Ontario cottage safely into hibernation mode!
1. Get your wood stoves and other heating systems checked.
Seasonal cottages usually have their heat source(s) shut down during the off-season.
This saves money on unnecessary heating costs and prevents your cottage heating from becoming a fire hazard.
So during your last visit to the cottage, be sure to shut off and clean your heating system - whether it's a fireplace, furnace or space heater!
You’ll also want to shut off/disconnect any gas lines and fuel supplies.
2. Turn off your main water supply.
Keeping your water on over the winter months is just asking for trouble.
Not only can this cause expensive water damage repairs. But it can also bring about mould and mildew growth!
If left unchecked, mould growth can even lead to:
- Floorboards caving in
- Ceiling collapses and
- Crumbling walls.
And none of these vulnerabilities is something your insurance company wants to risk.
So, as you're shutting your cottage down for the season, don’t forget to shut off your main water supply too!
3. Empty your pipes, water tanks and drain lines.
Standing water in your pipes, tanks and lines can lead to freezing and even bursting - causing extensive home and plumbing repairs.
To avoid this issue, remember to drain your:
- Water Tanks
- Drain Lines
- Appliances etc.
4. Turn off your electricity.
Since there is no heat or running water in your cottage during the winter, turning off your electricity is the next obvious step.
According to the ESA, there are four critical steps in powering down your cottage:
- Unplug all appliances before powering down.
- Turn off each breaker before flipping the main breaker switch. This protects your large appliances from experiencing a damaging power surge when powered back up in the spring.
- Store extension cords safely in a waterproof and rodent-proof location.
- Check for tree branches near powerlines on your property to prevent electrical damage and fire hazards).
Note: Before turning off your electricity, remember to empty your fridge and freezer of any perishable goods.
5. Inspect your roof.
A damaged roof increases the risk of leaks and cave-ins over winter. That’s why repairing your roof before winter arrives is so important!
Heavy snow and high gusts of wind can cause severe damage to your home - both internally and externally - if your roof is not secure.
When inspecting your roof, look for:
- Broken or missing shingles
- Mould growth
- Sagging areas
- Rusted nails
- Insect/Animal infestation
- Dark patches
And while you’re up there, don’t forget to clear your gutters!
6. Clear out your eavestroughs and downspouts
Rain water can’t drain properly from your roof with clogged eavestroughs and downspouts.
This water buildup can cause expensive water damage to your home, both internally and externally.
Before leaving your cottage for the winter, ensure your roof’s drainage system is fully intact and cleared out. This will prevent water from pooling in and leaking into your home.
7. Trim overhanging branches.
Trimming large, overhanging branches on your property is incredibly helpful for more than one reason.
We already mentioned how trimming branches near power lines help prevent electrical damage and fire hazards. But those aren’t the only trees you have to worry about.
Overhanging branches around your home, boathouse and sheds can also present a problem. That problem could be the branches themselves falling on these structures or even heavy snow and ice falling off them.
8. Ensure unwanted critters can’t get into your cottage.
Over the winter months, most critters are looking for a warm escape, shielded from heavy snowfall.
Unfortunately, your vacant cottage is the perfect hideaway for mice, racoons, squirrels and even bats.
And all of these creatures can wreak havoc on your home, its structural integrity, furniture and other valuables.
To keep your cabin guest-free over the winter, follow these steps:
- Keep wood piles far away from your cottage.
- Clear out your gutters.
- Reapply caulking around pipes, dryer vents and gas lines.
- Check window and door seals.
- Use steel wool to fill in small holes.
- Cover your chimney.
- Seal foods like oats, pancake mix and pet food (or, better yet, take them home with you).
- Set traps in and around your cottage.
9. Store your boat and other recreational vehicles safely away.
To keep your water-crafts safe over the winter, we recommend storing them in a secure location and investing in boat insurance.
Are you planning on storing your boat on your cottage property over the winter? If so, you’ll want to ensure it’s well protected from harsh weather, uninvited critters and robbery.
This is why boat insurance is so important!
10. Remove the doc from the water.
As water freezes and unfreezes, ice expands and contracts. And, since wooden docks soak up water, this expanding and contracting can cause breakages.
Removing your dock from the water ensures it doesn’t get ruined over the winter months.
Note: If you plan to keep your dock in the water over the winter with water agitators, don’t forget to post a sign on its location! Snowmobilers and skiers who use the frozen lakes for recreational use over the winter never expect docks to lie in their path. So labelling the location of your dock helps keep them safe.
11. Go over your current cottage insurance coverages.
Once you've packed up your cottage, it’s time to review your current cottage insurance plan.
This is especially important if the usage of your cottage has changed recently. Having up-to-date coverages that reflect your specific needs helps ensure that you,
a) Have the right protection, and
b) Are not overpaying for any unnecessary coverages.
12. Speak with your insurance broker about recent or upcoming cottage renovations.
Have you made any recent changes to your cottage lately? Or plan to?
If these renovations are not currently reflected in your policy, they aren't protected. This means that they are not reimbursable in the event of damage or loss.
Making sure your insurance company is aware of these changes ensures your property is fully protected. And that includes any recent, pricy upgrades!
13. Remove all valuables from your cottage property.
As you’re doing a final sweep of the cottage, make sure you pack up all valuables. That includes expensive equipment, recreational vehicles (i.e. kayaks), landscaping tools etc.
Removing your valuables from your vacant cottage helps prevent break-ins and theft.
14. Secure your cottage.
Lastly, secure your cottage as best you can!
Cottage security tips:
- Lock all doors.
- Lock all windows.
- Draw your curtains so people can’t see indoors.
- Store outdoor ladders and furniture away from your cottage.
- Install a gate at the front of the driveway.
- Ask a nearby neighbour to check in once in a while.
- Install security cameras and an alarm system.
Need An Updated Cottage Insurance Policy? Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville and Napanee!
At Mackay Insurance, keeping your family and home as safe as possible is our number one goal. And that includes your home away from home!
Want more information on our cottage insurance packages? Whether looking for a new policy or upgrading your current coverages, your Mackay broker can help!
Cottage Insurance: 10 Questions You Need To Ask Before Choosing a Policy
Your cottage is your safe haven. Your peace and quiet. Your vacation! But without the right cottage insurance coverage, your home-away-from-home might actually become:
a) A safety risk and
b) A Financial liability.
Are you investing in a new cottage property this year? Maybe you already have a cottage and a policy but aren’t happy with the cost or coverages you’re getting.
Now is the time to start thinking about (or re-thinking) your cottage insurance policy.
After all, your cottage policy is what protects your vacation home in the event of:
- Damage from falling objects
- Weather Damage
But not all cottage policies are the same.
Do you need help understanding cottage policies and how to choose the right one?
In this article, we explore some of the most important factors in choosing your cottage insurance policy. So you can make the best choice for your family, budget and investments!
Keep reading for 10 key questions you should ask BEFORE choosing your cottage insurance policy this year.
1. What are the policy differences between seasonal and year-round cottage insurance?
Do you have a seasonal cottage or a year-round cottage? This is a crucial detail for your insurance company to know. Especially if you’re looking to narrow down your coverage needs and reduce your insurance costs.
Seasonal cottages are not winterized and are only accessible for a part of the year.
Do you have a seasonal cottage? If so, our Mackay brokers recommend seasonal cottage insurance, also called basic coverage.
This basic insurance covers your seasonal cottage and belongings. But it does not automatically insure seasonal detached buildings (i.e. a boathouse). You can, however, add this coverage at an extra cost.
That’s why it’s considered a Named Perils Coverage plan. It only covers losses resulting from perils that are clearly identified in the policy.
Seasonal-use cottages are usually considered a higher risk because cottagers visit them less. Thus they are not maintained as regularly.
Year-Round (Second-Home) Insurance
If your year-round cottage is accessible 365 days of the year, your Mackay broker recommends broad coverage.
This policy includes protection for your cottage, detached buildings and belongings.
This form of coverage is commonly referred to as Second-Home Insurance. Why? It covers all risks associated with homeownership. Much like your Home Insurance policy does.
2. Does a cottage insurance policy cover a cottage located on an island or remote location?
While some cottagers choose a local, more public location for their vacation home, others prefer the off-grid lifestyle.
But will your insurance company still cover a cottage located on an island or other remote location?
That depends on which insurance company you work with.
While some Ontario insurance companies refuse to insure remote vacation homes, others specialize in it!
In this case, we recommend speaking with your insurance provider BEFORE purchasing your cottage.
They may agree to ensure you, but pay close attention to the insurance premiums they offer you. A cottage not easily accessed makes it an extremely high risk.
And many providers tend to increase insurance premiums for remote locations because they are not easily accessible by:
- Emergency Medical Services
- Fire Halls
- Fire Hydrants
3. Does an off-grid small cabin still need insurance?
The simple answer is no.
Smaller cabins (600 square foot buildings) deep in the woods and without power don’t legally need insurance.
But while cottage insurance is not required, third-party liability coverage is always a good investment.
Protecting yourself while another individual is on your property is always crucial.
And while we are on the topic of guests…
4. Do you need liability protection for cottage guests?
If you own a cottage, chances are you host many family and friend get-togethers every summer. After all, who wouldn’t want to share such a gem of a location with their loved ones?
But if you don’t have liability insurance, these events become a big financial risk.
As a cottage owner in Ontario, it is your legal responsibility to make your property as safe as possible. In fact, Ontario’s occupier’s Liability Act clearly states:
“An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.”
This means you need to ensure all aspects of your cottage property are reasonably safe, including your:
Liability insurance protects you in the unfortunate event of injuries resulting from a slip, fall, drowning, watercraft incident…etc. on your property.
5. Does a cottage insurance policy cover renters?
Planning on renting out your cottage? Be sure to tell your insurance company!
Some providers don’t allow cottage rentals on their policies. So you may need to look for a different insurance provider if you plan to rent out.
On its own, your cottage policy does not usually cover renters. But for companies that offer it, adjustments to accommodate rental situations are usually an option.
6. What structures ( i.e. dock, boathouse) does your cottage insurance policy cover?
As mentioned before, the structures covered on your cottage insurance policy depend on what type of policy you choose.
Seasonal cottage insurance offers Named Perils Coverage. This usually includes attached structures like the garage and deck. It does not, however, cover other outbuildings unless otherwise noted.
On the other hand…
All-season cottage insurance is an All Risk policy, much like your home insurance policy. So it does cover unattached, outdoor structures, including:
- Detached Garages
7. Are cottage toys (i.e. boats) covered by a cottage insurance policy?
Most cottage toys require additional or separate coverage. This can include your:
- Jet Ski
- Inflatable Dock
- Paddle Board
- Water Trampoline…etc.
These items are usually not included in your cottage insurance. However, you must check with your insurance company on what is and isn’t covered.
8. Does cottage insurance include Replacement Costs or Actual Cash Value?
Every insurance company is different. So understanding the financial reimbursement factor of your cottage insurance coverage is crucial. After all, replacement costs and cash value are two potentially very different amounts. And you want to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your policy.
If your insurance company promises replacement costs, you’ll receive the repair costs or item replacement in full. With zero depreciation.
Actual Cash Value:
If your insurance company promises actual cash value, you’ll receive the current, depreciated value of the building.
9. Do your home and cottage insurance have to be with the same company?
Many insurance companies won’t insure your cottage unless you have existing home insurance with them. While others specifically specialize in vacation home insurance!
So before you start shopping for the best cottage insurance policy, be aware of your limitation. Ask your insurance company what their requirements are and proceed from there!
10. How do you keep a cottage insurance policy valid?
For your insurance policy to stay valid, there are usually a few requirements set out by your insurance provider.
Many companies insist their clients make regular visits to their seasonal cottage throughout the year.
Failure to make these regular visits could result in your policy becoming invalid.
If you’re unsure what your insurance company requires of you for a valid policy, ask your insurance broker! They will review your policy, or potential policy, with you to ensure you understand your role in the policy validation process.
Get The Right Cottage Insurance Coverage With Mackay!
Whether you have a cottage, a cabin, a lakehouse, a hunting camp or a chalet, we’ve got the insurance coverage you need!
Get in touch with your Mackay broker today to learn more about our cottage insurance options.
You can reach our Belleville office at 613-966-5740 or our Napanee office at 613-354-2555. You can even start your online application process for cottage insurance right away!
Happy Cottage Season!
Seasonal Cottage Closing Time Means Insurance Updates: Get Yours Now
This has been a tough year for seasonal cottage owners and visitors. Throughout much of this year, we have simply been unable to enjoy "cottage season" the way we typically do.
With only 1-2 months of warm weather here in Ontario, you may be facing a choice:
Should you open up your seasonal cottage at all or simply keep it closed and wait for spring?
In this post, our experienced Mackay Cottage Insurance experts review our recommendations for seasonal cottage customers and give you information about possibilities for adjusting your seasonal cottage insurance.
Is Your Seasonal Cottage Standing Unoccupied, But Not Vacant?
The first big question to ask yourself is this: is your seasonal cottage standing unoccupied, but not vacant right now - and is it likely to stay that way throughout 2020?
Here is why this is an important question to ask.
From the perspective of an insurance underwriter as well as a cottage owner, there are different risk levels associated with a truly vacant structure and a structure that is not vacant, but is standing unoccupied.
Depending on who your insurance provider may be, the definition of each term can also vary. For some cottage insurance brokers, the change in cottage status for 2020 may constitute what is called a "material change in status."
If this applies to your coverage, this can trigger a revision in the type and level of cottage coverage you are eligible for as well as how your claims may be handled.
There is also a lot more that you, the cottage owner, can do to minimize risk for a structure that is not vacant, but is simply standing unoccupied at the moment.
The more you choose to do to minimize risk of weather damage, theft, vandalism and other risks that increase when a structure is continually unoccupied for an extended time period, the less you risk denial of claims or increase of insurance premiums.
Insurance Concessions May Be Available Due to COVID-19
Just the idea that your seasonal cottage insurance premiums might increase on top of the financial concerns that 2020 has already presented may be enough to tempt you to shut your browser window and stop reading this post.
Please do not do this - at least not yet!
It is quite possible that insurance providers may be willing to provide concessions due to the extraordinary financial burdens 2020 has imposed.
Concessions may conceivably include each of the following options:
Deferral of premium payments due to COVID-related financial hardship.
Here, "deferral" is not the same as "forgiveness." Rather, deferral simply means that your policy period gets pushed back by the amount of time you are granted before resuming your regular premium payments.
While deferral is more the order of the day with Canadian underwriters when reviewing COVID-related relief requests, some insurers may be open to an outright forgiveness, or the waiving of any missed payments.
The only way to know for sure is to contact your Mackay Cottage Insurance broker so that we can investigate the possibilities on your behalf. Do you need more information on your recreational cottage insurance coverage this year? Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.
Rate review based on owner's plan to secure the premises through year-end.
If your insurance provider does decide that 2020's unusual cottage usage patterns constitute a "material change in status," this may trigger an automatic policy review and a subsequent rate increase.
From what we have seen thus far, however, the majority of local Quinte insurance providers we work with are more than willing to back off on proposed rate increases provided that the cottage owner can demonstrate a plan-in-progress to enhance security measures at the property.
For example, many of our seasonal cottage owners have not been able to do much more than make a quick run to check up on their seasonal cottage. Some have not even been able to do that much until quite recently.
Examples of enhanced security measures that could stave off any premium increases might include each of the following:
- Installation of a remote security monitoring system.
- Early cottage winterization preparations to protect the structure from damage.
- Hiring a local security company to monitor the cottage on the owner's behalf.
- Hiring a local individual to check on the cottage regularly.
- Upgrades to the structure itself to prevent seasonal weather damage.
- Upgrades to the HVAC, plumbing, septic and/or sump system to guard against water damage, especially freezing.
Just the choice to install a remote security monitoring system might even be good for a discount of up to 15% off your annual policy rates.
Note - Linking that system to a local company that can follow up will probably be your ticket to the rate decrease.
Review Your Coverage and Make Sure It Protects You & Your Cottage Investment
At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario we are encouraging all of our seasonal cottage insurance clients to take this opportunity to review their cottage insurance coverage in light of the unusual circumstances of 2020.
We have released an entire post that walks you through the steps to do this.
There are many different levels and types of seasonal cottage insurance based on the type of property, usage patterns and other considerations.
We warmly invite you to connect with your Mackay Cottage Insurance broker to discuss all of your options for adjusting your seasonal cottage insurance in a way that is most favourable for your personal finances.
What If I Rent Out My Cottage Part-Time? How Does This Affect My Insurance Coverage?
In the sharing economy, many cottage owners have transitioned to renting their cottages out during different parts of the season. If you rent out your location, you need to make sure that your insurance company is well aware. In some cases, policies can be endorsed to cover rental for up to 2 weeks. If you are renting out your cottage for more than 2 weeks per year, it may have to go on a more commercial based plan. Talk to our team of qualified cottage insurance brokers today about your options.
Get in Touch With Your Mackay Cottage Insurance Broker Today
Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario continues to work remotely and our qualified Mackay Insurance brokers are available to serve you by appointment, in person, as well as by phone, email, fax, social media and courier.
Need cottage insurance? Complete our short, easy application now!
Relief for Seasonal Cottage Insurance
Now that summer is here in full force, we are getting calls from some of our customers who have seasonal cottages.
One of the hot-topic questions on the table right now is simply this: “if you are not allowed to use your seasonal cottage this summer season, will there be discounts or rebates on cottage insurance, recreational vehicle insurance or cottage rental (business use) insurance?”
If yes, how do you apply? If no, is it possible to cut back on coverage levels to control the costs of seasonal cottage coverage during COVID-19?
What about breaks on associated fees, such as marina use fees, property taxes and local services fees?
These are all great questions; however, with COVID-19 being an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, the answer is more complicated than we might like.
We will take a closer look at each question and give you the most recent, up-to-date information in this blog post. Keep reading!
Are There COVID-19 Related Discounts or Rebates for Seasonal Cottage Insurance?
Unlike with auto insurance, currently there are no province-wide or national mandates of any kind encouraging or requiring that insurers provide seasonal cottage insurance customers with rebates or discounts due to COVID-19.
This is in spite of the fact that many cottage owners are not able to even travel to their properties just to check the premises, let alone to enjoy time there or earn rental income by subletting to summer tenants.
There is a possibility that you could apply for a deferment of premium payments for reasons of financial hardship due to COVID-19. This is a decision that is being left up to each individual insurance provider. Find out more about your Mackay cottage insurance here.
Is It Okay to Cancel Seasonal Cottage Insurance During COVID-19?
If you can't visit your seasonal cottage due to COVID-19 restrictions and no one else (such as rental tenants) can either, then is it okay to cancel your seasonal cottage insurance to save money?
We completely understand that many of our customers have been severely impacted financially due to the economic shutdown here in Canada.
There are simply far too many unknowns to make it a smart plan to cancel your seasonal cottage insurance even if you can't enjoy your cottage right now.
It may, however, be possible to adjust your premiums based on adjusting the level of coverage you are carrying.
Can You Cancel Business Use Rider Coverage for a Seasonal Cottage Rental?
If you have been carrying a business use policy rider that permits you to rent your seasonal cottage for a more extended time period, it may be feasible to pause this seasonal cottage coverage.
If, however, your business use rider includes coverage for loss of rental income, you may not want to pause this coverage right now!
What Other Options Are Available to Make Seasonal Cottage Insurance More Affordable?
Here are some additional ways to adjust your policy premium costs to make continuing to carry seasonal cottage insurance more affordable during COVID-19:
- Increase your policy deductible.
- Install extra safety features at your cottage, such as a monitored alarm system.
At the very least, you still want to make sure your seasonal cottage, including the premises and possessions stored on that property, are insured against risks that COVID-19 will not impact, such as weather-related events, vandalism, theft and flooding due to pump or pipe malfunctions.
Can You Get a COVID-19 Deferral on Your Seasonal Cottage Premium Payments?
Another option to pursue if COVID-19 is stretching your budget too thin is to ask your insurer if it is possible to apply for a deferral of policy premium payments.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, it is possible you may be able to have your premium payments deferred for a limited period of time.
A premium payment deferment is not the same as a loan or a forgiveness of financial obligations. Rather, a deferment simply pushes back the due date of the next premium payment.
This may have the impact of extending the term of your policy and/or increasing the amount you have to pay for the remaining premium payments.
It is vital to understand the fine print of how any such deferred payment plan will work to be sure you are comfortable with the terms.
Can You Cancel Your Recreational Vehicle Insurance Policy?
If you have a boat, jet skis, off-road vehicles, fifth wheel or RTV, travel trailer or other type of seasonal recreational vehicle that you are not able to use right now, you may also be wondering if there are any auto-related insurance discounts for these.
While the auto insurance industry has been releasing some funds back to policyholders due to COVID-19, the same is not true for the recreational vehicle insurance industry.
Depending on how your policy is structured, it may be possible to reduce coverage based on reduced use. But here again, you want to make sure you retain coverage for damage or destruction due to events outside of your control such as weather or theft.
How to Find Out What Financial Support May Be Available to You
Right now, with the possible exception of auto insurance providers, it is pretty much up to each individual insurer whether to offer any type of financial support to customers hit hard by COVID-19.
The best way to find out what, if any, financial relief may be available is to reach out to your Mackay broker directly.
Together, you can review your coverage and identify where you may be able to cut back on coverage, apply for premium payment deferment or consolidate due to reduced use rates.
Get in Touch With Mackay Insurance
Here at Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, our offices are open by appointment only to serve you. Our brokers and support staff are also available by email and phone to support you in any way we can.