Mackay Insurance Blog
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!