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.