Insuring your Cottage

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Coverage for your “home away from home”

Insurance for a cottage or other vacation property is similar to that for your home, but with a few important differences.

Vacation property basics
Getting the right coverage
Third-party (or personal) liability coverage
Contents coverage
Detached private structure
Replacement value

Vacation property basics

Since you don’t live there full-time, the type of insurance coverage you’ll need for the property depends a lot on how you use it.

For example, is it just a summer retreat? Or do you use it year-round and make regular weekend visits? Do you ever rent it out? These are important considerations in deciding what type of coverage to buy.

Here are a few other things you should know about insuring a vacation property:

  • You can choose to have your cottage included in your primary home insurance policy, listed as a secondary or seasonal location, or you can opt to get a separate, stand-alone policy.
  • Most insurers will insist that your primary residence be insured with them before they will insure your vacation property.
  • Unlike your primary home, which may be covered for All Risks under a Comprehensive policy, vacation property insurance usually involves Named Perils coverage.


Named Perils coverage means you are only insured for specific risks, like fire, for example. (See
Standard Home Coverage in the “Home Insurance Basics section” for more information.)

Since a vacation property is only occupied part-time, it may be harder or more costly to get coverage for certain types of risks, like vandalism or water damage. For example, if a pipe bursts, the damage could potentially be far more severe than it would be if someone were on site to get help.

Here are some of the things that are usually excluded in vacation property insurance:

  • Sewer back-up coverage
  • Fences and gardening equipment
  • Trees, shrubs and outdoor plants
  • Any food stored in a freezer
     

Getting the right coverage

Here are some types of coverage you will need, or may want to consider.

Third-party (or personal) liability coverage

Even if the physical structure is not worth much, you need to be protected in the event that someone is injured on your property, or if a fire that starts at your cottage spreads to other properties.

Contents coverage

This applies to belongings that are kept at the vacation property and not to any items you may bring back and forth. Things that travel with you between your primary home and vacation property are covered under your home insurance policy.

  • Some seasonal or secondary home coverage packages automatically include contents coverage to a specific limit.
  • If the limit is not sufficient, you can purchase additional coverage


Tip:

  • Don’t forget to keep an inventory of belongings at your vacation property, particularly if you add items of significant value over time.
     

Detached private structure

Replacement value