Cottage insurance in Canada

Have you recently purchased your dream cottage by a lake or maybe a remote cabin tucked away somewhere in the woods? Weekend getaways to Canadians are almost as integral as eating poutine or playing ice hockey. But before your adventures begin, it’s important to make sure you have the right type of insurance for your new property. Even if you’re a seasoned cottager and you live for the hot days cooling off in the lake and cool nights relaxing by a campfire– it’s a great time to review your cottage insurance and make sure you’ve got the right coverage for your home away from home.

In fact, whether it’s cottage insurance, cabin insurance, bunkie insurance… your insurance coverage typically boils down to how you use your property and how often you’re there. Because a cottage tends to be used seasonally, coverage tends to be more limited. Depending on your specific needs, there are different policy options. A cottage property is usually covered with a Named Perils policy that protects against things like fire, explosion, smoke and water damage, or less frequently, an All Risks policy that covers the building and what’s inside of it1.

Because your cottage most likely stays empty for a good part of the year, cottage insurance needs in Canada are probably a little different from how you would insure your home and they need to be customized that way.

What is cottage insurance?

If you’re looking to insure your cottage or cabin with TD Insurance, we offer two main types of coverage depending on your needs: secondary property insurance and seasonal property insurance. Here’s how we distinguish the two:

Secondary Property

(could be insured similarly to your primary residence)

  • Occupied by you (or a family member), not rented out
  • You must be at the property 2 to 8 weeks every year
  • Must be insulated and have year-round access
  • Must be insured for 80% of replacement cost or more

Seasonal Property

  • Occupied by you
  • Used only seasonally
  • Not accessible year-round (i.e., unplowed roads, or only accessed by boat)
  • Not winterized
  • Insured at less than 80% of the rebuild cost

Please note the above descriptions are general guidelines for assessment of secondary and seasonal vacation homes. We recommend speaking to a TD Insurance licensed advisor for your specific needs and how to get the right insurance for your property.

What kind of coverage should I get for my cottage?

At TD Insurance a secondary property would be eligible for All Risks, which covers your cottage or cabin and your belongings against all types of loss (except for those excluded on your policy). And a seasonal property would be eligible for basic coverage. Basic coverage would be a Named Perils Coverage and that includes coverage against common claims such as fire, explosion, smoke and water damage. But remember, it must be specifically listed in your policy for you to have coverage for it. Speaking to a TD Insurance licensed advisor can help you understand your policy and ensure you have the right coverage for your property.

Can I insure my cottage with a different insurance company than my house?

Some insurance companies require that you have your primary residence insured with them in order to insure a second property. With TD Insurance, you’re able to insure your cottage as a stand-alone property even if your primary residence is insured somewhere else. (Note that the following property types are not eligible for this coverage: a barn/stable, new construction, property in storage, seasonal property, rented seasonal home, seasonal mobile home, seasonal park model trailer, vacant home or vacant condo.)

Although it’s not required to insure your home with us, you can save on your insurance when you have multiple properties under a single TD Insurance policy.

Is my boat covered?

If your cottage is lakeside, you may also own one or multiple different boats. Watercraft such as outboard motorboats, jet skis and sailboats can be insured under an All Risks policy for protection against physical loss or damage. A TD Insurance licensed advisor can help you understand if your watercraft qualifies for this type of coverage.

How do I get cottage insurance?

The best way to get find out what your coverage options are for your vacation property is to speak to a TD Insurance licensed advisor. They can answer any questions you have and give you a quote for your property.

If you’re getting ready to open your cottage up for the season, you can review this useful checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered to start the season out right.Also make sure to read about more ways to protect your cottage.

From there, all you really need to think about is packing enough sunscreen, making sure there’s wood for a fire and enough food packed in the cooler. Now you’re all set.