Whether you own an elegant villa or a basic cabin, did you know that secondary residence have specific insurance needs?
The amount of insurance coverage you need will depend on how much time you spend there and the value of the building and contents. That's why it’s important to have customized protection.
Which type of insurance is right for you?
Generally speaking, “all-risk” insurance is recommended for main residences and “named perils” for secondary residences. Obviously, the recommended insurance coverage isn’t the same for a cottage that’s used every weekend all year long as for a cabin that’s only used for a few weeks in the summer.
Seasonal dwellings that are used less often will be covered against basic risks listed in the policy, including lightning, fire, hail and windstorms.
If, however, you stay at your secondary residence on a weekly basis, you could then opt for more comprehensive “all-risk” insurance, where all risks are automatically covered, unless an exclusion is stated in the contract. It’s best to take the time to learn about these different types of insurance.
Personal property: temporarily or permanently on the premises?
In order to accurately determine how much insurance you need for the contents of your secondary residence, it’s important to distinguish between the items that are on the premises temporarily and those that are kept there permanently. The former are covered under the insurance policy for your main residence, and the latter under the insurance policy for your secondary residence. We recommend purchasing insurance for your secondary residence from the same company that insures your main residence. If you have to file a claim for damage to personal property, it will be easier to deal with a single insurer than to have to split the claim between two companies.
Never too rustic to insure
Even if your vacation retreat is the most basic cabin around, even if it's a small investment and you don't keep any valuables there, Third Party Liability coverage is essential – just in case. If someone is injured on your property, if your campfire spreads to surrounding properties, or if a shingle from your roof blows off and damages a neighbour’s property, liability protection will be a huge help.
It's best to take the time to find out what insurance coverage you need to prevent your peaceful haven from becoming a source of stress.
Closing up for the winter
Seasonal dwellings that aren't used during the winter months usually don’t have coverage against frozen pipes. To avoid a worst-case scenario, drain all the pipes, the water heater, fixtures and appliances before the winter. In addition, the S-traps found under plumbing appliances should be filled with an antifreeze product specifically designed for pipes.
What about the risk of theft?
Did you know that if you have a “named perils” policy for your secondary residence, burglary usually isn’t covered? Good to know, right? We strongly recommend adding separate protection to your policy to cover burglary (theft with visible signs of entry or exit on the building), vandalism and glass breakage. At Desjardins Insurance, this additional protection is called Endorsement 31.
Contact your licensed insurance advisor today for advice on the best coverage for your particular situation.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.