Seasonal property insurance: preparing a vacation property for summer fun

Jun 7, 2017 3 minute read

Seasonal property insurance: preparing a vacation...

Summer marks a time where many Canadians go to vacation properties. Before heading to a summer haven, it’s important to review existing seasonal property insurance with a BrokerLink broker. This review ensures homeowners have the right insurance coverage to reflect the current state of their property. In addition to insurance, doing an exterior and interior check of the vacation property will ensure it’s ready for summer fun.

Before a vacation: review seasonal property insurance

If there is an unexpected event, such as a fire, seasonal property insurance can help cover the costs to handle damage (or, a total loss) to the physical property, detached structures and contents of the home. Additionally, seasonal property insurance addresses liability issues. When homeowners review their seasonal property insurance with a broker, they should notify them about the following:

Updates to the property

If the homeowner has upgraded the roof or flooring in their vacation property, their broker or insurance company needs to be notified. This will allow the broker to include these updates in an insurance policy, or find coverage which will provide protection. If these updates are not added to an insurance policy, the homeowner may have to pay out of pocket if they become damaged.

Detached structures

Vacation properties can have detached structures, such as a boathouse or shed. If a homeowner has added these types of structures, they will need to notify their broker or insurance company to update their policy.

New contents

If a homeowner has purchased new furniture or additional items (such as artwork) for their vacation property, it’s important to inform a broker to help determine the best coverage.

Visitors to the property

This relates to liability; a homeowner is responsible for the safety of their guests while on the property. If a guest becomes injured, they could sue the homeowner. The liability coverage included in the policy for a main residence also extends to a seasonal home. This means homeowners owners are financially protected if they cause property damage or bodily injury to others while on their main premises, seasonal property or anywhere in the world. Some insurance providers can provide standalone coverage for seasonal properties. A BrokerLink broker can help homeowners determine if they have liability coverage to meet their needs.

At the vacation property: do an interior and exterior check

Summer properties are often unoccupied for the winter months. To ensure the property is safe, here are tips for on how to assess the outside and inside of the property. Before any of these checks are complete, turn on all utilities.

Checking inside the property:

  • Check for water damage on the windows, floors and ceiling.
  • Look for signs of mould or rot on the windows or baseboards.
  • Open windows to ventilate the property.
  • Inspect propane tanks and gas fittings for leaks. This can be done by applying soapy water – should bubbles appear, there is a leak. If this is the case, leave the house immediately and call emergency personnel.
  • To determine if auxiliary electrical breakers are working, turn on the main breaker. Once completed, turn off each individual breaker to ensure they function.
  • Ensure antifreeze is removed from the pipes by turning on the water, letting it run through the pipes. It’s also important to flush the toilets. During this process, check the pipes and toilets for cracks.

Checking outside of the property:

  • Inspect the foundation for water damage and cracks.
  • Check the windows and doors for signs of a break-in.
  • Look for cracks in the siding of the home.
  • If it can be done safely, check the roof for damage.
  • Check if the surface pump is working by looking at the pressure gauge on the main water tank.
  • Inspect the septic system for leaks – a system which does not properly work could cause health risks.

Contact a broker: protect a vacation home and main residence

In addition to reviewing insurance for a vacation home, BrokerLink brokers will help homeowners determine if insurance for their primary residence will cover costly surprises – such as a water damage – while they’re away. They’ll ensure homeowners leave and return in a way where both properties are protected. Contact a BrokerLink broker to learn more and safely set out for summer fun.