So, you’ve finally found your little slice of heaven off the beaten path, and you’re all set to get away and relax. The next step? Insuring your seasonal property to avoid unwanted (and often costly) repair or replacement bills in the future.

It pays to know what kinds of factors affect the premiums you’ll pay. Be sure to check out the top 3 secrets you should know about seasonal property insurance premiums before you buy your policy:

  1. The closer to fire services, the better. Did you know that the distance from your cottage to a fire hydrant or fire hall, or even the rating of the closest fire hall, could affect your insurance premium? It’s true — the farther away you are from fire services, the more severe the damage is likely to be in the event of in a fire...and the more you’ll pay for insurance.
  2. Building materials and heating methods matter. Here’s a hot topic to ponder: How will you be heating your piece of paradise? Oil heating typically results in higher insurance premiums (largely due to the risk of oil leakage) when compared to gas, propane, or electric heat.

    If you have a wood burning stove, it’ll need to be Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) certified. If used as your primary heating source, a wood burning stove will also significantly increase your premium — and in fact, some insurance companies may not insure your cottage at all, since your risk of fire increases the more often you use your wood stove. While we’re talking wood, keep in mind that log homes are more expensive to insure because they cost more to repair in the event of damage
  3. The type of payout you want determines the amount you pay in. Consider this: If the very worst should happen and your cottage is a total write-off, what kind of compensation would work best in your situation? You can choose to be reimbursed for the replacement cost (the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your cottage as it stood before) or the actual cash value (the price your cottage would have been worth if it hadn’t been destroyed).

    The differences in cottages and locations can be pretty extreme, so you should think carefully before making a decision about your specific property. For example, maybe you have a “bare bones” hunting cottage in a very remote location. The cottage structure itself might be worth very little (say $50,000 if you were to purchase it today), but rebuilding it would be cost prohibitive since materials would have to be shipped or hauled to the remote site (potentially two or three times more expensive than the cash value). In this case, replacement value (likely closer to $125,000 with all the extra costs to get materials to your property) would give you more coverage than the actual cash value ($50,000). As you might expect from this example, the premium you’d pay for replacement cost coverage would be higher than what you’d pay for actual cash value coverage.

Remember, too, that a good maintenance plan can help you avoid common and avoidable claims, which can pay off in the long run — after all, most insurance companies offer discounts to customers who are claims-free.

After you’ve found your little piece of paradise, make sure you get the right insurance coverage to avoid unwanted (and often costly) repair or replacement bills in the future.

Shopping for insurance coverage for your seasonal property or camper? Your group’s licensed insurance broker can help you find the coverage that best suits your needs.

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