Five helpful tips to protect your cottage from unexpected damages

Nothing can sour a long weekend like discovering unexpected damage around your cottage. The Victoria Day long weekend represents the unofficial start to summer, but if you're a cottage owner, doing a little prep work before kicking your shoes off dockside could go a long way in helping to prevent having to make an unexpected insurance claim – when you'd rather be hanging out in a Muskoka Chair.

Here are five tips to ensure your weekend retreat has the right coverage for the summer ahead:

1. Ask yourself 'what insurance do I need?'

Now's the perfect time to revisit the details of your coverage plan to remind yourself of what is and what isn’t covered. Check with your insurance provider to make sure your policy is up-to-date and still covers your needs, including any cottage upgrades or purchases made since last year in order to adjust your contents insurance. How often you use your cottage could also dictate what your coverage should include. Reach out to your insurance advisor if you have questions.

2. Have you done a general damage check?

It's a good idea to do a walkthrough of your property at the beginning of the season, and when you arrive each weekend, to spot any damage to power or phone lines, windows, doors, and even your roof and deck. Look for gnawed or damaged wires, and make sure you can't smell anything burning before you turn on the power. It will be safer to turn on your lights and appliances and make sure the electricity is working once you've done a walkthrough. And if you have a heating and cooling system, make sure it's in good working order before firing it up.

3. Is the water supply in good order?

Turn on the main water supply and look for any leaks. If there is damage, you can try to avoid further damage by turning off your main water supply. Speak to your insurer about whether this type of damage is covered under your policy.

4. Don't be so mice.

Examine your countertops and cupboards for signs of mice and other uninvited pests that may have moved into your getaway in the off season. Mice can destroy your home and even start fires when they chew through electrical wiring and gas lines.

5. Plan for an emergency.

Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and flashlights. Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged, and you have a first aid kit with refreshed supplies. Create an emergency plan for your cottage that includes a secondary meeting place, and gather what your family would need to survive for at least 72 hours.

Want to learn more cottage or home insurance tips? You can read more on preparing your property and about insurance coverage here or through the Insurance Bureau of Canada. You can also speak with a TD Insurance Advisor using our live chat feature.