Insuring Your Cabin in Alberta
Looking to insure your cabin in Alberta? As you probably know, insuring a cabin is not the same as insuring a primary residence. There are certain key considerations that you need to bear in mind, and these affect how cabins are insured. The most important factors relate to the type of property, its location, how it is used and what amenities you have (or lack) at your cabin. The following will give you an idea about what your broker will consider before they insure your cabin and at what rate.
Insuring Your Cabin in Alberta: Type Of Property Matters
The types of policies and premiums available to you depend on the type of property you have (i.e. cabin/cottage, mobile home or park model). A trailer or mobile home may be covered under your home insurance property, or under your car insurance policy if it is being towed; however, this coverage is often inadequate and any contents, standalone structures (i.e. decks or sheds) and certain types of damages such as water may not be covered.
Usage Matters When Insuring Your Cabin in Alberta
Another factor that will affect insurance for your Alberta cabin or cottage is whether it is your primary or secondary residence. If you live in your cabin year-round and it is your primary residence, you can obtain comprehensive insurance that includes items normally covered in a home policy.
If you just visit on weekends or summers, it will be listed it as a second property on your existing policy for your primary home. You may also get a seasonal home policy. If listed as a second or seasonal property, the coverage options may be different from your main residence. Because you are not living there full time, some restrictions may apply. There may be limits or exclusions for detached buildings like garages or decks as well as exclusions for water or flood damage, sewer back up, et cetera. Your broker can help find the coverage that you need.
Location Also matters when Insuring your cabin in Alberta
The more remote your property, the higher your premium will be. Why? Because insurance companies want any potential risks to be dealt with fast. If a fire starts in your cabin but it is not accessible by road year-round, it could take emergency responders significant time to reach you, resulting in the risk of more serious damage. This also rings true if your cabin is accessible but you are an hour away from the nearest fire station. The same applies if you only use your cabin in the summer and lock it up during the winter - if something happens in those winter months and nobody is around to notice, the risk of damage or burglaries (and cost of a claim) increases. You can lower your risk profile if you ensure the cabin is completely shut down for the winter (i.e. no running water or heating) and by installing fire and burglar alarms - although it is worth noting that some insurance companies don’t care about the presence of alarms if you are too distant from police and fire services.
Renting affects insurance for cabins or cottages in Alberta
Another thing to bear in mind as you seek insurance for your cabin in Alberta is that your premium will be affected by whether or not you rent your cabin when you are away. If you do, then premiums are likely to be higher. Generally, your insurance provider will want to know how often you are renting and how you will be checking up on the property. Premiums may be different if you rent for a couple of weeks, or less, each year and hire a local to check in on the property when guests show up and when they leave. If you have a high rental rate, you may be considered higher risk and may only be offered limited coverage on your insurance policy. You should also ask about general liability for your guests since that may not be covered under your cabin policy.
When making your insurance decision, have a detailed conversation with your broker about what is, and is not, included in your policy, what options you have and what will cost you extra.