SWG Elite – Cottages: Insuring An Evolving Market

Mar 2020

Across Canada, recreational properties are seeing a steady increase in price year after year a 2017-2019 study finds. In fact, prices and inventory in this market are rising in most provinces with the exception of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The same survey also showed that Millennials are increasingly in the market to buy cabins, cottages, and other recreational properties. (1)

Among the trends in high-value lakefront properties, such as those in Muskoka, brokers report that buyers increasingly prefer cottages with a modern-rustic vibe or a completely contemporary design. Luxury buyers are opting for architectural features such as floor-to-ceiling glass, steel roofs, and new materials. As for older properties, buyers are expecting upgrades such as energy-efficient windows, updated heating and cooling systems, and insulation with a high thermal resistance. (2)

Buyers also want high-tech features incorporated into the design of their recreational properties – from security cameras to video surveillance; from thermostats to remote lighting controls; and from sprinkler systems to auto lawn-cutting. (2)

Common Exposures in this Market

As the market grows, savvy brokers across the country have a prime opportunity to enter this market. Following are some of the most common exposures for cottage owners.

  1. Since the owners aren’t occupying the space or dropping by year-round, this adds a level of risk for damage from weather events such as lightning fires and falling trees.
  2. Vandalism and break-ins are a risk, particularly because many properties lack a burglar alarm. In addition, clients might share their cottage with friends and family, and adopt a key-under-the-door policy. By contrast, remote properties that are shut down during most of the year (e.g. only occupied during the summer months) could be at less risk of burglary, while damages from unexpected weather events could be more severe (e.g. because of significant distance from local fire department or lack of accessibility to the cottage such as islands or unploughed roads in the winter).
  3. Fires are a particularly costly risk. To mitigate this risk, clients can take preventative measures such as installing fire alarms and, if the property is not too remote, having a neighbour check on the property. While these steps can’t prevent a fire from happening, it can greatly reduce a claim.

SWG Elite’s Unique Advantage for Brokers

The SWG Elite Cottage policy is designed to provide coverage for permanent owner-occupied properties used on a seasonal or secondary basis. Coverage is available on a stand-alone basis.

We offer Secondary and Seasonal packages for cottages, with an increased allotted rental time of up to 180 days for insurance coverage.

Coverage highlights

  • Secondary and Seasonal packages available
  • Premises Liability Only
  • Out of Province and US residents eligible
  • Island Cottages & Water Access only are acceptable – Seasonal only
  • Wet Boathouse coverage available, dock coverage included
  • Rental for 30 days included (seasonal packages can increase to 180 days)
  • Standard $1000 deductible, can increase up to $10,000
  • $1,000,000 liability included, increases up to $5,000,000 available

Secondary eligibility

  • Must be occupied all year round, not unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days at any time during the year.
  • Must be winterized and on a permanent foundation
  • All Risk Coverage – Guaranteed Replacement Cost on Dwelling/Broad Named Perils Replacement Cost on contents
  • Minimum of 800 square feet
  • Min 100 amps service
  • Risks must have septic tank or connection to a city sewer

Seasonal eligibility

  • Broad Named Perils Replacement Cost on Dwelling and Contents
  • Built 1960 or later
  • Min 100 amps service
  • Risks must have septic tank or connection to a city sewer
  • Minimum of 500 square feet

Discounts up to 50% can include:

  • Mature Market discount applied at age 50
  • Burglar Alarm – central monitored
  • Heat Sensor – central monitored
  • Water Alarm Discount

Visit our websitefor more details.

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.


  1. https://blog.remax.ca/cabin-and-cottage-trends-canada/
  2. https://www.muskokaregion.com/community-story/9851261-high-tech-high-in-demand-what-muskoka-cottage-buyers-want/