What Do You Need to Know to Provide Insurance for Cottages this Summer?

May 2021

Canada’s housing markets are booming in cottage-country as people rush to buy a vacation property or work-from-home oasis. Huntsville, Ontario is a prime example. Located near Algonquin Provincial Park and Arrowhead Provincial Park, the city’s modest population of just under 20,000 soars to 85,000 in the summer.

Serving not just year-round residents, but also cottagers and other high-value property owners is a smart way for insurance brokers to expand their book of business, especially as Canadians vacation closer to home due to current pandemic restrictions. In this article, we’ll cover coverage needs for the personal lines market and how brokers can provide specialized coverage to new and existing clients through South Western Group.

Understanding Coverage Needs in Cottage Country


Cottage owners don’t just have their summer dwelling to worry about. They might also have boats, snowmobiles, and other properties that need to be insured year-round. Vandalism is one of the most common insurance claims in this sector. If clients only occupy the property in the summertime, then they should be insured for vandalism.

That being said, cottages are less likely to be vandalized or broken into when they are shut down for the winter and the pipes and heating are shut off. However, that does not reduce the risk of events like lightning fires or falling trees.


Another common claim is fire damage. A couple of risk factors contribute to the frequency of fire damage in rural areas. The first is that many cottages rely on wood stoves and fireplaces for heat. Another is road access. Many cottages lack road access, so if there is a fire in the winter, the responding fire hall can’t get to the cottage because the road isn’t plowed. Lack of road access could lead to total loss of the cottage and much greater costs for the property owner.

In some cases, certain areas have no fire service at all. In Algonquin Provincial Park and other drive-to remote areas, there is no infrastructure for cottage fires. The closest fire hall might be an hour and a half drive away, rendering what would have otherwise been a partial loss in town a total loss.

All the Products to Build Your Book of Business in the Leisure Lifestyle Market

When insuring clients with cottages to protect, it makes sense to work on more than the cottage and also offer coverage for boathouses, trailers, snowmobiles, and watercraft.

SWG ELITE Personal Lines Insurance provides protection that caters to the needs of Canada’s leisure & lifestyle markets. It offers a range of coverage options for the risks arising from seasonal and annual leisure activities such as boating, RVing, cottaging, and more.

We cover:

  • Cottages
  • Mobile Homes
  • Motor Homes -ON, ALB
  • Park Model Trailers/Seasonal
  • Recreational Trailers – ON, MB, AB
  • Standard High-Value Homeowners
  • Watercraft

About SWG ELITE Personal Lines Insurance for Cottages

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

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 deductibles 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 a septic tank or connection to a city sewer
  • Single limit coverage

Seasonal Eligibility:

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

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 the SWG product page for more information.

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