What brokers should be asking owners of seasonal homes

Published: October 23, 2018

Updated: October 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Many Canadians own seasonal homes, including winter chalets, hunting lodges, summer getaways, or trailers. As well has being fantastic for recreation, another property serves as an excellent investment. However, customers and insurance companies face challenges in covering seasonal homes.

Some are rented out, some are located in remote areas, some are located in another province, and some are all three of those things. APRIL Canada believes insurance companies and brokers must define seasonal homes and manage these solutions clearly:

“There must be an understanding between the client and broker as to what seasonal really means to them,” said Lucie Lee Frappier, Residential Team Leader at APRIL Canada. “It’s important not to confuse a secondary home with a secondary seasonal home because they differ in terms of occupancy (e.g. every week-end versus a few weeks here and there) and therefore have different insurance needs.

“For a true seasonal home, like a property in use from May to October, insurance coverages would be limited to Named Perils or Fire & EC and the settlement would be on an actual cash value basis. Liability is restricted to the premises only, vandalism/malicious act and theft is excluded, and water damage is excluded during months of un-occupancy.”

Important Questions for Owners of Seasonal Homes

Frappier says brokers need to be asking specific questions of customers who own a seasonal property:

  • How often is the residence used?
  • Is there road access all year round?
  • What type of building is it?
  • Is there a heating system or heat source like a wood stove?
  • Is there plumbing in the dwelling?
  • What is the fire protection?
  • How remote is the property?