As soon as the temperature starts to cool and the leaves begin to change colour, cottagers know it’s time to start winding down their cottage and close it up for the winter. Whether you just bought your first cottage this summer or want to ensure you’re not left with any unwelcome surprises next year, here are some key steps to help protect your cottage during the off-season.
Remove Any Valuables
For many Canadians, the cottage is a home away from home, where you get to unwind, have fun, and make time for recreational activities. Whether it’s fishing gear, boating gear, ATVs, water skis or electronics, make sure you don’t leave any valuables unsecured. Store them away in a locked and secured spot to avoid vandalism or theft.
Shut Off Electricity
To protect your appliances from any power surges during the winter, switch off the breakers. First, double-check that all of the appliances or any devices are turned off first. Then switch off the main power. If a surge does occur, you’ll know that your appliances or electronics won’t be affected.
Switch Off Water
Cottages are particularly susceptible to water damage over the winter. If there’s water lingering in the pipes, it will likely freeze and increase the risk of having burst pipes. This is a common problem that many cottage-goers face when they return in the springtime. To avoid a messy plumbing situation, switch off the water and drain it as much as possible. This includes any outdoor water features too.
Trim Any Hazardous Branches
With weather patterns getting more intense and unpredictable, it’s important to think ahead and eliminate as many risks as possible. This includes precarious tree limbs that are hovering above your cottage or close to power lines. All it takes is heavy ice and snow storm to makes those branches sink lower, break, and cause serious damage. Trim back any tree branches nearby. Also, don’t forget to store away any outdoor furniture, fire pit units, and other patio features that could be swept up during high winds.
Secure It from Rodents and Wildlife
Wildlife can be sneaky, smart, and will find a way to take advantage of cottages that aren’t tightly sealed up so they can feed and nest during the winter. Always remove any food from your cottage before closing it up. Empty any garbage, recycling and remove any food packaging in the cupboards or pantry. If there are potential access points around the property, take the time to seal them up, so you don’t return to uninvited guests in the spring. Before you head into the car, double-check that all the windows are securely sealed and locked up, as well as the doors. This includes any outdoor structures, such as the shed.
Get the Right Insurance Coverage
Even after you’ve performed all the necessary closing tasks and due diligence, damage can still occur when you least expect it. That’s why the most important thing you can do to protect your sanctuary and home away from home is to get the right insurance coverage. Cottage and recreational property insurance can protect your investment and give you the peace of mind you need when you’re away from it for several months out of the year.
With so much time spent at the cottage this year, it’s worth safeguarding your family’s second home. Let our team at Tanner Insurance find the right coverage for your property and needs. Contact us today.