If you read The Cottage Chronicles often, you will know that I have been struggling to get cottage insurance. I wrote about it here when I was complaining about $500 for $130,000 of coverage. Well a lot has changed since then.
First of all I had to get the woodstove W.E.T (Wood Engineered Techonology) certified by a qualified certifier. That cost $50.00 then I found out from my insurance guy that he had been mistaken, and the most they could do was sell me $40,000 worth of fire insurance for $250.00 No theft, vandalism or any extras, strictly fire and only $40,000 value. Not bad considering it would probably cost at least $100,000 to replace the cottage.
So I left him hanging, and went in search of another company. I thought I had one, with an aquaintance who owns an insurance company…uh-huh….After answering a myriad of questions about the place, and finding out they want my house insurance as well, the quote came in….$898.00 for $140,000 fire insurance. Again, no theft or vandalism, although I can get that if I want to pay more. Of course they also want the house insurance, for that they want approximately $700.00 Yup, house insurance on a house worth about $161,000 costs less than cottage insurance, and includes theft and vandalism.
Can you spell screwed? How about rip-off? This is frigging ridiculous. Of course, it’s a seasonal dwelling, so that is a problem, and the fire department is about 8 kilometers away…closer than the one in town. I told the insurance agent that I might just not bother with insurance, I wanted some insurance not a mortgage…..
The place is paid for, and the risk, well, there is a risk, but now I am wondering if it is worth it. They also want to know how frequently it is checked throughout the winter. By the way, she also told me that if you go south for the winter, check your insurance policy, some require your empty house to be checked each day…each day…
Needless to say I am a little disgusted with the home insurance business. No wonder the guy that I know drives a big 4X4 and has a pool in his backyard….it all makes sense now….
If you are in my boat, and are shopping for cottage insurance, here is a list of the questions they will want you to answer:
How far away is the nearest fire department?
How far away is the nearest year round neighbor?
How often do you go to the cottage?
How old is the roof?
What is it sided with, and how old is the siding?
Do you have monitored smoke and fire alarms?
What is the size of the building?
Any sheds or garages?
Is it on a foundation or posts?
How big is the building? square footage?
Are there fire hydrants
How big is the garage square footage?
Have you had any insurance claims?
How old are you?
How do you heat it? What is the primary heat source?
Is the wood stove WET certified?
When was it installed and certified?
What is the interior walls? Gyprock?
What is on the floors, hard floors or carpet?
Do you owe any money on it? Mortgage?
How long have you owned the cottage?
They don’t seem to want to entertain the idea of you telling them a value, even if you suggest one lower than they calculate it to be worth. All I wanted was about $75000 worth of insurance, but they figure that out for you. Apparently my cottage is worth twice what I thought to one company and half what I thought to another. And of course, any coverage other than fire is additional.
So…the insurance coverage is up in the air…I wonder if I was to check the place once a week year round, install a monitored alarm system, and new door locks would it cost me more than $898.00 a year?
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