How Much Is Cottage Insurance

Your Comprehensive Guide to Cottage Insurance Cost

Nestled in the tranquility of nature, a cottage represents more than just a structure; it’s a haven of peace, a repository of cherished memories, and an escape from bustling city life. But with this idyllic retreat comes the vital question that perplexes many homeowners: “How much is cottage insurance?” Understanding the cost of insuring your slice of paradise is crucial in safeguarding your investment and ensuring peace of mind.

Get ready to explore factors like what influences its cost, from the location of your cottage and its usage to the types of coverage available, how it differs from home insurance, and what it covers. Whether your cottage is a seasonal getaway or a year-round retreat, understanding the ins and outs of cottage insurance is paramount. 

What Types of Properties Qualify for Cottage Insurance?

Properties that qualify for cottage insurance, such as a cottage, cabin, or lakehouse, typically share certain characteristics. These properties are often located in rural or scenic areas, such as near lakes, forests, mountains, or beaches and are primarily used for vacation, leisure, or as a seasonal retreat rather than for full-time living. Cottage insurance generally covers the following types of dwellings:

  • Cottages
  • Lakehouses
  • Cabins
  • Chalets
  • Lodges
  • Bungalows
  • Vacation rental properties
  • And sometimes condos

How is Cottage Insurance Different from Home Insurance?

Cottage insurance, also known as seasonal property or secondary property insurance, differs from standard home insurance in several key ways due to the unique nature of cottages and their use. Understanding these differences is crucial for cottage owners to ensure they have the appropriate coverage for their property. Here are some of the main differences:

Purpose and Usage

A cottage is often used seasonally or as vacation property, unlike a primary residence, which is occupied year-round. This different usage pattern affects insurance needs and risks.

Location and Accessibility

Many cottages are located in remote or rural areas, possibly with limited access. This can impact the risk of damage from natural disasters, the response time for emergency services, and the likelihood of theft or vandalism when the property is unoccupied.

Construction and Utilities

Cottages may be constructed with different standards compared to regular homes and might lack year-round utilities like water or heating. These factors can influence the type and extent of coverage needed.

Risk of Damage

Cottages are often more susceptible to risks like weather damage, especially if they’re located near water bodies or in wooded areas. This increased risk can affect insurance premiums and coverage terms.

Coverage Options

Cottage insurance policies offer different coverage options compared to standard home insurance. For example, they might include specific protections for docks or boathouses or offer limited coverage during off-season months when the property is unoccupied.  

Liability Coverage

Given that cottages are often used for leisure activities that might involve guests, there’s a different liability risk profile. This might necessitate additional or different liability coverage.

Cost Factors

The cost of secondary property insurance may be influenced by factors like the property’s seasonal use, its location, and the likelihood of needing specific types of coverage (e.g., for natural disasters or vandalism).

How Much Is Cottage Insurance in Ontario?

The cost of cottage insurance in Ontario can vary widely depending on several factors. Nevertheless, cottage insurance generally ranges from several hundred to a few thousand annually. Here are key factors that influence the cost:


Cottages in areas prone to natural disasters, like flooding or wildfires, or those in remote locations may have higher premiums.

Property Value and Size

Higher-value cottages or larger properties typically cost more to insure.

Type of Use

Seasonal-use cottages often have different pricing than those used year-round. Also, renting out the cottage can increase insurance costs.

Age and Condition of the Cottage

Older cottages or those in need of repairs can be more expensive to insure due to higher risks associated with maintenance issues.

Access to Emergency Services

Properties closer to fire stations and with better road access might have lower insurance costs.

Security and Safety Features

Installing alarms and security systems or using other risk mitigation measures can lower insurance premiums.

Coverage Options and Deductibles

The amount and extent of coverage and the chosen deductible also play a significant role in determining the cost.

Additional Structures and Features

Features like docks, boathouses, or special amenities can increase the insurance cost.

For an accurate estimate, it’s best to get several quotes from multiple insurance providers, as prices and coverage options can vary significantly between most insurance companies. It’s also important to regularly review and update your coverage to ensure it matches your current needs and circumstances.

What Does Standard Cottage Insurance Cover in Ontario?

In Ontario, cottage insurance for a vacation property typically covers a range of elements, similar to standard home insurance, but with certain adjustments to account for the unique nature of cottages. Here’s what cottage insurance covers in Ontario:

Property Damage

This includes coverage for damages to the cottage itself due to various risks such as fire, storms, vandalism, and sometimes flooding. It’s important to check if specific natural disasters common in the area (like floods or earthquakes) are covered.

Detached Private Structures

Many vacation property insurance policies cover structures that are not attached to the main building, such as sheds, boathouses, docks, and guest houses.

Personal Property

This covers the contents of your family cottage against risks like theft, fire, or damage. The extent of coverage can vary, and high-value items might require additional coverage.

Liability Insurance

Liability coverage is crucial, especially given that cottages are often places for recreational activities. This part of the policy covers you in case someone is injured on your property or if you accidentally damage a neighbour’s property.

Additional Living Expenses

If your seasonal property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, this coverage helps with the costs of temporary relocation or living expenses.

Seasonal Coverage

Since many cottages are used seasonally, insurance policies might offer specific provisions for when the property is not in use, such as during winter.

What Is Not Covered by Basic Cottage Insurance?

Cottage insurance, much like standard home insurance, typically excludes certain risks and scenarios from coverage. Understanding these exclusions is crucial for cottage owners in Ontario to ensure they are aware of potential gaps in their coverage. Below, you’ll find some common exclusions in standard cottage insurance policies.

  • Sewer backup damage
  • Flood damage
  • Earthquake or Landslide damage
  • Pest infestations
  • Intentional damage
  • General wear and tear
  • High-value items
  • Negligence
  • Mould damage
  • Frozen/burst pipes in unheated buildings
  • Rental use

Optional Cottage Insurance Coverage

A standard cottage insurance policy will cover the basics, but there are still other things you may want to insure. Let’s dive into the array of additional coverages available for your vacation property, ensuring every aspect of your cherished vacation home is safeguarded against specific risks!

Overland Water Coverage

This is particularly vital for cottages near lakes, rivers, or in low-lying areas. It may include protection against sudden accumulation of water from heavy rains, spring thaws, or overflow from lakes and rivers.

Sewer Backup Coverage

Given that cottages may have different or less sophisticated sewage systems, this coverage is crucial. It provides financial protection against damage from the backup of sewers, septic systems, or sump pump failures.

By-Law Coverage

If your cottage is older, this coverage becomes important since it may not meet current building codes. It helps cover the additional costs of bringing your cottage up to current standards during repairs or reconstruction.

Fire Department Charges Coverage

This is particularly relevant for cottages in remote areas where fire services may charge for call-outs. It covers the cost incurred if the fire department is required to attend to a fire or other emergencies at your property.

Watercraft, ATV, and Snowmobile Coverage

Cottages often serve as hubs for recreational activities that include the use of boats, ATVs, or snowmobiles. This coverage protects against damage to these vehicles, as well as liability issues that may arise from their use.

Travel Trailer Coverage

This is ideal for those who incorporate travel trailers into their cottage lifestyle. Its coverage protects against damage, theft, or loss of the trailer and can also cover liability issues.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost Protection

This offers peace of mind by ensuring that your vacation property can be rebuilt to its original condition after a total loss, regardless of the cost. This optional coverage is particularly valuable in the event of significant damage, where rebuilding costs may exceed your policy’s standard limits.

Why Choose the R&R Plan for Your Cottage Insurance Needs?

With over five decades of experience, R. Robertson Cottage Insurance is a leader in providing tailored insurance solutions for cottage owners in Ontario. Our expertise is in delivering comprehensive insurance policies designed specifically for the unique needs of cottage owners. The R&R Cottage Insurance Plan is thoughtfully designed to protect your seasonal home throughout the year, ensuring coverage even when you’re away.

At R. Robertson Cottage Insurance, our expert team of insurance professionals utilizes their extensive knowledge of the cottage insurance sector to ensure you receive optimal coverage at a cost-effective price. As a specialized brokerage, we collaborate with leading insurance companies to meticulously compare cottage insurance quotes for you. We understand that each cottage owner has distinct needs, and our policies are crafted to cater to this diversity. Whether you visit your cottage occasionally or frequently, our flexible policies and custom additional coverage options are designed to provide the ideal protection for you and your family.

As an industry trailblazer, the Robertson family, founders of the Ontario Marine Operators Association and creators of enduring insurance programs, continues to deliver top-tier advice on a vast array of premier Cottage insurance plans. We offer unique additional coverage options, including protection against squirrel and bear damage, snow load, freezing, and short-term rentals for periods of up to six months. Notably, we stand out as the sole insurance provider in Ontario that offers online cottage insurance quotes. Secure your quote with us today!

Unique Additional Coverages Included in the R&R Plan

The R&R Cottage Insurance Plan stands out in the market with its exceptional coverage options specifically tailored to the unique challenges faced by cottage owners. Recognizing that cottages are vulnerable to specific risks, our plan includes specialized protections not usually offered in a standard cottage insurance policy. When you choose the R&R Plan, you’ll also receive:

Squirrel Damage Coverage

This safeguards against damages caused by squirrels, such as damage to wiring, insulation, and wood structures, which is a frequent issue in unoccupied cottages.

Bear Damage Protection

Designed for areas frequented by wildlife, this coverage addresses damages inflicted by bears, who may seek food or shelter in and around cottages.

Snow Load Coverage

It offers protection for structures against the heavy weight of snow and ice accumulation, a significant risk in regions that experience substantial snowfall.

Freeze Protection

This coverage is essential for preventing financial loss due to burst pipes and subsequent water damage, common in cottages during cold weather.

Short-term Rental Coverage

Tailored for cottage owners who rent out their properties, this rental cottage insurance coverage extends for up to six months and includes both property and liability protection, making it ideal for those looking to earn rental income.

These additional coverage options provide comprehensive coverage for your cottage property against both everyday and rare occurrences, ensuring peace of mind for cottage owners. To get your free quote for a cottage insurance policy tailored to your specific situation or to purchase cottage insurance, contact an R. Robertson Cottage Insurance broker today.


Who needs cottage insurance in Ontario, Canada?

Anyone who owns a cottage in Ontario should have cottage insurance to protect their property and liability risks.

Do I need cottage insurance?

Cottage insurance helps safeguard against financial losses due to property damage, theft, natural disasters, and liability claims at your cottage.

How much does Ontario cottage insurance cost?

The cost varies widely, often ranging from several hundred to a few thousand dollars annually, depending on factors like location, size, and usage.

What does cottage insurance cover in Canada?

It typically covers property damage, detached structures, personal property, liability, and additional living expenses.

Why do cottages need different insurance coverage?

Cottages need different insurance from standard home insurance due to their often seasonal use, remote locations, and unique risks like weather damage and limited access to emergency services.

What happens if I rent out my cottage?

You may need additional coverage or a different type of policy, as standard cottage insurance does not cover rental activities.

Does the owner’s cottage insurance cover me if I’m staying at a rental cottage?

No, the owner’s insurance generally covers the property itself, not the personal belongings or liability of renters. To ensure you are protected when renting a seasonal property, ask an insurance company or insurance broker about renter’s insurance.

Do I need to tell my cottage insurance broker that I am renting my cottage?

Yes, it’s crucial to inform your broker, as renting out your cottage will change the coverage requirements and risk profile.

What happens to my cottage insurance if I start living at the cottage?

Inform your insurer, as living in the cottage year-round may change its status to a primary residence and will require a different type of insurance policy.

Do I need to insure my recreational items?

Yes, especially if they are valuable. Standard policies do not cover items like boats, ATVs, or snowmobiles.

What will an insurance broker want to know when I purchase cottage insurance?

They will ask about the cottage’s location, size, value, usage (seasonal or full-time), access, safety features, and any additional structures, as well as your history of claims.

What is the average cost of home insurance in Canada?

The average cost of home insurance in Canada varies widely based on location, property value, and other factors, but it typically ranges from $700 to $1,600 per year.

What type of insurance would best suit the needs of an insured who owns a cottage that is in use all year long and has many features of a primary residence?

A comprehensive home insurance policy tailored for a year-round residence would be most suitable, plus additional coverage options to address any specific risks related to the cottage’s location and features.

How can I save money on my cottage insurance policy?

To save on cottage insurance, consider increasing your deductible, bundling your cottage policy with other insurance policies for discounts, and installing security and safety features to lower risks and premiums. Always shop around to compare quotes from different insurers, maintain your cottage regularly to prevent damage, and review your policy periodically to ensure it aligns with your current needs. Additionally, inquire about specific cottage insurance discounts for being claims-free or for memberships in certain organizations.