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Summer Cottage Fun: Safety, Insurance and More

Posted by on Jun 06, 2016 in Around the House, and Personal Safety Tips

For those with cottages, summer homes, or retreats, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! The lakes and rivers are warming up and now that summer’s officially underway, cottage season is in full effect.

Of course, your cottage, summer home or seasonal retreat comes with its own set of things to watch out for. To ensure a safe, productive and fun summer at your home-away-from-home, keep the following tips in mind:

cottage tips

On the ride there…

  • Make sure your car is in good shape for the trip to the cottage. Fuel up, make sure your tires are properly inflated and top up your fluids.
  • Pets travelling in the car should be secured in a crate, pet carrier or specially-designed harness, according to experts.
  • Distracted driving can be a huge problem these days, on any road trip. Some tips to avoid distraction:
    • Put phones and other devices on silent so that you won’t be tempted to check on them.
    • Program in your destination on GPS before you start driving.
    • Try to avoid eating or drinking.
    • If you need to talk or text, pull off the road, to a safe and visible location.
    • Preset your music and temperature choices to avoid changing settings while in motion.
  • Don’t rush. It can be tempting to drive exceedingly fast – particularly if you end up getting stuck in some traffic on the way there. Avoid the temptation to put the pedal to the metal. The cottage will still be there, even if you’re a few minutes later than you would like.

Around the cottage…

  • Towards the start and end of each cottage season, identify trees and branches around your structures that could be vulnerable to falling and damaging your property.
  • Don’t forget about fire safety. Test all smoke detectors and CO2 (carbon monoxide) detectors, and replace the batteries if necessary.
  • Splashing in the lake is one of the best parts about going to the cottage. Make sure that water safety is a priority, particularly if you have children at the cottage.
    • Establish firm ground rules with your kids, depending on their age.
    • Constant supervision for younger children is a must around water.
    • Experts warn against thinking that flutterboards, noodles, etc. are an acceptable substitute for lifejackets.
    • Always avoid mixing alcohol with any sort of water activities.
    • Even adults should never go swimming alone, even if you think you’re a great swimmer.
  • If you’ve got boats or personal watercraft, make it a cottage policy to always wear lifejackets while using them. Make sure all required safety equipment is on board and all operators are properly licensed. Even if you’re a great swimmer, you just never know what could happen when you’re out on the water.
  • Obey local fire restrictions. Outdoor fires may be banned in your region during dry periods – for good reason. Respect these fire alert levels to ensure safety for all in your surrounding community.
  • Many people turn off the power and water when they leave the cottage at the end of the weekend, to reduce the potential for damage when you’re not there.
  • When packing up after the weekend, don’t forget about things that might go bad in the fridge or the pantry. Avoid leaving packages open to avoid the risk of attracting critters into your home.

Insurance Considerations…

  • If you’re a longtime cottage owner, you’re probably aware of this, but if you’re a new owner of a seasonal property, be aware that there are some unique cottage insurance considerations to keep in mind. Make sure structure and property is properly covered.
  • As well, if you are using a boat or a PWC (personal water craft), insurance is highly recommended. Learn more about boat insurance in Ontario.

Have a Safe and Fun Summer at the Cottage…

Remember, if you have any questions about insuring your cottage, your local insurance broker is always here to help. Feel free to reach out at any point!

Thanks for reading,

The ONA Team.

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