These past two months, every Canadian has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. A lot of jobs have been lost, people are driving less, and more are working from home. The insurance landscape and the needs of individuals and businesses have changed significantly. Is this going to have long-term impacts? Perhaps, but no one knows just yet.
As a homeowner or cottage owner, you are likely wondering how has or how will COVID-19 impact your insurance coverage or rates in 2020. These are three of the questions I receive the most from my clients.
- Are there any discounts or rebates offered for home & cottage insurance policy holders?
The short answer is no. Insurance companies are not offering any rebates or discounts for property insurance policies. However, they are offering short-term relief during this period of financial hardship for many. Some of these payment relief measures include:
- Waiving missed payment fees.
- Flexible payment options in the form of deferring monthly instalment payments.
- Flexibility for those that are using their personal property for different purposes (such as making deliveries with their cars or running a business from their home).
- With travel restrictions in place across the country, am I allowed to go to my cottage?
You may have heard announcements in the media by mayors of municipalities in “cottage country” asking Torontonians to stay in the city and not overwhelm their communities. Rest assured, the Ontario provincial government has not implemented a ban which would prevent you from enjoying or visiting your personal private property. However, many of these communities lack resources to cope with a widespread pandemic and it is advisable not to travel and stay in your primary residence.
If you wish to go to your cottage, you should abide to the following practices:
- Avoid shopping in the small towns by bringing all your supplies from the city, such as food, cleaning supplies and any other goods.
- Avoid using any medical facilities in the communities unless it is an emergency.
- Do not invite guests or host parties at your cottage. Always comply with government restrictions on gatherings.
- Can I rent my cottage this summer?
The province of Ontario has currently banned short-term rentals to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. If this ban is lifted prior to the summer rental season of July and August, we may see a surge in demand for cottage rentals in Ontario.
Many property homeowners rent their cottages to international tourists looking to enjoy their vacations near Ontario’s most beautiful lakes and forests. There is no doubt that international tourists will be far and few between in Ontario cottage country this summer due to international travel restrictions. This may lead to a surge in Canadians trading their family vacation plans at Disney World or a Caribbean beach for a dock on a lake in Muskoka or Haliburton.
Did you know that many insurance providers will void your coverage if you rent your cottage without their knowledge? In most cases, this risk can easily be avoided by simply calling your insurance broker who can add rental coverage to your policy. It is not worth the risk of being on the hook for this liability by forgoing a (sometimes small) increase to your premiums.
There are many variables that impact the change to your premium if you rent your cottage. Some of these variables include, the number of weeks it will be rented, the minimum rental period, and whether it is offered through booking systems such as Airbnb. Read our article on what you need to know before renting your cottage.
At InsureMyCottage.ca, we are happy to help! Please give us a call, send us an email, or complete our quote form and we can look at your existing policy or future insurance needs to ensure that you have adequate coverage.