Set your cottage up for a safe off-season

Muskoka chairs along a cottage front porch on a beautiful evening.

Cottage memories are fresh in our minds, but with the kids back at school and the days getting shorter, winter weather will soon be on its way.

Whether you’re shutting down your cottage for the season, or winterizing it to enjoy through the year, it’s important to prepare your summer hideaway for the days ahead.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, owners want to take advantage of each moment of tranquillity they find at the cottage. When you say goodbye to your hideaway for the year, it’s important to make time for a few key tasks to prepare your cottage to hold up through the winter months.

Here are few recommendations from insurance experts at Aviva before you close up the cottage:

  • Shut the water off and drain the plumbing: To prevent split pipes and water damage. Remember to drain the sink traps and toilet too.
  • Shut the windows: Ensure all windows are closed and locked. Remove the screens to protect them from severe weather conditions.
  • Use mothballs to help:  Mothballs will help to discourage critters from taking over your cottage while you’re away.
  • Do your neighbours know?  Check-in with year-round neighbours. Ask them to keep an eye on the place, and ensure they have your home phone number.
  • Consider getting your roof checked out: Replace missing or broken shingles, clean eavestroughs and drains, and inspect the chimney to prevent leaks.
  • Get backup power: A backup system will help keep your cottage safe in a power failure.
  • Have a rot-not strategy: Heavy rains and flooding can result in rotting decks and foundations. Ensure proper preservation from rot by spraying your deck with a zinc-based wood preservative.

An inventory of your belongings will add peace of mind

Having an inventory of items in your cottage is one of the best ways to prepare yourself in the event of a claim. 

Sure, but who has time to go through every item in their home? You can easily take a cellphone video account of each room in your home, and don’t forget about any high-value items you may have. 

You can start by separating the contents into categories:

  • Clothing, books, tools, toys, bicycles, and other items
  • Jewelry, silverware and other valuables
  • Computer equipment, gaming consoles and software

Whether you conduct a video or written inventory of your cottage, don’t forget to keep your inventory in a safe place. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your cottage is damaged.

Visit to learn more about cottage insurance and our coverage options

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as specific professional or expert advice. Aviva Canada accepts no responsibility for action taken as a result of reliance on any information contained in this article.

Copyright in the whole and every part of this site belongs to Aviva Canada Inc., unless otherwise indicated, and may not be used, sold, licensed, copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner or form or in or on any media to any person without the prior written consent of Aviva Canada Inc.