Are you the proud owner of a cabin in the woods, cottage by the water or chalet in the mountains? Congratulations!
As you dream about all the special memories you make in your home away from home, it’s important to consider how you’re going to protect your property. Adding it to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy may be the easiest – but not be the best option.
“Many cabin owners add their second property to their homeowner’s policy the same way they’d add a motorcycle to their existing auto insurance coverage. But not all insurance coverage is created equal,” said Michelle Ng, Aviva’s lifestyle product development manager.
“While you’ll get basic protection when you add your cabin to your homeowner’s insurance, you’ll miss out on specialized coverage and endorsements designed for cabin ownership that you can only find in a standalone insurance policy.”
What is standalone insurance?
A standalone insurance product is a policy that offers coverage for the unique risks of a specific piece of property or asset. Standalone cabin insurance takes into consideration its location, the way it’s used and the potential hazards associated with cabin life.
For example, Aviva’s RetreatLife cabin insurance may include coverages and optional endorsements for things like short-term rentals, buildings constructed in or on water (like island cottages) and damage caused by certain kinds of wildlife that are usually found near cabins.
Standalone insurance also offers more choice and flexibility. “You’re free to purchase standalone cabin insurance ‘a la carte’ from any insurance carrier, not just the one you have a homeowner policy with,” said Ng.
6 coverages and benefits you’ll find in a standalone policy for your cabin
You may find a range of coverages and advantages that aren’t typically available in a homeowner’s policy.
- Buildings constructed in or on water.
Most homeowner policies don’t allow docks or properties located near a waterfront. A standalone cabin insurance product will usually cover the physical damage to these important parts of a cabin property. Owners who purchase Aviva’s RetreatLife may also add an additional endorsement to cover wet boathouses, small and lower-valued boats with outboard motor horsepower of 260 or less.
- Short-term rentals
Most homeowner policies don’t come with short-term rental coverage. Aviva’s RetreatLife policy may come with short-term rental protection for 30 days per policy term, which don’t have to be consecutive. Cabin owners may increase that coverage to 60, 90 or 180 days for an additional surcharge.
- Damage caused by wildlife
It’s not unusual for an intrepid bear to push through the screen door of an unoccupied cabin looking for food, or for raccoons or squirrels to chew through electrical lines and destroy ducts, insulation and siding during the off-season when a cabin owner isn’t around. Aviva’s Retreatlife may have explicit coverages for damages caused by bears, raccoons and squirrels that aren’t found in typical homeowner’s policies.
- Island properties
It can be hard to find insurance coverage for cabins located on islands or in remote areas. That’s because the further a property is from its local fire brigade, the higher the risk for the insurance carrier. Choosing a standalone policy may be a necessity for properties only accessible by water.
- Coverage tailored for when the cabin is used
Unlike a standard homeowner’s policy, standalone cabin coverage can be customized for the way you use your property, i.e. year-round or seasonally. “There are typically more ways to tailor your coverage for the protection you need. For example, you can create a policy that defines how often you’re at the cabin or whether it’s winterized or not. There are a lot of options available with a standalone policy,” said Ng.
- Specialized service
When you buy a standalone insurance product, you can expect specialized service, from underwriting through claims. “If you were to add cabin insurance to your homeowner’s policy, it wouldn’t be as sophisticated as a standalone cabin product that has been underwritten by professionals who can advise on which endorsements make sense for your unique situation,” said Ng.
“With RetreatLife, we also have dedicated claims specialists who know cottages and cabins. They know the coverages inside and out, and the settlement options for every policy.”