The Co-operators

August 30, 2011 06:00 ET

The Co-operators: How to Keep Your Seasonal Residence Safe

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2011) - It's summertime and a cottage is the perfect spot to "get away from it all", but getting away doesn't include forgetting about safety or fire prevention. Since most people spend time at their cottage or other seasonal residence over the weekends or for a short-term vacation stay, it's particularly important to be diligent about safety precautions.

Here are some tips on protecting your seasonal residence:
  • As you would in any home (but especially a seasonal residence), maintain the fuse boxes, heaters, wiring, stoves, and other potential electrical and heating hazards

  • Store cleaning fluids and other combustible/flammable liquids in the original and approved containers. And stack any firewood or lumber well away from the building.

  • Ensure that barbeques are placed at least 3 feet away from wooden cottage walls. Fireplaces or fire pits should be placed at least 20 feet away as well.

  • Keep fiberglass boats and canoes away from buildings, since they're highly flammable. Store them upside down, one metre above ground level, either on a clearing or a rock. If you're storing a powerboat nearby, remove any gasoline.

  • Post the phone number for reporting a forest fire near your phone. If you notice a fire spreading, your quick attention can make a big difference for the forest and everyone in the area.

  • Follow manufacturers' instructions regarding the use of portable camp stoves, heaters or lanterns and keep fuel in a secured container.

  • Keep a maintained fire extinguisher on the property.

Security Tips

A seasonal residence is very vulnerable, since it is often left unattended. So it's no surprise that most cottage losses reported have to do with theft. Having a monitored alarm system installed or ensuring a friend or neighbour is keeping a "lived in" look are proactive ways to deterring theft at your seasonal residence.

In addition to protecting your seasonal residence with reliable cottage insurance there are several things you can do to cut your losses.

Begin with the basics such as installing a deadbolt lock (with at least a 2.5 centimeter bolt) which is operated with a removable thumb turn instead of a key. That way, even if the burglar reaches in through a broken window, the door cannot be opened. Installing extra locks may discourage the thief who is looking for an easy way into your seasonal residence. In addition to door locks, you may also want to consider installing unbreakable plastic panels over vulnerable areas (like ground floor windows), which are large enough for a person to climb through. And of course, never leave keys hidden near doors or under mats.

When the season ends and it's time to close your seasonal residence, the first thing is to remove all personal belongings, especially things like TVs, computers, DVD players etc, along with any recreational equipment. Items like outboard motors and skidoos are easily stolen and then sold by thieves.

Sadly, even some of the most well-protected cottages have been burglarized, so it's essential to review and update your cottage insurance policy every year, to ensure that you're adequately covered. Different than your existing home insurance, cottage insurance is tailored to meet the special needs of your seasonal residence. Talk to trusted insurance professional, like your local Co-operators agent about protecting your seasonal residence with the right cottage insurance. To learn more, please visit

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