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Tag Archive: Home Insurance

  1. Insuring Timeshares

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    Should You Insure Your Timeshare?

    If you own a timeshare or are considering buying one, you may be wondering about the best way to protect your investment in the event something happens on the property.

    First, it’s important to understand how owning a timeshare is different from owning a second home. With a timeshare, you “share” ownership with several parties. Along with your co-owners, you agree to a specific arrangement regarding when you can use the property for vacations.

    How you go about protecting your shared property depends on whether the property is deeded or undeeded. If your timeshare is undeeded—meaning you did not receive a deed at the time of purchase—you don’t own actual property. In this case, it’s a good idea to call your insurance broker and simply add the address of the timeshare as an insured location on your existing homeowner’s insurance policy. That will ensure your belongings are covered while vacationing at the property.

    If, however, your timeshare is deeded, you are a partial owner of the property and could be financially exposed if something happened at the property. For example, if the guest of a fellow co-owner had a slip-and-fall accident at the timeshare property and incurred costly medical bills as a result, he or she could hold all the owners liable. Even if you did not know the other timeshare co-owner or his guest, and were not present at the time of the accident, you could be held partially responsible in a lawsuit filed to collect damages for the injury.

    By adding an endorsement to your primary homeowner’s coverage, you can ensure that the money you need to pay legal fees and other medical expenses (up to the limits of your policy) will be there if the court finds you partially at fault for the accident.

    Keep in mind that with some insurers, you may need a separate policy to cover your deeded timeshare. Talk to your insurance broker to find out for sure and to explore all your timeshare coverage options.

  2. Understanding the Difference Between a ‘Vacant’ and ‘Unoccupied’ Dwelling

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    Did you know that informing your broker about the changing occupancy status of your home could save you a future headache and possibly save you money on your insurance? That’s why it is always a good idea to keep your broker in the loop when life changes take you away from your home for an extended period.

    If you fall into one of the following three categories, keep reading and let your broker know right away:

    • Snowbird that lives in another state part of the year
    • Military personnel or another employee whose work takes you away from home for long periods
    • Your home is on the market but you have already moved to a new place

    Unoccupied Dwellings

    For insurance purposes, your home is classified as unoccupied if you leave for a period longer than 96 hours but intend to return.

    Whenever your home is unoccupied you should take the following precautions to protect your property:

    • Let your broker know about your travel plans
    • Shut off your water and drain the pipes
    • Make your home look like someone is there (automatic lights, stop your mail, schedule yard care, etc.)

    If you travel frequently for work, it is also a good idea to install a monitored home alarm system that is equipped with temperature and water sensors. Be sure to list a local contact in case you are traveling and an emergency arises at your home.

    Taking these precautions will not only give you peace of mind when you are away, but it will also let your insurance company know you have taken care to protect your property in your absence.

    Vacant Dwellings

    Whether your home has furniture or not, insurance companies will classify it as vacant if you leave the home and do not plan to live there anymore. Some homeowners mistakenly think staging the home while it is on the market excludes it from being classified as a vacant dwelling, but the term is based on occupancy, not furnishings.

    Whenever your home is vacant you should take the following precautions to protect your property:

    • Get a vacancy permit from your insurer
    • Check the vacant property at least 3 times per week

    Vacant properties often receive minimal coverage with items like vandalism, sewer backup and water damage excluded from coverage. In some cases, where the home is vacant for six months or longer, the insurance company may decide to discontinue coverage altogether.

    To learn more about how to protect your unoccupied or vacant dwelling, contact your insurance broker.

  3. Preparing Your House For Vacation

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    Winter is coming, and for many of us that means cold weather and harsh driving conditions; Shovelling snow and salting our stairs while bundling up head to toe.

    But for those lucky enough, it’s time to escape down south to warmer weathers and sandy beaches.

    Here are some suggestions every Homeowner should think about before locking up and heading out regardless of how long you’re gone.

    • Shut Off the Water – Every home has a Main Shut off Valve which controls water coming in through your pipes. It’s generally located in the basement near the front of the house.
      • Don’t forget to drain your pipes after shutting off the water.
      • It’s important to maintain your heat while you’re away to ensure your pipes don’t freeze.
    • Ask For Help – Have a friend, neighbour or someone you trust check on your property every few days. Give them a spare key to make sure there’s no water damage and also have them take in the mail.
    • Do Not Broadcast Your Absence – In the digital age of Social Media, it can be tempting to count down the days to your vacation via Facebook Posts or Twitter. Always think twice about who might see those posts, and who could take advantage of the knowledge that you’re not home.
    • Unplug – Your television, computer, and other appliances can use energy even while not in use. Unplugging them saves on energy use as well as protects them from surges while you’re away.
  4. Cottage Maintenance

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    For many of us, summer could also be called cottage season. Reconnecting with nature, spending quality time with the family or just unwinding.

    There are a few important steps to ensure that the time spent at the cottage is an enjoyable as possible.



    1: Walk the property – Keep an eye out for obvious damage (eg. broken windows or rain/wind damage).

    2: Power up – If everything looks good inside, power up the cottage to ensure outlets and lights are in working condition.

    3: Check for animals – Clean up and disinfect any mess they may have left behind.

    4: Update your insurance policy – Ensure that your policy limit is sufficient as well as insuring any toys you may have (Boats, ATV, etc.)

    5: Unwind – Don’t forget to pack everything you’ll need to have a great time.