Cottage Q&A: Cameras and reducing insurance

A security camera in a yard By Photographicss/Shutterstock

Will installing security cameras at the cottage help with reducing insurance costs?—Levi Daniels, via email

It’s possible. Insurance companies are keen on tech that “will prevent a claim from happening,” says Pete Karageorgos, the director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The caveat? At a cottage, security cameras aren’t terribly reliable at preventing anything. 

Thieves aren’t stupid. (At least, not the ones who target isolated, empty vacation homes. The ones who try to steal pet store snakes by shoving them down their pants are probably stupid.) Cameras are easy to rip down, obscure, or fool, says Bob Dixon, with Mason Insurance Brokers in Welland, Ont. “If I want to rob you, I’ll just put on a hoodie and sunglasses. There. Disguised.” 

That’s not to say that cameras are a bad idea. They may be helpful after the fact, especially if they’re pointed towards the cottage driveway or road and capture a licence plate. 

Cottage thieves are sneaky. Here’s how to protect your ATVs from theft.

Still, if you want to reduce your insurance costs, “you’re better off spending your money on a 24-hour monitored alarm system,” says Dixon. Monitored is key—as opposed to an alarm that makes noise, but doesn’t alert anyone off-site. “If that gets the police there early enough, it can really mitigate losses.” 

Plenty of insurance companies are happy to offer discounts for having this kind of security system—from five to 15 per cent—but it may depend on how remote your cottage is, says Karageorgos. “As with any service, it’s important to shop around.”

Here’s why you should ditch your key and install an electronic lock.

This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr ’20 issue of Cottage Life.

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