Real Estate

Cottage Q&A: Liability insurance for a remote cabin

A female hand signing a liability contract By Portrait Image Asia/Shutterstock

Is it possible to get liability insurance only for a remote cabin? My concern is that a guest could get hurt, or when we aren’t there, someone could trespass (and get hurt). We are U.S. citizens, so we can’t add it onto our home policy. We aren’t concerned about fire and theft because we don’t leave anything of big value inside.—John Sterzick, via email

It’s possible. But it may not be easy. (Sorry.) Or cheap. (Double sorry.)

“It’s a challenge to get coverage for standalone liability,” admits Greg Robertson of R. Robertson Insurance Brokers in Toronto. “There are wholesalers that will provide liability only, but the cost could be more than insuring the cabin.”

Wholesale brokers don’t deal directly with the client, they communicate with the client’s broker. “It’s the client’s broker who will approach me for coverage,” says Bev Mitchell, a special risks underwriter—and a wholesaler—with Johnston Meier Insurance Agencies in Maple Ridge, B.C. “As a go-between, I have contracts with companies the broker can’t access.” 

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You’re probably going to need to shop around. Check with various local brokers who deal with cottage insurance: what’s the cost of insuring your place on a package that includes liability vs. the cost of a standalone liability policy? As an example, Peter Granata of Kennedy Insurance Brokers in North Bay, Ont., says that most premiums for full-coverage policies are between $1,000 and $5,000 per year. The minimum premium for a liability-only policy from one insurer that the brokers sourced was about $1,500 (plus tax) per year. And the maximum? It would be too difficult to ballpark. “I’m unaware of a maximum quote,” says Granata. “Factors such as property acreage and location would play a part in determining the annual premium.” 

Mitchell says that while getting a liability policy via wholesaler is generally very expensive, the fact that your cottage is remote could be a game-changer. “Many insurers either do not want to insure in remote areas or charge an extremely high rate for the building coverage,” says Mitchell. If that’s the case, going the wholesaler route might work out to be the lesser of two expensive evils. Good luck with your search!

This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Cottage Life.

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