The author, Jody Elliott, CIP, CAIB, CRM, is an Account Manager and Risk Advisor at Gougeon Insurance Brokers.

Preparation is Key

In Canada, winter can be a cruel, harsh season; resort properties can take a beating with the freezing and thawing cycle.

Risk management is a good first step to prepare your property to avoid damage and claims.

Below are some important reminders for closing up your Summer Resort/Cottage for the winter.

1. Water Supply

  • Make sure your pipes are fully drained to prevent your water line from freezing.
    The water line can be filled with non-toxic anti-freeze made especially for supply pipes. And pipes that are carefully wrapped at key junction points are better protected against the cold.
  • Be sure to check your plumbing and faucets thoroughly for wear-and-tear.

2. Wildlife: They Like To Move In When You Move Out

  • Ensure that all food has been removed from the cottages before you close them up.
  • Inspect your buildings thoroughly to make sure small holes are filled to prevent bats, mice and squirrels from getting in.
  • Place a wooden cover on the chimney and tightly close your fireplace damper to prevent birds and other small animals from taking refuge.

3. Electrical System

  • If the electricity is going to be shut off in the off-season, be sure to turn off all major appliances, the water heater(s) and electrical room heaters. This will help with a smoother and safer start-up when you re-open in the spring.
  • If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel and turn off the power supply to any space heaters. Otherwise, they may turn on during cold weather.
  • Visually inspect your hydrometer and power lines for damage. If a power line is down or damaged, stay clear and call your Hydro Company.

4. Boat Motors and Other Power Equipment

  • When storing boat motors and other power equipment do not drain gasoline from fuel tanks, instead use a fuel stabilizer (available from your dealer or auto parts store).
  • Store boat motors, lawnmowers and other items with engines in a dry, weatherproof place.

5. General Property Maintenance

  • If your cottage is in a heavy snow area, consider installing temporary supports to protect the roof from caving in.
  • Have someone you trust (if you are not available) visit your property throughout the winter season. This could be neighbours, caretakers, family members etc. and have them check for:
    • Snowload on roofs - if there is accumulation, shovel it off.
    • Signs of vandalism and security of building(s)
    • Tree damage due to weather. If there is tree damage due to wind, snowload, ice load etc., remove damaged branches from buildings or branches hanging over buildings if it's safe to do so. This can prevent further damage.
  • Resort properties should be accessible to fire departments.
  • Check your policy wordings to determine if you are required to inform your insurance broker when you are out of country or away from your property for an extended period.

Remember that time spent on risk management now will pay significant dividends next spring when you open the cottage/resort for another season.

Although it can sometimes feel like winter has lasted forever, enjoy the season with peace of mind that you did all you could to mitigate losses.

We are here to help you understand and simplify the risks affecting your business. Connect with us to learn more: 1.800.461.1106 or info@gougeoninsurance.com

Topics: Summer Resort, summer resort insurance, Jody Elliott, winterize your property, resort risk management, risk management

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Getting your summer resort prepared for the winter is key to mitigate loss come spring. Below are some tips to help you prepare.

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