Top 3 Things You Might Not Know About Insurance for Large Summer Purchases

Top 3 Things You Might Not Know About Insurance for Large Summer Purchases
By Jack Mazakian, Vice-President, Advocis Broker Services

While many Canadians have managed to save up a substantial amount during the pandemic due to an inability to go out and spend the way they usually might, the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains – especially in indoor spaces where it still may not be safe to gather with friends and family. Accordingly, many who are considering a ‘big ticket’ purchase this summer may be focused on the lesser viral danger of remote and outdoor activities – without even thinking about the danger of not insuring these purchases properly. 

Here are a few facts on three major summer purchases that you may not know about: 

  1. Cottages 

While some might look at a cottage as simply another dwelling, the insurance reality can be more complex. For starters, your insurance will depend first and foremost on how you use the property – whether you live there, rent it out, or even plan to share it with other individuals or families. It can also be significantly impacted by the kinds of remote and rural locations where cottages are typically found. Road access, distance to emergency services and other factors can all play a role in what your costs may be – costs which could include being held financially responsible for any emergency services that you might need to draw upon. Ambulance and fire response in remote communities may not be neatly bundled into your taxes the way they might be in a major municipality, and the costs can be significant. Speak with your insurance broker to better understand what kinds of unexpected bills you might receive from a local fire department and the scope of insurance you might need to be prepared for it. 

  1. Sports & Vintage Cars 

If you’re considering the purchase of a high-end or classic vehicle, you will certainly be in for a very different insurance situation in comparison to your family sedan. The appraisal process can be far more detailed and formal – especially with classic vehicles which may be composed from a mix of new and original parts. Getting coverage for these vehicles can also be dependent on usage – if you plan to engage in racing activities, for example, insuring some of these vehicles can be difficult or nearly impossible. Make sure you speak with a broker before spending a significant sum on something that could end up being illegal (or astonishingly expensive!) to have sitting anywhere but in your garage. 

  1. ATVs / Boats / Dirt Bikes 

Contrary to what some people might think, these recreational vehicles are not toys – they pose significant risks of injury, and even death or dismemberment. As the owner, you can also be held financially responsible for any injuries that occur if your guests have accidents while using them. You may want to speak with your broker about the possibility of Umbrella Liability policies that can cover your liability at much higher limits, as this can reflect the fact that injuries sustained from these accidents can lead to the persons affected requiring a full lifetime of specialized and expensive care. As a sidenote, Umbrella Liability is also an excellent overall consideration for all your personal insurance lines, as it increases the amount of liability coverage. 

For these or any other large purchases, communication and transparency with your broker is key. If an insurance company only learns pertinent details after a claim is made, there is always the possibility they will deny or sharply reduce their payment. A great summer of cottaging, driving, and boating might be exactly what you need to shake off the COVID blahs, but don’t trade the possibility of one misfortune for another by coming up short when it comes to insurance! 

In addition to being a licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Broker across the country with a background in accounting and financial management, Jack Mazakian is Vice-President, Advocis Broker Services.