Want to know how to have a fabulous vacation cottage season this year?
Simple: Be prepared.
By doing the right things and starting as you mean to go on, you can create a memorable vacation home season for all the right reasons — whether your cottage is a place you live in, a place you rent out, or a place you share with friends and family.
Exactly how you prepare for the big opening depends on your cottage location and a few other things, so let’s get started with a quick rundown of the ‘must-dos’.
First, grab yourself a sheet of paper or open a fresh note page on your mobile device or PC.
By creating a checklist, you’ll be sure nothing is overlooked. Don’t just rely on your memory! And do this at home, before you even start out, because you might get distracted once you’re there!
If you had the power turned off during the winter, it’s a good idea to call the power company — and the phone company — to arrange a switch-on before you go.
The well-prepared cottage owner also gathers together a good toolkit, first aid kit, flashlights and cleaning supplies that might be needed on arrival.
And don’t forget the keys! Oh, and take your insurance documents with you.
Your Cottage To Do List
What else should go on your list? Here are a few thoughts:
Got your camera? You’ll want to do a visual inspection inside and out. Look for weather and pest damage, as well as signs of intruders. Check power lines, eavestroughs and downspouts too. Take photos of any damage, especially if it’s likely you’ll need to make an insurance claim.
If there are any signs of forced entry — from humans or animals, beware! Don’t enter unless and until you’re sure it’s safe to do so.
Remove shutters and head inside.
Check the power and water supplies are working. Getting the water flowing (and heated) can be a tricky job. It’s one area where you might save time and hassle by calling in a professional to meet you on arrival.
Don’t put your safety at risk, but if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you may find the water supply and checking guide in this post useful: http://www.cottagetips.com/tips/cottage-opening-tips/
Either way, don’t switch on the hot water tank until you know it’s properly filled!
Check the everything that needs power or water is working. Think stove, microwave, fridge, flush toilets, furnaces and lights. You did remember to bring furnace filters and a supply of replacement bulbs, didn’t you?
Open windows, replace any bug screens, put the coffee on, and take a breather before you start the clean-up — kitchens, bathrooms, closets, things like that. Deal with mold or musty smells. It may be time to get some of those fabric items into the laundry or off to the dry-cleaners.
Once everything seems in order, run a check on other key items like septic tanks, foundations, decking and outbuildings. Clean the fire pit or barbecue.
A couple of other safety steps: Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms; it’s a good idea to replace their batteries every year in a seasonal cottage. Likewise, make sure your fire extinguishers are in place and haven’t reached their expiry date. If they have, replace them. Safety first, safety first.
Finally, if you have a boat or other outdoors equipment, check and clean them too — as well as the buildings they’re housed in.
Meet the Neighbours
If you have neighbours and they’re around, it’s a good idea to go meet them and talk about anything they may have discovered or know about that could affect your cottage.
We certainly hope you don’t discover troubles caused by critters, Mother Nature, or intruders. But if you do, it’s important to take swift action — after you’ve taken those photos.
- If there are signs of crime, tell the police.
- If lines are down, contact the power or phone company.
- If there’s weather or critter damage, make it good best as you can and arrange a contractor inspection.
- If there’s costly damage, get the ball rolling on an insurance claim. Call us if you need help.
Secure Insurance Solutions Your Cottage Insurance Experts
Remember, here at Secure Insurance Solutions, we have a full-time claims department, backed by 24-hour emergency support.
Our friendly team will go out of their way to provide the support and advice you need to ensure your best-ever, worry-free vacation cottage season. You will receive expert advice on seasonal home insurance.
And if you plan to rent out your seasonal home, be sure to discuss your insurance protection needs with us.
Then it’s time to sit back and enjoy — you’ve earned it!