Winterizing your cottage saves insurance costs

Summer's over, time to prepare for Winter.
Sarah Twomey | Desjardins Group

Do you feel that? There's that recognizable chill in the air. Fall's back with its shorter days and changing leaves. It's time again to shut down the cottage for the winter. You spend so much time and money on your family cottage, that it only makes sense to do all you can to protect it. 

By being as thorough as possible, you'll not only keep out the weather and little critters, but you'll also keep your property insurance costs down by reducing the chance of damage over the winter and any resulting claims. 

Some people use the Thanksgiving weekend to close everything down because the cold and frost tends to arrive earlier in cottage country. Here's a brief check list to help you stay organized:
  • Take a good look around your entire property. Identify anything that may need an emergency repair before you close for the season and make sure there's enough time to get it done.  
  • Animal- and weather-proof your place: 
    • Clean out the gutters and the chimney. Before you leave for the season, be sure to cover it to keep out the weather and animals. 
    • Check for and seal any small openings.
    • Secure and seal all the windows and doors.
  • Make your cottage burglar-proof. Ultimately, you want to your place as uninteresting as possible. If you have a gate at the entrance of your driveway, chain it up. Tidy up outside, packing up all outdoor furniture and removing any fire hazards. Inside, close your blinds, curtains and/or shutters. 
  • Clean out your kitchen and fridge. Canned food can expand and possibly explode over the winter and other food items can attract mice. Leave your cupboards spotless so that you won't come back to any surprises in the spring. If you'd rather not bring it all the way back to the city, consider throwing an end-of-season party for your neighbours or donate it to a local food-bank. 
  • Turn off the water, electricity and/or the natural gas. Be sure to drain the pipes to prevent freezing and cracking. Pouring environmentally friendly non-toxic antifreeze into your toilets is a good idea if you're unable to drain them completely.
  • Last but not least -- enjoy the winter! 

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