With the warm weather finally returning, cabin and vacation home owners will want to start thinking about getting their properties ready for the season. The first thing you’ll want to do is a thorough inspection to make sure everything is as it should be, followed by some routine cabin maintenance. Finally, you should also be sure to review your cabin insurance and your boat insurance, to be sure your coverage is up to date.
A Step-by-Step Checklist
Begin your routine cabin maintenance inspection outside:
- Start by doing a walk-around to make a visual assessment of the cabin’s condition. Make a note of any obvious problems you notice.
- Don’t forget to check the power lines that run to your cabin. If there is any sign of damage, report it to your utility company right away and don’t activate any utilities until it’s fixed.
- Pay special attention to the roof, since shingles are very prone to seasonal damage during the winter. Beyond the shingles, look for elements that seem to be drooping or sagging.
- Take a look at your foundation to determine whether any shifting or sinking has occurred.
- Inspect your weatherstripping and caulking to make sure it’s still in ship-shape.
- Repair any potholes you find in your driveway.
- Clear your gutters and eaves of branches, leaves, and any other debris you find.
- Look at all the trees surrounding your cabin. If there are any sagging branches or any signs of encroaching growth, fix them.
- Inspect all stairs, railings, patios, and decks to ensure there is no damage and that they are all safe to use.
Remove any shutters or coverings you used to seal off your windows and doors. Verify that your glass and/or screens are still intact.
Once you’ve checked these items off your list, head indoors to continue:
- Inspect the wiring to see if indoor pests or burrowing animals caused any damage while your cabin was unoccupied.
- Check your propane tank and supply lines to make sure they’re ready for use.
- Turn on your water supply and fire up your water heater. Run some water down your drains and flush your toilets to clear your pipes of any leftover antifreeze that may be hanging around.
- Inspect all your appliances, inside and out — you’d be surprised at the places some animals choose for their winter homes.
- Put fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they’re working properly.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher hasn’t passed its expiration date. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, buy one.
- Clean out your wood stove, fireplace, and/or chimney.
- Look around the floorboards to see if there are any places rodents could get into your cabin. Don’t forget the closets!
Then, when you’re ready to go, open up the doors, fire up your barbecue, and get busy enjoying yourself!
Are You Fully Covered?
It’s also important to take a moment to review your cabin insurance, as well as your boat insurance if you have a watercraft. This is particularly essential if you’re planning to rent out your cabin to friends or tenants for part or all of the summer season. If so, you’ll need to make sure you have a policy that covers four basics:
- Injury liability coverage for renters and their guests
- Coverage for furniture and other valuables inside the property
- Damage coverage, in case your renters vandalize, destroy or otherwise damage your valuables
- Coverage for fires, floods, and summer storms
Our previously published article on cabin and boat insurance has more information about coverage.
If you’re looking to learn more about cabin insurance, you can also download 9 Things You Need to Know about Recreation Insurance, a free ebook published by Lane’s Insurance. Lane’s also has a wealth of information archived on its blog site, such as this helpful article that explains the basics about cabin insurance, how it works, and what kind of coverage best suits your needs.
Contact Lane’s for Trustworthy Advice and Great Rates on Cottage and Cabin Insurance in Alberta
The trustworthy insurance professionals at Lane’s are here to answer any questions you might have about cabin and cottage insurance in Alberta. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have concerns about your current coverage, or want to explore your options.
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