Your Guide to Insuring a Cabin

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Your Guide to Insuring a Cabin

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How to insure a cabin

Got a cabin? If you’re lucky enough to own a vacation property, seasonal home by the lake, or the annual destination for hunting season, you know how great it is to get away from it all. Better yet, it is a sound investment that can help you kick back in your retirement.

However, you can’t leave all your worries behind when it comes to protecting your cabin. What could ruin your cabin’s future?

  • Damage from fire 
  • Natural disasters
  • Injuries on your property 
  • Crime

The solution? Protecting your investment with seasonal home insurance.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about cabin insurance, including: 

  • What is cabin insurance?
  • Why do you need cabin insurance?
  • Who needs cabin insurance? 
  • What is the cost of cabin insurance?
  • Common questions about cabin insurance

What is Cabin Insurance?

Cabin insurance, typically known as seasonal home insurance, protects your vacation home and your possessions in it against a wide variety of dangers:

  • Fire damage
  • Storm damage (i.e., hail, wind, snow, rain, lightning, etc.)
  • Theft/burglary
  • Vandalism
  • Arson
  • Liability coverage for injuries to other parties on your property

One particular distinction to make about cabin insurance is that it is separate from your primary homeowners insurance policy. 

Why Do You Need Cabin Insurance?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you that you’re in need of a cabin insurance policy. No two cabins or seasonal homes are alike, which presents unique challenges. 

Some cabins can be a simple no-frills structure designed for rustic living in isolated areas, while others can be sprawling, multi-level buildings that are more extravagant than many primary residences. 

Adding to this, most people don’t live permanently in their vacation homes. Therefore, having cabin insurance protects it as a second residence, future investment, and as a source of revenue from renters.

For those who own a cabin, a lake home, or other seasonal residence, you will need to speak with an experienced insurance agent who can assess how much coverage you need. 

There are many variables to consider — even if the small cabin is located on bare hunting land — so an expert insurance agent can ask you the right questions to determine which risk factors need to be addressed and protected. 

Who Needs Cabin Insurance?

The short answer to Who needs cabin insurance? is anyone who has one. If you’re still on the fence (pun intended), let’s look at a number of aspects related to how much insurance coverage you should consider for your cabin:

  • Got deer? What about bear and moose? Hunting cabin insurance can be useful for damage from wild animals or unfortunate accidents with firearms. During hunting season, cabin insurance can help you concentrate on bagging that buck!
  • If you only visit the cabin on a seasonal basis each year, you may need seasonal cabin insurance to keep it safe from harm during the times it is vacant.
  • Cabins that are located in areas that could potentially experience a devastating wildfire, or severe weather like flooding and winter storms definitely need a form of insurance to protect your investment and recoup value lost.
  • Some cabins are governed by HOAs, which may require your secondary residence to be adequately insured to protect the value of related properties. 
  • For entrepreneurial-minded cabin owners, renting out the cabin on Airbnb or through private clients is risky without cabin rental insurance.
  • Family cabins passed through the generations are perfect candidates for coverage such as log cabin home insurance. If you keep a large amount of valuables and possessions at your family cabin, insurance is a must to replace these items if they’re stolen or damaged.
  • Love adventure? If your cabin has ATVs, boats, or other recreational vehicles, then you may want to consider such coverage as cabin cruiser boat insurance.

Do any of these situations apply to you? Chances are that they do. 

What is the Cost of Cabin Insurance?

What is the cost of cabin insurance

As you can imagine, the cost of cabin insurance is highly variable. In most cases, seasonal home insurance might cost more than insurance for your primary residence. 

This is due to how often the property is left vacant or its location. Let’s look at some factors that directly affect cost:

  • Remote areas, for example, may be targeted by criminals or experience natural disasters that you won’t discover until you visit the property in the future. Highly trafficked areas also create possibilities for criminals to steal your belongings or vandalize your home. 
  • Liability is a huge issue when it comes to determining how much you will pay for cabin insurance. Liability coverage can help with medical bills and time off work if you are held legally responsible for an injury on the cabin’s property. If you have a large number of visitors to the cabin, especially renters, you will need to insure your home as well as purchase additional coverage. An injury from a malfunctioning fireplace, for instance, can cause a deep financial burden on your property and other assets. You may need to have landlord insurance for renters as well as separate liability coverage for those who might wander on your property. 
  • Similarly, having boats, ATVs and other types of recreational equipment can make lakeside cabin owners especially susceptible to liability for injuries that occur on the property. Most seasonal homeowners policies will cover the physical dwelling and other structures of the property such as boat houses, docks, sheds, and so forth. 
  • Considering the high potential for injuries when recreational equipment is involved, the liability coverage limit on your primary homeowners policy may not be sufficient. Recreational equipment is rarely covered automatically under your cabin’s insurance policy. Instead, these items are insured separately either as a rider on your cabin’s policy or on a specialty policy. Therefore, you may want to purchase umbrella insurance to step up your liability coverage. As you may know, umbrella insurance policies kick in when the limit of your homeowners liability coverage has been reached.
  • Do you have a homeowners policy on your primary residence? If so, determining how much coverage you have for your cabin can get confusing based on whether you have a homeowners policy for your primary residence. In most cases, your primary residence extends some liability coverage to your cabin. But for those who may not have insured their primary residence, the cost of insuring a secondary residence can be expensive — or it may not even be offered by some companies. 

Common Questions about Cabin Insurance

As you can guess, cabin insurance encompasses a wide array of situations. 

Question #1 – Do I need to insure the cabin with my primary homeowners policy?

The truth is that some companies won’t write a cabin insurance policy if they don’t insure your primary home first. The reason is that those insurers don’t want the increased risk of a home that is empty more than it is occupied. Consequently, insuring both properties (your home plus the cabin) with the same company is more convenient. 

Simply add the second location onto your current homeowners insurance policy, which eliminates the need for a second policy as well as second bill to deal with.

However, there are a number of companies that specialize in writing a policy for your cabin on a separate policy without insuring your primary residence. Many are able to write with many of the same coverages as a homeowner’s policy while also offering built-in coverage for your recreational vehicles. 

Similar to a regular homeowner’s policy, these policies can insure the contents of your cabin as a percentage of the dwelling amount for both theft and liability

Question #2 – If I have no buildings, do I still need to insure the vacant land?

In most cases, pure vacant land is covered for liability by your primary homeowners policy. Coverage would apply if a person were injured on your land. But you should be careful of the phrase “vacant land” in your policy. Any development on the property may cause the land to not be considered “vacant” any longer. 

This includes minimalist structures that may negate coverage, such as an outhouse, fencing, or a framed deer stand. 

Question #3 – How are the contents in my cabin covered?

Your possessions in your cabin depend on the size and usage. Policies run the gamut from no contents coverage at all, limited coverage on select items, or protection for items that are shared with your primary residence. 

Other policies will cover a percentage of the dwelling amount, just like your primary home. It’s common practice for your primary home policy to automatically extend 10% of your primary home contents coverage to another location like your cabin.

Being proactive is the best way to protect those things that are special to you before there is a loss.

Once you’re set up, you can finally rest easy and enjoy the good life that comes with owning a cabin. 

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