There is nothing like being at the cottage during the summer. Enjoying those long summer nights, enjoying the outdoors, the water and everything your oasis has to offer. In order to enjoy your cottage year after year it takes a bit of work and preparation to make sure it is safe over the winter and ready to go for next summer. But what exactly should you be looking to do to protect your seasonal dwelling over the winter? Never fear McDougall Insurance has the tips and insights you need to properly prepare your cottage for the winter.


Turn Off Your Water

In order to prepare your cottage properly the first thing you will want to do once you have closed the cottage for the season is turn off your water. You will want to also drain your pipes by running the water left in the pipes until they are run dry. This will prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting over the winter. And believe us that is not fun to take care of when you return in the summer. The insurance world sees more claims due to water than any other peril.


Clear Eavestroughs and Downspouts

Uhh man does that mean you have to get on a ladder and go around the house? Well for most of us, the answer is probably yes. But you could also hire someone to do it for you or you can purchase one of those new eaves trough cleaners. Home Depot tells me they are only $31.84. This is important to ensure proper drainage and to avoid ice jams or leaks. You will also want to make sure your downspouts lead away from the foundation to prevent any buildups or seepage.

burning fire

Clean Your Woodstove or Fireplace

You may not have a wood burning unit in your cottage but in the event that you do it is important to clean it regularly especially in the months you aren’t going to be regularly visiting the dwelling. This means clearing coals or soot and making sure the area around your wood burning appliance is also cleaned up. This will reduce the chance of fire and also make your return to the cottage much less messy.


Make Arrangements for Snow Removal

If you plan on returning throughout the winter it is a good idea to hire a snow removal company. That way you can actually get to your cottage in the winter and your roof won’t have the strenuous build up of snow potential weakening or damaging it. And even if you do not plan on returning over the winter season it can still be a good idea to hire a snow removal company. If potential thieves see a regularly plowed driveway they may be less inclined to break in.


Lock It Up

It is important to lock up your unit properly when you are leaving it for the winter. This means locking the doors, securing the windows, storing any equipment or toys in a locked shed or garage, etc. This will make thefts much more difficult and thus potential thieves will be less likely to steal from you.

handing your friend a key

Provide a Trusted Neighbour or Friend with a Key

This isn’t always a possibility for us because in some cases there are no nearby neighbours and in other cases you don’t trust your neighbours. However, if you do have someone who can regularly check your property that is definitely worthwhile and can save you a big headache if something goes wrong and is undetected until next summer. You will want to ensure that your trusted friend has your updated contact information and knows how to reach you in the case of emergency.


If you follow these tips we are confident you will have a much more relaxing winter and a much better start to your summer next season. That sounds like a win-win! But wait, do you even have proper coverage for your cottage or seasonal dwelling? You’re going to want to head to our cottage insurance page and make sure you fill out the form for a free quote. We’ll take care of the rest!

COVID-19 Update

We are doing our utmost to protect our customers and our staff.

We are taking precautions at this time based on the feedback from the Provincial and Federal Government. Our offices are now closed to the public. Our priority is keeping our staff and clients healthy and safe.

Business can still be conducted online, through email or over the phone. For a list of staff emails go to: Staff Profiles