Lake homes are often times the hub of family, friends and fun times in the summer. I was fortunate to have grown up in a family with a lake home on Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa. While it's always fun to get away for a weekend or even a short vacation, many times lake homes require special consideration when it comes to insurance and safety.
Docks and Boat Slips
Let's face it, docks can be dangerous. They are almost always wet and pose a slipping hazard not to mention most docks have ladders, a diving board or maybe even a slide. If you own a dock you need to be certain you have liability coverage. Many times the liability on your homeowners policy can be extended to include the dock but you must list the location of the dock on your policy. Another recommendation is to have an umbrella policy which would add additional liability coverage in case of a serious accident.
Coverage for the dock itself is usually covered under the Other Structures limit on your homeowners policy however be aware there are limitations and exclusions. Wear and tear and wave action are typically not covered. Don't wait until you have a loss to talk to your agent about your dock, call today.
Renting your lake home to others may not seem like a big deal but it changes the game
Secondary homes are typically insured on a personal homeowners policy given the fact that the home is only occupied by the owners and never rented. When you rent your home, whether short term or long term, you increase the chance of a property or liability claim. If you own a lake home and you rent it to others discuss this with your agent. It's likely you will need another type of policy to cover the associated risk.
Protecting your lake home when you are not there
While you are away it's always wise to have a few safety measures in place to protect from vandals and thieves.
- Keep the lawn and landscaping well groomed.
- Cancel any newspapers that may be delivered to your door.
- Install motion lights outdoors.
- Set automatic timers on lights inside your lake home.
- Find a good neighbor that you can trust and alert them while you are away. Giving them a key in case of an emergency isn't a bad idea either.
The most important thing you can do if you own a lake home is to talk to your agent. Be sure to advise of any changes that occur and always schedule an annual review of your insurance. In many cases, your homes are the largest asset you have so together with your agent, identify your needs and find the best solutions for your protection!