When buying a lake home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin, it’s important to secure a homeowner’s insurance policy that matches the property and how you plan to use it. Here are insights you can use to insure your lakeshore home without paying for extra coverage.
1. Map the home to the nearest fire department
It’s common for lake home insurance premiums to be based on the distance from the nearest fire department. If you can, check the distance to local fire stations as you search for lake homes, and get a quote on each property prior to purchasing.
2. Get coverage for unattached buildings
Unlike your primary residence, waterfront homes may have unattached buildings on the property, including bunkhouses, garages, large storage sheds and even — eek! —outhouses. Check with your insurance agent to be sure that all these “extra” structures are covered under your policy.
3. Consider umbrella coverage
Homeowners are liable for injuries that occur on the premises, and “umbrella policies” kick in after the limits have been reached on your standard (homeowner’s, auto or boat) policies. When buying a lake home, it’s smart to purchase umbrella policy coverage, or add to your existing umbrella, to protect against personal liabilities.
4. Insure watercraft and off-road vehicles
For many lake homeowners, owning boats, jet skis, ATVs or golf carts is part of the fun of being “Up North.” Typically, these vehicles aren’t covered under the insurance policy for a waterfront property, but you can easily add separate policies to get them covered.
5. Reduce your personal content coverage
Will you keep fewer possessions of value at your lakefront home? If so, consider opting for a lower contents coverage policy — just keep in mind that your dock will likely be covered under contents.
6. Covering semi-permanent water structures
While you discuss your contents coverage policy, ask your insurance agent about how to cover water structures like swim rafts, water trampolines and boat lifts.
7. Check for past flooding activity
As with your primary residence, homeowner’s insurance for a lakeshore property doesn’t cover flooding. Research if the home has a history of flooding activity, and secure a flood policy if necessary.