Taking a Vacation
Whether you’re heading north, south, east, or west, and whether you prefer action-packed or easy-going, it’s easy to forget that unpleasant things can happen on vacation even though you are trying to get away from it all. Invest an hour in some preparation to set yourself up for a worry-free trip. And know that if something happens, you’ll be protected.
Here are a few thoughts to consider as you plan your trip. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
- Rental Car?
- How your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can cover you even away from home.
- Going abroad? Your health insurance might not come along.
Start your vacation off right, and don’t let surprise questions catch you off guard at your destination. When it comes to rental-car insurance, our answer is easy and straightforward: buy the insurance.
You have the option to purchase a “Loss Damage Waiver” (LDW) from the rental car company. If purchased, this waiver relieves you from financial liability for the loss of or damage to the rental car and the parts and accessories that come with it.
We recommend buying the LDW for a variety of reasons:
- If you cause damage to the rental car, the rental car company will likely require immediate reimbursement for the repairs. They won’t wait until a claim is submitted and processed. That means, they will charge – and possibly max out – your credit card to get the car fixed as quickly as possible. They won’t do that if you purchase the LDW.
- Another reason to purchase the LDW: A rental car company only makes money when it rents out its cars. If the car is “on hold” because it is in a repair shop due to the damage you caused, the rental car company may also charge you for “loss of use.” This is also covered if you buy the LDW.
- If you don’t have collision/comprehensive coverage on your personal auto policy, there also won’t be collision/comprehensive coverage available for the rental car. That means you will be responsible if you don’t buy the rental company’s insurance. This is also covered when you buy the LDW.
- If you do have collision/comprehensive coverage on your personal auto insurance, your policy will extend, but you still have to pay the deductible. Also, you may face a rate increase at your next policy renewal. If you buy the LDW, there is no deductible and no potential rate increase for your personal auto policy.
Keep in mind that even if you buy the LDW, there are likely to be some exclusions, such as only listed drivers being covered; you are not covered if you drive while intoxicated; or you may not be covered on certain sections of road or off-road (such as the infamous road to Hana on Maui). So, take a moment to read the fine print.
As to your credit card: Some credit cards will indeed extend to provide coverage for a rental car. But contracts vary from card to card, and some cards may only provide secondary or excess coverage, which requires you to file a claim with your auto insurance first. Call your credit card company to confirm coverage before you rely on them.
Also, please keep in mind that your personal auto insurance will only extend protection in the U.S. and Canada. If you travel abroad to Europe, Asia, or South America and plan to rent a car, it is best to purchase maximum liability limits through the rental company’s coverage.
A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy doesn’t protect you and your belongings only while you’re at home. It also protects your belongings away from home. For example, if your ski gear was stolen from the porch of the lodge while you were inside, it would be covered.
Even the stuff that you have in your car, on a road trip or in everyday life, is covered by a homeowner’s or renter’s policy. It is not covered by your auto policy, as you might expect. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you: Please don’t leave any valuable belongings in your car, and please always lock your car doors.
But there’s more. A homeowner’s or renter’s policy doesn’t cover only items, it also provides liability protection. And this is where it really counts! Because, if you accidentally damage someone else’s property or, worse, hurt someone, you could be held liable. And if you are held liable for medical expenses or loss of income, you could be in debt for the rest of your life.
A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy can help you out.
Unfortunately, your health insurance plan might not cover you while you are abroad. And even if it does provide basic coverage for hospital or emergency costs, it might not cover your medical evacuation back to the United States.
If you are planning a trip abroad, you should call your health insurance provider to confirm whether your coverage extends to your destination.
Be sure to ask whether the policy covers medical payments abroad, includes high-risk activities that you might want to pursue – such as skiing, scuba diving, paragliding, or mountain climbing – and pays foreign doctors and hospitals directly, or if the foreign service provider will charge your credit card first.
Even if you travel within the United States, you might be surprised to find that you are not covered when traveling out of state, or even outside your coverage area in your home state! Wherever you go, be sure to contact your health insurance company before you take off, and set yourself and your family up with the right coverage.
Depending on the rules and restrictions of your individual plan, it may be wise to invest in a medical travel insurance policy that covers you for the extent of your trip.
A variety of very affordable medical travel insurance plans are available that may return your investment in added peace of mind as you explore new corners. For a major trip, you also have the option to purchase a travel insurance package that includes medical coverage, trip cancellation or interruption coverage, lost or stolen baggage coverage, or even accidental death coverage, among others.
For more information or to discuss coverage that works for you, please call Eastern Insurance at 1-800-333-7234 today!