Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a stolen piece of jewelry or broken laptop can quickly put a damper on your trip. And if the stolen or damaged item isn’t covered by insurance, a dream trip can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Before your next getaway, be sure to review your insurance policies—homeowner’s, renter’s, auto, and even health insurance—to be sure you have adequate coverage.
Is your personal property protected?
Whether your trip is personal or business, before you leave home with your personal property, such as your clothing, laptop, tablet, smartphone, luggage, engagement ring, or watch, verify that it is covered by your current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. In some states, once you take your property out of your home, there may be limited or no coverage for theft or other perils, such as fire or smoke damage. You may need to add an endorsement to your policy to offer this additional protection.
Remember that in the event of a claim, your deductible may apply. If you have a $1,000 deductible and are only taking $500 worth of personal property with you, the additional cost of an endorsement may not be necessary.
Be aware that not all policies consider electronics and jewelry as part of your personal property limit, which means coverage on these items may be limited to a specified amount—or they may not be covered at all. Be sure to contact your agent to see if there are exclusions on your policy or if you should consider purchasing a valuable items insurance policy. These riders can offer much broader coverage than named peril policies.
If you will be using your own vehicle for your trip, you should also consult your agent before you leave. You may live in a state that offers an option to include some personal property coverage for items, such as CDs or car seats, if they are stolen from or damaged in your vehicle. Typically, some personal property will also be covered under your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
In addition, you may want to ask your agent about all risk protection, which would cover your valuable items. For example, with all risk protection, you would be covered if you dropped and shattered your laptop or if you took off your engagement ring and it fell down the drain while you were washing your hands.
Will your health insurance cover you?
It’s difficult to think about life-threatening situations when planning a trip, but they can happen, so it’s important to be proactive and review your health insurance coverage. Are there limitations on your coverage if you are traveling? Does your plan cover you if you travel out of state or out of the country? Would it cover your expenses if you needed to be airlifted to a specialty hospital?
Finally, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance, which reimburses you if your trip is cancelled or interrupted or if you lose your bags. The policy may also include life and rental car insurance, as well as coverage for medical expenses, emergency evacuation, and identity theft.
Do you have adequate auto insurance?
If you are traveling by car, reviewing your automobile insurance is also very important. Does your policy include medical expense coverage once you leave your home state? (This is also known as additional personal injury protection.) If you do not have this coverage and you are in an automobile accident outside the state in which you purchased your policy, you may not have coverage for any medical expenses incurred if you and your passengers are injured. There is typically a limit per person, so you may want to purchase the maximum limit available in your state.
You may also want to add rental reimbursement coverage to your auto policy. If your car is damaged in an accident and cannot be used to continue on your trip, this coverage will help pay for your rental car. Some policies offer a per-day limit for a specific time period, while others offer to pay for a vehicle similar to the one you own. Being able to cover the cost of a rental vehicle can help to get you back on the road quicker.
Heidi Petschauer graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., in 1983 with a B.S. in management. She joined her late father’s firm, Petschauer Insurance, in 1982, became principal in 1995, and now shares ownership with her partner and cousin, Erwin Petschauer. She received her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997. She currently facilitates the professional and creative development of the entire Petschauer team and manages the personal lines and social media departments