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For many people, summertime means family road trips. While exploring the country in a car is an age-old tradition and a valuable way to spend time together as a family, it also presents an increased risk of car accidents due to unfamiliar roads and long hours behind the wheel. Getting into a car accident is never fun, but being involved in a collision in an unfamiliar state is even worse. You could end up stranded in an unfamiliar state if your car is disabled, and it can be expensive to get the car brought back home or repaired out of state. If you don’t have any coverage on your car, traveling can be especially perilous.
If you’re planning on making any big trips this year, it may be worthwhile to take a look at your coverages and update your policy. Here are a few things you may wish to add to your policy before heading out on a road trip:
— Collision Coverage
For the most part, you have a much higher chance of being involved in an accident within a mile of your home than you do anywhere else. Nevertheless, driving on unfamiliar roads may put you at higher risk of being involved in a collision, and it might be worthwhile to add the extra protection to your vehicle before you leave. If you already have collision coverage, you might want to consider decreasing the amount of your deductible to ensure that it will be affordable while you travel. This will raise the overall cost of your insurance, but you can increase the deductible later to compensate.
— Rental Reimbursement
If you wreck your vehicle while on vacation, you may want the option of continuing your vacation while the car is in the shop. Rental reimbursement coverage isn’t always a necessity for people who have multiple vehicles, but if you’re in a different state with no access to your other cars, adding rental coverage makes a lot of sense. Just be sure to ask what the limitations are when renting a substitute vehicle; you may not be able to take it outside of the state, for example, if you’re renting it as a substitute for an auto accident.
— Roadside Assistance
If you add nothing else to your policy in preparation for a road trip, you should at least consider purchasing towing or roadside assistance coverage. Some people choose to enroll in a program like AAA instead of buying coverage from their insurance company. Either way, roadside assistance will ensure that you can get picked up and taken to a nearby shop no matter where the vehicle breaks down, which can be extremely helpful if you’re traveling through unfamiliar territory.
— Trip Insurance
Some auto insurance companies are beginning to offer coverage specifically for vacationers. This coverage will pay for you to stay in a hotel or travel home if your vehicle is involved in an accident while you’re traveling. This type of coverage is fairly new, so not all insurance companies offer it, but it’s definitely worth asking your insurer if it’s available. Being stranded in a different state or having to get home without a functional vehicle is the worst part of being in an accident while vacationing, and purchasing coverage to avoid this inconvenience can definitely increase your peace of mind while on the road.
Of course, you can avoid some of these concerns by simply not driving the family car on your vacation. It may be worthwhile to splurge on a rental car so that you know you will have built-in roadside assistance and a vehicle that will be in working order for the journey.
When to Update Your Coverages
Take care to update your coverage well in advance of your vacation. If you do get into an accident too close to the changes going into effect, your account will be investigated for possible fraud and it will take longer to settle the claim. Also be sure to check with your agent to ensure that there are no problems with updating your policy; some companies may have regulations about how often coverages can be modified or under what circumstances you can make changes, and you’ll want to clarify this before adding or dropping coverage.
It’s a good idea to discuss your coverages with your insurance company prior to traveling, anyway, as your agent may have further suggestions for you. For example, if you have renter’s insurance, they might be able to help you update that coverage to pay for losses during a vacation as well. Maximizing your insurance policy for travel is a great way to increase your security without needing to buy completely new trip insurance from a different provider.