Extra Luggage: Making Sure Your Auto Insurance Protects You While on Vacation

The time of year that everyone looks forward to: vacation. Your suitcases are packed and by the door, you’ve booked a great hotel room for a great deal, and you’re ready to turn your cell phone off and just sit back and relax.

However, this relaxation can quickly be interrupted if you haven’t thought of one thing that’s actually one of the most important thoughts that will cross your mind: your auto insurance. While it’s not on your to do list for leaving town, it should be, as you should be thinking about your auto insurance and what potential risks you are facing, regardless of whether you’re driving your car or a rental car.

Regardless of the vehicle you’re going to be driving, you should understand what insurance policies will cover what on either of the vehicles that you plan on driving on your trip. Ideally, it would be nice to be within walking distance of anywhere you’re going or to have your own driver, but you’ll have to forgo Jeeves this time and take care of the driving yourself.

If You Decide To Take A Rental Car

Finding Out What’s Covered By Your Insurer and the Rental Company

If you’ve decided to take a rental car on your trip, then there are a few things to keep in mind, and you need to know what kind of coverage will protect you if something happens to the rental car.

  • If you currently carry physical damage coverage on your vehicle, which is comprised of comprehensive and collision coverage (which provide coverage to pay for damage to your vehicle) then you may decide not to spend extra money on the additional coverage offered by the rental car company to cover any physical damages.
  • Check with your auto insurance company as well as the rental car company to find out what their rules and regulations are regarding coverage on a rental car. Sometimes the rental car company may require you to bring in a copy of proof of auto insurance, such as your declarations page.
  • If you get a fax number for the business you’re getting your rental car from, just call your insurer and have them fax over the declarations page for you.
  • If You Plan On Traveling With A Friend or Family Member
  • If you’re going to have passengers in the car, then you’ll want to find out what kind of protection they have if they were to drive the rental car at all. Failing to tell either carrier this could result in losing any kind of coverage and having the claim denied for payment.
  • Additionally, check with the other passenger to see if they have their own auto insurance, and suggest that they ask their insurance carrier to see if they’ll be covered in the event of them causing an accident in the vehicle that you have rented under your name.
  • Check what the rules are with the rental car company regarding a passenger driving the car if you think there’s even a chance of someone else driving it. Some rental companies will not allow another driver to drive the rental at all, even if the other person’s insurance says they’ll cover damages if the passenger causes an accident.

If the rental car company does in fact say that they don’t allow anyone else to drive the car, then you’ll definitely want to adhere to the rules, because if something happens and there’s an accident, then you’ll end up with the bill, and if someone is seriously hurt or injured or there’s property damage, then expenses can add up quick and turn your vacation into a nightmare. You could also be sued by the other party for pain and suffering, and if you don’t have the money to pay these costs, then you could risk having all your assets taken, including your home and other financial assets.

If You Take Your Own Vehicle

Obviously, if you drive your own vehicle, then you’ll already have your insurance policy to protect you. However, consider these things as well.

  • If you plan on attaching it to a camper and will be hauling it behind the car, or will be hauling a car behind the RV, check to see if coverage transfers to the camper from your auto policy. Usually, liability coverage will be extended to anything you pull or haul, but it’s worth making sure.
  • Remember that although your liability may be extended to the camper, your comprehensive and collision coverage probably won’t, which means you would want to get a policy for the camper itself. Usually this is extremely inexpensive. Again, contact your agent to get all the details.

One of the worst things that could happen on a vacation is any kind of accident, especially when you’re not in the comfort of your own home. It only takes a few moments to call your agent to find specific details, but it could take the rest of your life to pay off damages and claims that result from accidents while you’re on vacation.