Aaaaaah. Vacation. White beach. Blue water. Colorful drinks with little paper umbrellas. New sights, new sounds, new smells…Maybe you’ll rent a car and explore. Maybe you won’t.
Of course, that might not be you. You might be thinking…Yeah! Vacation! Slopes! Powder! Apres-Ski! Maybe try dog-sledding? Frozen-Waterfall-Climbing?
Whether you’re heading North or South, East or West, and whether you prefer action-packed or easy-going, it’s easy to forget that unpleasant things can still 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 true peace of mind. 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? We recommend: Buy the insurance
There you are, just off the plane, at the Rental Car counter. From the plane, you’ve already seen the incredible color of the water… turquoise-blue, and crystal clear. Crowned by little tufts of foam. Framed by white beaches. As you walk to baggage-claim, you peek out the window and see palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze. At the airport, even! Palm trees! The only thing between you and two weeks of careless happiness is one more signature on one more sheet of paper. And off the grid you’ll be! You can’t wait.
Then, the question comes: “Would you like to purchase the insurance for your rental car?” Well, no. Or yes? But doesn’t your credit card provide coverage for rental cars? Plus you have Auto Insurance. At home, that is. But from what you’ve heard, they are all driving fast and furious here. So it might be smart to buy extra insurance…so, yes. But you don’t want to start your vacation spending a couple hundred dollars on an unaccounted-for expense. Ah, shucks! Now what?
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 and easy and straight-forward: 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.
Not only that: A rental car company only makes money when they rent out their 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. So – again. 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: Even if you buy the LDW, there are likely to be some exclusions, such as only listed drivers are covered, you are not covered if you drive while intoxicated, or 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 your rely on them
Also, please keep in mind that your personal auto insurance will only extend protection in the US 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.
How your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can cover you even away from home
Done! Everything is packed! It was sure a chore, but definitely worth the trouble. You wanted to be sure to not miss a thing. After all, it’s the trip you’ve been saving up for a year: Two weeks at the sports resort, where you can ski on the glacier, golf, and lounge by the pool – all in one day! And you get two weeks of this fun!
So of course, you packed your skis, your snowboard, the golf clubs, and your camera gear. And two weeks worth of clothes. Needless to say, everything is maxed out.
As you are thinking about what you might be forgetting, the thought that something could get lost or stolen during your trip doesn’t even cross your mind.
But… what if? This is exactly where a homeowner’s or renter’s policy could come in handy.
A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy doesn’t only protect you and your ‘stuff’ while you’re at home. It also protects your belongings away from home. For example, if your ski gear was stolen right from the porch of the lodge while you were inside? It'd be covered.
If your camera slipped out of the bag and tumbled down 75 feet of rocky slope as you climb up that boulder? It’d 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. And NOT 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 only cover items. It also provides liability protection. And this is where it really counts! Because, if you accidentally damaged somebody else’s property or, worse, hurt somebody, 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.
It can happen quite easily…
Imagine, you decide to give the black diamond a try. A quarter of the way down, you finally admit it to yourself that you are in over your head. But now, there aren’t very many options. You’ve got to get down.
And sure enough you fall, slide down on your back, and rumble straight into a woman who is waiting at the edge of the slope for her husband. She falls, too, and breaks her wrist. Not only that. She’s a surgeon, and depends on her wrist and a steady hand to do her job…a very well-paid job, that she won’t be able to do for at least a while.
A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy can help you out. Please give us a call 713-869-6991 for more information.
Going abroad? Your health insurance might not come along.
Aw, that hurts! You haven’t broken a bone since you were 11 years old and fell off your BMX bike. At least that was worth it, because at the time you actually made it over that jump and really got some air, and everybody cheered – and then you crashed. But the cast was kind of cool, with everybody’s graffiti on it.
Right now, it’s not cool. Nobody’s cheering. There isn’t even a bump on the slope. As far as you can tell, you fell right over your own two legs. Which makes it absolutely not cool. Downright embarrassing, rather. And it really hurts, too!
The fact that you aren’t skiing at home, but in the Swiss Alps doesn’t help. Oh my, you already see the ski paramedics coming toward you in their bright red overalls, with the carrier between them. You’re not supposed to go down in that thing, are you?
Well, evidently, there’s no other way. Your cheeks will be burning brighter than the guys’ overalls, lighting the way down the slope. You pull your hat a little lower.
Before you even reach the bottom where the ambulance is waiting, another question pops into your mind: Does your health insurance cover this? How much is it going to cost? Just how much does a Swiss hospital charge to adjust a broken bone?
You swallow. Atop the pain, this question really makes your heart race.
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 care provider to confirm whether or not 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 whether they pay 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.
There are a variety of very affordable medical travel insurance plans 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.
This is your well-deserved vacation. Time to enjoy, relax, and re-charge. Don’t let life’s curve-balls interfere with it.