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Taking a Vacation

Planning a vacation? 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

One of the most common questions we hear is "Do I need to buy the Insurance from the rental car company?". There really is no clear cut answer so here is what you need to know.

In NY, there is an automatic endorsement added to every personal auto policy and the summary is: Pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 3440(a) (McKinney 2000) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 60-1.5 (1996) (Regulation 35-A), every motor vehicle liability insurance policy insuring less than five private passenger motor vehicles that are registered in New York shall provide a separate rental vehicle coverage for the insured's obligation for actual damage to, or loss of, a rental vehicle. Assuming the renter of the vehicle has a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, the rental vehicle coverage, which is a separate endorsement in such insurance policy, would be triggered in the event of a rental claim. You can read the full law HERE.

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 do have collision / comprehensive coverage on your personal Auto Insurance, your policy will extend, but you may 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.

Lastly we offer some more information on our blog "Should You Take The Rental Car Insurance?".

How Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Can Cover You, Even Away From Home

A homeowners or Renters 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 is probably covered.

If your camera slipped out of the bag and tumbled down 75 feet of rocky slope as you climb up that boulder? It would probably be covered.

Off premises theft sometimes needs to be added by endorsement so just give us a quick call so we can review your policy with you briefly before you go.

Even the stuff that you have in your car (on a road trip, or in everyday life) is covered by a renters or Homeowners Insurance 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 homeowners or renters 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... Most insurance policies offer protection in the United States, Puerto Rico & Canada but it always important to check with your agent to be sure.

A homeowners or renters policy can help you out. Please give us a call 888-484-2467 for more information.

Going Abroad? Your Health Insurance Might Not Come Along!

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.