Journey and Auto Insurance: Methods to Put together for a Highway Journey – Motor1
Road trips have been an iconic piece of American culture since the Ford Model T hit the streets in the early 20th century. From the splendor of the Grand Canyon to the pristine mountains of Vermont, the United States offers seemingly endless opportunities for road trips.
In the wake of the stress of the pandemic, significant numbers of Americans could take to the streets. A survey by Motel 6 in early 2021 revealed the following details:
- Almost 56 percent of those surveyed said they were more likely to go on a road trip in 2021 than in previous years.
- Around 69 percent of those surveyed had planned at least one trip for 2021.
- Around 76 percent of those surveyed couldn't travel as much in 2020 as they had hoped.
When preparing for your own road trip, you'll want to learn about best practices on the road and the best car insurance to protect your vehicle while you explore. In this article, we will explain how to keep your car safe so that you can fully enjoy your trip.
In this article:
How does car insurance work for road trips?
Even if your luggage is packed, you will not be able to go unless you have thought about car insurance. While there is no specific policy for driving a car, it is a good idea to make sure you have the best auto insurance coverage for longer trips. Below we take a look at the types of auto insurance that are particularly relevant for road trips.
Before starting your expedition, check your current car policy to find out how much liability insurance you have. If you only have minimum liability insurance in your state, you may be underinsured. Accidents can be costly and liability insurance only covers damage caused to others. Consider the following National Safety Council (NSF) data on the average economic cost of accidents in the United States:
If you are responsible for a serious car accident, your motor vehicle liability insurance can expire quickly. When on a road trip, it is wise to carry at least $ 100,000 per person and $ 300,000 per accident for personal injury, although higher limits might be even more helpful.
Uninsured motorist insurance pays your medical bills and lost wages if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. It is often tied to motorist underinsurance that covers damage caused to a driver who does not have an adequate insurance policy.
The Insurance Research Council found that in 2019, 12.6 percent of motorists were uninsured, which is one in eight drivers. If your trip is disrupted by an accident caused by an uninsured driver and you do not have insurance for uninsured motorists, you will be responsible for covering your costs.
The average American motorist can have several car accidents in their lifetime. If your car is damaged in an accident while you are driving, collision insurance can protect you from expensive repair and replacement costs.
According to State Farm, the average auto damage for hail damage in 2020 was more than $ 4,300. If you get caught in bad weather during your road trip, fully comprehensive car insurance will protect your wallet by covering damage. The same goes for problems caused by theft, vandalism and many other situations that can result in physical damage to your vehicle.
Getting a flat tire in an unfamiliar location or locking the keys in the car far from home can be stressful. Adding a breakdown assistance plan to your existing car insurance can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind on your trip.
When you drive your vehicle
When traveling long distance in your own car, there are two critical factors to consider when it comes to your auto insurance coverage. The details are below:
If you have auto insurance, other people can drive your vehicle as long as they are licensed, unregulated, and not specifically excluded from your policy. Because auto insurance is designed to protect the vehicle, your auto insurance will remain in place even if your friend takes the wheel.
Each state maintains different minimum requirements for car insurance. Let's say your home state only charges $ 15,000 for bodily harm, but your accident occurs in a state that requires a minimum of $ 50,000.
Even if you appear to be underinsured, your insurance carrier will not penalize you for complying with the lower statutory coverage limits of the state in which you live. In most situations, your insurer should raise the insurance limits if you are involved in an out-of-town crash.
When you rent a car
If you are traveling by rental car, you will need some type of rental car insurance. Fortunately, different options can have your adventure covered.
Your personal car insurance may provide protection while you are traveling in a rental car, but this cannot be guaranteed. Check your policy to see if it covers rental cars. Regardless, most rental car companies have options for coverage:
- Fully comprehensive insurance (CDW)
- Compensation for damages (LDW)
- Supplementary liability insurance (SLI)
- Personal accident insurance
- Cover for personal items
Fully comprehensive insurance, in a way, mirrors collision insurance in that it covers damage to a rental car due to an accident. A fully comprehensive insurance is the equivalent of a fully comprehensive insurance that helps against theft, vandalism or environmental damage. CDWs and LDWs are typically expensive but offer comprehensive protection.
The additional liability insurance is the equivalent of the motor vehicle liability insurance, therefore many policies of the drivers transfer the insurance coverage to the car rental company. If your policy doesn't or you don't have private car insurance, get SLI coverage as liability insurance is required by law.
The private accident insurance covers benefits in the event of illness and death after a rental car accident, while the personal effects insurance protects property stolen from a rental car. These two types of insurance are taken out less frequently and are rarely, if ever, required.
There are several ways to insure a rental car to avoid the above options. We go over the details below.
Take advantage of personal vehicle insurance protection. In many cases, your fully comprehensive car insurance also covers collision damage that occurs while driving a short-term rental car. If you have collision insurance under your existing policy, you may be able to opt out of paying a CDW from the car rental company.
Take advantage of the credit card. Many large credit card companies offer integrated collision protection for rental cars. If you use its card to secure the rental, the card rack can cover the CDW at no additional cost. Before relying on this coverage, make sure that your credit card actually offers this benefit.
When you leave the country
What are the special features of cross-border road trips? That largely depends on whether you're going to Canada or Mexico.
When traveling to Canada: Most American auto policies cover drivers entering Canada. Keep in mind that you may need to provide proof of insurance to border guards.
If you are traveling to Mexico: Your US auto insurance is void once you cross the border into Mexico. Driving uninsured in Mexico can result in hefty fines and even jail terms, so get Mexican auto insurance when you visit the country. The process for getting Mexican auto insurance is usually relatively straightforward, and large providers can easily help you get the coverage you need.
Tips for preventing accidents when driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic accidents were responsible for more than 36,000 deaths in the United States in 2019. The last thing you want to deal with on vacation is a car accident. Here are some tips to avoid accidents on your next road trip.
Do not write and do not drive. The NHTSA reported that more than 3,100 people were killed in car accidents with distracted drivers in 2019. So, put the phone away while driving to keep everyone safe on your trip.
Always stay alert while driving. Driver fatigue contributed to approximately 700 deaths in 2019, according to NHTSA. Always be well rested before hitting the road and do not drive if you are impaired or too tired.
Check your vehicle before and after your trip. It's important to do thorough maintenance inspections before, after, and even during your road trip. By closely monitoring the condition of your car, you can spot mechanical problems that may arise while you are driving.
Stick to regular vehicle maintenance. Keeping up with regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance such as oil changes and tire changes can reduce the chance of unexpected breakdowns and mechanical breakdowns while you are driving.