Planning a road trip often means checking maps, making sure you are packing everything, and poring over guidebooks. Yet, one of the most important investments for your trip, your car insurance, is often overlooked. The following tips will help you better understand how your insurance coverage can protect you when you are far from home.
Tip #1: Know the driver requirements
As a general rule, most car insurance covers the vehicle, not the driver. Therefore, someone with a valid license that is not named on the policy can drive the car legally with the policy owner's permission. The key is that this cannot be someone that is a regular driver of the car. This means that a friend taking the wheel on a roadtrip is covered but that the insurance company may consider them a regular driver if they are a relative that lives with you.
Tip #2: You should be covered everywhere
Most auto-insurance policies cover you in all 50 states. Many also extend coverage into Canada. Coverage may not be offered in Mexico, though, or you may need to purchase a temporary umbrella policy to cover a trip over the Mexican border. If you plan to travel in your car outside of the US, it's a good idea to contact your agent first to ensure coverage.
Tip #3: Trailers may not be covered
If you are hauling any gear behind you on a small trailer, then keep in mind that you may need a separate umbrella policy to cover the gear and trailer. The one exception is trailer hitch racks. These are usually considered an extension of your vehicle since they don't have their own axles, so the rack and gear will be covered by most policies.
Tip #4: Roadside service is a must
Make sure your policy provides for 24-hour roadside assistance and that this assistance is available anywhere. Some policies only offer roadside assistance in a mileage radius around your city, and that won't serve you well on a road trip. Dealing with a breakdown in the middle of nowhere is a lot less stressful if you know that help is on the way. You may also want a policy that provides rental-car coverage so that you aren't stuck in a strange area with no transportation if it takes several days to repair your vehicle. This way, you can at least enjoy some local sight-seeing in the interim.
For more help, contact a local insurance company such as Northeast Insurance Agency before heading out on your adventure.