Taking a Vacation

So you’ve packed your bags and are about to embark on a much-deserved vacation from the daily grind of everyday life. Whether you’re traveling north or south, east or west, it’s easy to forget that unpleasant things can still happen to you when you’re on vacation. That’s why it’s important to set some time aside before you go to ensure your true peace of mind. That way you know if anything happens, you’ll be protected. Here are a few things to consider as you plan your trip.

Renting a Car? Killingbeck Recommends Buying the Insurance

So you’ve managed to escape away on vacation, but first you need to rent a car. Before you pick your loaner up at the counter, there is one final important decision you will have to make: to buy or not to buy rental car insurance.

Many financial advisors and consumer reporters will say never to buy it, but at Killingbeck Insurance & Tax Preparation, we believe this advice is decidedly uniformed. Shelling out a couple extra bucks for rental car insurance can mean the difference between a smooth vacation and one that turns into an unhappily expensive endeavor.

If you have auto, home, or renter’s insurance, your first move should be to contact us at Killingbeck. Explain that you are planning to rent a car, and ask how your existing auto policy may cover damage to the rental car and the loss of personal property.

If your Killingbeck auto insurance policy includes collision and comprehensive coverage, then it should extend to the rental car within the limits of your current coverage. Additionally, if you pay for your rental with a credit card, the credit card company may include a rental car loss damage waiver as a cardholder benefit.

But don’t stop there and assume that rental car insurance is a waste of money. We strongly recommend exploring the option to purchase a ‘Loss Damage Waiver’ (LDW) from your rental car company. An LDW essentially protects you from financial liability for the loss of – or damage to – the rental car and the parts and accessories that come with it.

At Killingbeck Insurance & Tax Preparation, we recommend purchasing the LDW for the following reasons:

  • If you damage your rental car, the agency will likely require swift reimbursement for the damages. Most rental car companies will not wait for your claim to be submitted and processed. If this is the case, they will pay for the cost of the repairs with your credit card to get the vehicle back in working order as soon as possible. On the other hand, if you purchased the LDW, they won’t do that.
  • Rental car companies only make money when they rent out their vehicles. If the car is unable to be used because of damage you caused, the agency will charge you ‘loss of use’ fees, which are also covered if your purchase the LDW.
  • If you don’t have collision or comprehensive auto coverage from Killingbeck Insurance & Tax Preparation, you will not have coverage available for your rental car. Unless you purchase the LDW, you will be responsible if you fail to buy the rental company’s insurance.
  • If you do have a comprehensive auto insurance policy, the coverage will extend to the rental car, but you will still be stuck paying the deductible. And in all likelihood, your rates will increase at your next policy renewal. If you purchase the LDW, you are protected from having to pay the deductible, and you will not face potential rate increases on your personal auto insurance policy.

It is important to understand that even if you buy the loss damage waiver, there are still likely to be a number of exclusions such as voided coverage if you drink and drive, or drive recklessly off-road. Keep these things in mind as you read the fine print.

If you pay for your rental car with a credit card, the company may indeed extend coverage to the vehicle. However, contracts vary greatly from company to company, and many cards only provide secondary or excess coverage, which requires you to file a claim with your automobile insurance first. Contact your credit card organization to discuss coverage details before relying on them.

Please note: your personal auto insurance policy will only cover you inside the United States and Canada. If you travel abroad and plan on renting a car, we advise you to buy maximum liability limits through the rental company’s coverage.

How your Homeowner’s Insurance can keep you covered even when you’re away from home

Did you know that homeowner’s and renter’s insurance covers your belongings even when you’re away from home? For example, if your skiing equipment was stolen from the lodge where you were vacationing, it’d be covered. If your camera was damaged during a rock climbing expedition, it’s be covered as well. Even the stuff you leave in your car is covered by your homeowner’s insurance, and not your auto policy, as one might expect.

But there’s more to it than that. Your Killingbeck homeowner’s or renter’s Insurance policy doesn’t just cover your belongings and material possessions – it also provides comprehensive liability protection, which is where it really counts. Because if you accidentally hurt someone or damage their property, you could be held responsible. And if you are held liable for medical expenses or loss of income, the scary thing is that you could have significant debt hanging over your head for the rest of your life. Sadly, situations like this occur easily and a lot more often than you might expect. Please give us a call at (765) 452-8000 for more detailed information about homeowners or renters insurance.

Traveling abroad? Your health insurance may not be invited.

Contrary to popular belief, many insurance plans will not cover you while you are traveling outside the United States. Even if your current plan does provide basic emergency care, it may not cover your medical evacuation back home to the U.S. If you are planning to travel abroad, contact your healthcare provider to determine whether your coverage is valid in that country. Inquire as to whether your health insurance includes out-of-country medical payments, covers high-risk activities such as skiing and mountain climbing, and whether they pay foreign doctors directly.

Believe it or not, even if you’re traveling within the U.S., you might be surprised to learn that you may not be covered when you’re out of your own state, or outside your designated geographical ‘coverage area.’ So wherever your travels may lead, make sure you call your health insurance provider before you go so you’ll always be fully covered.

There are a wide variety of reasonable travel insurance policies available that can ensure your peace of mind as you travel to exotic new destinations. For major trips, you can buy a travel insurance package that includes coverage for medical expenses, lost or stolen baggage, trip cancellation or interruption, accidental death, and much more.

After all, this is your vacation. Time to relax, recharge, and enjoy. Don’t let life’s curve balls throw you for a loop. Contact Killingbeck today at (765) 452-8000. We’ll answer all your questions and put your mind at ease.