Penn. Offers Insurance Tips for Consumers Preparing for Summer Vacations

May 22, 2015

As the weather warms and countdowns until summer vacations begin, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is reminding consumers to make sure they are fully informed on their insurance coverage when preparing to leave for vacation.

“Before leaving for a trip, no matter how far, consumers need to make sure they are aware of how this will affect their insurance coverage,” said Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.

Personal property like clothing and electronics are typically covered under a homeowners insurance policy, even when the insureds take them on a vacation. While the extent of coverage varies between policies, this could cover the cost of the belongings in the event that they are lost, stolen, or destroyed during the trip, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department noted.

The department said consumers should consult their policy to be aware of the maximum amount the policy will cover when deciding which items to bring on a trip.

Consumers should also consult their health insurance policy and be aware of whether there are in-network healthcare options at their destination. The department said consumers should contact their insurance company’s member services hotline, which is often printed on the back of the insurance card, if they have questions regarding the health insurance options when traveling. Consumers may find that coverage ends when they leave the country, in which case a travel insurance policy may help fill network gaps.

Consumers may consider the following travel insurance policies:

  • Trip cancellation, delay, or interruption insurance: These policies can help reimburse costs incurred if a trip is cancelled or delayed due to a medical emergency, a force of nature, or other interruptions beyond the consumer’s control.
  • Medical: Provides expanded network coverage in case the consumer or a family member needs medical attention during the course of the vacation. This may be necessary if traveling abroad.
  • Additional Property Insurance: Consumers may want to consider insuring baggage if they must travel with expensive property but they should research the policy and find out if loss or damage by an airline is covered and if so, to what extent. Rental car insurance is also available if the trip involves renting a vehicle.

Before purchasing a travel insurance policy, consumers should review the existing policies to make sure there are actually gaps that need to be covered, and review all policies to ensure they adequately meet the consumers’ needs. For consumers who are considering insuring against a cancellation or interruption, they should check with the airline, hotel(s), cruise line, or other companies they are traveling with. The companies may offer refunds or credits towards future trips in the event of a cancellation.

“You cannot plan on an accident, but you can go into a situation informed and ready to navigate which option is best for you and your family,” said Miller.

Miller also suggested that individuals take caution when posting about their upcoming trips on social media. By alerting audiences on their social media pages of their departure, consumers risk alerting the wrong people of their absence which raises the chance of becoming a victim of theft or other criminal action against their property.

“Taking the steps to prepare your home, property, and medical coverage options ahead of time will give you peace of mind to enjoy your time away,” said Miller.

Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department

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