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What to Know About Car Insurance on a Road Trip

2018 06 29 Blog Carinsurance Roadtrips Friends Driving Car Happy Convertable

By Madeline Klein on July 13, 2018 in Travel

Road trip preparation should be exciting and fun. However, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t suggest glancing at your car insurance coverage before you leave for your adventures. You want to be safe and covered throughout the whole trip, so a quick review of your policy will provide peace of mind for your entire vacation.

Types of car insurance for a road trip

If you have a pretty well-rounded auto insurance policy, you should be set for your trip. If you aren’t sure, some key coverages for a safe and successful road trip:

Roadside Assistance: Having 24/7 emergency help is a no-brainer, right? This is the first service you’ll want to check and make sure you have before hitting the road. At Say, we include Roadside Assistance in every policy. But if you aren’t with Say, make sure you have this service and can get help or a tow if you need it. If you do need to use it, your car and wallet will thank you.

Comprehensive Coverage: This coverage will protect your car from vandalism, theft, or even acts of God that may cause damage. As you travel around and park your car in new places, this coverage will help ease any worries.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): UMPD helps pay for any damages occurring to your car during an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. Even if most have insurance in the area you live in, that’s not a given while you’re traveling. You’ll be going into new areas and will be around new drivers, so this extra protection will keep your car covered on your trip.

Reviewing your car insurance coverage is key to being protected on any road trip. And let’s face it, it’s important to know any time.

How car insurance works across state lines

Your car insurance should keep you covered no matter where your travels take you around the country. However, traveling to other countries like Canada or Mexico could impact your coverage. Most insurance does work in Canada but doesn’t work in Mexico. If you plan to road trip to either place or another country, we suggest giving your car insurance provider a call to talk through how the trip could impact your coverage.

Car insurance coverage when someone else drives your car

You may think car insurance follows the person, or maybe you think it follows the car. In most cases, it probably follows both.

For example, say you let your friend Alex drive your car for a few hours while you are road tripping to Florida for a beach getaway. There’s some traffic, and Alex ends up rear-ending another car. Because the accident was Alex’s fault but he was driving your car, your car insurance would step in to cover the damage to the other vehicle. And if Alex has insurance, it may cover the damage to both the rear-ended car and yours. This depends on what type of coverage Alex has.

Or, if the other driver was at fault and had insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance would be responsible for the damages to your car whether you or Alex was driving your car

Keep in mind you should always check and make sure anyone driving your car has insurance. Even though your car is typically covered during road trips with your insurance, it is important that anyone you pass the keys to is well covered.

This is a tricky part of car insurance, so reach out to your provider if you have any questions about your specific coverage and how it works.

Rental cars and rental car insurance on road trips

Rental car insurance can overlap a bit with your policy, depending on the coverage you have. Rental car companies typically offer:

  • Liability Coverage
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), also known as a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Personal Effects Coverage

If you have any car insurance at all, then you at least have the minimum amount of liability coverage. That’s because there is a certain amount required by each state. But if you want even more liability coverage, you may want to buy it from the rental car company. And for those people who have Medical Payments coverage, you may not want to buy the personal accident insurance, unless you want more coverage. Basically, you’ll want to look at the coverage you currently have to see where things may overlap or where you may have gaps.

Check out this blog post about understanding rental car insurance for the full details.

With a quick review of your car insurance policy before your trip, you can save yourself the worry while you are traveling. The last thing you want is an accident to ruin your vacation, so a little prep ahead of time can help you and any other drivers helping out during a trip feel safe and covered.

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!