Vacation Without Trepidation

Summer’s here, school’s out and it’s time to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of all winter!  There are a number of travel choices available, you can fly to far off destinations, ride the rails, take a cruise or even load the car for a road trip.  While it’s easy to throw your belongings in a suitcase, we often don’t consider what can happen to them in transit or at the vacation destination. 

While you are on vacation your homeowners or renters policy will provide some coverage for your personal property anywhere in the world.  Your possessions will be covered in much the same way they are covered at your residence, subject to your deductible.   If you have a secondary residence (vacation home), you will have a limitation for the amount of personal property covered.   If you are traveling by car you may be under the impression your possessions in the vehicle will be covered by your auto policy.  While some auto carriers do extend limited personal property coverage to items in a vehicle, it is not commonly found unless added to your auto policy by a separate endorsement.  In most situations your homeowners or tenants policy would provide the coverage.  If you do not own a home you should purchase renters or apartment insurance.

If your possessions are stolen, it will be necessary to file a police report.  You will also need to compile a list of the items stolen with an approximate value for the insurance company.  As such it is a good idea to make a list of the items you are packing or take a photo of your luggage and its contents, be sure to put the photo in a safe place.  Of course remember to print that photo before packing the camera for your trip as it will be of little use to you if it is among the items you are claiming.

Whether you have a homeowner or renters policy there are some limitations and exclusions that may apply.  Coverage for monies in the form of cash, travelers checks, etc.  due to a covered loss is limited to $200 under most homeowners’ policies.  It might be advisable when you travel to look into travelers checks, as many companies offering them have 24 hour refund policies when lost or stolen.

One of the most common situations where your personal belongings can go missing is when an airline "loses your luggage".  If it hasn't already happened to you, you probably know someone with a horror story about how they flew to Florida and their luggage wound up in Arizona, and it took the airline 3 days of their vacation to get them their luggage.  But what happens if they are declared officially "lost"?  According to The Travel Insider website, "About 2% of all missing bags remain lost."  In the event the luggage has been deemed lost by the airline and not stolen there will be no coverage under your homeowners’ policy for your possessions.   You would have to work with your airline and their policies in order to file a claim for your lost items. That itemized list and photograph taken before your trip began will come in handy at this point. Don't forget to include the value of the luggage itself when submitting your claim to the airline. 

There is a lot to think about when planning a trip, and the safety of your belongings is definitely one of them. It may be of interest to you to look into travel/trip insurance. Farrell Backlund would like to wish you a happy and safe vacation season. We’re only a phone call or email away, wherever in the world your travels take you.