Ask Kim


Insurance Coverage When You're on Vacation

Kimberly Lankford

Make sure your homeowners, auto and health policies provide the protection you need when you're on a trip.



I’m planning my summer vacation and want to check on my insurance coverage. Are the valuables I bring along covered by my homeowners insurance? Does my auto insurance cover rental cars? And what does my health insurance cover while I’m away?

SEE ALSO: Credit Cards You Can Count on Overseas

Your homeowners insurance generally covers your possessions when you’re away. Some insurers cap your coverage at 10% of your insurance limit for possessions. So if you have $100,000 worth of coverage for possessions at home, the policy would cover $10,000 worth of stuff you have with you while you’re away (minus the deductible).

The type of coverage is the same as you’d have for things in your home: Your insurance usually pays out if your possessions are stolen or destroyed, but not if they’re lost, says Jeanne Salvatore, of the Insurance Information Institute. One exception: You may have up to $500 or so in lost-luggage coverage from your insurer, and you may also have some coverage from your credit card company. You can buy special coverage for certain items, such as jewelry, that includes “mysterious disappearance” and insures the items up to their appraised value without a deductible. (Jewelry coverage typically costs $15 to $20 a year per $1,000 of appraised value.)

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Your auto insurance policy covers a rental car at the same levels as for your own car while you are traveling in the U.S. You may also have collision coverage on a rental car through your credit card. You generally won’t need to buy extra liability coverage if you have ample coverage on your own policy. Contact your insurer about the rules for your own car or a rental if you’re driving outside the country. See How to Avoid Unnecessary Rental Car Fees for more information about rental car coverage choices.

Your health insurance policy should provide coverage for emergency care while you are traveling in the U.S. Most policies do not provide coverage while you are traveling outside of the U.S., although some may cover emergency care. Travel insurance can fill that gap and also cover a potentially big expense: emergency medical evacuation. You can compare travel policies at www.insuremytrip.com.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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