Travel insurance is a no-brainer must-have for just about every kind of trip … except the road trip. Almost no one ever thinks to buy travel insurance for a trip where they pack the family in the car and just hit the open road.
Why is that?
Part of the reason has to do with how people have traditionally thought of travel insurance. Travel insurance has the reputation of only being for big trips – no, make that huge trips. Once-in-a-lifetime kinds of trips. Honeymoons. Babymoons. Not buddymoons, thankfully, but every other kind of moon under the sun, from kidsincollegemoons to retirementmoons to divorcemoons. And cruises. Lots of cruises.
The idea that travel insurance is only for big trips is really a misconception. When you look at the things travel insurance covers, many of those things are just as likely to happen on a trip where the primary mode of transportation is the family car. Trip cancellation. Trip interruption. Emergency medical coverage. Medical evacuation. All those can apply just as much to a road trip as a vacation that involves flights.
Here’s an example. You live in Tennessee and want to take the family on a whirlwind tour of Orlando theme parks. You book hotels, pay in advance for admissions, splurge on a couple of tours … and then you lose your job. Would travel insurance help in a case like that? Of course it would. If you have to cancel a trip for a covered reason like losing your job (or a severe illness in your immediate family, or damage to your home caused by a natural disaster), travel insurance would reimburse you for anything you paid for up-front that you had to give up when you cancelled your trip.
Think about an average family trip to Orlando. That could be thousands of dollars.
The same logic applies if you’re halfway down to Florida and you find out you lose your job (or a family member gets really sick or the neighbors call and say your home is flooded). Travel insurance will pay you back for the expenses related to the part of the trip you had to cancel to return home – your prepaid hotel rooms, theme-park admissions, and any other prepaid tours or miscellaneous expenses associated with your trip.
Also, do you have any idea of the number of people I know who have hurt themselves on vacation? (Based on my anecdotal data, stepping off a curb is a lethal exercise in many parts of the world. My advice: Diving head-first might be healthier.) Emergency medical coverage is a great thing to have, even if you have other medical coverage, and even if you are going somewhere where it’s supposedly okay to drink the water or eat anything that doesn’t have a peel, a shell, or other protective coating. (And no, a bun doesn’t count.)
As for that other medical coverage, consider one word that’s actually three words hyphenated together to look more impressive: out-of-network. If you assume your medical coverage will pay for your broken ankle suffered while stepping off a curb, or your food poisoning from consuming an un-bunned hamburger, you might be right … or your emergency provider might be out-of-network, in which case you’re looking at a massive bill – a bill that travel insurance could have handled.
And while you may never lose your luggage on a trip where all your luggage stays in the back seat, your luggage could be stolen – and not only your luggage, but your money, tickets, and electronics. Travel insurance can help pay for that as well.
Travel assistance is one important component of travel insurance that’s even more important on a road trip. Companies like Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection offer 24/7/365 travel assistance. So if you’re stranded by the side of the road in Plano or are hopelessly lost in Pittsburgh, our travel assistance can help.
And finally, here’s the kicker: Because trip cost is one of the components that goes into determining the cost of travel insurance, and because a trip that doesn’t involve a plane or a boat is almost always cheaper than one that does, you might just pay less for travel insurance to cover your road trip.
Summer vacations are just around the corner, so remember: When you plan that road trip, make your reservations, buy your advance tickets, keep track of your receipts, and then buy travel insurance to cover your expenses. It’s smart and affordable.