Road Tripping the Smart Way

Not everyone loves to travel, but if you’ve always dreamed of just getting in your car, truck or RV and just taking off to tour the countryside, you might want to think about your vehicle insurance. There was a well-known insurance company whose commercials used to say, “Don’t leave home without it.” In these litigious days, everyone knows that basic liability insurance is essential before you even pull out of your own driveway, and that collision coverage is a good idea if you want your wheels fixed as well as the other fellow’s. What you might not have considered is that accidents are not the only hazards you might encounter on your excellent adventure.

Common Problems

Steinbeck wrote, “It’s not the mean people who cause the problems, it’s the dumb ones.” We could paraphrase that to say that it is not the big road hazards that are the problem, it’s the little ones. Your day can easily be ruined by some of the silliest things. One that heads the list is passing the last filling station for X number of miles and then looking at your gas gage. OOPS! Another is not checking your tires before you leave home. A flat tire is a serious delay if you don’t have a good spare, a jack, and the ability to change the tire. And the most humiliating problem of all is locking your keys inside the car. The best solution for all of these problems is to have a roadside assistance insurance policy. While not perfect, it can take up the slack for those times when you’ve been on the road a little too long or something has happened to get you flustered.

Bigger Problems

Even the best makes and models of vehicles can develop mechanical problems. Long road trips seem to have a way of exacerbating those mechanical faults so that they show up just that much quicker so it’s always a good idea get cover for your breakdown. Your vacation fund might have seemed generous when you left home, but one stop at an auto repair shop for something like a new transmission or motor can put a major dent in it. The solution to this problem is to have a vehicle that is sufficiently new, and sufficiently low-mileage to qualify for breakdown insurance. Breakdown insurance is similar to an extended warranty in that it will take care of major mechanical failures. However, it can be a lot better than a warranty. With breakdown insurance, you are not limited to a dealership or certain brand of auto repair. It is likely to fix a lot more different kinds of parts than are covered by a warranty. And it sometimes overlaps with your roadside assistance by offering some coverage for things like towing.

Plan Before You Go

Before you pack your bags, it is a good idea to visit your insurance agent. Discuss with him or her the general direction of your travels and listen to recommendations for the kinds of insurance you might need for that area. Most insurance policies issued in the United States will be enough for domestic travel, but there are some variances in requirements from state to state. Your agent might even be able to make some suggestions for safe routes and similar ideas.

Most of all, however, your agent will be able to assist you with having the insurance coverage that you really need so that your adventure will be a pleasant one. While it might be fun to watch people in a movie or on television having trouble with their vehicles, the reality is rarely so pleasant. Be sure to have your regular insurance policy up to date, and you might consider adding roadside assistance and breakdown insurance to your travel coverage.