Prepare for Your Summer Trip

The summer vacation driving season is underway, and many Americans will find themselves having car troubles far from home. Your friendly insurance company wants you to be prepared.

The Hanover Insurance Group is offering tips for ensuring that you are covered in the event of a vacation mishap. But we’ll start by offering advice on how to avoid having those mishaps in the first place.

When it comes to auto breakdown on long summer trips, heat is probably the most common factor. Loading up your vehicle for a trip, then heading out into hot weather puts a lot of stress on a range of vehicle systems.

The most obvious point of heat-related failure is the cooling system. Inadequate coolant, dodgy thermostats and old hoses and belts are often the things that break on long trips. Be sure to have these items checked and serviced before you head out.

But heat also affects other systems, such as your brakes and tires. Brake pads that have worn thin can get dangerously overheated during summer vacation driving. Also, tires that are improperly inflated can fail when subjected to hours of high-speed use on a hot day.

One good way to avoid trouble is to be careful how – and how much – you load your vehicle. Before throwing in beach gear and summer clothes, remove anything that’s not necessary to your safe and enjoyable vacation. Also, be careful how you load the vehicle: loading too much in the rear or on top of a vehicle can cause handling and braking problems.

Bad things can still happen to your car, no matter how well prepared you are. So, review your auto insurance ahead of your trip. Hanover suggests that you consider trip interruption coverage, to reimburse certain expenses if you are involved in a covered accident far from home.

Also, be sure the policy has enough coverage against liability, personal injury and damage. Usually, states require minimum amounts of these coverages and they are, well, minimal. Do you need supplemental medical coverage? To answer that, you should check both your auto and health insurance policies.

Hanover also cautions that you make sure that any recreational vehicles you bring are covered. Standard auto or homeowners policies usually don’t cover popular tow-behind toys such as jet skis, boats, ATVs etc.

Another good insurance tip is to buy an “umbrella” policy that protects against legal judgments that exceed the protection offered by a standard auto policy. As Hanover points out, $1 million in added coverage often can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.

Take a few hours to check these things off your list before you are scrambling to pack the car for your trip. A little work now can prevent a ruined vacation, or worse.


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