How to Keep Your Home Insurance Current on Vacation

Rear view of woman in a hotel room pulling the curtains to see the view. There is a small suitcase and large suitcase in the foreground.

Taking a vacation is always exciting. Whether you’re headed out for an adventure, a family visit, or a trip somewhere warm, you’re going to be away from home for a while. Did you know that it’s part of your agreement with your insurer to have someone check in on your home? Insurance companies generally require a check-in every 48 to 72 hours if you’re away. If this isn’t done, you as the homeowner are at risk of a void insurance policy and potentially catastrophic repair costs. We’ll break down how to keep your home insurance current while

Why is my home insurance at risk of being voided?

Home insurance is meant to offer coverage in the event of something catastrophic and sudden. That’s why it doesn’t cover regular home maintenance. When we purchase an insurance policy, we are inherently making an agreement with our insurance company. Part of this is ensuring our home is not left vacant for too long. Why? Vacancy means damage goes unnoticed for longer and it can also attract vandals, thieves, and other nefarious characters.

Generally, insurers will require someone to check on your home at least once every 48 to 72 hours. You may also be required to turn off and drain the water if you are going away for an extended period over winter (and do not have someone living at your home full-time). The exact requirements vary by the home insurance policy.

How can I prepare my house before my vacation?

While it is important to remember that every insurance policy is different, the majority of companies will call for similar requirements. Even if you are away for a small vacation, you are responsible for guaranteeing that your property will be looked over from time to time. Consider organizing a plan for a trusted family member or friend to come into your house every day while you are away to make sure that your house is in good shape. They should ensure:

  • Your heat is working.
  • There are no taps running.
  • There is no water in the basement or main floor (especially if it has rained).
  • Windows and doors are securely closed and locked.
  • Mail is picked up.
  • There is no damage to the exterior of your home from a storm or wind, such as loose roofing or fallen branches.

Concerned about pipes bursting? You could shut off your water supply and drain your pipes prior to your departure. Even though it might seem trivial, your insurance company wants to guarantee that it isn’t covering a house that is at higher risk than originally agreed upon.

The older your home is, the more beneficial it is to give your house a good once-over before you go. This is especially true if you’re leaving for the winter or any longer trips. Check your roof, your appliances, and so on to ensure they’re in good working order. Make sure your house’s doors are all locked when you leave, including pet doors and garage doors. This guide offers more thorough steps for preparing your home inside and out for your vacation.

Why do I need a house-sitter? 

There is a section in most home insurance policies that restrict how much an insurer is obligated to pay out if damages are incurred while a house is left vacant and unsupervised. It only takes an instant for a situation to arise, no matter how short of a time you are away for. Additionally, damages can be mitigated if they are stopped early enough – such as if a tap started to leak – but with no one to regularly monitor the state of your home these issues can grow out of control and cause some serious problems.

It’s not uncommon for costly repairs to arise due to negligence over a long period. But as long as you are up to date on the upkeep of your home and can demonstrate this to your insurer, your coverage should remain secure.

If you aren’t certain as to what your responsibilities are, consider reading over your home insurance policy. Alternatively, you could always ask your insurance broker to clarify for you. By doing this, you can formulate an appropriate plan for this sort of situation.

5 Reasons Why You Need Travel Insurance

Young female child waving and smiling at the camera while at the beach.

A vacation away from home is meant to be a time spent relaxing and enjoying yourself. But like anything else, your vacation has the potential to go awry. Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil, a Canadian couple visiting Peru expecting nothing but great adventures. Unfortunately, after they arrived, Dave tripped while trekking. Sound like no big deal, right? But Dave wound up shattering two vertebrae in his back. They weren’t anywhere near medical services, so the couple had no choice but to airlift him out – not a cheap or simple endeavour. Thankfully, the expenses of the accident (including the emergency evacuation, medical treatment, and flight back to Canada) were all covered by the couple’s travel medical insurance.

Most people think this will never happen to them. But the reality is illness and injury can affect you at any time, even on vacation. Medical expenses abroad can quickly escalate to astronomical levels, especially if you’re in the US or need to be evacuated to medical facilities. Travel medical insurance can help alleviate these costs and give you peace of mind to enjoy your trip. Deb and Dave would agree that this coverage was essential.

Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t think twice about getting travel medical insurance for your next trip

  1. Help to navigate foreign health care.
  2. Covers medical care expenses abroad.
  3. Covers emergency evacuation to medical facilities.
  4. Covers transportation home to continue treatment.
  5. You may not have adequate coverage with your provincial or other health care plans.

1. Help to navigate foreign health care.

If you get seriously injured or ill and need medical treatment, you’ll need to seek it in the country you’re visiting. But which hospital should you go to? How do you communicate with the staff? What about paying for medical services? Which tests do you need versus which are you getting to line the pockets of the hospital? Unfortunately, these are all challenges you can encounter in foreign health care – including the US!

Luckily, travel medical insurance providers can help you navigate these health care systems. They’ll be able to recommend medical facilities, help you get the care you need (and nothing extra), and help manage payment.

2. Covers medical care expenses abroad.

Getting health care abroad can be expensive and you often don’t have much coverage with a provincial health care plan. Travel medical insurance can help cover these essential expenses, whether you’re ill or injured.

Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions are not always covered or may require higher premiums. If you wait until you leave for your trip to purchase a travel medical insurance policy, there is also usually a period of time that you must wait before making a claim. Travel medical insurance is also not for routine health care (such as going for a general check-up) or medical tourism. It covers unexpected events.

3. Covers emergency evacuation to medical facilities.

If you suffer a serious fall like Dave and need emergency evacuation, you travel medical insurance can help organize and cover this rescue. This can include ambulance, airlifting, and more to get you to medical treatment as soon as possible.

4. Covers transportation home to continue treatment.

If your injury or illness is severe enough that you require additional treatment or cannot continue your vacation, your travel medical insurance can cover the costs of transporting you (and sometimes your travel companion) back home.

5. You may not have enough coverage with your provincial or other health care plans.

Generally, international coverage with provincial health care is very limited. If you have travel insurance through your credit card or employer, this may not include travel medical insurance or may have limits. For example, many plans only cover a certain number of days outside of the country per year. Others may only cover medical expenses up to a certain amount but have no coverage for emergency evacuation or transportation home.

Travel Medical Insurance is Essential

While you may be young and healthy, accidents happen. Ensure you’re financially protected and have support should the worst happen. Talk to one of our brokers today about travel medical insurance.

 

Do I need rental car insurance for summer vacation?

Two boys are smiling as they lean out of the rental car's windows as they enjoy the evening sun on their summer vacation.

Do I need rental car insurance for summer vacation?

Renting a car during your summer vacation can make your trip one to remember: you can go at your own pace, explore off the beaten track, and sometimes, it’s the only way to get where you want to go! But navigating a foreign country can be stressful and that triples if you get into an accident. If you’re wondering about how to protect yourself and if you need rental car insurance for summer vacation, you’re in the right place. We’ll review everything you need to know.

Before You Rent a Car for Summer Vacation

Booking a rental car for summer vacation should be done in advance, particularly if you’re travelling to a popular destination or have strict requirements for the type of car you want to rent. Here are some things to consider about your rental car:

  • Type of driving you’re planning on doing
  • Size of the car (consider your height as well as how easy it will be to park)
  • How many people it can transport
  • How much luggage room you require
  • Automatic or manual transmission
  • Fuel type and availability
  • Features such as backup camera, roof rack, fold-down seats, et cetera
  • Parking benefits
  • Roadside support
  • Location of pick up and drop off
  • Dates available
  • Price
  • Damage, cleanliness, and fuel policies
  • Insurance coverage available
  • Company ratings and reviews

There are a few decisions that need to be made initially. First, you’ll need to decide on the car. How many people are you travelling with? How big of a car do you need? What type of car do you want? Do you have a lot of luggage or other items with you? Do you need an automatic transmission? Do you want a car with certain features like a backup camera, roof rack, or fold-down seats?

Once you’ve decided on the general car size and type you want, it’s time to look up companies. Make sure the company allows for its vehicles to go where you want to take it. You’ll also want to double check the hours of operation, rental roadside support, and read reviews of the company. Check out what they offer for insurance and what the fine print is, as well.

Once you’ve found a rental car company and vehicle that works, it’s time to look at the insurance aspect.

Rental Car Insurance for Summer Vacation

Even though it might seem like a hassle, ensuring that you are properly covered is essential. What happens if your rental car is involved in an accident? What if it’s a victim of a break-in or theft? If you do not have coverage, you will likely have to pay out of your own pocket. Charges from the rental company could be astronomical, not to mention if you’re held liable for someone else’s injuries or property damage.

Rental Car Company Insurance

Rental companies will probably urge that you purchase their insurance in the case of an accident. While insurance is important, you may not want to jump for this type of coverage right away. You should always read over any policy to see what exactly will be covered and what the costs are. Sometimes these policies are not very good and don’t protect you as the renter. They may have a very high deductible or extra fees.

If you do opt to purchase this insurance, be sure you keep a copy with you at all times. You should also ask what the process is and have them show you exactly what is covered and what the fees are.

Credit Card Rental Car Insurance

Certain credit card companies will also provide insurance for rental cars. Their coverage varies. Often, what they supply is known as collision damage waivers. This helps cover charges for repairs and replacement of the vehicle if you’re involved in an accident. Many will also cover theft, but may not add liability coverage in the event of an accident. In certain situations, this coverage can be better than what the rental car company is offering. But this all depends on the individual credit card and rental car insurance.

Be sure to understand your policy. You can call your credit card company, check their website, or take their wordings to your insurance broker if you need help. It’s never a bad idea to book your rental car with a credit card anyways, as you usually don’t pay extra for this insurance coverage and there can be other benefits as well.

Your Personal Insurance

Rental cars are not covered by your personal auto insurance unless you have a special endorsement (add-on coverage). Adding this coverage may be your best option, especially if you’re worried about your liability and damages being adequately protected. It is also useful if you travel frequently or plan to rent a vehicle for a longer time period.

It’s important to note that your coverage will vary by your insurer. Some insurance companies only offer coverage for certain countries or if you have an international driver’s permit.

Talk to your broker about your options when it comes to using your personal insurance for rental car insurance for summer vacation.

Final Things to Remember About Rental Car Insurance

Always document the car when you pick it up and once you drop it off, preferably with photos or videos. Note any scuffs, chips, or any type of damage.

You also don’t have to use any of the above rental car insurance options in isolation – you could use all three, and this isn’t a bad idea.

Make sure to choose your insurance wisely so that your summer vacation doesn’t get ruined by worry. Enjoy the drive with peace of mind. Talk to your broker if you have any questions – they’re happy to help!