Finally, vacation. White sand, turquoise water, a light breeze rustling palm fronds and the little paper umbrellas in your colourful drink. New sights, new sounds, new smells. Maybe you’ll rent a car and explore? Or, maybe you won’t! Maybe you’ll just enjoy having no pressures and no agenda.

Of course, that might not be you. You might be thinking… Slopes! Powder! The sound of skis slicing through snow! Maybe you’ll try dog-sledding? Or climb a glacier!

Whether you’re heading North or South, East or West, and whether you prefer action-packed or easy-going, it’s easy to forget that unpleasant things can still happen while you’re in your own personal paradise.

Invest an hour into pre-trip preparation, and set yourself up for true peace of mind. That way, you’ll know that if anything happens, you’ll be protected.

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you plan your trip. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or pop in to speak to one of our brokers in-person.

Rental Car? We Recommend: Buy the Insurance

You’ve just stepped off the plane, and are at the rental car counter, eager to step out of the airport and start exploring.

Then, the question comes: “Would you like to purchase the insurance for your rental car?”

You think: Doesn’t my credit card provide coverage for rental cars? Plus, you have Auto Insurance at home. But from what you’ve heard, the driving can get pretty fast and furious here. So it might be smart to buy extra insurance. At the same time, you don’t want to start your vacation spending a couple hundred (carefully saved) dollars on an unaccounted-for expense.

Start your vacation off right and don’t let surprise questions catch you off-guard. When it comes to rental car insurance, our answer is straight forward: buy the insurance!

You have the option to purchase a “Loss Damage Waiver” (LDW) from the rental car company. If purchased, this waiver relieves you of any financial liability for the loss of, or damage to the rental car and the parts and accessories that come with it.

We recommend buying the LDW for a variety of reasons:

  • If you cause damage to the rental car, the rental car company will likely require immediate reimbursement for the repairs. They won’t wait until a claim is submitted and processed. That means, they will charge (and possibly max out) your credit card to get the car fixed as quickly as possible. They won’t do that if you purchase the LDW.
  • Not only that: A rental car company only makes money when they rent out their cars. If the car is “on hold” because it is in a repair shop due to the damage you caused, the rental car company may also charge you for “loss of use.” This is also covered if you buy the LDW.
  • If you don’t have collision / comprehensive coverage on your personal auto policy, there won’t be collision / comprehensive coverage available for the rental car. That means, you will be responsible if you don’t buy the rental company’s insurance. So, again: buy the LDW.
  • If you do have collision / comprehensive coverage on your personal auto insurance, your policy will extend, but you still have to pay the deductible. Also, you may face a rate increase at your next policy renewal. If you buy the LDW, there is no deductible, and no potential rate increase for your personal auto policy.

Keep in mind: Even if you buy the LDW, there are likely to be some exclusions. For example, only listed drivers are covered; you are not covered if you drive while intoxicated; you may not be covered on certain sections of road, or off-road (such as the infamous road to Hana on Maui). So, take a moment to read the fine print.

In regards to your credit card: Some credit cards will extend to provide coverage for a rental car. But contracts vary from card to card, and some cards may only provide secondary or excess coverage, which requires you to file a claim with your auto insurance first. Call your credit card company to confirm coverage before your rely on them

Also, please keep in mind that your personal auto insurance will only extend protection in the US and Canada. If you travel abroad to Europe, Asia, or South America and plan to rent a car, it is best to purchase maximum liability limits through the rental company’s coverage.

How your homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance can cover you even away from home

A homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance policy doesn’t only protect you and your ‘stuff’ while you’re at home; it also protects your belongings away from home. For example, if your ski gear was stolen right from the porch of the lodge while you were inside? It’d be covered.

If your camera slipped out of the bag and tumbled down 75 feet of rocky slope as you climb up that boulder? It’d be covered.

Even the stuff that you have in your car (on a road trip, or in everyday life) is covered by a homeowner’s or renter’s policy, NOT by your auto policy, as you might expect.

But there’s more. A homeowner’s or tenant’s policy doesn’t only cover items. It also provides liability protection. And this is where it really counts! Because, if you accidentally damaged somebody else’s property or, worse, hurt somebody, you could be held liable.

And if you are held liable for medical expenses or loss of income, you could be in debt for the rest of your life.

It can happen quite easily…

Imagine, you decide to give the black diamond a try. Halfway down, you finally admit that you are in over your head. But now, there aren’t very many options. You’ve got to get down.

Sure enough, you fall, slide down on your back, and ram straight into a woman who is waiting at the edge of the slope for her husband. She falls too, and breaks her wrist. Not only that; she’s a surgeon, and depends on her wrist and a steady hand to do her job — a very well-paid job.

A homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance policy can help you out. Please give us a call (613) 836-2473 for more information.

This is your well-deserved vacation. Time to enjoy, relax, and re-charge. Don’t let life’s curve-balls interfere with it.