Summer is here! And if you are among the 45% of Americans who are planning a vacation during the 16-week period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, you will more than likely be traveling by car. In fact, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, nine out of ten summer trips (about 91 percent) are in personal vehicles. Family roads trips are the epitome of the summer vacation; however, they can become very stressful if you don’t make the necessary preparations that include safe guarding your home and preparing your vehicle, to contingency planning for common vacation risks.

Prepare Your Home Before Leaving

Make sure your house looks lived in and that you take necessary precautions to avoid electrical and water damage.

  • Stop the newspaper and mail.
  • Install a motion-activated outdoor floodlight.
  • Make sure your lawn stays trimmed.
  • Toss out any food that will go bad before you return from vacation.
  • Run your garbage disposer with a half cup of vinegar and some water.
  • Take out the kitchen trash, or any other trash that could get smelly.
  • Unplug small appliances and electronic devices.
  • Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and all sinks.
  • Lower thermostat temperature.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.
  • Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor.

TIP: Even if you take the necessary precautions to protect your home from thieves, a theft still can occur. WBR Insurance recommends that you take an account of your possessions before leaving on trips by creating a home inventory. The Insurance Information Institute has a free online program that allows you to catalog all of your belongings. It is available at https://www.knowyourstuff.org.

Prepare Your Car For Your Road Trip

Make sure your car is road ready.

  • Check your oil.
  • Fill your washer fluid and change your wiper blades.
  • Inspect your battery and all your lights – headlights, running lights, turn signals, fog lights.
  • Check your brakes, tires and hoses.
  • Make sure your air conditioner is properly working.
  • Make a safety kit for your car: blanket, toilet paper, plastic baggies, hand wipes, first aid kit, some non-perishable food, flash light, water,  jumper cables.
  • Call and check your auto insurance policy to verify what is covered if your car breaks down or you get into an accident while on vacation. Are you covered for roadside assistance, towing or a rental car?

TIP:  Traveling with a pet? Make sure your pet has enough space to turn around and lie down among the luggage. For safety consider a crate for your pet  in case of quick stops or accidents or look into a pet seatbelt.

Prepare For Unexpected Incidents

Before your vacation, prepare for unexpected incidents. Vacations can be waylaid for a number of reasons: someone gets sick one day before departure, a hurricane damages your resort, a family emergency cuts your trip, or a medical emergency happens. Don’t assume your credit card, the hotel’s cancelation policy, or even medical insurance will have you covered.

Travel insurance maybe an option depending on your trip and terms for refunds. In most cases expect to pay between 4-12% of the pre-paid, non-refundable portion of your trip. Besides providing coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, these plans include reimbursement due to trip delays, emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuations, along with other assistance services and benefits.

When choosing a travel insurance plan, identify which options are most important for your specific trip – and make sure benefit limits are adequate.

TIP: Contact your bank and/or credit card company before travel. Banks and credit card companies put holds on cards when they notice suspicious or unusual behavior on the account. If you do not travel often or your spending changes significantly, your bank will most likely flag your account.

At Virginia Beach insurance company WBR Insurance we offer a full portfolio of policies, including travel insurance. We pride ourselves in establishing personal relationships with our customers to assist you in protecting what matters most. To get a free quote for your Virginia Beach travel insurance needs, give us a call at 757-340-0028 or visit our website www.WBRInsurance.com.

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