Picture this: you’re taking your family to that five-star rated mini golf course you’ve heard so much about when you realize you missed the turn. As you try to figure out where you’re going, you fail to realize that the road ahead goes from four lanes down to two. (Did I mention you’re unfamiliar with the area?) Before you know it, traffic comes to a complete stop. Except for you. You guessed it – an accident occurs. Now what? You’re six hours away from home, not sure what you should do, or where you should go. Fortunately, there are answers to these questions, but it may take some planning on your part to make this scenario a little less stressful.
Before you leave home, you should complete a risk assessment. Make sure you can answer the following questions: What would you do if your vehicle was involved in an accident and you were unable to drive it? Would you rent a vehicle? Would you have the vehicle repaired locally, or transported back home? If you were to have it repaired locally, would you need to return to your vacation destination after the repairs are completed? These questions, and several others, cause a great deal of stress and even panic after an accident.
After you’ve thought through your questions, look at the details of your automobile policy coverage. If you have rental coverage, you may find that your policy limits your daily rental amount. In most cases this may not be a problem, however if you were traveling in a minivan and your policy only pays for a four-door sedan, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. You’ll also want to see what is covered if you would need to tow your car. Most auto policies will pay for towing if your vehicle is disabled due to an automobile accident, but this is generally limited to what is considered reasonable and customary. For example, towing your vehicle 50 miles to a repair facility is reasonable; towing your vehicle 285 miles would be neither reasonable nor customary. Fees for the additional miles may be your responsibility.
With that in mind, you should weigh the cost and benefits of both repairing your car locally and transporting your vehicle back home. If you choose to have the repairs done locally, this would be a perfect opportunity to reach out to your independent agent. Quite often, they prefer to work with certified repair facilities and your agent can help you get in touch with them. You should also consider any additional expenses associated with returning to your vacation location to retrieve your vehicle (fuel, loss of income, lodging, etc.). If you elect to have your vehicle transported home, you may consider a company that specializes in just that, as opposed to a towing service. In most cases, transporting your vehicle home is more economical than returning to pick up your vehicle. Contact your independent agent so they can help you make the best decision based on what is covered in your policy.
Accidents happen, but you don’t have to let it ruin your vacation. With careful planning, you can be better equipped to move forward should an incident occur. You can even check out the brochure “What To Do After A Car Accident” for help in knowing what to do following an accident. Do you have any tips on how to alleviate stress after an accident?