How your homeowners insurance protects you on vacation

Mon Aug 06 2018

Learn how your homeowners insurance protects you on vacation – and why it's important that it does.

Take your home insurance on vacation

Hitting the road this summer for some R&R? If so, we’ve got some good news for you: your homeowners insurance policy may continue to protect you while you’re on the road.

Here’s a look at which parts of your policy you can expect to join you on vacation and how you might want to supplement the gaps.

Personal liability

The personal liability portion of your homeowners insurance covers you if your actions cause physical injury or property damage to someone else. But what many homeowners may not realize is that liability protection usually follows the homeowner. So if you’re at a friend’s house and knock over a thousand-dollar vase while reenacting your horseshoe throw, your policy may cover the cost to replace it.

Similarly, if you’re renting a beach house with your family and cause damage there, your personal liability coverage may offer protection. Keep in mind, though, that every policy is a little different. If you’re curious about the limits of your policy, read the fine print or talk to your agent.

Medical expenses coverage

Medical expenses coverage can pay the costs if someone is injured on your property and requires immediate medical treatment. Its limits are typically much lower than personal liability limits – usually just a few thousand dollars. The goal of this particular coverage is to ensure injured parties get treatment when they need it so they don’t sue you down the line.

Like personal liability coverage, this portion of your homeowners insurance may follow you as you travel. Your policy may outline coverage for “injuries sustained by a third party either on or off the insured’s premises,” which means that those injuries could be at your house or somewhere else.

Again, the details depend on the language in your policy. Check to see whether you’re protected on the road.

Property damage

More good news: the portion of your homeowners insurance that protects your stuff (personal property coverage) often applies whether you’re at home or on vacation. In other words, if a thief runs off with your luggage while you’re sleeping one night (which we sincerely hope doesn’t happen), your home insurance may be able to replace the clothes, shoes, and other ordinary possessions that were inside.

Check your policy for details about potential limits of coverage.

Fill the gaps with travel insurance

While homeowners insurance can offer you some protection while you’re on vacation, it won’t protect your investment in the vacation itself or compensate you when certain things that might go wrong. For example, the medical expenses portion of your homeowners policy will NOT pay out if you or another member of your family gets sick or injured on vacation.

For that kind of protection, you may want to consider travel insurance, which can offer:

  • Medical and dental expense coverage. Some travel insurance policies include coverage for emergency medical treatments you need while on vacation.
  • Reimbursement for canceled trips. A lot of travel expenses (flights, hotels, rented cars, tour costs, etc.) are non-refundable. Travel insurance policies, though, can reimburse you if you’re forced to cancel at the last minute.
  • Partial reimbursement for shortened trips. If bad weather forces you to head home early, travel insurance may offer compensation for the part of the vacation you were forced to miss.
  • Baggage protection. Damaged, lost, or stolen luggage can ruin an otherwise successful trip – but with travel insurance, you can at least receive money to replace whatever you need to.
  • 24-hour assistance. Some policies even offer a hotline you can call for guidance if something goes wrong. This can be handy if you have spotty internet, don’t speak the local language, or need to know which medical facility has the best reputation.

Vacations are all about taking time away from the worries of ordinary life. Homeowners insurance can help keep you and your stuff safe while you travel (but if you want greater protection on the road, don’t forget about travel insurance).