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COVID-19 Travel Tips: Insurance & Safety Guidelines

If you’ve been staying close to home during the COVID-19 crisis, you might be ready to venture out for a change of scenery. Thankfully, the United States offers many destinations that can be safely visited in the midst of the pandemic.

However, before you and your family take a trip, do your homework and consider these COVID-19 travel tips to stay safe wherever you go during the coronavirus pandemic. Then use our FREE quote tool to compare rates now!

#1 – Know if Your Health Insurance Covers You

Before leaving your state or the country, find out what your health plan covers when you’re outside a network or service area. If you have limited out-of-network coverage, you may be fully responsible for expensive medical bills.

If you get sick, you should know the best options for health care. Call your health insurance provider to check your policy before you travel anywhere.

#2 – Consider Buying Travel Insurance

The more extended and expensive your trip, the more having travel insurance makes financial sense.

Most travel insurance plans include a broad range of protections you can customize including:

  • Emergency medical insurance to pay for healthcare or evacuation if you get sick or injured
  • Trip insurance reimburses you for delays or cancellations due to events, including lost baggage, sickness, and natural disasters
  • Travel assistance helps you manage a range of issues, such as language translation, making reservations, and dealing with emergencies

Depending on where you are going on your trip, you may need to brush up on the rules of the road. For example, if you’re driving through Texas, make sure that you are adequately insured according to Texas car insurance laws.

#3 – Know What Rental Car Insurance You Need

If you plan to rent a car for a trip in the United States and you already have auto insurance, your liability typically extends to your rental vehicle. Most major insurance providers and policies, such as USAA auto insurance, include some type of protection for rental cars.

However, if your current policy doesn’t cover physical damages, you may need to purchase rental car insurance, such as a damage waiver.

Before leaving home, check with your auto insurer to find out what’s covered, so you don’t end up over or underinsured. If your regular insurance provider won’t cover you for rental car insurance, you can purchase coverage from the rental car company or even your credit car company.

Some providers may give you the option of adding temporary car insurance to cover the rental for the duration of your trip.

#4 – Be a Defensive Driver

Be extra cautious and committed to driving safely during the pandemic. Watch for distracted drivers, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Look out for pedestrians at crosswalks and when you drive near parks or popular destinations.

Stay focused on the road by never taking calls, responding to texts, or engaging on social media when driving. Taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for even a few seconds could be deadly.

Unfortunately, many people use their devices while driving, especially teen drivers. Being on the defensive and being aware while behind the wheel can make the difference between having an accident and arriving safely to your destination.

#5 – Ask about No-Contact Hotel Services

Before you leave home to travel overnight, find out what virus prevention practices a hotel uses. Services such as contactless check-in, payment, mobile room keys, and additional sanitization are critical for your safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minimize time spent in common areas, such as lobbies, business centers, and fitness rooms. Consider staying on a lower level of the hotel and taking the stairs instead of riding in an elevator.

Check with the state or local health departments along your travel route to determine what coronavirus travel restrictions are in place. Get up-to-date information on whether the coronavirus is spreading widely in your local area or at your travel destination.

#6 – Maintain Your Physical Distance

According to the CDC, travel increases your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. No matter if you use rest stops, airports, bus stations, or restaurants during a trip, remember that the virus could be on surfaces and in the air.

Getting food from drive-throughs or restaurants with curbside delivery is a safer option than dining inside. An even better option is to pack your own food and have a picnic in your car.

Keep hand sanitizer with you in case soap and water aren’t available. And always have masks handy just in case you can’t maintain enough distance between other people and you and your family.

#7 – Make Sure Your Car is Reliable

How you plan to travel is something you must decide before the trip. If you’re planning to take a road trip, perhaps the most important tip when planning a trip during COVID is to make sure your car is up-to-date on inspections and maintenance.

The last thing you want is for your car to break down on some backroads in an unfamiliar town. Fill up on gas, and check the necessary maintenance logs before you go. Be mindful to see if your tires need a little extra air, and change your vehicle’s oil if necessary.

Make sure that you have an emergency kit in your car, including a first aid kit and extra water. Since there’s a global pandemic occurring, too, having Lysol wipes can’t hurt, either.

And don’t forget to check out roadside assistance plans from top insurance providers such as State Farm before you head out on your trip. Use our FREE quote tool to compare rates now!

Laura Adams is a finance expert, award-winning author, and consumer advocate. As Senior Education Analyst, she represents and works to make sure consumers protect their futures by getting the right online education.

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