Life’s a Beach
The weather is warming, players are reporting to baseball spring training in Arizona and Florida, and many people are planning to get away for vacations to warmer climates in the next few months, many with children in tow (in sync with their spring break schedules).
What are some things you should do before, during, and after you go on vacation to protect yourself, your family, your home, and your possessions? Read more and find out!
Food for Thought—Issues to Consider
Every time you will be away from home, especially in a different state, there are a host of issues to consider/worry about.
- Am I covered if I rent a car?
- What coverage do I have/do I need at a hotel, Airbnb, or VRBO?
- Should I do anything to my home to make sure it is safe, secure, and protected?
Before you Travel
Think about your home. If you live in a multi-unit building, make sure someone you trust knows you will be gone, where you will be, and for how long. If you have door staff, tell them. If you have plants, ask a good friend or neighbor to take care of them for you while you are gone and to keep an eye on your place, take in mail, and the like, so it doesn’t look like you’re gone.
If you have pets, please make arrangements for them to stay elsewhere or have someone come in regularly. This is something that cannot be overlooked. Don’t wait until you are leaving to realize you have no one feeding your cat or bird!
If you have a single-family home, you should advise key friends or family of your whereabouts.
If the weather is predicted to be cold when you are gone, leave a faucet or two (especially on outside walls) running a bit to prevent frozen pipes. Set thermostats to a lower temperature to save money (but not so cold that your pets freeze!). Most smart thermostats allow you to control this from your phone and to pre-set parameters.
Stop your mail service while you are gone. This is easy to do online on the USPS website.
If you (like me) receive an old-fashioned hard copy of a newspaper, stop delivery for the time when you’ll be gone.
Review all your recurring deliveries (not like this Amazon thing is ubiquitous or anything!) and confirm there are no deliveries scheduled for when you are away! If there are, change the delivery date until you’re back. If you have a trustworthy neighbor, ask them to keep an eye out for any deliveries or advertising circulars you weren’t expecting (and can’t postpone or cancel). Few things advertise your absence like a pile of papers or boxes that linger for days on your doorstep.
Set your home alarm if you have one (but make sure you provide the code to anyone who will be coming by to check on your home or pets!).
Contact your home and auto insurance broker to inform him or her that you will be gone, and review all coverage you have, what you may need, and any other changes to consider.
If you are going to be delayed, get in touch with the people watching your home, pets, or plants, and let them know when you will be arriving.
While You’re Traveling
Make sure your auto insurance or credit card used to rent the vehicle covers you. Double-check that you have high enough limits. If your existing coverage does not cover you, be certain to take out additional coverage through the rental car company! Also, be honest about who will be driving. Don’t sign something saying only “mom” is driving and then have “dad” drive and crash because he was the designated driver that night. If there’s a chance both might drive, put them both down on the application and pay the extra money—otherwise realize that you are jeopardizing all coverage if you get caught in a lie!
Pack your auto insurance and health insurance cards!
Inform your credit card companies that you are traveling, especially if you will be out of the country. This allows you to continue to use your credit card without the use being flagged for fraud.
Determine whether your phone will work where you’re traveling. Some plans automatically switch over to foreign countries while others don’t. Check with your carrier before you leave!
Check with your insurance broker to be certain you will not need additional coverage for the Airbnb or VRBO you’re renting, the resort you’re staying at, or the condo you have for the week. Don’t take chances—if your broker says you need additional coverage, purchase it (then cancel it when you are home).
There may also be a reason to take out a temporary insurance policy for your home while you are away (your owner-occupied home will not be owner-occupied), so be certain that you check with your insurer.
Back at the Ranch
Be sure to restart the mail service, newspaper, and other deliveries. Set thermostats to comfortable ranges you prefer. Shut off all faucets you left running.Thank all the people who kept an eye on your place, your plants, or your pets (pro tip—gifts from your vacation never hurt).
Clean up cat vomit or strewn about shoes (wait, that’s just my cat and dog!) as needed. Seriously, do a “once over” of your home to make sure everything looks “normal.”
Undo any foreign phone plan you set up before leaving and cancel any additional insurance you obtained before leaving.
- Plan before going away for vacation to protect your home, pets, and property.
- Plan ahead for all contingencies while you are gone.
- Return everything to normal once you’re back home.
Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman
As in all cases involving injury, medical malpractice, or other injury and potential liability, if you have been injured while traveling or anywhere else, immediately report the incident to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.