Road Trips: Things to Know Before You Go

Summer is almost here! If you’re planning to hit the road with your family for a road trip adventure, planning ahead can ensure smooth travels. Although you can’t predict everything, you can prepare as much as possible to ensure that a minor mishap on the road doesn’t become a major problem.

Taking Your Car Insurance Along

Your car insurance policy covers you across Canada and into the United States, but if you go any further south you will need additional coverage. Canadian insurance companies do not extend coverage into Mexico, so if your road trip is taking you across more than one border, be sure that you obtain the coverage you need before you go. You can purchase an insurance policy for driving in Mexico before you go, or purchase a policy at the border before you cross.

Be sure you are carrying proof of insurance with you in the car and that it’s a current copy. And take with you a list of important phone numbers, especially your insurance company's claims line.

Travel Insurance and Road Trips

Many people think travel insurance is only for long overseas flights or extended vacations, but it’s also a good idea for a family road trip. Travel insurance helps guard against the cost of the unexpected while travelling, whether by road or by air. If you have to cancel your trip, or return suddenly, it can help repay the cost of non-refundable hotel reservations, attraction tickets and other paid-in-advance items. It can also help with the cost of return travel if you need to cut a trip short and head home.

If you are heading over the border, travel health insurance is a must. Your provincial health insurance plan won’t cover you in the U.S., and the cost of health care there is very high. It’s not just in other countries that having a travel health plan can help; even in Canada it’s a good idea to have a little extra coverage along. While provinces do have reciprocal plans that allow them to bill each other for medical costs, there are always things that aren’t covered. Travel health insurance can ensure you don’t face any extra costs on your road trip. When planning your next road trip, look for travel insurance quotes.

Trouble on the Road

If you run into problems on the road, especially far from civilization, it’s good to know that help is only a call away. Before you go, check on what type of roadside assistance you have available to you. A CAA membership is one option, but if you aren’t a member you may have roadside assistance available elsewhere. Many car manufacturers offer it while a vehicle is under warranty, so if you have a newer car check to see if it’s a part of your purchase package. Your insurance company may also offer you roadside assistance at a very reasonable rate, often only a few dollars a month.

Roadside assistance can help you with anything from a flat tire to locking your keys in the car when you’re a long way from home and your spare set. It will cover the cost of towing if you find yourself stranded as well. It’s one of the things you may not want to head out on a road trip without, so if you don’t already have coverage elsewhere, call your insurance company to discuss.