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New York, May 27, 1999

MEDIA ADVISORY

CONSUMER INSURANCE TIPS FOR AN ENJOYABLE SUMMER VACATION

With the summer season quickly approaching, New Yorkers are busy planning vacations and recreational excursions. In order to help ensure that consumers have a pleasant experience on their vacation, the New York State Insurance Department advises them to make sure they have adequate insurance protection by reviewing their insurance policies, calling their insurance company, agent or broker, and by keeping the Department’s consumer tips in mind.

Renting A Car On Vacation?

  • If you are a New York resident with your own auto insurance policy, you don’t need to buy additional coverage, even if you are renting a car out of state. You are covered for any damage to the rental car and for liability up to the limits of your own policy.
  • If you don’t own a car and rent a vehicle in New York State, you are only responsible in most cases for the first $100 in damage to the rental car. Your liability coverage would be whatever the rental car company carries – typically minimum limits. The rental agency may offer you the opportunity to purchase additional higher limits. If you rent out of state, you may need to purchase a collision damage waiver or liability coverage.
  • If you don’t own your own car but frequently rent one, you may wish to purchase a non-owner auto insurance policy that would cover you for liability both in-state and out-of-state beyond the limits the rental agency carries.
  • Credit card companies may provide some physical damage coverage when renting a vehicle with your credit card. Coverage amounts can differ depending upon whether or not you have your own auto insurance policy. Many credit card companies will not provide coverage when renting sport utility vehicles (SUVs), expensive models, or mini-vans. They also do not cover storage fees or loss-of-use charges. Before renting a vehicle, call your credit card company to find out exactly what coverage you have as a card member.
  • Be sure to inspect the rental vehicle prior to leaving the lot and make sure the rental agency records any pre-existing damages to the vehicle.

Buying Or Renting A Boat This Summer?

  • Contact your auto insurer if you will be using a trailer to transport your boat.

  • Contact your homeowners insurer to see if the boat and liability resulting from its use is covered under your current policy. You may need to buy a separate policy or an endorsement depending upon the length of the boat, type of boat, the waterways it will be used in, and engine horsepower.

  • Many policies will not cover accidents resulting from a minor operating the boat.

Renting A Summer Home?

  • Let your insurance company or agent and broker know if you will be away from home for more than 30 days because many insurers consider a home or apartment vacant after that period, and will therefore not cover any losses. Ask whether having a housesitter, asking a neighbor to check on your house, or hiring a security monitoring company will prevent your home from being considered vacant.

  • Check with the landlord of the rental home to determine whether the premises are adequately maintained and insured.

  • If you have your own homeowners or tenants insurance policy ask your insurer to extend your coverage to the vacation home. This will help cover you for damage you may accidentally do to the rental property.

  • Check your own homeowners or tenants policy for off-premises theft coverage to ensure that any personal property you take with you is protected from loss.

Planning An Expensive Vacation?

  • You may want to consider travel protection insurance. There are various types of travel policies that will cover unforeseen events, such as canceling or interrupting a vacation due to accident or illness, delayed or cancelled air flights, weather conditions, vehicle failure, and lost baggage. Read the policies carefully.

The Department’s Consumer Services Bureau is a one-stop shopping resource for consumers who are looking for information on any type of insurance. Last year the Bureau answered 500,000 telephone inquiries and investigated 60,000 complaints. Consumer information is available by calling toll-free 1-800-342-3736 or by visiting the Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us.

 

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