Whether you find this while planning for spring break or summer vacation, there’s one thing that parents have to account for when traveling with kids in tow – insurance risk. From tot to teen, your children present a set of vacation challenges that could cost you hundreds or thousands without proper planning. Today, Park is here to identify those unique risks so that you can prepare your family accordingly and enjoy your trip without stress. Well, at least as far as insurance and liability are concerned.
3 Ways to Reduce Insurance and Liability Risk Posed by Your Children While Traveling this Spring and Summer Season
1. Get More Comprehensive Travel Medical
Children are typically more vulnerable to health and wellness concerns while traveling.
For one, they are just coming off a bout of winter colds and flus that may extend into their vacation. Young children are especially susceptible. They haven’t yet built up immunity to the many dozens of different viruses that are around. That is why they can get as many as 8 to 10 colds each year before they turn 2 years old, with instances dissipating gradually as they get older. While flying to your destination, your family will be in a close knit cabin with 200 to 300 people, so they’ll be exposed to every cough and sneeze that occurs on your 2 to 6 (or more) hour flight. A day or two after arrival, you may find that they have come down with a virus and for peace of mind you want to get them checked out by a local physician. However, without proper coverage, even a 20 minute examination followed by prescription can cost hundreds or thousands of CAD. Still, you should not let this dissuade you from visiting a clinic or ER (if necessary) as by not nipping the threat in the bud your child’s condition may worsen. This is why you need to secure the most comprehensive travel medical for your family as possible.
Then, there’s a good chance that your kids will be participating in numerous physical activities in a short window of time, activities they may not get to do at home. This can include everything from horseback riding to go-karting and mountain biking or much more. Unfamiliarity with these activities increases the risk of injury already inherent to each. While precautions (guidance, proper safety equipment, etc.) should be taken, you buffer the cost of injury treatment in a foreign country with more robust travel medical coverage. If you or your kids are adventurous travelers, it is also important to fully understand all policy exclusions. Many travel insurance policies exclude losses due to adventure sports such as skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping etc. So, choose your policy carefully and thoroughly review all exclusions before your adventure begins.
View more on why your entire household needs better travel insurance this spring and summer.
2. Protect Yourself against Potential Vacation Rental Claims
More and more families are staying in vacation rentals for the sake of cost and convenience. While there are many benefits, there is more concern about property damage that may be caused by your kids, when compared to that of a hotel or resort which have comprehensive insurance coverage. Simply put, you’re staying in someone’s home, so even the smallest bit of damage can have the owner seeking claims.
Airbnb and VRBO both offer insurance for short term rental (STR) owners who use their services, and in some provinces and states they can purchase additional coverage to cover damage. In these cases they will not typically pursue a claim against STR occupants. However, there are scenarios where which coverage may not account for damage. For instance, in one highly publicized situation, an Airbnb owner was denied full coverage through the Airbnb Host Guarantee coverage, after a guest had clogged her condo toilet, resulting in a $10,000 repair bill. Over the years, there have been many instances where STR owners have taken guests to claims court, and as the popularity of the STR market grows, there will be many more to come.
As a guest with children, you must teach your kids to afford the rental with the same respect (if not greater) they do with your own home. Make kitchen and household appliances (oven, stove, laundry machine, etc.) 100% off limits, and don’t let them participate in any activities within or around the property that can cause harm. With water damage being a common concern, monitor their use of bathroom and kitchen sinks, and let them know that if the toilet doesn’t flush properly, alert you immediately before attempting to flush again. Also, as the adult you should be the last one out of the house or condo, so that you are responsible for locking the door and windows as a means to prevent a break-in.
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Rental Car Coverage
Having kids in a rental car on vacation increases the risk of damage within the vehicle, and can even increase the risk of a motor vehicle accident as their activities (shouting, roughhousing, spilling, etc.) contribute to driver distraction. Before entering the vehicle prior to each excursion, have a talk with them about the risks associated with their activities in the car so that they know to be mindful, and not distract you from keeping your attention on the road. But of course, you will also need the best rental car coverage possible.
BC residents who have ICBC Roadside Plus or the Road Star package are covered for rental cars in Canada and the U.S. If you don’t have these packages, be sure to speak with a broker about your options. However, ICBC coverage does not cover car rental insurance in Central America, Europe, Australia or Mexico, so you will want to inquire with your credit card provider to find out if they offer sufficient coverage. If one of your cards does, book the rental car with the appropriate credit card, under the appropriate card holder (be it you or your spouse). Between ICBC coverage and credit cards, you should be able to avoid the “cash grab” packages being pushed on you by the rental car company. However, if there are any gaps, then it is a good idea to secure the best coverage possible.
If you have any questions about whether or not your current policies protect your family from insurance and liability concerns for your up and coming vacation, contact Park Insurance today.