Does homeowners insurance cover travel?

  • Coverage clarity
  • Homeowners insurance
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One of the most common questions the VIU by HUB Advisory Team gets asked is “does my insurance cover…?” This is a universally popular question. No matter the season or type of insurance, people want – need – to know what is covered by their policies. While we can’t give specifics without looking at your policy (talk to our Advisors if you have questions specific to your policy), we can help make sense of “does my homeowners insurance cover travel?”

The simple answer is: kind of. For some things.

For comprehensive travel protection, including coverage for trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage or other travel-related incidents, you would typically need to purchase a separate travel insurance policy. Travel insurance policies are specifically designed to cover various risks associated with travel and can provide financial protection in case of unforeseen events during your trip.

That said, your homeowners insurance policy offers more coverage than you may expect. Your auto insurance will travel with you as well. We’ve separated some of our most common travel-related coverage questions into two categories: situations that your existing coverage will cover and situations that it won’t.

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Homeowners insurance does cover travel losses related to…

  • Possessions you leave at home while away on the trip – Your property, in your home, is always covered. This is true if you’re in the backyard or the Outback.
  • Property that gets damaged or stolen while traveling with you – This property is subject to Off-Premises coverage. It is protected by your policy, but in a slightly different way than your property that was left behind. The limit to this coverage is given as a percentage of your total Personal Property coverage (this is part of your homeowners policy). That means that your property away from home may be covered to a lower amount than it is inside your home. Check your policy to find out what your coverage limit is, and to be certain that you have sufficient coverage for items such as your jewelry and electronics, but rest assured that you will likely be covered if someone steals your suitcase from a cafe.
  • Lost luggage – Your luggage is your property, so it’s covered. However, your deductible still applies here so if you’ve only lost your toothbrush and some socks, it’s probably not worth it to file a claim. You’re probably better off pursuing a claim with your travel insurance or the airline.
  • Damage you’ve caused to property – Homeowners insurance policies usually cover negligence by covered members of your household. That’s why your insurance pays when your child hits a baseball through the neighbor’s window. If you act negligently and cause damage while traveling, the cost of repairs may be covered, up to your liability limit, once you’ve met your deductible.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover travel losses related to…

  • Damage you’ve caused to your own property – Just like at home, you’re covered when you damage someone else’s property, but not when you damage your own.
  • Delayed or cancelled flight – Homeowners policies are designed to protect your home and property, so they don’t cover delays when traveling. If you want to protect yourself against this, or at least have recourse when it happens, look into a travel insurance policy. Many credit cards offer this coverage for travel booked with the card.
  • Medical emergencies – These are another reason why it’s wise to have travel insurance. Many travel insurance policies will cover medical emergencies while traveling or pay for you to be returned to your home hospital for treatment. It’s also a good idea to check with your health insurance company to see what they recommend ahead of your travel. We heard from one traveler who called her insurance company to find out which hospital to go to for her broken bone so that she wasn’t hit with a surprise bill. Not a great time to be waiting on hold. Make a plan before you travel to avoid unpleasant phone calls or bills.
  • Rental car – your auto insurance is likely to cover this. In fact, within the U.S. rental cars are quite easy to insure and most people will have several options available to them for insurance – just not their homeowners policy.

Homeowners insurance coverages that travel with you

  • Personal liability – This protects you financially in case you are held legally responsible for causing bodily injury or property damage to someone else. It is designed to provide coverage for the costs associated with legal defense, settlements or judgments resulting from covered incidents.
  • Medical Payments coverage – While not part of your homeowners insurance, it’s important to draw attention to this auto insurance coverage that pays for treating injuries that you or your passengers get from an accident in your vehicle or while you’re driving. Your auto insurance policy will cover this no matter where it happens in the United States.

Travel insurance can fill in the gaps

Homeowners insurance will cover a lot more of your travels than you may have thought. However, there’s really no substitute for travel insurance. Those policies cover almost anything that could go wrong when you’re traveling and take a lot of guesswork out of who is responsible for reimbursing you for various situations that could occur. It is even more important when you travel overseas as travel insurance companies are accustomed to working with foreign companies and can help you faster than your homeowners insurance can.

No one wants to think about insurance coverages while they’re traveling. Check your homeowners insurance policy before you go so you know what you’re covered for, decide how to handle rental car insurance if you’re renting, talk to your health insurance carrier and consider travel insurance. A little legwork upfront will make things easier if an emergency occurs while you’re traveling.

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