INDIANAPOLIS – This time of year, college students and younger school-aged kids are counting down the days to spring break.
Many families use this time while school is out to enjoy some vacation time between winter and summer. If you and your student are planning a getaway, there are insurance details to address no matter where you’re headed. The Indiana Department of Insurance suggests you review these important tips before heading out on vacation.
“We want Hoosiers to have a safe and enjoyable spring break vacation void of any insurance-related issues. Before any trip, the Department encourages you to review your insurance coverage to understand what is covered in the event that something happens,” said Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner, Stephen W. Robertson.
Review your coverage
If your son or daughter is traveling alone, involve them in the review process. First, collect all pertinent insurance paperwork and make copies. When you share this information, explain the importance of keeping these documents safe and in an accessible location.
If your child will be driving a family car, show him or her where you keep the insurance information in that vehicle and review emergency procedures. Make a list of contact numbers and important information for quick reference. Place this with the insurance identification card in the glove box. Include the name and phone number of the insurance company or agent, policy number and your complete contact details.
Before leaving home, you may want your child to download the NAIC's WreckCheck app. The free mobile app outlines what to do immediately following an accident and will walk your child through a step-by-step process to create an accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents. The app is available on the iTunes app store and Google Play.
If you don’t have a smartphone, you can print a copy of this accident checklist and keep it in the glovebox. Also, check that you have your insurance ID and registration in the vehicle at all times.
Other important tips include:
• Following an accident, call 911. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation on a highway or road.
• Make sure to get contact and insurance information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Instruct your child to give them your contact and insurance information. Make sure you do not give them personal information such as a social security number.
• Take pictures of the scene, including pictures of the vehicles involved, if it is safe to do so.
• Get contact information for the police department that responded to the accident.
• Are you or your kid traveling in someone else’s vehicle as a passenger? The vehicle’s policy might not provide ample coverage in the case of an accident. If not, then your auto insurance and/or health insurance policy may be needed to cover any gaps.
Getting hurt or sick away from home can be scary. Go over your health insurance information. Ensure your son or daughter knows the name of the insurance company and has a list of emergency numbers, including the numbers of your family doctor and your insurance company, in addition to your cell phone number. Also explain the meaning of general insurance terms like co-pay and out-of-network.
Prepare by collecting important information and reviewing the following checklist.
• Keep your health insurance ID card, a list of your drug allergies, a list of drugs you are currently taking and information about any of your other medical conditions with you at all times.
• If you need urgent medical treatment or are in an accident, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
• If something happens to your child, advise them to have someone contact you. Make sure your child can provide the medical facility with your health insurance ID card.
• If you need to see a doctor and it is not an emergency, contact the insurance company to find a local physician who is in your coverage network. The phone number for the insurance company, your policy number and co-pay information are located on the insurance ID card.
• Keep all paperwork, including receipts from the doctor’s office, the hospital or any pharmacy if you filled any prescription(s).
Generally, American auto and health insurance isn’t readily accepted outside of the United States. If you travel outside the country, your medical insurance is likely invalid which means you’ll pay for your care out-of-pocket. To find out more about the extent of your coverage, speak with your insurance agent or company before you leave home.
Travel insurance can be purchased if you are concerned about accidents or losses during a trip. If you are considering the purchase of a travel insurance policy, review the policy terms carefully to make sure you understand all coverages and exclusions before making a purchase.
If it applies, review the travel insurance policy with your child before he/she leaves, focusing on the process your child would use for getting assistance, if needed.
Group travel is a popular way for kids to travel away from home without a parent for the first time. If your child is traveling in a group with sponsors or chaperones, make sure you provide the group leaders with emergency contacts and insurance information as well.
The Indiana Department of Insurance offers information that can answer your questions about auto insurance, health insurance, home insurance, life insurance and more. Check out the brochures at www.in.gov/idoi/2549.htm. If you have other questions or are confused about your insurance coverage, contact your agent or provider.