Hi travel friends! If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you may recall our post from late last summer, when Joe described how he ran out of gas on the highway on our way home from our road trip to Helen, GA. That prompted me to write a post about how to find free roadside assistance in each state.
In my post, I mentioned that we were about 3/4 of a mile away from an exit where there was a Stuckey’s, which was where we were heading, to buy gas. Welp, thanks to the all-reaching power of the internet, Stephanie Stuckey, who is the granddaughter of W.S. Stuckey Sr., the founder of Stuckey’s, saw the post and gave us a shout out (which tickled me to no end because Stuckey’s is a big nostalgia thing for me). That got us to communication by email, and her eventually asking about the possibility of doing a guest post on our blog.
We did not receive compensation for her writing the following; not even a pecan log roll (which is fine – I have a stash of ’em;-) ).
Take it away, Stephanie…
With the end of 2020 and the seemingly endless weeks of lockdowns and quarantines projected to come to an end by next summer, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for our fellow road trippers. Indeed, after so many weeks of lockdown making us feel more like we’ve been locked up, many of us are chomping at the bit to get back to the freedom of the wide-open road. And we won’t be alone as many travel experts are forecasting that travel will increase to 70% by summer and be back to normal around Christmas 2021.
If the summer of 2021 is going to be anything like last summer and we go by the numbers put forth by the American Automobile Association (AAA), Americans will be taking a collective total of about 700 million trips with 97% of those trips being taken by automobile. Furthermore, the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that 72% of people planning a trip will take an overnight vacation via car from May to September, and three-quarters of them expect to drive two or more hours away from home.
As a result, you can expect a lot of the so-called “new normal” to include a lot of “new normal” wear and tear on vehicles and the attitudes and moods of their drivers as well. And if we’ve learned anything at all from 2020, it’s that it’s better to be safe than sorry. This, in turn, has led us to think about whether or not it’s a good idea to get travel insurance for that ultimate family road trip we’ve been planning in our heads since about the second week of quarantine.
So, how exactly does travel insurance work for a road trip? Well, there are many ways in which travel insurance can be beneficial both before and after your journey down the open road. Here are a few:
Trip Cancellation or Interruption
Besides being safe rather than sorry, another thing that we’ve learned from 2020 is that stuff happens. It could be a global pandemic, murder hornets, or riots in the street – all which seem to be the personification of Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong, will.” However, that’s where Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption coverage comes in to save the day. Okay, well, maybe it won’t save you from murder hornets, but it can reimburse you for the loss of prepaid nonrefundable expenses if you have to cancel a trip, or your trip is cut short for a covered reason. Things like prepaid, non-refundable hotel reservations, prepaid event/theme park tickets, or the down payment on a rental RV or automobile are just a few examples of what most insurance companies cover.
Let’s say that you live in a beach house in Delaware, for instance, and you’ve had a lifelong dream to follow your favorite band around to every concert they’ll play in the United States in 2021. Let’s also say that that chance comes up during your favorite band’s “Thank God We Didn’t Get Murdered by Hornets Summer Tour”. You’ve paid for the tickets for each show, you rent a vintage VW bus, and you’ve even reserved a hotel room in each city along the way. However, just before you leave, a freak spring hurricane comes and washes half of your house out into the Atlantic Ocean. In cases of hurricanes and other natural disasters, some travel insurance policies will reimburse you for the tickets and reservation fees on your VW rental and hotels, so you can get on with the overwhelming job of finding a new place to live with one less thing to worry about.
Rental Car Travel Insurance
Maybe you’ve got an old clunker and you don’t think it will last the whole trip. Or maybe you have a brand new car and you really don’t want to put any more wear and tear on it than you have to. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to rent a car for your road trip and decided to use your regular auto insurance. Yes, it’s true that if you’re on that drive-thru trip through Florida’s own Gatorville Drive Thru Alligator Safari Park and an alligator takes a bite out of your rear tire and damages your rental vehicle, your insurance might cover it; however, you’ll be paying for it years afterward through higher insurance rates. Travel insurance can help prevent that problem with many insurance companies offering up to $25,000 in Rental Car Damage coverage. That way you can be sure that you, your rental car, and your personal auto insurance are well protected from alligator attacks and other damage.
Don’t believe in that old wives tale that most accidents happen within a mile of your home. Do you think that COVID doesn’t cross state lines? Or that murder hornets won’t attack out-of-staters? The fact is, you’re more likely to be more accident-prone in unfamiliar territory like Gatorville, Florida, where alligators like the taste of Delawareans as much as they do Mississippians. And even if you have health insurance, there’s no guarantee it covers all the costs associated with hornet stings, alligator bites, or even normal things like a broken ankle that you might get running from said hornets or alligators.
Okay, we agree that it’s kind of hard to lose your luggage when it’s in the trunk of the car that you’re currently driving. But let’s say you strap your bags to the luggage rack on top of your rental. However, after relaxing, refreshing, and refueling at the last Stuckey’s location 50 miles ago, you fail to notice that one of the bungee cords came loose and now your luggage (and unmentionables) lies 48 miles back, strewn across the landscape for all to see. Whether you go back to retrieve it or decide to leave it for the wolves and bears to play dress up, you’re probably covered under most travel insurance policies for damaged or lost luggage.
We all fear that scenario where our car overheats about 50 miles past that “Last Gas Station for 100 Miles” sign. As we said before, 2020 taught us that stuff happens out of nowhere and you just never know when you might need help when you’re on your family road trips. Thankfully, you can have some peace of mind knowing that the travel assistance that comes with most travel insurance plans is there for you in the moments when you need it most.
The Bottom Line
Still not sure about whether or not you need traveler’s insurance for your road trip? Then think about this for a moment: The cost of covering your road trip mostly depends on the things you’ve paid for before your trip. That means if you haven’t prepaid for a lot of things like car rental and hotels, then you are likely to be quite surprised at how affordable it is to cover your road trip, especially if you shop around online.
As an example, we googled and tested an online trip insurance marketplace that compares 90 travel insurance policies from 20 providers. An online quote search for a $3,000, two-week road trip in July within the U.S. by a family of four returned a $159 premium. Coverage included among other benefits:
- Trip Cancellation: 100% of the trip cost ($3,000)
- Trip Interruption: 150% of the trip cost ($4,500)
- Emergency Medical: $250,000 per person
- Medical Evacuation & Repatriation: $1,000,000 per person
- Baggage & Personal Items Loss: $2,500 per person/$300 per item/$500 specific items limit
- Rental Car Damage: $35,000 per person
- Coronavirus Cancellation and Coronovirus Medical Coverage
Almost $160 isn’t so bad when it comes to having peace of mind knowing that you and you’re loved ones are covered if anything that can go wrong, does go wrong. However, again, we caution you to shop around and weigh the good and the bad. Most importantly, make sure you understand exactly what your policy does – and doesn’t –cover before purchasing your road trip coverage.
No matter where you’re road tripping to, however, don’t forget to include a Stuckey’s stop in your family road trip itinerary, where we’ve got you covered for all of your road trip snacks and souvenir needs. And the coverage doesn’t stop there because at Stuckey’s you’ll find a deliciously creamy with a hint of cherry nougat center covered in gooey caramel and the finest of chopped Georgian pecans that we like to call our Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll. While you’re there, browse our shop for some of our other world famous pecan candies like our pecan divinity bars and pecan pralines along with our wide selection of snacks like our flavored pecans and popcorn treats. (Try our personal favorite – Hunkey Dorey!) There’s plenty to choose from for you chocolate lovers, too.
Of course, you can’t call it a real road trip without purchasing a memento of your Stuckey’s stop, whether it be a classic t-shirt, cap or mug from our large selection of Stuckey’s memorabilia or our more famously kitschy souvenirs like coonskin caps and rubber alligators.
No Stuckey’s on your route? Well, that’s no problem because you can still ensure that Stuckey’s is part of your road trip by ordering online and have our delicious Stuckey’s pecan log rolls and other fine pecan candies delivered to you just in time for your next road trip. Visit our website today for more info and browse through our other great Stuckey’s merchandise at stuckeys.com.
Feature Photo: Stuckey’s
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary