Whether you travel to the same beloved destination each year or seek out new adventures in exotic locales, planning a successful vacation requires foresight. But, what do you do when the unexpected happens? “Proper risk management” sounds like a wet blanket on sunny travel plans, but anticipating and preparing for what could go wrong can improve your experience dramatically.
Insurance professionals have unique insight into the myriad scenarios that lead to claims. Here are recommendations to help minimize your exposure to calamity.
ASSESS YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE WELL BEFORE YOU DEPART
Buy travel insurance, and be discerning. Inquire about the breadth of terms, available preventive services and 24/7 support, and request country-specific risk assessments to guide planning.
Also look to a provider that understands luxury travel, offers a broad definition of covered travel companions and has global resources in the event of a medical emergency, security threat or unexpected natural disaster. If you or a family member needs to go to a hospital, for example, you’ll want help from specialists who speak the local language, can transport you quickly to the best possible care and remain involved through resolution. Likewise, if a security incident shuts down the local airport, you’ll want access to experts who can find alternatives to get you all out safely.
Another “if”: If you’ll likely be purchasing art, jewelry, wine or other valuables while away, check your homeowners policy to understand its coverage limitations. A separate private collections policy may better address your needs, with features such as immediate coverage for new acquisitions and global coverage for items in transit. An insurance provider with expertise protecting collections also will have resources to help you select the safest resources for transport; trusting the retailer may not be the right way to go.
Planning a successful vacation requires foresight. But, what do you do when the unexpected happens?
Next, ensure that you have adequate liability insurance (commensurate with your net worth!) in the event of property damage or bodily injury to others. Understand whether or how local laws might impact your level of financial responsibility. Furthermore, recognize that car accidents are more likely when vehicles or traffic dynamics are unfamiliar. If you rent a car internationally, the embedded liability coverage may not be adequate. Not all personal auto policies provide liability coverage overseas, but an excess liability policy should respond globally.
BE PROACTIVE ABOUT YOUR SAFETY
Consider circumstances at your destination as well as what you’re leaving behind at home:
- Don’t post itineraries on social media, and wait to post photos until after you return. Sharing activities in real time may be the norm, but it can also invite burglars and others with sinister motives.
- Stay on a lower floor in the hotel (usually the first seven floors), where fire ladders could reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Leave expensive jewelry at home, or use the hotel lobby safe in lieu of the room safe.
- Arrange cars in advance; avoid taxis whenever possible.
- For longer trips, hire a caretaker to check on your home regularly. For shorter trips, ask a household employee, friend or neighbor to check in. Assign unique alarm codes to anyone who accesses your home.
- Put lights on timers, and use a reputable smart-home app to monitor lights, temperature, security systems and more.
- If you need to keep the water supply on, consider automated water shut-off devices to detect leaks and connect to your home security system.
- Pack a sufficient supply of necessary medications in the event that your return home is delayed.
LOOK TO THE EXPERTS
An independent insurance advisor—particularly one who caters exclusively to high net worth families—can introduce you to the right coverage solutions for short-term travel and year-round protection. Not all insurance agents will offer the same caliber of expertise, so look for a professional who goes beyond price comparisons and offers in-depth guidance to keep your loved ones and belongings safe.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a world-leading property-casualty and general insurance organization servicing more than 70 million clients around the world. Through its Private Client Group, a division of the AIG member companies, successful individuals can access innovative protection for homes, excess liability, automobiles, private collections, yachts and more. AIG Private Client Group also offers supplemental services designed to minimize property damages, safeguard fine art and other collectibles and bolster family safety.