Packing for Vacation? Make Sure Your Stuff’s Protected

Vacation Home and Homeowners Insurance

Atlantans don’t have to go far to escape the summer heat and storms. They only need to venture as far as the nearest states for beach-side or mountain vacation home rentals, and there are plenty of options within Georgia, too.

In fact, real estate information service Trulia says that the top five areas that Georgians search for vacation homes include Panama City Beach and Santa Rosa Beach in Florida, Saint Simon’s Island and Blue Ridge in Georgia, and Highlands, North Carolina. Other popular destinations include the areas around Gatlinburg in Tennessee, the Gulf Shores of Alabama, and Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head in South Carolina.

Of course, regardless of your destination, you don’t want to spend your vacation worrying about the stuff you packed in your trunk or suitcase.

Did you know, though, that your homeowners or renters insurance policy likely protects the personal property that accompanies you on vacation? Items like golf clubs, fishing gear, cameras and laptops are typically covered by the personal property coverage that’s built into your insurance policy, which usually protects you against losses from vandalism, theft, fire or smoke, lightning, explosion or windstorm “anywhere in the world,” according to the non-profit Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

These policies may also help protect your stuff against loss if they are stolen from your car (most people wrongly assume that type of coverage comes from their auto insurance).

Protection Can Mean Different Things

Family at a Georgia Beach

A beach vacation is possible in Georgia. You and your family could venture to King and Prince beach at St. Simons Island. Photo by: Ralph Daily via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Just as you don’t typically take all your personal property on vacation, the I.I.I. explains that some policies may have a cap on the amount of coverage available to you when you’re away from home. For example, a homeowners policy with $100,000 personal property limit for losses at your primary home may have a limit of 10 percent of that figure available for personal property losses at your vacation rental.

The I.I.I. also says that other policies vary in how they calculate a pay-out: It might be based on the actual cash value of lost possessions or on the full replacement cost of your stuff. What’s the difference? Actual cash value considers depreciation of an item’s values over time, while replacement cost considers what it would cost to completely replace the item. Before you head out on your trip, talk with your agent about your policy to make sure you understand your personal property limits and coverage.

Is Additional Coverage Available?

If you think you need expanded protection for your possessions, consider adding what’s called an endorsement or a floater to your policy, which may help protect you from losses like “mysterious disappearance.”

Electronics, jewelry, special tools or hobby equipment can be particularly meaningful and very expensive to replace, so floaters for these items could ensure that you have sufficient coverage for them while you’re on vacation and year-round.

3 Steps to Take Before You Go

  1. Ask your insurance professional how renting a vacation home affects your coverage.
  2. Make an inventory of any valuable items that you want protected and include copies of receipts and photographs if possible. (This is good advice for any time of year.)
  3. Leave your most expensive items like jewelry at home if you can. Insurance may help pay for lost things, but it could never begin to replace something that is one-of-a-kind or emotionally meaningful.

 Recommended by the Editors:

Is your home protected? Contact your local Allstate Agent to discuss homeowners insurance policies.

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