Does Homeowners Insurance Cover You on Vacation?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 27, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a family relaxing on the beach during their vacation because they know what their homeowners insurance does and does not cover

You’re ready to book a condo for this year’s summer vacation. You’ve got a to-do list, a checklist, and lots of unpacked luggage waiting to be filled. But wait? Do you need special insurance for your vacation or will your homeowners insurance cover you?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Your Homeowners Insurance Covers

Homeowners insurance typically follows you (and your belongings) around town and on vacation, which is great news! But before you leave, there are a few things you need to know.

Liability Coverage

Your liability coverage will cover you while on vacation if a third-party – guest, vendor, stranger – gets hurt or has property damage that you’re responsible for. For example: if your dog bites someone while you’re on vacation, your liability coverage will pay the medical expenses and potential legal fees.

However, your homeowners insurance won’t cover damage you cause to the rental itself. That will be the responsibility of the owner of the property you’ve rented. But they may have rules and requirements about what you’ll owe if you or someone in your party causes damage. You won’t be able to file a claim with your home insurance, meaning the cost will be your financial responsibility.

Personal Property Coverage

The biggest way your homeowners insurance protects you while you’re on vacation is through your personal property coverage. Your personal belongings are covered against specific perils whether you’re at home or away from home. Personal property coverage comes with specific policy limits and those may be lower when you’re away from home. Before you leave on vacation, find out if your limit decreases and by how much.

Your personal property coverage won’t offer adequate coverage for your belongings and any “toys” you bring with you: RV, boat, motorcycle, jet skis, etc. You’ll want to have separate policies for your recreational vehicles. These specialized policies offer equipment protection, towing protection, as well as liability coverage and repair/replacement coverage. It’s a good idea to have it year-round. But it’s especially useful on vacation when anything can go wrong, and you can’t easily get to your preferred repair shop.

What Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Your homeowners insurance won’t cover a lot of things that can go wrong on your vacation. You may want to purchase travel insurance separately or use a credit card that offers certain protections for these mishaps:

  • Lost luggage
  • Cancelled flights
  • Cancelled reservations
  • Illness or injury that prevents travel
  • Last minute cancellations for any reason

Before you go on vacation, make sure you know exactly what your homeowners insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Give us a call at Charlotte Insurance so we can go over your policy with you, answer your questions, and provide a free quote if you need better protection for your vacation. Contact us today!

Renting Out Your Car – Should You Use Turo?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 20, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a red sports car being rented via Turo

You’re not driving your car as much, and it’s just sitting in your driveway. At the same time, extra money always comes in handy. You’re considering using Turo to rent out your vehicle for those times you’re not using it.

Should you do it? Will it affect your auto insurance? Here’s what you need to know.

Turo’s Insurance

Turo allows automobile owners to list their vehicle for rent at a daily rate. Renters use an app or web browser to search vehicles and choose the one they’d like to rent. Both owners and renters have the option to purchase insurance.

For vehicle-owners, you have the choice between several levels of coverage. All plans include up to $750,000 in liability coverage. Let’s look at the least expensive and the most expensive form of coverage they offer:

85 Plan: They call this the highest risk, highest reward plan. You have a $2,500 deductible and all damages are paid after you pay that deductible. But you don’t get a replacement vehicle or compensation for a replacement vehicle if your car is out of commission. This coverage costs the least to you upfront but could become expensive if there’s an accident. Plus, you’ll be on the hook for figuring out what to drive until your car is fixed.

60 Plan: There’s no deductible and 100 percent of the damages are repaired for you, plus you can receive loss of income or $50 per day in replacement vehicle reimbursement, but you’ll reduce your payment from the renter by 40 percent. Yes, you’re more protected but you make a lot less money.

The cost for this insurance is a percentage of the total rental price. The renter also gets an option to purchase insurance coverage for a percentage of the total price, too. Both are optional, so either you or the person driving your vehicle can opt-out of coverage. That means if there’s an accident, you could be financially responsible for everything — including legal fees and settlements if there’s a lawsuit.

Turo and Your Auto Insurance

Turo’s insurance options don’t sound bad. It seems to protect your vehicle, and you, while your car is being rented. But there’s a catch: your auto insurance company probably doesn’t allow this use of your car.

Most auto insurance policies won’t cover a vehicle when it’s used for business purposes. Renting out your car through Turo would certainly qualify as a business use. Some insurers are specifically excluding Turo from their coverage. Meaning if you use Turo, you lose your auto insurance completely, even when you’re driving for personal use.

In some cases, you can purchase supplemental coverage for your auto insurance policy that specifically covers you while your vehicle is in use through Turo. But if there’s an accident, it’ll be up to you to prove that your car was being used under the policy specifications to have your claim paid.

You might have “okay” insurance coverage during Turo rentals but it may not be worth it at all if you lose your personal auto insurance or can’t afford the type of policy that will let you rent out your vehicle.

As an independent insurance agency, we strongly advise against renting out your car, the risk of accidents and expensive damage is too high. But if you do, be aware there will be exclusions in your auto policy. At the very least, before you sign up for Turo, give us a call and let us take a look at your current coverage. You may have options you didn’t know about or you may decide the extra cash isn’t worth losing your coverage.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today!




Does Your Auto Insurance Cover Delivery Driving?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 13, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a delivery driving in their truck smiling because he knows he has the right delivery driver coverage on his auto insurance policy

You signed up for a delivery service app to make a little extra cash. It seems easy enough: drive around, make deliveries, get paid.

But what happens if you get into an accident? Will your auto insurance cover you? Will the delivery service take care of the claim?

Here’s what you need to know before you start making deliveries.

How Delivery Driving Impacts Your Auto Insurance

Most standard auto insurance policies don’t offer coverage for anything deemed “business purposes” – that is, any driving that you do on behalf of an employer or driving that earns you money. This includes delivery driving. Your personal auto insurance coverage is just that — personal.

Some policies may simply not cover accidents that occur while working. Some insurers may drop your coverage completely once they find out you use your vehicle for business purposes without appropriate coverage. So not only can you not depend on your auto insurance to cover the accident, you could lose protection for any and all driving.

Auto Insurance Options

All is not lost, though. You do have options, as long as you talk to an independent insurance agency likes ours before you start making deliveries.

Rideshare gap coverage: Because of the prevalence of delivery app services, some auto insurers now offer rideshare coverage to close the gap between “business” use of your vehicle and your personal auto insurance. Depending on the level of coverage you purchase and how often you make deliveries, your premiums may be more affordable than you think.

Commercial auto insurance: Another option, especially if your auto insurance company doesn’t offer rideshare coverage, is a commercial auto insurance policy. While this is most common for businesses with company cars, delivery drivers can purchase this policy, too. A commercial policy will cover you during deliveries, and your personal auto insurance will cover you the rest of the time.

Don’t Rely on the Delivery App’s Insurance Coverage

Yes, the delivery app you work with offers some coverage, but it’s a lot more limited than you realize. In general, most apps only cover you in three phases:

  1. Waiting to accept a delivery pick-up while logged into the app
  2. Driving to the pick-up location after accepting the delivery
  3. While driving with the order in your vehicle

So none of the driving you do before you log in or after you log out will count — even if the only reason you’re in your vehicle is to make deliveries. Plus, if you take a break and don’t stay logged in, you won’t be covered then, either.

With the right auto insurance of your own, that might not be a big deal. But if you plan to rely on the app to cover you, think again. It’s better to be safe than sorry so make sure your own auto insurance will protect you no matter what.

Getting ready to make deliveries and don’t know what kind of coverage you’ve got? Contact Charlotte Insurance today! We can explain your current policy, offer options, and make sure that you have the protection you need!

What to Know Before You Tow

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 7, 2021. It has 0 comments.

an RV being towed by someone who's comfortable towing a large trailer

Getting the new toy, like an RV or boat, was a dream come true! Using it affords a life of freedom and fun. But now you need to get your new toy from point A to point B which means you’ll need to tow it.

Here’s what you know before you hitch up and hit the road.

Getting Your Vehicle and Hitch Ready to Tow

If you follow the requirements of your vehicle and hitch, and take a few precautions before you leave, you’re likely to have a safer experience and avoid expensive accidents.

Know Your Towing Capacity

First, you need to know how much weight your vehicle can actually tow. It needs to be capable of handling the weight of whatever is in your vehicle, passengers, luggage, etc., as well what you’re towing – whether that’s your RV, boat, or something else on a trailer.

Driving with too much weight is dangerous. Your brakes won’t work as effectively, and you can potentially damage your vehicle.

Hitch Up Properly

Your hitch is the connector between your vehicle and whatever you tow. It must be the correct one for your vehicle, and it must be able to handle the weight of what you tow.

To prevent trailer sway, consider using a hitch stabilization device as well. This can help prevent problems on the road, like your boat or RV swinging like a pendulum. (Another way to prevent trailer sway is to drive more slowly and cautiously.)

Finally, to protect your precious cargo, consider a hitch lock to make sure your trailer hitch stays secure and a coupler lock to guard against coupler theft.

Check Your Tires, Brakes, and Lights

For your tires, check both your vehicle and your boat or RV. Make sure they’re properly inflated. Tires that are too low make your towing vehicle work harder and require more fuel. Your tires might also blow out while you’re on the road which is an unnecessary repair and delay that may also lead to an accident.

Too many drivers neglect connecting the lights from the towed vehicle to the vehicle they drive. Connected lights make what you’re towing more visible and prevent accidents. Don’t rely on your vehicle’s brake lights and turn signal to warn other drivers. Make sure what you’re towing has working lights at the back.

Brakes aren’t usually needed for light, small trailers, but heavy tows need them. They may be hydraulic or electric, but make sure to connect the emergency “breakaway” cable no matter what kind they are. If your RV or boat disconnects from the hitch, this allows it to come to a stop sooner and (hopefully) more safely.

Driving While Towing

Towing an RV or boat down the road changes the driving experience. Make sure you stay safe to avoid accidents. Keep these tips in mind.

You Need More Stopping Distance

With the extra weight on your vehicle, you won’t be able to stop as quickly as usual. Keep more distance than usual between you and other vehicles so you have the room you need to stop safely.

Pay Attention on the Road

It’s always good practice to look ahead beyond a car or two on the road. When you’re towing, this is imperative. This will help you anticipate problems and slow down early enough to avoid an accident.  Remember, it takes longer to speed up, slow down, change lanes, and turn while towing.

Be Careful

Everything is more difficult when you tow, so be careful.

  • Your blind spots are much bigger than you’re used to. Give yourself more space and time to change lanes.
  • Allow for more time and distance before passing, and avoid passing anyone on a two-lane road.
  • Stop gradually and tap your brakes sooner than you’re used to.
  • Try not to accelerate too hard or too much to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your towing vehicle.

Check Your Insurance

The final thing to know before you tow is what your insurance covers. Your auto insurance may not cover everything, depending on your policy. Give us a call at Charlotte Insurance and we’ll let you know what’s protected and what’s not, plus we can give you a free quote on auto, RV, or boat insurance.

Contact us, today!

What Happens if a Friend Gets Into an Accident Driving Your Car?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 6, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a blue car with a large dent caused when a friend, who was borrowing the owner's car, got into an accident.

Your friend was behind the wheel of your vehicle, and now there’s been a fender-bender. Who’s insurance pays the claim? How will all of this be handled?

The answers to any of the questions you have are that it depends on a few factors.

Here’s what you need to know if your friend gets into an accident while driving your car.

What Kind of Auto Insurance Do You Have?

Much of the time, auto insurance follows the car, not the driver. So while your insurance will most likely pick up the claim, that’s not true in all cases. Some policies only offer limited coverage, and some won’t cover anyone not listed on the policy. Before you loan your vehicle to someone, make sure you understand your own coverage.

After that, what claims will be paid (or not) depend on the nature of the accident. If the other driver was at fault, their auto insurance should pay the claim. But if your friend was at fault, what gets paid depends on the type of coverage you have.

  • Liability: This pays for the medical expenses, and/or property damage of the other driver. It won’t cover your car or your friend.
  • Collision: This should pay for your vehicle’s damage after the deductible. If the damages are worth $800 but your deductible is $1000, you’re still on the hook to pay for the repairs, though.
  • Medical Payments: If you have this coverage (and too many people don’t), the medical expenses for your friend and any other passengers should be covered.

Did Your Friend Have Permission to Drive Your Vehicle?

How your auto insurance handles the aftermath of an accident will also depend on how your friend came to be the one driving.

Driving with permission: Depending on your policy, your insurance may cover both anyone listed on the policy and anyone you give permission to drive your vehicle. Again, not all policies offer the full benefit of your insurance coverage, so check first.

Driving without permission: If your friend “borrowed” your vehicle without your consent, your friend will need to file the claim with their insurer — assuming they have insurance. And if they don’t, you’ll need to file with your own insurance provider. It’s possible that your insurer may require you to file a police report, as well.

What About Your Friend’s Auto Insurance?

Because many insurance policies follow the car, not the driver, it’s possible for your friend’s insurance to be left out of the mix, at least temporarily. But that’s not always the case.

Your auto insurance may be considered the primary coverage, but if the accident exceeds your policy limits, your friend’s insurance may be used to pay the rest. Also, if your insurance doesn’t cover friends who drive your vehicle, their insurance will definitely need to be used.

It’s also entirely possible that your insurance company will pay the claim and then seek reimbursement from your friend’s insurer. While you may not be involved in that process at all, it’s a good idea to only loan your vehicle to drivers with their own auto insurance policy.

Want to know exactly which drivers are covered under your existing policy? Looking for better and more affordable auto insurance coverage? Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help.