With the nationwide vaccine rollout in 2021, more Americans than last year feel comfortable traveling. But the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants might discourage people from braving airport crowds.
If you’re hitting the road this winter season, be sure to manage these three risk areas to stay safe.
Prep Your Home to Prevent Winter Damage
Not every part of the United States experiences freezing temperatures, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Winter storms caused a record $15.1 billion in insured losses in the first half of 2021, largely due to the massive freeze that caught Texas off guard.
Although your homeowner’s insurance might cover certain losses, preventing damage from happening is easier than fixing it.
Before you leave for your trip, safeguard against costly winter damage to your home by…
- Insulating your pipes.
- Cleaning your gutters.
- Covering your AC condenser or removing window units.
- Bringing your outdoor equipment inside.
- Disconnecting garden hoses.
These seasonal changes are always helpful, but they really matter if you’ll be away from home. Burst pipes, for example, can cause water damage, which your homeowner’s policy can likely cover. If left unattended, though, that water can lead to mold and mildew, which your insurance policy may not cover.
Taking steps to prevent winter damage can give you peace of mind. When you know you’ve protected your home against the elements, you can better enjoy your time with the people that matter.
Protect Your Health with Quality Research
Your health should be a top priority this winter season. Alongside new COVID-19 variants, there are other health concerns: strep, the flu, or even a surprise broken limb. Any time you travel, you should know your options for medical care.
Ask these questions before your winter road trip:
- Where’s the nearest hospital or urgent care facility that accepts your health insurance?
- Do you have COVID-19 tests in case of virus exposure?
- Will your insurance provider cover COVID-19 treatment, and does that coverage vary based on the treatment location?
The right information can help you tackle healthcare emergencies head-on.
Ensure Vehicle Safety by Planning Ahead and Driving With Care
No matter where you’re driving, vehicle preparation is key – you can’t travel long distances in an unsafe vehicle.
In nearly every U.S. state, your vehicle must be insured before you drive. Your auto insurance should be active for your entire holiday road trip, so ask these questions:
- Is your insurance paid for?
- Do you know what kind of coverage you have? Will you need additional coverage?
- Who’s driving – yourself, a family member, a friend? Does your policy cover them?
- If you’re renting a vehicle, does your policy include rental coverage?
- Can you access your current insurance cards from your vehicle or mobile device?
After you’ve covered your auto insurance bases, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive by checking these five areas:
- Tires: Look at your treads and tire pressure, and swap in winter tires if necessary.
- Wheel alignment: This is critical when driving on unfamiliar or rough roads.
- Fuel: If your vehicle uses gas, you’ll need at least half a tank to prevent gas line freezes.
- Battery: Falling temperatures can sap your battery’s power.
- Wiper fluid: This should be rated for at least -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
While these maintenance tips are necessary, certain parts need expert eyes. Consider getting your vehicle professionally serviced to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape.
Proper maintenance goes a long way in winter weather. Still, it’s useful to have a few items on hand in a pinch. Try packing tools like...
- An ice scraper or snow brush.
- Jumper cables.
- Tire chains and a tow strap.
- A sandbag for traction.
If your winter road trip veers off track, these tools can help you manage tricky situations. But what might you need while your vehicle’s pulled over? An emergency kit can keep your family warm, nourished, and hydrated until proper help arrives.
Here are a few things your kit should include:
- A flashlight and batteries
- A first aid kit
- Hand warmers
- Bottled water
- Food and non-perishable snacks
As you approach your road trip, check the forecast for your departure date and refresh yourself on winter driving best practices.
When charting your route, use a navigation app that will guide you along well-maintained roads. In case of emergency, your app should also provide alternate routes (as does Waze) and information about what’s available at various exits (RoadAhead is one option).
One final thing to remember: stay alert behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a main cause of road fatalities. Get a good night’s rest before you leave and take frequent breaks from driving to recharge.
Keep Your Winter Road Trip On Track with the Right Insurance Policies
The tips we’ve suggested can keep your family, your home, and your vehicle safe during your winter road trip this winter.
At We Insure, our insurance experts can pair you with an auto, home, or health insurance policy to help you manage the risks you face. Interested in learning more? Find out how you can tap into the power of WE today.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.