Updated: November 2015
When it comes to vacation accommodations, there are many choices out there, from big-name hotels to bed-and-breakfasts. One option many people choose is the vacation rental — renting a house or condo for a week on holiday.
Many factors come into play when you're planning a vacation at a rented home or condo, such as saving money by cooking in the rental property's kitchen or the cost difference between rentals and hotels. One other factor you may want to consider when exploring your options involves the insurance implications of staying in a rented house or condo. What if something happens to your personal belongings there? What happens if someone gets hurt? And, what if the property is damaged while you're there? Read on for some helpful information:
If you have a homeowners insurance policy for your house or condo or a renters insurance policy for the apartment or rental home where you permanently live, then you likely have personal property coverage. This is a type of coverage that protects your personal belongings against losses from certain perils, up to a certain dollar limit.
This coverage typically protects your belongings whether they are at your home, in your car or, say, on vacation with you in a Colorado mountain town. However, it's important to know that your homeowners policy may apply lower coverage limits to your belongings if they are damaged, lost or destroyed away from your home. So, you should refer to the specifics of your policy.
The liability coverage of your homeowners or renters policy also typically protects you if you are liable for accidental damages that may occur while you rent a vacation property, although you should check the coverage on your specific policy to make sure. As for damage to the rented home and its contents caused by circumstances beyond your control, like a windstorm, that responsibility typically falls on the property owner's insurance policy.
Before you rent a vacation home, you may want to ask what type of insurance the owner has. It's a good idea to make sure that the owner has a homeowners policy with liability coverage, in case you or someone in your party is injured on the property due to the owner's negligence.
The owner also likely will have a policy that covers the dwelling, as well as other structures on the property, against fire, a windstorm or other types of losses. If a covered peril causes damage while you're at the property, and you aren't at fault, the property owner's policy will likely cover it.
When in doubt, before your trip, reach out to your insurance professional, who can help you review your policies, so you can determine if you are covered and help make recommendations for your coverage needs.
There are many types of vacation properties out there, but waterfront vacation homes, in particular, can offer additional risks. In addition to taking safety precautions to keep your family safe at the lake or beach, you should also think about protecting any recreational equipment you bring along, such as a boat, by making sure you have adequate insurance in place.
In addition, you'll have to comply with state safety requirements in the location where you're boating, which may differ significantly from those in the area where you live. Review local and state rules governing your boat and its safety equipment and make sure to abide by them. The U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center publishes a guide that covers federal recreational boating requirements, plus safety tips and equipment suggestions.
Vacation travel should be the best time of the year. A little planning can help you create the pleasant memories that make your vacation one to remember.