A trip interruption coverage add-on can help you pay for unexpected expenses following a car accident. But you’ll find some caveats for making a claim, like breaking down a specific distance away from home.
What is trip interruption coverage for car insurance?
On a car insurance policy, trip interruption helps you get food, a hotel and transportation if you’re away from home after an accident.
Trip interruption coverage is worth buying if you have comprehensive and collision coverage and you frequently travel by car. It’s an optional add-on, which means you’ll pay extra to add it to your policy. This coverage is sometimes known as additional expense or emergency accommodations coverage.
What does trip interruption cover for car insurance?
Trip interruption helps to pay for one or more of these unexpected expenses if you’re away from home and your car’s out of commission:
Meals for you and your passengers
Other incidental expenses, like public transport fare to pick up your car
If your car is a total loss, some insurers will pay for your transportation costs to return home or continue your trip. Generally, your provider will set limits, both in terms of reimbursement or the number of days you can claim trip interruption coverage.
For example, the insurer might offer you $50 a day for a rental car, $100 a day for lodging, and $50 for food. They might also limit the coverage for a set period, typically two to five days, to give you reasonable time to return home or resume your trip. These limits will be laid out in your policy.
How does trip interruption coverage work?
With most insurers, you’ll need to check these boxes for your trip interruption coverage to kick in:
Your car has been in an accident and isn’t drivable because of damage that falls under your collision or comprehensive coverage.
You’re 50 to 100 miles away from home, but this varies between insurers.
Your car will be out of service for more than 24 hours.
Some insurers will also cover you if your car has broken down because of mechanical or electrical failure and the repairs are extensive, even though this kind of incident wouldn’t be covered by your collision or comprehensive coverage. Check your policy details to find out when you’re covered.
Compare car insurance with trip interruption coverage
Trip interruption in action
You live in Manhattan, and you’re driving to the Catskill Mountains for the weekend. When you’re halfway through the trip, your engine fails and your car breaks down. You tow the car to the closest repair shop, where they tell you it will take three days to fix the car. That means you now have to stay upstate for a day longer than you anticipated. If you have trip interruption coverage, it would pay for that extra night’s accommodation, a rental car to get you to your destination as well as meals and other unexpected expenses.
What’s not covered by trip interruption?
Trip interruption coverage doesn’t apply in these situations:
Your car is disabled in an accident or incident that isn’t covered by either your comprehensive or collision insurance.
Your travel, rental car and incidental expenses exceed your policy limits. In that case, you’ll need to subsidize your policy out of your own pocket. Let’s say you have a $100 a day accommodation stipend, but you choose to stay in a 5-star hotel that costs $300 a night. You’ll have to cough up the extra $200.
Trip interruption coverage steps in to pay for unexpected expenses if you get into an accident or your car breaks down while you’re travelling. It’s one of the assorted added-value extras many providers offer, and may be worth it if you often find yourself on the road 50 to 100 miles from home. But there are firm limits to what you can claim, and you’ll pay more to add it to your policy.
Most likely. If your insurer is planning to reimburse you, they’ll probably want proof of any expenses. Be sure to ask all vendors for itemized receipts with the date of purchase.
Travel insurance steps in to cover you for trip cancellations and disruptions, luggage delays, medical expenses and emergency evacuations. But typically, it doesn’t pay for accommodation, food, and other unexpected expenses you might face if you get into an accident on the road.
Usually, yes. Most providers will extend your coverage to any US state, and increase it to match the limits of the state you’re driving in. For example, if you have $50,000 of liability coverage and you get into an accident in a state that has a liability minimum of $60,000, your policy will adjust to meet that minimum.
Yes. Many insurers offer the following coverages to policyholders who have collision and comprehensive insurance:
Rental reimbursement. Pays for a rental car if your car has to be repaired due to a covered collision or comprehensive claim.
Roadside or towing assistance. Covers the costs if you need to jumpstart your battery, change a flat tire, or have your car towed to a shop.
Full glass coverage. Repairs or replaces broken glass, generally without raising your deductible.
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
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