Inauguration Travel Tips

By Rstaib Posted : 01/12/2009

Are you planning to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, or do you know someone who is? Hopefully you already have lodging and transportation arranged, because it may be very difficult to find them at this point. However, if you thought those issues and the crowds were your only concerns, you could be mistaken.

Before you jump in the car or catch a plane, take a few minutes to make sure your trip is stress-free.

If you thought transportation, lodging and the crowds were your only concerns, you could be mistaken.

Leave your valuables at home
Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to the District, it's a good idea to travel light. Bring only the electronic equipment you can carry comfortably and never leave anything in your car, your hotel room or a private residence. A recent announcement from the District of Columbia Insurance Commissioner urged people renting out their homes for the inauguration to contact their homeowners insurance company to see if they would be covered. If you're considering renting out your home, remember that homeowners insurance may not cover a one-time rental of your house. That means that people who are renting a private residence should take extra care about what they leave in the home.

Make sure your car insurance covers out-of-state travel
Traveling from state to state doesn't usually raise any issues for your car insurance company. Policies in most states will automatically provide you with the legally-required insurance for other states. However, laws can vary by state, so be sure to check that your policy will cover you when you travel. For example, some Massachusetts policies only cover travel within the state. Also, think about public transportation once you arrive. It's easier and safer.

Buy rental car insurance if you have no other coverage
Most car insurance policies will cover a vacation rental car, as long as you have comprehensive and collision coverage. If you don't have car insurance, you might think about purchasing a non-owner's policy that will cover you when driving other people's cars. Also, your credit card company may cover damage to the rental car. Finally, no matter what insurance you have or purchase, remember that coverage will not be extended to a driver who is not listed on the rental contract.

The decision about whether to purchase waivers or the rental company's insurance is one of the more confusing and often asked insurance questions. For more details, see our article, "Should You Buy Rental Car Insurance?"

Get travel insurance when you fly or have health issues
Travel insurance can be a lifesaver when unexpected issues arise. Depending on the type of policy you buy, it can provide coverage for your belongings, emergency medical care, accidental death, and trip cancellation. Although many of these coverages can be purchased elsewhere, possibly for less, it's important to make sure that your other insurance policies will give you the coverage you expect. Credit card companies will often offer or automatically provide a small amount of travel insurance, but it may not match exactly what you need.

Travel insurance can pay for lost or damaged luggage and other personal possessions, hospital stays and medical treatment, lodging for a trip extended due to a medical emergency, and travel expenses for a nurse to accompany you on a return trip if needed. Not all of these coverages are offered with all types of travel insurance, and the amount the insurance will pay can vary as well, so it's important to read and understand the contract.

Even if an injury sustained is relatively minor, it can result in significant travel problems. Airlines and other transportation carriers can elect to not allow you to travel, or require permission from a doctor before they will allow you on board. This alone can add significant unexpected additional expenses to your trip, and is just another reason to consider travel insurance, especially if you're traveling a great distance.

If you are planning on a trip to the inauguration, we hope it is safe and enjoyable. Take lots of pictures!

Do you have any questions or comments? Please let us know.

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