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Protect your trip: Commerce Department offers tips for your spring break

3/13/2018 11:35:14 AM

SAINT PAUL – Spring break is here for many Minnesota students and families. If you or your student are planning a getaway, there are insurance details to consider for your protection no matter where you’re headed. The Minnesota Department of Commerce suggests you review these important tips with traveling family members.

Review your coverage

Before any trip, review all of your insurance coverage to understand what’s covered if something happens. If your child is traveling alone, involve them in the review process. First, collect all pertinent insurance paperwork and make copies. When you share this information, explain the importance of keeping these documents a safe and accessible location.

Auto Insurance

If your child will be driving the family car, show them where you keep the insurance information in the vehicle and review emergency procedures. Make a list of contact numbers and important information for quick reference.. Include the name and phone number of the insurance company or agent, policy number and your complete contact details.

Before leaving home, you may want your child to download the WreckCheck™ app. Developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the free mobile app offers a step-by-step process to create an accident report, including photos. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents. The app is available on the iTunes app store and Google Play.

If you prefer paper, you can print a copy of an accident checklist and keep it in the car. 

Other important tips include:

  • Following an accident, call 911. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation on a highway or road.
  • Make sure to get contact and insurance information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Share your own basic contact and insurance information, but not personal information such as a Social Security number.
  • Do not admit fault.
  • Take photos or video of the scene, including all the vehicles involved, if it is safe to do so.
  • Get the accident report number and contact information for the police department that responded.

Health Insurance

Getting hurt or sick away from home can be scary. Go over your health insurance information in advance. Make sure your child knows the name of the insurance company and has a list of emergency numbers, including for your family doctor and insurance company. Also explain the meaning of basic insurance terms like co-pay and out-of-network.

Prepare by collecting important information and reviewing the following checklist.

  • Keep your health insurance ID card, a list of your drug allergies, a list of drugs you are currently taking and information about any of your medical conditions with you at all times.
  • If you need urgent medical treatment or are in an accident, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • If something happens to your child, advise them to have someone contact you. Make sure your child can provide the medical facility with your health insurance ID card.
  • If you need to see a doctor and it is not an emergency, contact the insurance company to find a local physician who is in your coverage network. The phone number for the insurance company, your policy number and co-pay information are located on the insurance ID card.
  • Keep all paperwork, including receipts from the doctor’s office, the hospital or any pharmacy if you filled any prescription.

International Travel

Generally, American auto and health insurance isn’t readily accepted outside of the United States. If you travel outside the country, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for your care, but your insurer may reimburse you with proper documentation. Consult with your insurance agent or company before you leave home to understand your coverage.

Travel insurance can be purchased if you are concerned about accidents or losses during a trip. Before buying a travel insurance policy, review the terms carefully to make sure you understand exactly what is, and is not, covered.

Group Travel

Group travel is a popular way for kids to travel away from home without a parent for the first time. If your child is traveling in a group with sponsors or chaperones, make sure you provide the group leaders with emergency contacts and insurance information.

Commerce is here to help
If you have a question or concern about your insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

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