Erie Insurance Notes Vacation Tips to Protect One’s Home and Wallet

Planning a pre-spring vacation? Before you hit the road, stopping to take a few extra precautions could keep your vacation from costing more than you’d bargained for.

“You can save quite a bit of money by talking to your insurance agent before you rent a car,” advised Mark Dombrowski of Erie Insurance. “In most cases, whatever coverage and deductibles you have on your own car would apply when you rent a car, providing you are using the car for pleasure and not for business.”

Erie Insurance recommends the following.

* If you leave your car at home, park it in the driveway to give the appearance that someone is home. Don’t leave your garage door opener in the car.

* Have a neighbor set out the trash on normal collection days and bring in mail and packages daily. Make sure they place the pile of mail away from windows. If you will be gone for an extended period, arrange to have yard work or snow taken care of.

* If you have an alarm system, make sure it is in working order and set whenever anyone leaves your house. Use motion detectors on outdoor lighting and timers for indoor lights.

* Turn phone ringers down or off and don’t change your answering machine message to announce you are out of town. Check in every few days to listen to your messages.

* If you are staying in a hotel, ask for rooms that open to interior hallways away from outside doors. Look for hotels with electronic key cards, which are reprogrammed for each new guest. Avoid taking your key card out in public places where it can be stolen.

* Do not keep money or jewelry in your checked luggage or in your hotel room. If possible, divide money up among the adults in case one is the victim of a pickpocket. Use travelers’ checks during extended vacations whenever possible.

* Keep jewelry with you or secured in the hotel safe until you need it.

Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by a break-in. With replacement cost coverage, which is only about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, damaged property is replaced without deducting for depreciation.