What kind of car insurance do you need for a road trip?

Gearing up for a road trip? The car insurance tips below have you covered. (iStock)

Road tripping is an American pastime, one that’s becoming increasingly popular amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent Cars.com survey, 57% of Americans planned to travel more than 50 miles from home for spring break this year, nearly double the number of respondents in the 2020 survey. And seven out of 10 of those surveyed planned to hit the road in their cars rather than flying to their destinations.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans planning a road trip, you need to get your car and policy ready to roll. Visit an online marketplace like Credible to compare auto insurance rates and get car insurance quotes. Shopping around for auto insurance and obtaining quote comparisons could save you money on auto repair, insurance cost and more. A new insurance company could allow drivers to save money through accident forgiveness, a driver discount or rideshare insurance discounts.


What car insurance do you need for a road trip?

While you may not need a separate car insurance plan for your upcoming road trip, you should evaluate your current insurance coverage to make sure it will adequately protect you.

1. Get enough basic coverage

Before you hit the road, check with your insurance company on coverage limits. Earl Jones, licensed insurance agent and founder of Earl L Jones Insurance Agency recommends carrying insurance coverage of $100,000 of bodily injury insurance per person and $300,000 per accident, at a minimum.

Jones advises drivers to "remember every state has different laws governing auto insurance liability limits, car insurance claims and the determination of fault."

As such, you should also consider carrying comprehensive, collision and uninsured motorist coverage. With these additional coverages in place, you’ll have peace of mind whether your car is hit by bad weather, an underinsured driver or a thief.

Need to reevaluate your coverage? Visit Credible to explore various insurance products and get auto insurance quotes.

2. Consider additional coverage options

Along with the basic coverages above, there are some policy additions that can provide even more protection for road trips.

Harmon Insurance Founder Troy Harmon said drivers can save money on their insurance cost with insurance discounts when they consider adding the four insurance products below to their auto policy:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Travel endorsements
  • Rental car coverage
  • Pet injury protection

"These optional policy riders are worth their weight in gold when unexpected things happen," Harmon said.


3. Make sure other drivers are covered

Do you plan to let someone else behind the wheel on your road trip? If so, take a look at your policy first or talk to an insurance agent to ensure you won't be riding with an uninsured motorist.

"If you are traveling with someone else that will be driving your vehicle, check whether or not you need to list them on your policy," Think Safe Insurance President Greg Martin said. "Each company has different requirements, and the requirements may change depending on whether the other driver is a roommate, relative, or friend who lives at another residence."

While you’re reviewing the terms of your policy, it could be a good time to compare coverage options from other insurance providers. Wondering how much you could save? Head over to Credible who has partners to give you free insurance quotes. It only takes two minutes.

How can I make sure my car is ready for a trip?

Lauren Fix, auto expert and Automotive Aspects CEO, lists out four easy Cs to get your vehicle ready for the road.

  • Check: Lights, tire wear, leaks, fluids, air filter, battery, tire pressure and breaks
  • Change: Wiper blades and washer fluid
  • Carry: Jumper cables, flashlight, tire inflation product, LED light source and safety triangle, protein bars and water, blanket, phone charger, paper towels with glass cleaner and extra washer fluid
  • Clean: Your vehicle monthly including the windshield, back and side windows, headlights and taillights before traveling

In addition to making sure your car is in shape, it’s important to get your insurance documents in order. You should always have some form of your insurance card on hand in case of an accident or a traffic stop. Experts recommend keeping a printed up-to-date copy of these documents in your glove compartment or another easily accessible spot. You can also download or screenshot your insurance ID card.


Get your car and coverage ready for the road

An upcoming road trip is a perfect excuse to brush up on your car insurance policy and re-evaluate your coverage. It’s also a great time to give your car some TLC, whether it needs a tune-up or a good cleaning.

By carrying sufficient coverage, preparing your car before traveling, and keeping your insurance ID and registration on hand, you’re reducing your risk on the road and protecting yourself from liability.

When looking at car insurance, many factors can affect what you pay including your marital status, driving history, credit score, driving history and more. If you’re still looking for the right policy, explore pricing and find the right auto insurance plan that fits your needs on Credible.

Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.