Spring break comes at different times for different colleges. Usually, it takes place any time between early and late March. This year, the most popular destinations are still the same old favorites: Texas, Mexico, Florida, Las Vegas, New Orleans and California. Like most college students planning their long-awaited spring break trip, you are probably not be thinking about all the things that may go wrong while vacationing. You are most likely more worried about looking good in a bathing suit and having a blast. The problem is that spring break trips usually involve large amounts of alcohol, often dangerously high amounts of it. Maybe you don’t plan to drink very much, but if you do, will you be able to afford the medical bills if you end up getting really sick or have an accident because you’re impaired? Hopefully, you have health insurance though your parents or through the college you’re attending. However, your health is not the only thing at risk during this boozy tradition. See what else you need to be very wary of when partying this Spring Break:
Is Your Medical Insurance Valid?
It’s always a good idea to call your insurance carrier and tell them about your travel arrangements to see if you’re covered at your destination. Some health insurance carriers charge higher rates or don’t cover you at all if you travel outside your health network. Some don’t cover you if you travel outside of the U.S., not even Mexico or Canada. If you are traveling outside of the U.S. and its territories, you may have to pay for your medical expenses with cash or a credit card.
If you end up with alcohol poisoning or any other alcohol-related condition that brings you to an emergency room, you may not be covered by your health insurance. Some insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for incidents in which you willfully put yourself at risk. Having a good time can easily turn into a huge debt in these instances.
Are You Taking a Road Trip?
If you’re saving money on airfare and driving with friends to a Spring Break destination, you should find out what your general auto insurance will and will not cover. For instance, some policies offer a reduced level of coverage when you’re driving in a state in which you do not live. Or, if you have really cheap car insurance and get into an accident, your minimum liability coverage may not suffice in the state you’re visiting.
Luckily, most reputable car insurance companies have a clause that increases your coverage limits according to those set by the states you’re traveling in or through. All it takes is a phone call to find out what kind of protection and limits you have on your policy. It may not be a bad idea to increase those limits temporarily.
Speak with an Insurance Specialist at (888) 772-4247 and tell them about your plans and concerns. They can guide you through the steps of making sure you have the protection you need, especially when you’re far from home.
Another concern is if you’re allowing a friend to drive your car for part of the trip. Your car insurance will probably cover you even if you have an accident while your friend is driving your car. Even if you don’t live with the friend(s) who will be co-driving to your Spring Break destination, you will likely be covered for liability because your friends are considered Permissive Users. If you do have an accident and end up having to file a claim, however, it is your auto insurance rates that will go up so be careful who you allow to take the wheel. Also, make sure everyone taking turns driving is sober. There is nothing worse than being arrested for drunk driving or worse yet having a collision as a result of drunk driving during a fun vacation.
Are You Driving into Mexico?
Mexico is warm all year round and it is a popular place to vacation among many Americans. Vacationing in Mexico is tricky, however, when it comes to health insurance and car insurance. The laws about auto insurance have changed over the past few years and it’s important to note before filling up the tank and taking off towards sunset.
Don’t wait until you get into Mexico to find out that you have to buy it because it’ll be very expensive there and in all the kiosks that line the way to the border. For a full checklist for your road trip to Mexico from California, and to find out more about Mexican Insurance, click here. Don’t try to beat the system and not buy it. If you get into an accident and aren’t carrying the right insurance, you could you land in jail!
Again, check with your medical insurance carrier before you leave to find out if you’ll be covered for the duration of your trip. It’s not unheard of to get sick from the water in Mexico. Plus, there are always potentials for harm and illness anywhere you go. Note that if you are not covered, you will be responsible for your doctors’ bills.
Should You Insure Your Trip?
Many people aren’t even aware that Travel Insurance exists or what it can do for them. You can buy a policy for either a domestic or international trip. A Comprehensive Travel Insurance plan covers trip cancellation, baggage protection, trip interruption, medical coverage, emergency assistance and a whole host of other things. It’s usually between 4% and 8% of the total cost of the trip but may save you tens of thousands of dollars if you get really sick or something completely unforeseen happens.
Chances are that if you’re going on a spring break trip with friends, you will be exposed to some high-risk activity and should seriously consider buying insurance before you leave. Many Travel Insurance policies will cover medical expenses at any hospital. Not to be pessimistic, but we all know that you are always at greater risk of accidents and injuries in alcohol-driven situations. So, play hard but play it safe. And make sure you’re covered wherever you go!
Common Spring Break Disasters
- Getting separated from your friends can be really scary, especially if you don’t have your phone with you or it runs out of charge. Always keep your friends aware of where you are going if you are separating from the crowd. There’s nothing worse than worrying all night that a friend got whisked away by a serial killer when they are just visiting at another friend’s hotel room.
- Leaving your friends because you met someone really cute is probably not the safest thing to do. If you do it anyway, keep in touch with friends. Better yet, invite the new friend over to your turf, where your friends can ensure your safety. There’s always safety in numbers.
- Anytime you go out to eat or drink with friends, do not leave your drink unattended. Unfortunately, there are very sick people out there who like to spike drinks, especially when it comes to young women. To avoid having one of the popular date rape drugs slipped into your drink, take your drink with you to the bathroom. Whatever you do, do not leave it at the table without at least asking a friend to watch it for you.
- Drinking too much is always a terrible thing to do, especially when you are far from home and in an unfamiliar setting. You can easily lose self-control, motor functions and you may make some very unwise decisions you’ll later regret. You never want to be drunk if you are on a date with someone you just met on vacation. You certainly don’t want to get behind the wheel.
- Getting robbed is quite common during Spring Break trips. For one, most revelers are often intoxicated, which makes people less careful with their personal belongings. It’s not very hard to steal a drunk person’s purse. It only takes minutes for the thief to make lots of charges on a credit card or to deplete a debit account. Also, if there is enough identification in the wallet fraudulent accounts could be opened up in your name, which can affect your credit. It’ll also take quite a long time to prove the charges were fraudulent in order to restore your credit. Some people use a money belt around their waste instead of a purse when they go out. That may not be a bad idea so you don’t have to worry when you go out dancing!
- Even though credit cards carry more risk than a debit card, many people travel with them. If you’re traveling outside of the country and plan to charge everything on your cards, it’s important to contact the credit card company first and let them know where you’re traveling. Otherwise, you may run the risk of the company assuming your card was stolen and all the new charges are fraudulent. They may cancel the card without much notice if they think you’re being robbed. If you’re using your parents’ credit card or have one of your own that you plan to use as your main source of money, you could be stuck without a means of paying for anything if you don’t call ahead of time!
- You don’t really need to take all of your electronic devices, do you? It’s always best to take something portable. While most hotels are safe, there’s never a guarantee that your things won’t go missing. Don’t bring expensive jewelry and anything else that’s not replaceable. Do you really need all this stuff on Spring Break, anyway?
- Stomach bugs are pretty common in many Spring Break destinations outside of the U.S. It’s always wise to stick to bottled water and avoid any from the tap. To be safe, even brush your teeth with bottled water. Don’t forget to ask for all your drinks without any ice. There’s nothing worse than being sick and trying to find a doctor when you’re far from home. Also, as noted above, your health insurance may not cover you at your vacation destination.
- Bring common medications for flu or cold. Shopping for medicine that may be in a different language is never fun.
- Even though all your friends may want to get a deep, dark (and dangerous) tan, be wary of the sun between 11 and two p.m., when the rays are strongest. You can have fun without frying yourself and still look great. Your skin will thank you for slathering on the sunscreen, even if you’re hitting the beach at 2pm. You’ll still get that sun-kissed look without the risk of developing wrinkles or, worse yet, skin cancer.
- Don’t drink so much that you ruin your entire vacation. Some Spring Break revelers start drinking even before they feel the sand between their toes. If you don’t pace yourself, you could get sick very early on and spend the rest of the time in bed due to dehydration. Remember: It’s probably hot wherever it is that you’re visiting, which greatly increases the risk of serious dehydration. Landing yourself in the hospital would seriously put a damper on your vacation. Remember to enjoy your eggs in the morning after drinking too. The taurine and cysteine in eggs helps flush out the toxins more quickly. Taurine has even been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a heavy night of drinking.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.