Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • If you’re going on a road trip in your vehicle, you need to review your insurance to see if there are gaps
  • Your existing motor vehicle liability insurance will follow you no matter what state you’re going to be driving in
  • Since you’ll be exposed to more potential losses, you may want to consider raising your limits for added protection
  • Your insurance will only protect you when you’re driving on US soil and a few miles south of the Mexican border
  • You do have the option to add physical damage coverage to your car before your trip if you don’t already carry it

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to go on a family vacation.

The warm weather and beautiful scenery all around the country are what inspires couples and families to leave their homes and get away from all of their daily stressors.

Everyone needs to break up the monotony of real life and that’s why around one-third of Americans will take a family vacation that’s more than 50 miles from home this year.

Part of the reason that annual mileage is on the rise is that 64 percent of travelers are skipping the airport and taking road trips.

Enter your zip code above and compare car insurance quotes and find the coverage you need for the best price.

Taking Your Car on a Road Trip


If you have a reliable car and you don’t mind putting mileage on it, you can cut out rental costs for a week or a month by driving your car to your destination.

Here are some things to check before you head out on your next adventure:

  • Schedule a checkup for oil change services and other basic maintenance
  • Check your battery charge and clean the terminals with baking soda
  • Inspect your brake pads to make sure they aren’t worn
  • Check your tire pressure and look for wear, bulges, and tears
  • Bring a portable GPS system with you
  • Check the maximum load rating to be sure you’re not bringing too much cargo

You shouldn’t just hit the road without looking over the vehicle and inspect it for potential problems.

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Check Your Personal Car Insurance Limits

After you’re done with the vehicle preparations, you should move on to reviewing your car insurance.

Your car insurance does cover you while you’re going on road trips in your vehicle.

You need to look at your liability limits to make sure they are up to snuff. If you don’t, one accident could put more than just a damper on your trip; it could affect your financial future as well.

What happens if you carry low liability limits?


Every state has different insurance requirements. Some countries have higher limit requirements than others because of how common auto claims are.

When you’re a resident in a state that has a compulsory insurance law, you must carry at least the liability limits that the state official requires or you’ll be penalized.

You might want to see what’s required in each state, but you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that as long as you’re insured.

How much liability insurance should you have?

It’s already dangerous to carry low limits of liability when you’re driving around your home, but when you’re driving on unfamiliar roads, it’s even riskier.

Instead of keeping your low-limit policy, you should consider at least raising your liability limits while you’re on the road.

If you are involved in an at-fault accident with several cars, you could be on the hook for paying for hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage.

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Should you have other coverage types?

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It’s not fun to get stuck with your repair bills after you have an at-fault accident.

Since you’re exposed to more risk while you’re on a road trip, you should consider adding comprehensive and collision to your policy if you don’t already have it.

Other options you might want to consider include:

  • Uninsured motorist protection
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Rental car coverage

Every state has statistics on the percentage of drivers on the roads that don’t have insurance. Nationwide, around 12.6 percent of drivers are uninsured.

You should consider adding Uninsured Motorist Protection to your policy.

It can help you cover out-of-network costs and high co-pays even when you have health insurance.

Coverage When You Rent a Car


When you want to preserve your car’s value, you can rent a car to drive on your road trip. Your rental is covered under your insurance, but it might be wise to buy supplemental coverage through the rental company.

You should never go on a road trip without doing a vehicle checkup and an insurance checkup.

By looking at your limits, adding the right drivers to your policy, and updating your coverage, you can avoid claims nightmares.

Use our online insurance quoting tool and get quotes for updated coverage on your car to see if you can save money before your trip.