With Easter coming up, we want to give you some handy tips to ensure you and your family are safe and well protected out on the roads.
Prepare your vehicle for the trip
Long before you load the bags into the car, you need to make sure your vehicle is safe and good to go. Book it in to your preferred mechanic for a thorough check of the battery, engine oil, tyre pressure and condition, lights, brakes, coolant and perhaps even the air-conditioning. Also check your spare tyre and that you have the proper tools to change it in the event of a flat.
You want to be sure that your vehicle is not just safe but reliable and comfortable. Should you get the windows tinted or purchase window shades? How about tyres for specific types of terrain? Do you have adequate cargo barriers to prevent bags and equipment from moving around hazardously?
Must-have item: Don’t forget your mobile device chargers! Check that your USB ports are functional and consider investing in an additional power bank.
Plan ahead but leave room for spontaneity
To get the most out of your holiday, have an idea as to what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go. Do a little research around the attractions and activities you’d enjoy and plot them on a map. But there’s definitely a great deal of appeal in “going where the road takes you”, and it can be fun to stop in at a roadside cafe for a quick meal or follow a sign to take a detour off the highway.
Insurance considerations for your road trip
It should go without saying that your vehicle (and caravan or other towed item) be covered by Comprehensive Motor Vehicle insurance. Plus, if you intend to allow a travelling companion to drive your vehicle, your policy must either allow any driver to drive your car or you must nominate specific people to be covered under your policy.
Check your rego to be absolutely sure that it’s up to date so that your Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is current.
Consider whether you may need to add to your car insurance policy windscreen cover or free car rental, towing and even temporary accommodation in the event of your car being damaged or broken down. Avoid doubling up where your roadside assistance policy may already cover these items. Also check whether you would benefit from upgrading your roadside assistance to extend towing distances if you’ll be travelling in remote locations.
Definitely look into insurance for your caravan or camping trailer too. Losses on these items can be costly so it’s wise to cover them too. Typically, caravan insurance policies will include cover for collisions, fire and storm, theft, vandalism and accidental damage, flood, personal items, towing and storage costs, emergency repairs, food spoilage, temporary accommodation, liability and some even offer new-for-old replacement.
You might also want to check if you are insured through your Contents policy for losses such as to camera gear, electronics, sporting equipment or cash. For that matter, is your Home & Contents policy in order? If your home is damaged by a weather event, accident, robbery or vandalism while you’re away, will any inclusions cover your speedy return?
Are you taking the family dog? Pet insurance will come in very handy if your fur baby gets sick or injured and you need to consult a vet.
A Domestic Travel Insurance policy usually covers cancellation costs, medical evacuation expenses, personal liability, loss of luggage and personal effects, rental vehicle insurance excess and Coronavirus travel costs.
Top tip: Keep a record of all applicable insurance policies handy while on your trip. It could be a digital file stored in the cloud or a folder of papers you take with you. This will help you know who to call without delay and you’ll have all the policy details at your fingertips.
Bonus tip: If you have an insurance broker who manages your insurance portfolio, they will be able to take care of everything for you, making any stressful situation far less worrying.
Beware of breaking the law
Road rules vary from state to state so you need to be aware of those that apply where you’ll be travelling. For instance, you can sleep in your vehicle in NSW and the ACT in certain areas where parking is permitted whereas in Queensland, you can only do so at a designated campground. U-turn rules are not the same in every state and in Melbourne, you have to be extra vigilant around tram lines. Also remember that at Easter, not only are the roads much busier and more hazardous but double demerits and heftier fines may apply for offences on the roads.
Pack a safety kit
Aside from obvious first aid kit provisions, it’s also a great idea to keep a safety kit in the boot. It should include a torch and batteries, reflective triangles, a reflective vest, a fire extinguisher, duct tape, a raincoat, some tools, matches or a lighter and a roll of toilet paper.
Keep calm and – don’t always – carry on!
Avoid relying on coffee and/or energy drinks to keep driving. Each can cause crash-and-burn, making you tired and unfocused, a huge risk on the roads. Take a break every two hours. Stop at a roadhouse, use the facilities and stretch your legs.
Wind the window down occasionally to allow fresh air to circulate which is good for brain function. Stay hydrated and eat when you’re hungry. Don’t forget to look around and enjoy the scenery.
Above all else, relax and have fun … Australia is one of the world’s most coveted road trip destinations and you have it all in your backyard! If we can help make your road trip more pleasant, knowing that you are covered for associated risks, get in touch today!