Are you more aotien than juillettiste? The big departure on vacation is soon. However, before forgetting everything for a few weeks, it is better to prepare yourself and anticipate the inconvenience. Here is a non-exhaustive checklist of the 10 things to do before leaving.
Protect your home
1 – Prevent claims – Coming back from vacation and being at home with your feet in the water: it’s hard to be more unpleasant. To avoid this kind of mishap, there is a simple solution, which must be implemented before leaving: cut off the water supply. This is all the more important because in the event of water damage in your absence, you are not sure of being compensated: many home insurance policies provide for warranty restrictions when adequate preventive measures have not been taken. In general, insurers will therefore expect you to shut off the water, or even drain the pipes and devices such as the hot water tank, as soon as you are away for more than 3 days.
The advice obviously also applies to gas and, as far as possible, to electricity. Not always easy, especially if there is food left in your freezer. But it is advisable to unplug everything that can be unplugged, especially devices sensitive to lightning: television, computer, internet box, etc.
2 – Prevent burglaries – Yes the number of burglaries recorded by the Minister of the Interior in 2020 is down, in particular because of the different confinements, the zero risk does not exist. Better, a few parades to reduce the risks. The first: simulate as much as possible a presence at home. For this, we can rely on relatives and ask them to collect the mail or come and open the shutters or turn on the lights from time to time. Certain home automation devices can also simulate this presence. On the other hand, it is not advisable to leave its shutters open at all times: again, this can lead to a restriction of guarantees on the side of your insurer. You can also choose to rent your accommodation during your absence: you will thus limit the risks of visits, while benefiting from an inflow of money.
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Another tip: Avoid leaving public traces of your absence as much as possible. So do not indicate that you went on vacation on your telephone answering machine, and if possible wait until your return to post pictures on social networks.
Prepare your trip
3 – Check your car insurance – Before going on vacation, make sure your car is in good working order: check the condition and the tire pressure, if necessary have it serviced. A breakdown or a crash is however still possible. Remember to check that you have an assistance contract. This guarantee is often included in your auto insurance, but it can also be optional. Consult your policy before leaving, which will also allow you to know exactly what the guarantee covers – if it includes, for example, a kilometer deductible – and how to trigger it in the event of a problem.
Reminder: if you go with a caravan or trailer, you must also insure them.
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4 – Train or plane: protect yourself from alas – Are you going by train or plane? Here too, you can suffer from hazards: delays, cancellations, loss of luggage, etc. Damages the consequences of which are generally not covered by your home insurance. They are, on the other hand, by the insurance packages included with your bank card, provided that this one is premium (Visa Premier, Gold Mastercard and beyond). Be careful, however: these guarantees are triggered only if you pay by this means all or part – depending on the banks – of your trip. So, if you have a premium card, use it to pay for your train or plane tickets.
Train, plane, formalities … what arrangements with the Covid?
The usual insurances such as those of bank cards exclude the Covid from their guarantees. In the event of a hard blow, the SNCF has set up a specific system. For tickets until August 29, the terms of exchange and refund have been relaxed: up to 3 days before departure, tickets are 100% refundable.
In Air France, any trip booked up to the end of September 2021 can be changed (destination, dates or both) free of charge. If the flight is canceled due to the outbreak, you will be reimbursed. Transavia, the subsidiary of the French aviator, adopted the same policy. In EasyJet, the flexibility guarantee makes it possible to modify a flight up to two hours before take-off by the end of September. Conversely, since the end of 2020, Ryanair has not applied any particular policy. For specific insurances, the location of the vacation and the amounts involved may influence your decision.
In France, from the beginning of August the health pass may be required to take the plane, the train, see a movie in the cinema or go to a restaurant. Finally, check until the last minute the conditions for entering the territory in the event of travel to a foreign country: vaccine, PCR test, quarantine … This will save you a bad surprise at the last moment. The websites of the companies, that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs or that of the embassy of the country concerned in France are often quickly updated.
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avoid inconvenience at your vacation spot
5 – Make sure you are covered in the event of damage to your rental – Have you opted for a seasonal rental, a professional rental company or a private owner? Your comprehensive home insurance normally covers your liability in the event of a problem: if you break something, for example. However, check this point before leaving. And don’t hesitate to take a duplicate of your contract with you. Another tip: do not take the inventory of fixtures lightly, and think of reading the meters.
6 – Check that your credit card limits are sufficient – Who says vacation usually says exceptional expenses. Your ability to use your bank card, however, is not unlimited. It is subject to payment limits – over 30 sliding days – and withdrawals – over 7 sliding days in general -, the default amounts of which vary from a few hundred euros for entry-level cards to several thousand for premium cards. Once these amounts are reached, your bank card will be blocked, even if you have enough money in your account to cover the expense.
Before leaving, therefore check where you are, in your customer area or your mobile application. And if you fear an overrun, ask your bank for a temporary increase in the limit. This option is generally free and can sometimes be activated, independently and in real time, from your computer or mobile. By the way, also check the validity deadline of your bank card. And remember to catch the news if it happens lucky.
If you go abroad
7 – Call your bank – Among the parameters used by your bank to prevent credit card fraud, the location of payments figures prominently. To avoid an unnecessary alert and a risk of blocking, it is therefore strongly recommended to inform your bank of your departure abroad. Not necessarily if you are going to a neighboring country (Spain, England, Italy, etc.) but imperatively if you are leaving Europe, in particular to go to Asia or Africa.
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8 – Check that you are covered in the event of damage to yourself and others – You cycle along a beach and accidentally knock over a peak. To avoid having to bear the medical costs caused by the accident – particularly high in a country like the United States – two guarantees apply: the assumption of responsibility for your medical costs, and those of the third party involved.
If you are traveling to Europe, consider getting the European health insurance card which will allow you to benefit from support. Outside Europe, it is advisable to take out an assistance contract, providing for reimbursement of medical costs incurred and, if necessary, medical repatriation. Guarantees that can be included in your bank card insurance: check!
Regarding the damage caused to others, it is essential to have cover for your foreign civil liability. It is sometimes included by default in multi-risk home insurance, but is most often optional. Check this point before you go. Before subscribing, however, check that you are not covered, again, by your bank card: foreign liability is in fact commonly present in premium card insurance packages.
9 – Anticipate the cost of payments and withdrawals in foreign currencies – Leuro has made traveling in Europe much easier: no more need to change currency, no more additional costs on payments or card withdrawals. It is different when you leave the euro area, including Great Britain and any other country that has not adopted the single currency. There, you will need to pay a fee to your bank with each payment or withdrawal. Before leaving, check their amounts. And, if necessary, get yourself a card limiting these costs. There are more and more of them on the market, for example at Boursorama, N26, Revolut or even Aumax for me. And some are free without conditions.
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10 – Check that you can use your mobile – Never without my mobile! It is becoming more and more difficult to do without your smartphone, including when traveling. To make a reservation, book a hotel or check the status of your account and contact your bank in the event of a problem. Most packages offered with a smartphone offer a quarto of data, calls and SMS abroad at no extra charge. This is the case of Orange, SFR, Free or Bouygues Telecom.
Nevertheless check yours, especially at low cost Sosh, B & You or Red by SFR. In the event of an unpleasant surprise, operators usually offer options abroad.
MoneyVox / VM with Samuel Auffray / July 2021 / Initial article published on 7/4/19