Travel With Gear & Gadgets? You Need To Read This

floater policy

If you own or travel with valuables or gear — even one single item — listen up, as this will be one of the most important posts you read on Jessie on a Journey. Last year something happened to me that I did not write about on my blog as I didn’t want to cause any further issues, but I think enough time has passed to bring it up. The main reason I started doing Airbnb in NYC and renting out my second room was because the actual non-Airbnb roommate, *Bob, I had before started physically threatening me, screaming in my face and calling me names I would lose readers over writing aloud, to the point where I had to call the police for help.

So, Jessie, why didn’t you kick him out right away?

I tried! Not so easy in New York. I learned you can literally have someone threaten to kill you and still have to go through the whole lengthy eviction process, and give them 30 days notice.

All ended up being okay in the end  — and I’ve absolutely loved all my Airbnb guests — but during the ordeal I felt Bob might be a bit of a loose cannon. I decided getting renter’s insurance in case he tried anything crazy was a smart idea. I’m sure rates differ depend on your living situation and zip code, but through State Farm I paid $127 for the year to protect my apartment as well as myself and others if hurt on the premises.

This is when I learned about their “floater policy,” a term I’d never heard of before. Basically, for an extra $81 per year I could insure all of my gear and valuables — not only if they were damaged or stolen from my apartment, but if I left them in a cab or they were swiped from my shoulder bag.

Which is exactly what happened to me last weekend. My friends and I had a full day planned. First we’d start at a food festival before heading to brunch at Lantern (yes, we like food). Next it was on to a swanky derby at The Gansevoort party complete with Mint Juleps. Then we’d stuff our faces with burger next door at Tavern 29 before a cocktail stop at The NoMad’s Elephant Bar before a bit of late night dancing at Beauty Bar.

OBVIOUSLY we’d be having so much fun that I should DEFINITELY bring my $400 GoPro.

floater policy

Enjoying the derby party (iPhone phone). I wonder if my GoPro was even still at my bag at this point?

Looking back on this planning, I’m not quite sure what I was thinking, especially as I was carrying an open tote bag with no zipper. Needless to say, by the time I got back from my 16-hour, two-borough crawl my GoPro was gone.

Having spent time at 6+ different venues also didn’t help with the process of retracing my steps. Still, I tried. I called each venue three times — frantically asking if anyone had found a GoPro, which, apparently not everyone has heard of (a what?!) — before admitting defeat. I guess I’d have to pay up and just buy a new one. Served me right for my stupidity.

That’s when I remembered. I had a floater policy that insured my gear. I figured I’d need to pay some kind of deductible that might be more than the GoPro was even worth, or file a police report of some kind, but it was actually a very simple process. As in, I have a harder time returning jeans.

I emailed the State Farm agent whom I’d sent all my pricing and receipts to originally for the floater policy. She asked me to resend that (not sure why; but definitely make sure to save all correspondence emails with receipts in a folder) with a link to the product. The next day, a check was in the mail.

Seriously. If you’re a traveler with gear — this also covers you on the road — you should have insurance on it. Even if you only travel with just a laptop it would be worth it. I know it seems like you, oh organized and intelligent you, would never misplace your gadgets or allow your laptop to be stolen, but we’re all human and it happens. Trust me, I’m still young enough to have an invincibility complex, despite the fact this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to replacing lost and stolen valuables.

In the past I’ve always taken the 1-2 year policies with the gear companies themselves, paying for every piece individually. This simplified that process and made it more budget-friendly..

I can’t vouch for pricing and simplicity for every office and case, but it’s worth looking into, even with your own insurance company. Like I stated above, I’ve been using State Farm, specifically Paul Savino’s office on Long Island, since I was 16, and my parents and siblings have been using them even longer. My GoPro reimbursement check even had a hand-written sticky note attached from Paul telling me to call if I had any questions. We’ve built a relationship with the agents here, so this also may have been in my favor.

What I can say for sure is there is an option for insuring your valuables, both home and away, that is affordable and worth looking into — before something happens.

Note: I am NOT in anyway compensated or in partnership with State Farm. I’ve used them for car insurance since I was 16, so they were naturally the company I turned to for this, as well.

Speaking of gear, looking to update your work gear? Here’s how to pick the best travel laptop.

How do you insure your valuables at home and on the road? Have you ever tried a floater policy? Please share in the comments below.

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