Top Insurance Tips to Protecting Your Car While Tailgating

Now that we are finally in the wondrous glow of football season, it's time to get out there and see your favorite team in action. But, if you are the type who likes to spend your days (or mornings) tailgating, make sure you are prepared before making your way to the stadium — and I don't just mean bringing enough hamburger patties for the crew, either. Below, you'll find a few helpful tips to make sure you, your vehicle, and your insurance policy are ready:

Make Sure You Have the Proper Coverage

One of the most common mistakes tailgaters make when heading out to the big game is not having the proper coverage for their vehicular pride and joy. Certain policies don't cover non-driving accidents, or personal property stolen from your vehicle. Remember, crashes aren't the only things that can cause significant damage to your car. Even an errant "Hail Mary" from one of your buddies can dent a fender or bust out a window. Also, leaving the game in bumper-to-bumper traffic often results in fender benders and collisions, so make sure your car is has enough coverage in the event you are in an accident leaving the game, too.

Burn Your Hotdogs, Not Your Car

Nothing ruins a day at the stadium quite like watching your trusty tailgate-mobile go up in flames. With that mental image still fresh in your mind, make sure to keep your grill (no matter the size) a safe distance from your car. Lastly, before packing up, make sure all charcoals and embers have gone out (and disposed of properly), and that the grill has had time to cool before you decide to pack it away in the back of your car. And finally, always bring a fire extinguisher, just in case things do go horribly wrong.

Don't Leave Valuables in You Vehicle

So, you've finished your tailgate and are ready to make your way into the stadium for kickoff. But before you go, make sure you have all your valuables on your person, or safely locked in the trunk or glove box. Parking lots are notorious targets for car break-ins and theft, even if the lot is well patrolled. Some auto insurance policies won't cover personal items that are left inside the car, so that's another reason to tote your stuff along or just leave it at home. Lastly, don't forget to lock your car before you rush off to get to the stadium.

Use Common Sense

Beyond big things like not burning your car down to the ground and getting your stuff stolen, there are a number of little things that are easy to forget during you tailgate experience that can result in headaches and frustration. When it comes to indulging and food and drinks, keep them away from your vehicle. Spending time cleaning your favorite pre-game meal out of, or off, your car is no way to spend your pregame. Also, if you plan on running any electronic devices off of your vehicle, or if you plan on using your vehicle's stereo system to jam to your "classic" Jock Jams CD, make sure to bring a pair of jumper cables along in case you run down your battery while pumping up the tunes. And, if you are brave enough to tailgate at an opponent's stadium, make sure not to put too many giant, obnoxious logos of your hometown team on your vehicle, or else you may fall victim to the wrath of an overzealous fan(s).

Don't Drink and Drive

One of the fastest ways to increase your car insurance premium – or even severely injure yourself, your passengers, and others – is to drink and drive. Even if you just get caught leaving the stadium after a few too many drinks, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in fines, not to mention the possibility of losing your license.

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