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September 2010

Brokendown car

According to AAA, almost 35 million Americans will hit the road this Labor Day. Vacationers will gas up their sedans, minivans, mopeds and station wagons and hopefully get to their destination without having their automobile sputter out on the side of the road. 

Want to avoid spending the last celebration of the summer in a repair shop? Then be prepared!

Follow these road rules before heading out on your trip:

  • Check your battery and replace it if needed. Your battery may not make it through your trip if:
    • Your vehicle starts slower than normal
    • Your inside lights dim or flicker
    • Equipment doesn't function properly
  • Check the coolant. If where you're going is a lot warmer or cooler than where you're coming from,  have a mechanic check the coolant's mixture of antifreeze and water to make sure the car is properly protected.
  • Check the tires. Tires that are not inflated properly can cause extra heat buildup that can lead to a blowout at high speeds. Follow the instructions for checking tire pressure in your owner's manual.

Then, have a safe and happy Labor Day!


Facebook launched its new geo-location app "Facebook Places" last week, and many are saying it could change the way we travel. The feature lets users "check-in" at locations like movie theaters, restaurants, and landmarks and broadcast their location with friends.

So, you're on vacation in Italy and you broadcast that you're headed to a restaurant in Naples. A friend recognizes the name of the restaurant and says she's been there as well, and you should skip the tripe and try the Osso Bucco. Great tip, right?

Or, you can help fellow travelers by adding notes with tips to getting around a location, or to avoid it altogether. Plus, if you use Topguest, the check-in program for frequent travelers that's now integrated with Places, you can earn rewards if you use Facebook to check-in.


Travel insurance may not be what anyone wants to think about when they're planning a trip, but for anyone that recently planned to travel through a UK airport, there were probably a few tense moments this week when they wish they had.

A travel crisis was averted earlier this week when British airport operator BAA settled with ground staff who were threatening to strike. A strike could have closed major UK airports, crippling both domestic travel in the UK and international flight routes.

So how can you protect your investment when your trip is threatened by something out of your control, like a transportation strike?

Travel Insurance.


USI Affinity's Travel Insurance Select with Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits can cover your trip cost when you cancel or interrupt a trip for covered reasons. With even our basic policy, the cost of your trip will be refunded in the event of a transportation strike.

For more information or to receive a free quote, visit


Nothing can ruin a trip like getting to your destination without your luggage. If its arrival is delayed, or the airline sent your bag off on its own little adventure, you could be temporarily without necessary toiletries or need to replace all of your clothing.

And although many airlines may eventually reimburse you for a portion of your loss, it could be too little too late. It's best to be prepared with travel insurance, like USI Affinity's Travel Insurance Select with baggage loss and delay coverage. With this policy:

  • If your baggage, passport or visa is lost, stolen or damaged, you will be reimbursed up to $2000. You're also covered for any unauthorized charges to your credit card if your card is stolen.
  • If your baggage is delayed or misdirected for more that 24 hours, you'll be reimbursed for any necessary replacement items you purchase for up to $500. 

For more information or to receive a free quote, visit