Summer Road Trip Graphic June

Handyman Chip Wade offers DIY tips for safe summer travel and home renovations

June 23, 2015 - From hitting the road to tackling a DIY project at home, Americans are ready for new adventures this summer, according to the Liberty Mutual Insurance New Beginnings Report, a national survey of 2,000 U.S. adults.  More than half of Americans (56 percent) are planning a road trip before Labor Day, with a third of those (31 percent) headed to a new destination this summer. On the home front, one-third of Americans are also planning a home renovation this year with the majority planning to do the work before autumn.

To ensure these experiences are stress-free and safe, preparedness is key according to Liberty Mutual’s New Beginnings expert and DIY handyman, Chip Wade.

“Summer for my family has always been a time to relax and unwind, but for many Americans, it can also be a time to seek out new experiences whether it be embarking on a road trip to a new destination or taking a ‘staycation’ to tackle a new home renovation project,” says Wade. “However before taking to the road or doing work on your home, there are simple steps you can take to ensure peace of mind this summer to enjoy all of your activities.”

Plan Early, Travel Smoothly

While Baby Boomers have made the most definitive plans for road trips this year, with six out of 10 planning a trip, Millennials are most likely to be planning travel to a new destination.

Whether it’s the first time hitting the road or an annual tradition, many Americans don’t always follow proper precautions before leaving. While two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans say they check tire pressure before a road trip, less than a third (28 percent) check the pressure in their spare tire. In addition, nearly half (45 percent) don’t check that proper emergency items are in the car prior to hitting the road such as flash lights or jumper cables and a third admit to not keeping a cell phone charger in their vehicle.    

Renovate Smarter, Protect Sweat Equity

Of the Americans taking on home improvements this summer, many are choosing outdoor projects to spruce up their homes, with two out of five taking on a landscaping project, and nearly a quarter (22 percent) upgrading their patio or deck. Among Americans planning a home renovation, seven in 10 will do at least some of the work themselves. More than half (55 percent) of these DIY renovators aim to improve their home’s value.

“One thing to remember if you’re doing a bigger renovation this summer is to make sure that you check your insurance coverage to ensure that it protects you for the new value. According to the Liberty Mutual study, 40 percent of Americans are unlikely to check their coverage after making home improvements,” says Wade.

To make sure your summer road trip or staycation are safe and productive, Wade offers the following tips:

Prepare for the Unexpected: The study showed that only 22 percent of Americans ensure they have a roadside assistance number on hand before embarking on a road trip.  Programs such as Liberty Mutual’s 24 hour Roadside Assistance can help jumpstart your travels if delayed by misfortunes such as a flat or dead battery.  It’s also important not only to have this number saved in your cell phone but to also have it handy in the glove compartment in case your cell phone dies.   Having an emergency kit including flashlight, first aid supplies, jumper cables and car jack are also essential in case of a break down or other unforeseen issue.

Get Under the Hood: It’s easier to DIY basic auto safety thank you might think.  Refer to your owners-manual to find out basic guidelines on everything from checking the engine oil level to the windshield wiper fluid to the tire pressure including your spare.  These are simple steps that could save you headaches on the road and can easily be done in your driveway or at a gas station.

Security Made Simple: There are several easy ways to make your house more secure while travelling during the summer months. This includes adding motion detecting outdoor lights, trimming hedges to create less hiding spots or adding protective devices such as burglar alarms which could even lead to savings on home insurance. In addition, make it look like someone is home by stopping mail delivery, leaving a car parked in driveway and putting timers on lights.

Staycation Sanity: If you choose a DIY project for your summer vacation, do your research ahead of time and have all the materials ready before getting started.  It’s more rewarding to begin the project with everything you need on hand.  Clear your calendar of distractions and commitments and consider inviting a friend or family member to join in the DIY fun.  One thing to remember, if you’re working outside and the house is empty, don’t forget to lock up as a burglar could easily slip in and out of the house while you are not paying attention.

For additional information about the Liberty Mutual Insurance New Beginnings Report and summer safety tips, visit and join the conversation on Twitter @LibertyMutual with #mynewbeginning.

About the Report

Liberty Mutual Insurance commissioned ORC International to conduct a quantitative methodology to measure anticipated life changes and major purchases among adults across the United States. The report included a survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,936 licensed drivers aged 18+. Overall the findings from the report can be interpreted at a 95 percent confidence interval with an error margin of +/- 2 percent. Error margins for subsets such as by generation will be wider.

About Liberty Mutual Insurance

Liberty Mutual Insurance helps people preserve and protect what they earn, build, own and cherish. Keeping this promise means we are there when our policyholders throughout the world need us most.

In business since 1912, and headquartered in Boston, Mass., today Liberty Mutual is a diversified insurer with operations in 30 countries and economies around the world. The company is the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2013 direct premium written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual also is ranked 78th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2014 revenue. The company employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The fifth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual ( sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.


Glenn Greenberg

Carolyn Evert

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