Do you offer trip insurance? No, but you can do it yourself!

Orange Beach travel insurance information

We do not offer travel or trip insurance with our Alabama vacation home rentals. However, many insurance agencies will quote you a custom policy.

Planning a trip can be a bit nerve wracking, and you may worry about what happens if you need to cancel. We totally get that. We do not offer trip insurance because there are too many options available and we feel this is a decision best left to the vacationers. But there are many options out there for you to roll your own policy, from insurance shopping sites, to the big insurers, to your individual agent.

Many available options for insuring your trip

Fortunately, there are a fair number of agencies that are more than happy to provide a quote.

We do not vouch for any of these agencies, and YMMV, but many are long-established, national, and sometimes international, insurance companies. Most have simple to use web-estimate tools as well. There’s even a “shop the policies” site called insuremytrip.com.

AAA – travel.aaa.com/travel-insurance.htm

AIG Travel Guard – https://www.travelguard.com/

Allianze Global Assistance – https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/

CSA – https://www.csatravelprotection.com/

Red Sky Travel Insurance – https://redskyinsurance.com

TravelSafe – https://www.travelsafe.com

Many more. You could just give the insuremytrip.com a whirl, and it will toss up 20+ options from different companies and you can then look at each one directly. That’s what I did to validate this answer!

Your Own Agent?

Your home or auto agent may also be able to write a competitive policy. Its worth contacting them to see what they can do.

Things to Consider

How much coverage do you need? Do you want coverage for death/sickness cancellation?

Or do you want coverage “for any reason”? The latter costs more.

You’ll want to make sure the quoted amount covers the entire amount you want to get back. If its a $16,000 house rental and incidentals, make sure the cancellation clause doesn’t say the “non-refundable” part–which for a home is “all of it”–but go on to have a limit on how much that actually is (like say $2500).

You can often customize several different factors, and some companies seem to not only allow this customization but also have several tiers of policy before you tinker with add-ons. Again, we don’t have company or personal experience with any of these.

Some policies have a deductible of some sort and, of course, you never get back the cost of the policy itself, which can be $1K+, so of course you have to decide risk vs reward.

Most policies cannot be written close to the date of the trip (well after you’ve paid for everything) and, while it should go without saying, if you already know you think you want to cancel and then you get the policy specifically to cancel and be covered, well, that’s kinda sketchy at best.

We would love to hear from you if you have good (or bad) experiences, though, so we can help other vacationers!

Help! Gulf Shores vacation home travel insurance

How do deposits work? When will I receive my deposit back?

Security deposits on our vacation homes are charges paid by the guests and held by us to cover any damages or other issues related to occupancy of one of our homes.

Security deposits, when required, cover damage, and wear and tear or cleaning that are beyond the norm as solely determined by our local management companies in conjunction with our owners and management and is based on their years of experience turning over 100s of vacation homes on a weekly basis. When are security deposits due? How will they be handled? When do you get your deposit back? Here’s the security deposit scoop!

When is the security deposit due?

The security deposit is usually, but not always, simply added to the entire amount and paid according to the terms of your individual contract. Payment terms vary depending based on how far out you are from your visit so we can’t be specific. But in all cases they are due before you take occupancy, and usually at least 2 months beforehand.

How much is the security deposit?

If a security deposit is required, it is generally $3000 per unit rented. Typically security deposits are only required during spring break and other times when there is a higher risk of damage or excessive wear and tear to the property.

When will I receive my security deposit back?

As quickly as we can get it to you after check-out, inspection, correction, and billing, if any. But this takes time because it involves multiple steps and several of them are not under our control.

First, you check out. Then our local management company assesses the property for any wear and tear/cleaning that is above and beyond the normal cleaning, and they look for any damage to the premises and the furnishings. If there is no unusual cleaning or wear and tear/damage, then the entire amount is refunded to you as soon as we receive the move out report from the management company. This is usually 2-3 weeks, but can be faster (or slower) depending on how busy the season is and how busy the management company is. We do try to followup with them after our owner guest visits for which we hold deposits in order to push things along.

Note, generally we do not receive these reports until the end of the month of the stay at the earliest. Yes, we absolutely will sometimes reach out and try to expedite this but please understand that in most cases the requirement for a security deposit and the mechanisms for handling them are not part of our local management companies processes and procedures. In many cases, the mere necessity of our acquiring a security deposit is likely a result of some special request on your part, for example to allow a large group of unrelated adults under the age of 25, and to do so in homes with of high value.

Second, if there is damage or unusual wear and tear/cleaning beyond the norm, then things may get slowed down depending on the extent of the issues. Any maintenance/additional work is tasked, completed and then invoiced, and we deduct those costs from your deposit, and send a refund and accounting directly to the primary contact on the rental agreement. Except in highly unusual situations with extensive issues during high season, this usually takes no longer than 30 days.

We do understand that delays in returning them can be frustrating and we do our best to handle them as rapidly as possible but, again, we have to wait until we get a report on the home before we can do a final accounting and release and return the deposit.

What about Immediately Payable Charges?

There may be times when the local management company assigned to your vacation home, per their own policies and procedures, requires you to pay for damages immediately upon their noting or addressing the issue–they don’t have to fix it at the time, though they often will if its easily doable without interrupting your stay. 

These immediately payable charges must be paid directly to the management company at the time of notification. Failure to do so subjects you to the local management company’s immediate eviction policies. You may not use your deposit for this. However, these charges should not be included in your security deposit accounting. If there is a difference between the immediately payable charge and the actual cost of repair or replacement, this amount will be addressed when we account your deposit. That is, if you broke the funky flamingo lamp, and you paid for the lamp as an immediate charge, then we will not also include the broken flamingo lamp as a deduction in your accounting (unless you broke two of them!). It is possible that in the rush of a turnaround, the local management company will not pass along notification of these charges, so please let us know directly if you have to pay for any of these so we can keep an eye out for them.

This is all really quite rare, but it does happen every once in a while….


Is there a cash discount? Rates and offers always already reflect a cash discount.

Yes. Our rates, offers, and other fees always reflect a Cash Discount. Payments with credit cards will include an adjustment to the payment amount to reflect removal of the cash discount.

Your rental amount and any fees generally already include a discount for payment in cash (check, ACH, money order, cashier’s check, and equivalent, cash itself is not accepted because you seriously shouldn’t be mailing cash, seems like a bad move IMHO).

If you would like to pay with a credit card, or other non-cash equivalent, then you acknowledge and agree that a charge will be added to your account balance to reflect removal of the cash discount for that portion of your overall balance that you are paying for with the credit card.

Non-cash pricing is generally 3.5-5% higher than cash pricing. If you need to make an alternative payment, such as with a credit card, please inquire for the non-cash pricing. Happy to help you with that too!


Can I make a payment with a credit card? Yes!

Credit card payments are accepted via electronic invoice, in-person, or over the phone for any balances due on your account. Your account and the payment will reflect an adjustment to account for non-cash pricing.

We’d be happy to take your credit card as an alternative form of payment. However, because all our rates, payments, and fees represent cash-discounted pricing, there will be an increase to your account to reflect the non-cash status of your payment. This increase will only be applied to your payment amount and not to the entire balance. This increase will only be applied to your payment amount and not to the entire balance. The increase is approximately 4-5% and will appear as a separate charge on your ledger, called a Cash Discount Recovery Charge, to clearly identify the amount of the charge that is attributable to your choosing to not take advantage of the cash discount pricing for a particular transaction. There may also be a minimum transaction amount.

Through Secure Web Form

You may use our credit card payment page to easily make your payment. The form is secure, processes through Paypal, and we never see or retain any of your credit card information.

In-Person Credit Card Payments

Come in any time. Bring your card. Swipe it. Get your receipt emailed to you (or grab a hard copy if you must). No problem.

Over-the-Phone

Call any time during normal business hours and we will process the payment for you, and send you an electronic receipt.

Emailed Invoicing

You can also request that we send an electronic email invoice (via PayPal) directly to your email account. You can then pay the invoice using your own PayPal account. Note, if you will be paying this invoice with a cash-equivalent, like a checking account, we normally maintain the cash discount, so be sure to tell us!

Note. Please never ever (ever!) provide your credit card information in an email. That’s just a terrible idea!


How can I make my payments?

You may make your payments for your vacation home by mailing us a check, initiating an epayment, or via credit card.

Checks or Money Orders

You can make payments by check or money order mailed to our primary office address at

Elkins Apartments
940 N. Walnut St
Bloomington, IN 47404

ACH ePayments

ACH ePayments may be made using our property management portal. In order to make the payments, you must have an account in our system. You will have one once the contract is completed. However, this creates a bit of a catch-22 if you desire to use ePayment for your first payment. If you intend to do this, you will need to let us know so we can setup your account. Our third-party processor charges a small ($2.00 at the time of writing this) fee for conducting the electronic transfer.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are accepted. However, all pricing represents a discount for cash and there is a 4% cash-discount recovery charge added to all credit card transactions.

Be sure to check your contract to see your payment dates!


When is my payment due?

Your payment dates are outlined on your contract and typically vary by when you book and how soon you will be staying with us. All balances absolutely must be paid prior to starting your vacation.