This week’s episode is brought to you by the letter “I” which stands for insurance., in its many forms.
First, please check your auto insurance policy before you start a road trip. Most, if not all, auto insurance companies offer a roadside assistance amendment to your basic auto insurance policy for as little as $15 per year. With that, instead of waiting for the nearest AAA truck to get to you, any local service can be used and the bill (less any deductible) will be reimbursed by your insurance company. Since most Smartphones will provide information on nearby auto services, you can shop for quick assistance by phone.
Next, check the glove box in your car to make certain that the proof of insurance card and the registration card are current. When my car was sideswiped by a hit and run driver on a road trip, I had to make a police report in order to file my insurance claim. The helpful state trooper let me place a call to verify my insurance, since the card was out of date. She didn’t have to do that, and the fine in that state for driving without valid, current proof of insurance would have been $150.
Finally, I advise you to prepare an “insurance box” aka a “spares and repairs” box to leave in the car. Since the purpose of this box is to provide what you may have forgotten to pack for the trip, the whole point is to leave this IN the car. Remember that on a hot day, the car may get hot enough to make some items leak, so those should be in sealed bags. Here are some items that are in my box; your list may vary.
- AA and AAA batteries
- Spare power cord and mouse for my travel computer
- Spare charging cords for phone and other small electronics (don’t forget the one for your camera!)
- One credit card
- An extra pair of glasses (Even an outdated pair can be live savers on the road)
- Copy of your eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Miniature sewing kit (Video shoppers, this is essential for you!!!)
- Electrical tape
- Mini-screwdriver (for glasses repair and taking the back off the TV remote in hotel shops)
- Swiss Army knife or enough implements to replicate its essential functions, including corkscrew)
- Ziplock bags (How did our foremothers cross the prairies without them?)
- Paper clamps, mini-stapler and staples
- Plastic utensils, tiny packets of salt and pepper, sealed in a bag
- Antibiotic ointment, sealed in a bag
- Glue, sealed in a bag
- A roll of quarters (You never know when you will encounter a toll road in unfamiliar territory)
- 1-2 plastic trash bags (multiple uses including rainwear, drop cloth, etc.)
In addition , I keep an assortment of small items in locations that I can reach from the driver’s seat: sun hat, insulated cup, pen and pad, etc.