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Road Trip Preparedness

With the price of gas not as astronomical as feared, more and more people are taking the long summer road trip for a vacation as opposed to jetting off somewhere more exotic.  Before you go there are a few things you should check first.

When is the last time you checked your insurance policies?  Maybe it was when you were 18 and you were trying to pay as little as possible.  Are your liability limits high enough or are you at the state minimum requirement?  If you are at fault in a major accident, and sometimes not so major, costs rack up pretty quickly between bodily injury and property damage.   Can you afford your physical damage deductible?  If you are in an accident and you have collision damage, can you take the brunt of a $1,000 deductible?  The additional insurance premium for a lower deductible may not be as much as you think.   Finally, pay the little extra premium for rental reimbursement and towing.  If you have never been without a car, well at least since you were 16, you sure will miss it when it is gone.  If you are in an accident rental reimbursement will get you the temporary transportation you need.  If you are broken down and need to be towed, that can be a few hundred dollars in some cases, but remember it does not reimburse if you are towed for parking illegally!!!  If you can’t find a copy of your policy ask your insurance agent to email you a duplicate, most agents now have everything online and can send it to you in a digital format, or if not they can always photo copy it and mail a copy to you.

Now take a check on your car.  When’s the last time you had any maintenance at all performed on your vehicle?  If the mileage on your car is over the 50,000 mile mark, or the age is over five years, normal wear and tear can lead to parts needing to be replaced or repaired.  Can you imagine being on vacation when it’s 95 degrees out and you’re sitting inside a Pep Boys because your car broke down?  If your car has lower miles on it, and is less than five years old, check the basics yourself, if you know what you’re doing.  Check your fluid levels, oil, coolant, etc.., even windshield wiper fluid.  Look at your windshield wipers; does the rubber still look pliable?  Have you ever even changed the blades?  The way tires are manufactured nowadays you can’t tell if they are low just by looking at them.  You can go to your gas station and check the pressure without having to pay, and with the digital air machines adding air to the correct specifications is easier than ever, but be sure to check your owner’s manual or your door jamb for the correct tire pressure, too high and your tire can blow.  Finally, make sure emergency items are in your truck, a spare, a jack, and even some roadside flares or emergency signs.

All these steps may take a little time, but it will be worth it to have peace of mind while on vacation.  After all, isn’t that what vacation is all about?