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Five Goals for Your Small Business in Q1 2023

As 2022 draws to a close, it is time to begin implementing a strategy for the first quarter of 2023. Due to the increasing economic turbulence, we have experienced over the past two years, successful businesses must embrace flexibility – setting quarterly goals can help keep you on track for your bigger long-term aspirations. Here are five goals you should set for your small business for Q1 2023: 

Evaluate the Prior Year 

Your first goal for Q1 should be to fully analyze your business’s performance over 2022. Review your prior year’s financial statements, assess your inventory, and review your current product or service mix. Additionally, review your marketing strategy and compare that to what you know about your customers. Based on the prior year, are buying behaviors changing or remaining consistent? 

Determine How to Measure Success 

Another essential goal for Q1 of 2023 should be to determine your criteria for business success. While you may have the goal of “growing your business,” what does that actually look like? The best goals are both practical and specific. Some possible Q1 goals could include: 

  • Increase staff size from 12 to 15 
  • Increase conversion rate by 3% 
  • Reduce average hold time for incoming calls by 4 minutes 

Create a Budget 

Creating an annual budget is an essential activity for any business of any size. A well-thought-out budget can help you manage expenses and deal with unexpected costs. Additionally, having a budget in place can help secure funding from traditional and alternative lenders. Make it a goal to create this budget in the first week of 2023, then revisit it at the end of each month. Compare your total Q1 projections to the actual expenses incurred – how close was your estimate? While budgeting is not always fun, it can make a world of difference in your business’s performance and longevity. 

Review Your Insurance Coverage 

Another goal you should set for Q1 is to review your business insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately covered. There are many different types of insurance that different small businesses may need, such as: 

  • General Liability Insurance 
  • Professional Liability Insurance 
  • Business Income Coverage 
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance 
  • Data Breach Insurance 
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance 

Every business has different insurance needs – consult your local agent to ensure that your business is properly insured. Having the right insurance policy can give you peace of mind, allowing you to focus more on your business. 

Improve Employee Morale 

Your final goal for the first quarter of 2023 should be to find a way to improve the lives of your employees. Take the time to meet with your people and talk with them about their experiences working at your business – what goes well, what doesn’t, and what could be improved? While all business owners should continually strive to make their business a better place to work, begin systematically tracking how your employees feel on a quarterly basis and take the actions necessary to improve employee morale and retention. While everyone appreciates a raise, there are many ways to improve employee morale without increasing expenses. Depending on the nature of your business, you could: 

  • Offer remote work options 
  • Allow a more casual dress code 
  • Offer additional incentive-based PTO 
  • Make an effort to recognize employee contributions at least once a month for all of Q1 

There are many more goals you could set for your small business in 2023, but these five will help ensure that the year starts off smoothly. By evaluating the prior year, setting standards of success, creating a budget, reviewing your insurance policy, and improving employee morale, 2023 could be your business’s best year yet. 

Top 5 Health & Safety Risks to Avoid This Holiday Season 

Holidays are supposed to be about sharing good times with family and friends, so we’ve gathered some tips for how to avoid the biggest risks to your season of cheer.  

Illness  

Transmissible viruses are the biggest risk when celebrating the holidays. Avoiding people when sick is key, but sometimes it is accidental or unavoidable. Washing your hands frequently and taking other proper cautions suggested by the CDC can help mitigate viral infections taking hold.  

Mental health can also be tried and tested during the holidays. Stress, over-eating, consumption of alcohol, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can all lead to an unhealthy mental state. This is as important a time of the year as ever to take care of yourself and reach out for help when needed. Self-care can go a long way, but it isn’t a cure-all, nor should anyone who isn’t a professional take on the sole task of ensuring or improving someone’s mental health; call your physician.  

Food

Taking care when preparing those delicious dishes, such as avoiding cross-contamination and washing hands and prepping surfaces thoroughly with warm soapy water, is important, but not keeping food at the proper temperature is the most frequent cause of foodborne illness over the holiday season. There is a strain of bacteria called C. perfringens that is associated with cooked foods left out at room temperature, a common holiday occurrence. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this bacteria is to blame for nearly a million cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. alone each year, with more cases happening in November and December. Try to keep your cooked and refrigerated food temperatures out of the danger zone, which is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help keep you and your dinner guests safe to spread the good tidings and cheer while breaking bread.  

Fire   

Fire According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve.” Be alert, follow cooking directions, and keep all burnables away from the stovetop. Fireplaces and candles carry similar risks during the holidays due to increased use in winter cold months and the abundance of decorations, and one small spark can ruin holiday plans and worse. Never leave a candle or fire unattended, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Avoid using open-flame heating and lighting sources, and opt for safer, battery-operated, or electric sources instead.  

Décor   

With all of these decorations, the most dangerous is the Christmas tree and its lighting. Live Christmas trees dry out when not properly watered or if cut too early or left up too long. Be sure to pay attention to this as well as the electrical load on the sources. NFPA found that “electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires.”  

NFPA also reports that, excluding Christmas trees, in 2014-2018, fires caused an annual average of two civilian fire deaths, 30 civilian fire injuries and $11 million in direct property damage in the U.S. Help keep this completely preventable occurrence from wreaking havoc around the holidays. Take the proper precautions to ensure a warm, but safe, holiday.  

Slips & Falls

The CDC reported in a relatively recent study on holiday-decorating-related falls that most injuries were to men aged 20 to 49 years, and many were caused by falls from ladders. The big take-away? “Prevention strategies should focus on raising awareness about falls and promoting safety practices during the holiday season,” and we want to help.  

Clear your work area of these tripping hazards, make sure you have good lighting, and take caution in poor conditions when outside. Wear good shoes and proper clothing for the weather and task. Ask someone to help brace your ladder and hand you tools to cut down on trips up and down from heights. Overall, awareness is key and knowing that this injury is a top contender every year for ruining someone’s joy can be enough to help protect your holiday season from the blues due to injury.  

Make sure that your holiday season doesn’t succumb to the pitfalls of celebrating these winter months. With awareness and some forethought on safety, you can make these holidays something you want to remember for years to come.    

 

 

How to Get Your Home Ready For a Safe Halloween 

Witches and ghouls are scary for the kiddos, but as a homeowner, you know that the real terror of Halloween lies in vandalism, lawsuits, and liability claims. Use these tips to make your home and belongings safe on Halloween night, both for you and your spooky visitors. 

 

Be All In or All Out  

Trick-or-treaters expect to get candy when they knock on your door, but it is understandable that you may not be in the spirit of the holiday or have the finances to supply candy every year.  

 

When it comes to Halloween, it’s in your best interest to stick to your plan. If you give out candy, have your porch light on and be prepared for the foot traffic! If you’re not giving out candy, turn out the main lights and make it appear as if you aren’t home to the best of your ability. Greeting trick-or-treaters with no candy is awkward, and in some cases, it can lead to the worst kind of person being vindictive and coming back later to vandalize your home. It sounds bad, but it happens more than you’d think! 

 

Hide Your Car 

Halloween is a notorious night for automobile shenanigans. From toilet paper and water balloons to eggs, paint, and bologna, vandals can pull “pranks” that wind up doing real damage to your car. If you’re not out and about on Halloween night, keep your car locked in the garage or at least park it behind the house. 

 

Keep Your Pets Inside 

Our furry friends don’t understand the spirit of Halloween. All they know is that masked figures keep ringing the doorbell to their home, and it is understandable that they get scared and defensive. No matter how sweet your pup is, he may still turn into Cujo on Halloween if he’s under enough stress! Don’t put your home insurance policy’s liability limit to the test over a dog bite or unintentional injury; keep your dogs safely in the house until the night’s excitement is over.  

 

Light Up the Night… 

Little trick-or-treaters are so excited to get candy, they tend to run up the driveway to your home. Make sure your porch and walkway are well-lit and unobstructed so they don’t stumble on their way to the door. Not only could a fall ruin their fun night, but a real injury could come back to haunt you as a homeowner. Play it safe and keep it bright outside! 

 

…But Don’t Use the Candles 

Those glowing Jack-o-lanterns are super spooky and cool, but costumes, straw, and paper decorations are all very flammable. Use battery-operated tea lights instead of real candles so your Jack-o-lantern only looks dangerous.  

What Kind of Insurance Do Web-Based Businesses Need? 

With an increasing number of consumers shopping for goods and services online, digital businesses have been able to experience tremendous growth. But as a company takes on more orders, clients, and staff, the owner’s liability also increases.  

You can protect yourself and your investment in your business through certain types of insurance. Even though your company may not have a brick-and-mortar presence to protect, you must still take precautions to protect yourself from digital security threats.  

Here are a few types of insurance web-based businesses should consider for adequate protection. 

Business Owner’s Policy 

This insurance bundle is a good place to start when securing your digital or e-commerce business. It includes general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and business income insurance.  

  • General liability insurance protects you against claims of property damage or personal injuries, such as a package courier injuring themselves while picking up goods or inventory stored within your home.  
  • Commercial property insurance protects the location, supplies, equipment, inventory, and more that is used to conduct your business. Keep in mind that if you operate out of your home, your standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage to these business-related items, even though you own the residence. 
  • Business income insurance provides coverage for any potential income you may lose as a result of a covered loss, such as property damage. 

 

Professional Liability Insurance (also called Errors and Omissions Insurance) 

If your customers believe you made a mistake or poor choice when providing them with your services, they could sue you for certain losses or damages. This type of insurance policy helps cover your own legal fees that may be associated with a court case or settlement mediation. Even though you do your best to eliminate mistakes, your clients may still feel as though your services harmed the success of their own operations. Therefore, it is a vital policy to have for any business offering online services ranging from marketing, graphic design, telehealth, and more. 

 

Cyber Liability Insurance

Online businesses are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. E-commerce companies may be hacked in order to obtain and sell your customers’ credit card information. Should this occur, your cyber liability policy would cover the cost of notifying customers about the breach, hiring an investigation team to find the attacker, and risk assessment to prevent future security compromises. Additionally, your customers may decide to sue you if they experience identity theft or financial hardship as a result of the cyber-attack on your company. Cyber liability insurance can also cover your legal fees during this process. 

 

Business Interruption Insurance

By operating your business online, you most likely have a smaller overhead than a traditional brick-and-mortar company or store. However, this also means that your business relies on a strong internet connection, server stability, and possibly even access to a warehouse or inventory storage. If any of these are compromised or damaged, you may lose revenue and be unable to complete your payroll, rent, and other business expenses. This is especially common after major natural disasters that destroy internet service and buildings. Business interruption insurance provides coverage for the income you have lost during the interruption, as well as during the time it takes to rebuild your business. 

 

Owning your own online business is exciting and enriching, but it can be difficult to navigate this digital space while protecting yourself and your customers. These policies are a great place to start – speak with your local insurance agent today to learn more about which options will keep your business secure. 

Seven Ways to Make Dental Health Fun for Kids 

Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children today, but the good news is they are almost completely preventable. According to the Center for Disease Control, about one-third of all cavities can be prevented by fluoride varnish, which children can obtain from dental applications, fluoride-treated water, and toothpaste containing fluoride. Below, we outline seven healthy habits that will make dental health more fun for your children.
 

Brush Together 

Making this activity part of what you do as a family helps children establish a healthy routine. When your child sees you taking care of your own teeth, they will feel encouraged to do the same and look forward to that time together. Be sure to brush thoroughly and floss, along with completing any other routines recommended by your dentist.
 

Time It Out 

Teeth should be brushed for at least two minutes, but this can be hard for children to count out in their heads. Use an hourglass or digital timer to mark exactly two minutes. Allow your child to flip the hourglass or program the timer to foster their own independence and make the activity more engaging and memorable. 

 

Use A Special Toothbrush 

Children enjoy having objects that they helped select. Allow them to select their own toothbrush at the store. Make sure it has soft bristles that are appropriate for young children. Many stores offer kid-friendly toothbrushes with cartoons or superheroes on the handle, which can also make brushing more exciting and personalized.
 

Toothpaste Flavors 

You can make brushing fun by using a special toothbrush, but don’t forget to have your child select their favorite flavor of toothpaste, too. Traditional peppermint may not be as exciting for young children, so look for whimsical flavors like bubblegum, strawberry shortcake, or wild cherry. Most manufacturers offer colorful and flavorful toothpaste for children while still including the proper fluoride and cleansing needed for cavity prevention.
 

Get Competitive 

For young children who are reluctant to establish an oral hygiene routine, a friendly competition can nudge them in the proper direction. Encourage parents, older siblings, and anyone in your household to enter the competition. See who can brush his or her teeth for a full two minutes without getting tired or distracted.
 

Gold Stars 

If your child enjoys competing against family members, take it one step further with a chart that allows children to earn gold stars for each night they complete their oral hygiene routine. This serves as a visual reminder of all the required steps (brushing for two minutes, flossing, etc.) and provides a tactile reward when applying the gold star. This is another activity the whole family can participate in!
 

Post-Dentist Surprise 

A great way to ensure every dentist visit is a positive experience is by combining it with another activity your child loves. This reduces anxiety when they know an appointment is coming soon and allows them to remember the event fondly. Some children may enjoy taking a special picnic with snacks that promote healthy teeth, or visiting a park or museum indoors.  

 

By taking actions that make dental care fun, you are protecting your child’s oral health while also establishing good habits for the future. Most dental insurance providers cover preventative costs such as checkups, so be sure to visit your child’s dentist every six months. Regular visits combined with proper brushing and flossing are the best way to prevent unwanted cavities for years to come.  

What Kind of Insurance Protects You Against a Lawsuit?

Whether on the road or at home, you do what you can to keep yourself and those around you safe. But accidents happen — and sometimes they can lead to pricey lawsuits. Have you ever considered what you’d do if you were sued for something like accidentally injuring a guest on your property or being at fault for a major car accident? How would you cover the expenses? The primary liability coverage on your home, auto, or recreational vehicle insurance may not cover all the costs. If you owe more than what your primary insurance covers, you’ll be left paying out of pocket.  

Umbrella Insurance 

If you’re at fault for an accident or injury and faced with a lawsuit, you may be required to pay above and beyond the primary liability limits on your homeowners, auto, or recreational vehicle policy, especially if there are serious injuries. What would you do if this were the case? You may have to sell some of your assets, drain your bank account or hand over future earnings. But this doesn’t have to happen. Personal liability umbrella insurance helps protect all the things you work so hard for. If you have a liability lawsuit against you, umbrella insurance helps cover beyond what your primary liability coverage will pay for — keeping your assets, savings account, and future earnings safe and sound. 

Liability Insurance 

Liability coverage is probably the most understated coverage when it comes to insurance purchases. Since personal liability coverage comes with most primary residential insurance policies as part of the “package” people, tend to focus more on the value of their building, condo, or contents, and take the liability portion for granted.  

Errors and Omissions 

Even if you try your hardest to avoid an errors and omissions lawsuit, a dissatisfied client or business partner may still decide to sue you. Errors and omissions insurance covers your legal costs in this situation, including:   

  • Lawyer’s fees 
  • Administrative expenses 
  • Court fees (filing fees, court reporter fees) 
  • Expert witnesses 
  • Settlement costs (settlement payments, mediation expenses) 
  • Court judgments 

If your errors and omissions policy includes a “right and duty to defend” clause, you won’t have to worry about spending time arranging your own legal defense. This useful provision shifts the burden of managing the case from you to your insurance provider. 

Needing to know more about protecting yourself from a potential lawsuit? Contact your local agent for more information. 

Spring Forward to Auto Safety 

As the temperatures begin to rise, it can be tempting to take long drives with the windows down or plan vacations to other cities and states. But is your car protected and prepared for more hours spent on the roads? By doing a tune-up on your car, and ensuring your auto insurance is updated, you can feel confident and safe as you drive into Spring. Here are five reasons why you should check in with your car and insurance this season. 

Safety

Winter weather can place your car under more stress, especially as it has to work harder to get you where you need to go. Cold spells can cause reduced tire pressure, but if you filled your tires up in winter, they may actually expand too much in warmer temperatures. This puts you at risk of a tire blow-out, which can cause fatal accidents if occurring at high speeds. As you drive longer distances in the heat, your transmission can also begin to wear down.  

It is not only hardware to keep in mind either – fluids and filters also affect safety. Check your windshield wiper fluid to keep the blades moving in a rain shower, and have your mechanic regularly change your air filters, which can fill up with pollen and cause your engine to overheat. 

Performance

Have you woken up after a peaceful night of sleep and noticed how much energy you have? Just as you feel better when you have taken care of your body’s needs, your car will also perform better when you take it to your mechanic for a seasonal tune-up. Performance-related services to consider include an oil change, tire rotation, transmission check, A/C check, battery test, and thorough review of all hoses and fittings.  

If your mechanic finds something that needs repairs, it is ideal to fix the concern early. By choosing to wait, the issue could become worse or cause other parts to malfunction. You will ultimately save yourself money long-term by spending a small amount for a tune-up, rather than needing to spend thousands to fix a costly safety repair. Keep your car in great condition inside and out so that your drive can be pleasant and protected.  

Cost

While a full tune-up may cost anywhere between $50 to $200 or more, this service can help prevent extremely costly repairs. Even if you make a claim with your auto insurance to assist with the work, this could still increase your monthly premium. 

In addition to the costs associated with potential large-scale repairs, you can also save on fuel expenses by conducting an engine tune-up. When your car’s engine is poorly tuned or incorrectly adjusted for the current weather conditions, your vehicle may burn more fuel than is truly necessary.  

Conducting your Spring tune-up is also a good reminder that it is time to review your car insurance policy as well. Speak with your agent to stay updated on the best coverage for your driving habits and needs. 

 

Understanding Cardiovascular Disease and What It Means

According to the American Heart Association in a 2019 study, nearly half of all adults in the United States – 48% to be exact – have some form of cardiovascular disease. The term “cardiovascular disease” is used to refer to a number of conditions, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems. Because this disease is so prevalent, it can lead to potentially serious or fatal health concerns for up to half of the members of your staff. The good news is that 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, adequate exercise, proper nutrition, and maintaining a healthy weight.

What are the types of cardiovascular disease?  

Heart Disease:  

The most commonly found type of cardiovascular disease is heart disease, which is caused by a buildup of a fatty substance called plaque in the arteries. As this plaque lining the arteries builds up over time, blood cannot flow as easily as it needs to. When the heart does not receive enough blood, or if the plaque forms a blood clot and blocks the artery entirely, this can cause a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease can be monitored and maintained if the individual makes new healthy habits.  

Heart Attack: 

A heart attack occurs when a plaque buildup or blood clot in the arteries cuts off all blood flow into the heart. The cells in the muscles that make up the heart will begin to die without blood, and other parts of the body will begin to shut down as well. Although many heart attacks are not fatal when individuals receive immediate critical care, it still means lifestyle changes need to be made. The heart often remains partially damaged after, and it cannot survive multiple heart attacks.  

Stroke:  

When the arteries that carry oxygen-filled blood to the brain are blocked, a stroke can occur. If the brain cannot receive oxygen, cells will begin to die and cause symptoms such as the inability to speak or move. In many cases, patients will recover these abilities with time and the help of rehabilitation therapists. However, if enough oxygen is cut off for a prolonged time during the stroke, the damage can be irreversible.  

Heart Failure, Arrhythmia, and Heart Valve Problems:  

Unlike the first three types of cardiovascular disease, these three conditions do not mean that the body’s supply of oxygen-filled blood has been completely cut off. Instead, the heart will continue to pump blood, but it is not able to provide the body with an adequate amount. If heart failure occurs, the heart still beats but does not supply enough oxygen. If arrhythmia occurs, the heart beats at an irregular rate. It can beat too slowly and not supply enough oxygen, or it can beat too quickly and fatigue the heart muscles. When one of the heart’s valves does not open and close properly, it can cause blood to leak through. This can also cause the valves to close in the wrong direction, creating immediate circulation issues. All three conditions can grow worse over time if left untreated.   

How Can I Help My Staff Prevent Cardiovascular Disease?  

Simply based on the fact that 8 out of 10 Americans live with cardiovascular disease, it is likely that someone on your staff already faces some form of the disease. However, you can offer incentives to help encourage your staff to adopt healthy preventative behaviors. These can include workplace perks such as a monthly free lunch and specially designated parking, or personal perks like gift cards and fitness accessories.  

By offering high-quality medical insurance to your employees, you always have peace of mind knowing they will be cared for if a cardiac emergency occurs. If you would like to know more about medical insurance and preventative care benefits, talk with your local agent today.  

How Protect Yourself from a Slip, Trip, or Fall

Slips, trips, and falls are the number 3 cause of accidental death in the United States, right behind motor vehicle accidents. No matter where you are in the world, if you are indoors or outdoors, you can experience a slip or fall. Slips and falls can naturally happen indoors when going upstairs or walking on wet hardwood or uneven flooring, but they are more common outdoors in parking lots and on sidewalks, stairs, decks, and other areas that are affected by the weather.  

Follow these tips to keep yourself safe and avoid having a dangerous slip, trip, or fall. 

Consider Your Shoe/Footwear Choices 

Depending on the weather in your city, you may need to change your plans for the day. If your area is experiencing lots of rain, opt for shoes that have traction, like tennis shoes. If it’s really muddy and slick outside, look for shoes that are fit for hiking. When it comes to footwear in the wintertime, store your steel toe boots. If you wear them too long in the cold, they could cause hypothermia in your feet. Waterproof shoes that have good traction on the bottom should be the top qualities to look for when buying your next pair of winter shoes. 

Planning an outfit that requires heels or sandals? Make sure that the weather is sunny with no chance of ice, snow, rain, and the terrain is dry – or if the weather is wet, wear better shoes until you reach indoors safely. You’ll be protecting your ankles from any potential harm. If you are climbing stairs in shoes with heels or sandals, take care to grip the stair railing to help keep balance you don’t fall.  

Tread Forward with Caution 

Wintertime environments are some of the most dangerous when it comes to the risk of a trip or fall due to the ice and snow that can accumulate. Another dangerous climate is one with a ton of rainfall. Rain can cause even the flattest of areas to become slick and offer up a one-way ticket to a fall. In order to protect yourself from experiencing a fall in these two dangerous climates, choose to wear shoes that are high in traction and waterproof. Another big tip is when entering or exiting buildings, do your best to avoid walking on curbs or steps if you can help it. Walk with caution and do not run in these conditions or you are increasing your chances of falling.   

Take All the Precautions You Can 

Here are a few things to be mindful of when faced with an inclement weather situation. When getting out of your vehicle, keep a hand on the vehicle to support yourself because you don’t know how slick the ground is. Did you know that putting your hands in your pockets to keep warm is more dangerous than it is worth? Keeping your hands free is necessary because by putting your hands in your pockets, you risk your balance since you’ve now lowered your center of gravity. 

What Happens If You Fall? 

The number one thing that you should do if you do happen to take a tumble is to tuck your head in towards your chest to avoid hitting your head. Keep your elbows and knees bent when you fall and try to land on your butt to help protect your body from sustaining any injury. If you’re unsure how your insurance would protect you in the event of a slip, trip, or fall-related injury, reach out to your local agent to make sure you’re covered for this common risk. 

How to Make a Car Emergency Kit

Whether it’s a flat tire or a run-in with a winter storm, a vehicle emergency can really catch you off guard. The first step you should take in creating a road emergency plan is to give your insurance agent a call. Many insurance carriers offer roadside assistance services as a policy add-on if it is not already part of your auto coverage. Often, available roadside assistance services will include towing, battery jump-start, flat tire change, fuel delivery, lockout service, and winching service. Your agent will be able to tell you if you can benefit from your auto insurance carrier’s roadside assistance coverage or assist you with adding it to your policy.

There is no such thing as being too safe, and you should still consider creating a car emergency kit in case your roadside assistance is delayed or unavailable for some reason. Here are some items you may want to include in your own kit.

 

Tools to Fix Your Vehicle

Say you get a flat tire. Perhaps your cell phone has died and you don’t have a car charger or you’re in an area with no cell service. In this case, you will not be able to contact roadside assistance, and it’ll be up to you to get out of the emergency situation. You can be prepared for this possibility by having a car emergency kit that includes items such as a properly inflated spare tire, tripod jack, and wheel wrench. It’s always a good idea to include jumper cables in your kit as well, and don’t forget a reflective vest and reflective triangles that will make you visible to passing cars as you walk around your vehicle-making repairs.

 

Supplies to Prepare for Anything

Speaking of dying cell phones, your emergency kit should definitely include a car cell phone charger or even a portable charger. The latter also called a power bank, is a device you “power up” at home and can use anywhere to charge your cell phone. These power banks can hold a charge for several months if fully charged once and kept at room temperature. This may be an issue if you park your vehicle outdoors, but you can rectify the problem by regularly recharging your power bank and placing it back in your vehicle for storage. Consider also including a basic first aid kit, flashlight with replacement batteries, water bottles, and nonperishable, high-energy foods such as protein bars and nuts.

 

Emergency Phone Numbers

Even if your cell phone dies, a passerby may pull over and have a phone you can use. If this happens, you’ll want to be able to access phone numbers for your roadside assistance service, insurance agent, or emergency contact. Have these numbers typed or written on paper that you can keep in your glove box instead of keeping them only on your cell phone.

 

Cold Weather Specific Items

If you live in an area with lots of cold weather, it’s a good idea to take this into account when putting together your emergency kit. A shovel and ice scraper are useful tools to have, cat litter helps provide tire traction, and you’ll likely need warm clothing and blankets if you are stuck for a period of time.

 

What Else Can You Do?

Practicing responsible car care is the best way to ensure your vehicle won’t get into any emergency situations. Unexpected situations do arise, but some emergencies can be prevented. Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance and always keep a full gas tank. And remember – be sure to check with your agent first and foremost to find out about securing roadside assistance through your auto insurance carrier.