It’s the beginning of summer and I am SO stoked to get out and get road-tripping. In fact, it’s my favourite way to travel.
I have lots of big plans and exciting places I’m heading to this summer. Preparing for a roadtrip is key. So before I hit the road, I make sure to do 3 things to ensure I’m ready for anything that might happen along the way.
Preparing for a Roadtrip
This post was created in partnership with the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan. But as always, all thoughts, opinions and content are my own.
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1. Get a Package Policy
When it comes to insurance – I don’t mess around.
Because it helped me when we crashed our car into a bridge in Iceland, when my luggage was lost for 8 days somewhere between Italy, Croatia and Germany and in another car accident when I was travelling in Ontario for work. Having coverage literally saved me thousands of dollars.
In Saskatchewan, basic auto insurance with your plate registration only covers up to $200,000 and has a $700 deductible. That might not be enough coverage. Especially if there’s damage to property, a collision that injures someone else or injuries to your passengers.
It likely isn’t enough when heading out of province or out of Canada (hopefully one day soon!) either. And having a package policy means you won’t have to pay additional insurance when renting cars in other provinces and states – like the time I needed to pay for third-party liability insurance in California on my car rental.
When I purchased my auto pack policy, I spoke with three different brokers. I had a list of questions to ask to make sure I fully understood how, when and where I would be covered (extra important as I use my vehicle for work and personal). It was worth calling around as every broker operates a little differently. I wanted someone who truly understood what I needed and could help me make the right choices.
I went with a $100 deductible, road hazard glass, loss of use, all peril insurance, and 5 million in liability. In total, it cost about $400 for a full year of coverage – about $1 per day. The cost varies pending how much coverage you’ll need for your own situation but will likely be less than that.
If you want to learn more, the Better Than Basic website explains this all really well. They also provide a list of brokers you can reach out to.
PS: There’s a misconception in Saskatchewan that because we have “no-fault insurance” it means you’re not at fault. It’s a confusing misnomer. It simply means there’s a broad level of benefits – regardless of who is at fault for the accident. So although it’s no-fault, it doesn’t mean you’ll be adequately covered.
2. Vehicle Maintenance Pre Roadtrip
Before hitting the road I complete all major and minor maintenance to my vehicle.
The easy things are swapping windshield wiper fluid from the winter version to summer bug and tar remover to changing my oil and filter. While I don’t use winter tires (if you do, you should be swapping them, of course), I make sure I’ve rotated my tires. A good rule of thumb is to rotate them every 12,000 km. I’ll also check the pressure of my tires throughout the season and make sure they’re all inflated to the specifications indicated on the tire.
The morning I head out on the road, I double-check fluid levels and make sure there are no leaks under the hood. I also glance over my belts to make sure there are no visible cracks. These are all pretty simple things to do when preparing for a roadtrip and could save me from an expensive tow-truck bill if I were to break down on the road between towns.
READ MORE: Chasing the Northern Lights
3. Carry a Roadside Safety Kit
Just as carrying safety gear in the outdoors is critical, safety on the road is also important.
In the back of my SUV, I have a plastic tote that carries a roadside safety emergency kit plus a few extras. Inside the roadside bag, there is a flashlight and batteries, a blanket, mini traffic cones, gloves, a utility knife, a poncho, tire pressure gauge, electrical tape, hand warmers, emergency water, pliers, candles, matches and a first aid kit.
My dad has also made sure to prepare me with practical Christmas gifts since I turned sixteen. As a few additional extras (mostly thanks to him), I carry jumper cables, a battery booster (this thing is unreal!), extra oil and transmission fluid, a funnel, shop towels, a small tarp, (and yes, even in summer) a toque and a pair of mitts. I also carry a 173-piece tool kit that has all the basics.
Preparing for a roadtrip goes a long way when it comes to hitting the road – and the peace of mind is worth it!