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What’s in Your Emergency Car Kit?

We may be more fuel-economy-minded than ever, but Americans still drive a total of more than three trillion miles a year, which is around 15,000 journeys to the sun and back! Not surprisingly, a car breaks down every couple of seconds (not the same one each time, we hope!). Mostly, we are able to get back on the road swiftly, but there are times when we have to endure a longer wait, either because we don’t have the right equipment to get going again or because weather conditions won’t allow it. Sometimes, too we can get stuck in traffic for extended periods or stranded when we run out of fuel.

Of course, it’s impossible to plan for every type of emergency, but a wise motorist can eliminate or reduce the impact of most of them by carrying a well-stocked emergency kit. What goes in that really does depend on the type of journey you’re making, but let’s think right up to the most extreme type where you could become isolated.  One of the gifts my son received for Christmas this year was an emergency kit for his car.  (A great gift from Dad – the insurance agent).  Let me share with you how to put one together.   Here’s a suggestion of items to have on hand  just in case of an emergency:

Communication: A cell phone and, in case you’re out of range or battery power, a shrill whistle. Pen and paper.

Visibility: A powerful flashlight with extra batteries; candles; a ‘Help’ sign; roadside flares (follow safety precautions).

Fuel: A spare can of gasoline; a pack of firelighters (you can get some that don’t need matches or kindling); a cigarette lighter and/or matches.

Comfort: Sleeping bags, gloves, hats; hand-warmer packs; socks; a pocket-size waterproof poncho, and waterproof footwear.

Accessories: A multi-purpose (Swiss Army style) knife, duct tape, rags and paper towels; foldable shovel; cat litter for tire traction.

Car stuff: Antifreeze and deicer, toolset including screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches; an emergency tire repair kit and inflator; jumper cables.

Liquid: Bottled water.

Food: High energy, high calorie candy bars. You can buy special 3,600 calorie food bar packs, sealed for longevity, for around $10.

First Aid: Of course! You never go without it do you? The simplest thing is to buy a ready-made auto first aid kit.

Jumper Cables:  make dead batteries come alive, or be someone elses Hero for the day.

A lot of stuff right? But you can buy a large PVC sealed container for storage. You’d be surprised how tightly you can pack things. Keep perishable stuff on the top and replace it regularly. You might opt for two kits, carrying the essentials at all times and packing the second one for long or remote journeys. You can also buy some ready-made kits that contain many of the items mentioned above. Just do an online search for “car emergency kit”. A good one will cost around $75 to $100.  Oh, and don’t forget the auto manual. It belongs in the car not the file cabinet! And, of course, never set out on any long journey without checking road and weather conditions first.

There’s an App for That…

Now that you have that hot new smartphone or tablet that Santa brought (or maybe you’ve had one for a while), you are going to do something more than play games and make calls, aren’t you? They’re not called smartphones for nothing. In fact there are literally hundreds of programs or applications – apps for short – that can support and strengthen your knowledge, including lots that deal with health and safety. Where you find them depends on the type of device you have – iTunes exclusively for iPhones, and the Android Market  

( or the Amazon Apps Store for most others. Here’s a sampling:

Nutrition: The best apps enable you not only to check the calorie and nutrient content of thousands of products but also to track your diet and weight-loss progress. Try the free MyFitnessPal, available for all devices.

Workout Programs: They can provide daily routines, measure progress, provide streaming video classes and even act as a pedometer using GPS to track your location. Try the free, Wall Street Journal recommended Cardio Trainer. (Always consult a doctor before starting an exercise regime.)

First Aid Guides: For a good, all-round guide that includes advice on giving CPR, try Pocket First Aid and CPR from the American Heart Association. It’s available on most platforms and costs $3 or $4.
For a free alternative, consider WebMD or the well-rated Everyday First Aid.

Other Useful Apps: Whatever your safety need, there’s almost certainly an app for it. For example:
 Safety Button (iPhone) or Emergency + (Android) sends a text message when you’re in trouble or in danger
Medscape (both platforms) – check interactions from a database of 8,000 drugs
Recalls (iTunes) or (Android) lists consumer products and drugs that have been recalled.

Don’t forget too that most mobile devices also have reader apps that enable you to download and store digital books. They can hold thousands, so you can build up your own first aid or fitness library – and always have it with you!

Gilliland Insurance Group Launches new website

Check out our new website at  and let us know what you think.   It has been design with “You” in mind.  24×7 you’ll have the ability when our offices are closed to pay your premiums online, send us a service requests, link to community resources, educate yourself on Florida Insurance happenings, and much more.  We hope this never replaces your desire to speak with us personally, but rather satisfy those late night cravings when you just can’t get enough insurance knowledge.   Thank you for your loyalty and stay tuned for the Kickoff of our 2012 Client Referral Program where you can earn Cold Hard Cash by saying “3 Simple Words”

Time to Check Your Coverage

New Year is the time we take a cool, hard look at our lives, usually with a view to making improvements. So, you don’t need a better excuse to also review your insurance coverage to make sure it meets your needs going forward through 2012. The most common issue we encounter are changing values and changing circumstances. So, with that in mind, here are four aspects you should be thinking about:

Homeowners/Renters Insurance: The value of your property most likely has gone down, but rebuilding costs have gone up in some cases. What about contents? As the years go by, so the amount and value of our possessions increase. And isn’t this a good time to take an inventory of those possessions, in case you ever need to make a claim?
Life Insurance:
If you’ve taken on new financial commitments or your family has grown, so has your need for adequate life insurance coverage. Don’t forget, you can get policies that cover you for just a specific period and don’t cost a fortune.

Long Term Care: The cost of specialist care, at home or in Residential facilities, if you become incapacitated, has skyrocketed during the past few years. Might now be a prudent time to consider long term care insurance?

Special Needs:  Without getting embroiled in the debate about climate change, there’s no doubt that the risk of natural disaster –  be it floods, storms, tsunamis or earthquakes – threaten all of us at some time. These risks are not normally covered in your homeowners or renters insurance.  Just Give us Call 904-824-9877 or Stop By 2575 US Hwy 1 South St Augustine 32084

Insurance is all about protection for yourself, your property and your family. None of us can predict the future but insurance can make it easier to deal with. We’d be happy to help you do just that.