While changing a flat tire on a recent trip, I was reminded of the importance of not only having a spare, but making sure it’s ready for use.

When we stopped, I didn’t know for sure where the spare tire was. I assumed we had one, but had never seen it. And when I initially went to look for it, I couldn’t find it. Eventually I ended up resorting to the user’s manual to find its location. Thankfully, it and the jack were where the manual said they should be, and they were also in good condition. But what if they had not been?

A spare tire is one of those things that can be easy to ignore until you need it. But if it’s not ready when an emergency hits, what good is it? The same could be said of having adequate insurance policies in place, or anything else you may rely on in case of an emergency.

Of course, you hope you never need to use them. But if, before an emergency hits, you regularly take time to make sure they’re ready for use, not only will they be of value in the moment when you need them, but in the meanwhile, you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re prepared.