Wednesday, October 03, 2012

My Free Emergency Phone Option

Living Without a Cellphone reports that the hard economic times have caused some people to reduce or give up cell phone services.   While the great recession wasn't the reason, I have never had a personal cell phone since I couldn't justify the convenience or the cost.   I even avoided having one at work for several years until my organization demanded I carry one, which I did in my final year before retiring.

People have asked me whether I feel unsafe when driving long distances without a cell phone.  What would I do if my car broke down, they ask.   I tell them I'll do what I would have done before cell phones, walk to the next exit or ask a passing driver to send help.  More likely, a passing driver would likely call in the issue on their cell phone.

However, I do have another answer, which I learned in the 90s when I bought a car with a "car phone."    I never started the service, but had heard that 911 works on all mobile phones, even ones without a service provider.   I tested the 911 service once when I passed an accident about a minute after it happened.  I called 911 and was connected.  For reference, 911 already knew about the accident.

So my emergency phone option is an old Sprint cell phone, with no contract, that I inherited from my dad when he passed away.  I keep it in my truck with the car charger attachment.   So if there is ever a need, I can dial 911.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

1 comment:

K. W. Callahan said...

We have a pay-as-you go phone mainly for emergency purposes. Like you, we just couldn't justify the costs of a fancier plan and didn't like the idea of being bound to a contract.