September 2017

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Our good client and friend, Peter Estes, is owner of SolidPrints, LLC in Reedley, CA. SolidPrints is an engineering firm offering services in Mechanical Design, Product Design, Drafting, Consulting, and 3D Printing. For more information on his services, call 559-618-1676.

Just Married? ‘Insure’ Your Future and Live Happily Ever After

If you tied the knot this summer, congratulations!

Marriage changes things forever, including your insurance needs. If you’re a newlywed, ensure you consider these issues now for a happily-ever-after future.

Multiple policies: As you combine your households, do the same for your insurance coverage. Most couples have separate policies, often with different companies. Combine multiple auto and home policies with one carrier to receive a multiline discount. It’s likely you’ll also qualify for a discount simply because you’re married. (It turns out marital bliss isn’t the only benefit to getting hitched.)

New home: Whether you’re moving into his place or her place or buying a new home together, now is a good time to review your homeowners coverage. A new location may mean new perils. Consult with your agent to make sure you include coverage for location-specific perils, such as earthquake and flood. Also important: discuss with your spouse whether you want replacement cost or actual cash value coverage.

Spouse discounts: Is your newly beloved a member of an alumni or another organization? If so, your household may now be eligible for a discount. Check with your agent to discover any savings available.

Policy limits: Review your homeowners policy to ensure you have the right protection for your personal belongings. Your household possessions may have just doubled, so your policy should have a sufficiently high limit to cover the increase. You may also now need a special rider for high-value items; make sure coverage is adequate for newly acquired gifts, and, naturally, those wedding rings!

Cycling in the Urban Jungle? Three Things to Consider

Experienced cyclists in most big North American cities will tell you two things: one, biking is the best, most efficient way to get around, and two, it can be quite dangerous.

In fact, most cities don’t have an extensive network of bike lanes, and drivers often encroach on cyclists’ space or open their doors without looking. But it’s not all one-sided; many cyclists either don’t know – or ignore – the rules of the road.

Want to bike happily and safely in big cities? Consider the following:

Think like a driver

Cyclists still have to follow the laws and the etiquette of the road. Safe-driving behavior – stopping fully at stop signs, signaling, yielding, and looking around you – apply to cycling too.

Respect your fellow cyclists

Leapfrogging other cyclists, following too closely, and not giving plenty of notice of turns or stops can all cause accidents that could send you and other riders flying onto the curb, or worse, into vehicle traffic.

Take up your space

As Andrew Small noted in a recent CityLab article, cyclists have the right to a lane even though they’re slower. It’s safer because “… it gives a bike much more visibility to drivers.” If cyclists hug curbs or stick close to parked cars, they’re putting themselves in harm’s way. But note: while this is true in most jurisdictions, there may be exceptions, and regardless, many drivers find this hard to swallow, which may put cyclists at further risk.

Mutual respect is the answer. So, as the yellow road signs suggest: Share the Road.

Into Solar? Your Social Media Friends Will Soon Know

If you’re planning to install solar panels on your roof, your friends will soon know, thanks to Google’s “Project Sunroof.”

As Google explains, Project Sunroof is a free online solar calculator that helps you map the potential savings from converting your roof to solar. Its objective: to map earth’s solar potential “one roof at a time.”

Panels that absorb the sun’s energy and convert it to heat or electricity are covering rooftops around the globe, encouraged by any number of factors including financial (solar energy can be a cost-effective way to generate electricity) and now peer pressure.

The newest addition to Project Sunroof shows a red dot on homes that appear to have solar panels.

According to Robinson Meyer in a recent CityLab post, it “will now not only inform users how much sun hits their roof, or how much solar panels would save them per month, but also which of their neighbors have taken the plunge first.”

Why is that important? Writes Meyer, “One of the best predictors of whether people install solar panels on their house isn’t their age, their race, their level of income, or their political affiliation … It’s whether their neighbors did it first.”

Google is hoping take-up numbers will be driven by the desire to be the first in one’s social media network to hop on the new bandwagon. And that could swell as more “influencers” opt to participate and bring their followers along.

So check out Project Sunroof, install, and just wait for the online accolades.

New Season, New Insurance Needs?

Fall is a time for getting your ducks in a row and preparing for the future. As summer comes to a close, assess whether your insurance needs have changed. Review them by answering these questions:

Has your family changed? If you got married this summer, you may qualify for a discount on your auto policy. If you combined households, you may need to update your homeowners policy. If you’re newly divorced, be sure to update all your policies. If you had a baby, review your life insurance coverage to determine whether any changes are needed.

Did your household add or lose drivers? If your teen just acquired a drivers’ license, it’s typically cheaper if you add him or her to your policy than it is for the new driver to get a separate policy. Plus, you’ll likely receive a multi-policy discount. If your child has left the nest for college, you can usually adjust your policy to reduce coverage.

Have you renovated? Review any home projects you completed. Home additions or upgrades can drastically increase the value of your property. Consult with your agent to determine if your homeowners insurance is still adequate. Don’t forget to include structures you added to the outside of your home, such as gazebos or pools.

Are you now a renter or a landlord? If you’ve moved into a new rental, or if you’ve become a new landlord, be sure you have the right policies in place. As a tenant, you need renters insurance to cover your belongings, even if the owner has coverage for the building. As a landlord, ensure both property and liability coverages are adequate.

Did you retire? A major reduction in commute time could translate into a significant reduction in auto insurance premiums. Plus, your senior status may qualify you for a 55+ discount.

Report any of these life changes to your agent as soon as possible, and don’t take the chance of being underinsured.

Grilled Zucchini Kabobs

Serves 6

6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
4 medium zucchinis, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges


Preheat grill on medium-high heat.

In a bowl combine the feta, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and mint. Set aside.

Toss the zucchini and onion with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating the two.

Grill on lightly oiled rack for about 6-8 minutes or until tender and slightly charred.

Transfer vegetables to a platter and top with the feta cheese mixture. Serve with additional lemon wedges.