October 2017 Referral Rewards Drawing Winner… Brendan FarrellBrendan (holding check) is pictured with Ryan Jennings, Maribel Castro, Tosha Pace and Scott Bosler. Brendan chose Boys and Girls Club of Visalia as the charity and will donate his $250 to the Red Cross to help with all of the recent catastrophes. Thank you Brendan for your referrals and for your selfless donation to all the victims in need!Check Out Our Referral Rewards Program Below!How to Get the ‘Steal Me’ Sticker Off Your CarNo one wants to attract the attention of thieves. Yet the actions of many vehicle owners practically beg thieves to take a crack at their cars. What are you doing that might tempt thieves? And, just as important, what are you doing to deter them?Vehicle owners can easily reduce the risk of car theft and resulting insurance claims with a few simple steps. To properly protect your asset, consider the following list of dos and don’ts:Do:Lock your vehicle at all times. Even when you’re in it. When choosing their prey, car thieves look for the easiest mark. It doesn’t get much easier than an open car.Etch your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into each of the windows. Stolen cars are stripped of their identity for resale. Thieves would rather not replace all the glass.If necessary, take a longer route to avoid high-crime areas. It’s worth the extra few minutes to protect yourself and your car.Park in well-lit areas. This removes the dark and shadowy atmosphere that thieves prefer for their work.Install an anti-theft system. Good options include steering wheel locks, ignition cut-off systems, alarms, and police-signaling systems. Check with your insurance agent to see which systems might make you eligible for a discount on your premium.Don’t:Leave your keys in your car, and NEVER leave it running unattended. This seems obvious, but many car owners are guilty of this one.Leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Nothing says “smash my window for some quick cash” like a purse, electronic device, or other potential prize sitting out in plain view.Leave ownership information in your car. If a thief steals your vehicle, you don’t want him or her to also have “proof” that they own it.El Niño…Is it Time for Flood Insurance?El Niño is on the way and heavy rains and flooding are predicted in the Central Valley. I’m sure most of our clients understand that flood is not a covered peril in the homeowners policy. If your home is located in a flood zone and you have a mortgage, you’re required to carry flood insurance. The cost of the insurance depends on the type of flood zone and the elevation of the home relative to base flood elevation.But is it possible for flood waters to damage your home if you are not in a flood zone? The answer is yes, of course. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states that fully 25% of all flood damage occurs outside of designated flood zones.So, what can you do to protect yourself? First of all, it is important to realize that flood damage to your home can be very devastating and expensive to repair. For most people it is not something you can self-insure.Also, it is important to understand that if you apply for flood insurance today there is a 30 day waiting period before the coverage becomes effective. This is a FEMA restriction that prevents people from buying flood insurance only when the heavy rains come and it starts to flood.So, if you want protection from the full brunt of El Niño, it is important to buy the policy now. In addition, if you buy a policy it will require the full annual premium up front and you cannot cancel mid-term.So, if you’re wondering how much it costs if your home is not located in a designated flood zone, here is an example. If your home is located in a preferred zone (like zone ‘X”), for $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of personal property coverage, the annual premium is $450. I think you’d agree this is affordable relative to the damage a flood can wreak on your home.In preparation for heavy rains, we also recommend you have your roof inspected to prevent leaks and be sure to clean out your gutters.Whether or not you buy flood insurance, we want you to be aware of the risks and let you know that insurance is available at an affordable cost.Worth QuotingLive so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.H. Jackson Brown, Jr.Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.Leo BuscagliaCaring for but never trying to own may be a further way to define friendship.William GlasserIf you open your heart, then the object of your love becomes so precious because you are so open. And that philosophy, that caring, spreads.Jeff BridgesThe simple act of caring is heroic.Edward AlbertEncouraging Words from our Clients“Debbie Vargas…Great Agent!”Cory Kuykendall“This is a real differentiating factor among the many options for insurance coverage. Not everyone provides good service and attention to detail with a competitive price. I really appreciate the attention to my policies and pricing. It’s nice to know that you are looking out for me.”Joe Armrstrong“I like it that you’re looking out for my best interest. Thank you for your great service.”Shannon HendersonThank you for your kind words. It means a lot to us!If you have a youthful driver in your household, be sure to watch this video. Just click on the photo above.Your Visiting Ghosts and Goblins Have Quite the History Have you ever wondered why large numbers of kids show up at your door on October 31, dressed in crazy clothing and demanding candy? It does seem a bit bizarre. But while it’s always been part of our lives, the trick-or-treat tradition traces its roots way back.In fact, trick-or-treating is the modern version of several practices that began in ancient times, with indications of both pre-Christian Celtic and Christian traditions:Celtic: More than two millennia in the past, Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain on October 31. They believed the dead returned to earth on this day, and gathered to pay homage to the deceased with food offerings. Some villagers dressed in costumes to drive away unwelcome spirits, and from this grew the tradition of dressing as scary creatures and performing antics for food or drink.Christian: Once Christianity spread to Celtic regions, traditions blended and new practices emerged. The church declared November 2, All Souls’ Day, as a time to honor the dead. However, the October 31 traditions of Samhain, such as bonfires and costumes, continued with the added practice of “souling.” In souling, the poor visited the wealthy and received soul cakes for praying for the homeowners’ dead relatives. However, when children took up this practice, they asked homeowners for gifts in exchange for their prayers. In some regions, souling became “guising,” when guising children dressed in costume and performed tricks to collect treats.Today, we don’t make children perform tricks for their candy. Apparently, looking adorable is more than sufficient.Your Visiting Ghosts and Goblins Have Quite the History.Black Bean and Orange ChiliServes 4 as a tasty Halloween night dinner2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 large onion, chopped3 garlic cloves, minced5 teaspoons chili powder3 teaspoons ground cumin1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 tablespoon dried oregano3-15.5 oz. cans black beans, drained2-14.5 oz. cans crushed tomatoes2 oranges, zested then juicedSalt and pepperCayenne to taste (optional)DirectionsHeat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes or until fragrant.Stir in black beans, tomatoes, and half the orange juice. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the zest. If chili is too thick, add some or all of the remaining orange juice.Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne if desired.Serving suggestions: Spoon over rice or tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, and orange segments.