Love Your Pet Day – 8 Ways to Show Your Pet Some Love

Love Your Pet Day – 8 Ways to Show Your Pet Some Love

Are you ready to unleash some serious tail-wagging fun and purr-fect joy? Whether you’ve got a barking buddy, a whisker-twitching sidekick, or a feathered friend, it’s time to shower your pet with extra attention. After all, Love Your Pet Day is Tues., Feb. 20, and who loves us more than our pets?

Give them treats and toys.

  • Store-bought treats are great, but making your pet a treat is extra special. It’s also easier than you may think. Check out our blog on easy pet treat recipes for dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and reptiles.
  • Most cats love to eat grass and need it for their digestion. You can grow your own cat grass right inside your home. Not to be confused with catnip, cat grass is a mixture of rye, barley, oat, or wheat seeds. It’s a healthy option for cats, and may keep them away from your plants.
  • Take your pet to a pet store and let him/her choose a special toy or treat. Consider Kong-style toys that you can fill with peanut butter for dogs or treat dispensing toys for all types of pets. While you may not take your bird to a pet store, try wrapping their gift. Birds can have as much fun unwrapping as they do with the treat or toy.

Spend some quality time.

  • Playtime is a great way to bond with your pet. So, grab that squeaky toy, dangle that feather wand, and get ready for some tail-chasing, treat-tossing, cuddle-filled bliss! Dance with your bird to their favorite music. Give your rabbit, bird or reptile some out-of-habitat time to safely explore under your supervision.
  • Challenge your pet with a puzzle. Hide treats in an empty egg carton. Cats love to hunt, so consider hiding feeders around the house for them to find. You can make your own puzzles for dogs, cats, and birds, or find ones online from a reputable pet supplier.
  • Schedule some cuddle time. Playtime can be exhausting so follow it with a nap on the couch or some quiet time. Follow your pet’s cue on the cuddle, though. Some pets like hugs and kisses; others do not.

 Learn your pet’s language.

  • Your pet “talks” to you in their language. Wouldn’t it be fun to know what they’re saying? Check out Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide by Brenda Aloff for dogs or Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett.
  • Pay attention to your pet’s nonverbal cues. Try to understand what your pet enjoys and what he or she wants.
  • Songbirds and parrots are able to mimic human speech. They need to be taught with lots of repetition. Dogs and cats have been known to press buttons that “speak” human words. Whether or not your pet communicates at these levels, you can enjoy the learning process.

Take a class, meet a friend.

  • Consider training classes for mental and physical enrichment for your pet. For dogs, there are classes on social skills, tricks, nose work, and agility. You can help your pet to earn their Canine Good Citizen or Therapy Dog certification. Look up tutorials online for tricks and activities that you can do with your type of pet.
  • Join a local pet enthusiast group. Not only will you make friends with others who love pets, you might enjoy local meetups at pet-friendly places from outdoor dining to parks, and more.

Get some exercise.

  • We and our pets both benefit from regular exercise. Get your dog walking, running, playing fetch, tug of war, learning agility, and more can help keep them physically fit. As a bonus, you’ll get exercise too.
  • Yoga is an exercise that you can do at home with your pet. Dog Yoga is increasingly popular. Incorporating your pet into your yoga routine will make them feel important and you might be more likely to exercise. Even if it’s a complete fail, you’re likely to enjoy laughter and cuddles.

 Feed them healthy food.

  • Just like humans, pets require a balanced diet to stay healthy. A diet rich in essential nutrients helps support their immune system, promotes healthy growth and development, and provides the energy they need for their daily activities.
  • A nutritious diet can prevent various health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, extending your pet’s lifespan and enhancing their quality of life. By prioritizing their nutrition, you’re investing in your pet’s long-term health and happiness, ensuring they lead a vibrant and fulfilling life by your side.

Get them groomed.

  • Regular grooming doesn’t just help your pet look their best; it helps to remove dirt, debris, and loose fur from their coat. This prevents matting and reduces the risk of skin irritations. Brushing your pet’s fur also promotes healthy circulation and distributes natural oils, keeping their coat shiny and healthy. Plus, it’s a nice time to bond with your pet.
  • Additionally, grooming sessions provide an opportunity to check for any abnormalities such as lumps, bumps, or parasites, allowing for early detection of potential health issues.

Visit the vet.

  • Just as humans need regular check-ups with a doctor, pets require routine veterinary visits to monitor their overall health, detect any potential issues early, and ensure they receive appropriate vaccinations and preventive care.
  • Pet insurance can help offset some of the larger costs of pet care. For a nominal monthly fee, you can have access to coverage that will help if your pet needs surgery or has health issues. Shop around for a pet insurance policy that fits your needs. Before you purchase, make sure you understand the deductible, the coverage limits, and the exclusions. Some policies do not cover pre-existing conditions or wellness care.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Recipes for the Big Game – 8 Heart-healthy Touchdown Treats

Recipes for the Big Game – 8 Heart-healthy Touchdown Treats

We’re gearing up for game day with a winning lineup of Super Bowl snacks. From classic comfort food to delicious remakes of our favorites, we’re doing it all with a heart-healthy* twist. Needless to say, this is “nacho” average football party!

Cauliflower Tots

Cooking spray

4 cups cauliflower florets, steamed (about 1/2 large cauliflower)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded cheddar

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons Sriracha

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • In a food processor, pulse steamed cauliflower until riced.
  • Place riced cauliflower on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to drain water.
  • Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl with egg, cheddar, Parmesan, Panko, and chives, and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a tater-tot shape with your hands. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tots are golden.
  • Meanwhile, make spicy ketchup by combining ketchup and Sriracha in a small serving bowl.
  • Serve warm cauliflower tots with spicy ketchup.

 

Chicken & Feta Sliders

Cooking spray

1 pound ground chicken breast

1/4 cup crumbled herbed feta or regular feta

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 dinner rolls

8 thin slices fresh tomato

  • Coat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, feta, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Mix well and shape the mixture into 8 sliders, each about 3/4-inch thick.
  • Add the sliders to the hot pan and cook for 3 minutes per side for medium.
  • Arrange the sliders on the rolls and top with tomato slices.

 

Crispy Oven-Baked Lemon-Pepper Chicken Wings

3 pounds chicken wings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest, divided

1 ¼ teaspoons ground pepper, divided

Lemon wedges for serving

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place an oven-safe wire rack on the prepared baking sheet; coat the rack with cooking spray.
  • Pat wings dry and place in a medium bowl.
  • Add oil and baking powder; toss to coat well.
  • Add garlic powder, salt, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 1 teaspoon pepper; toss well.
  • Arrange the wings in an even layer on the prepared rack.
  • Bake, flipping once, until the skin is crispy, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers at least 165°F, about 1 hour.
  • Transfer the wings to a clean bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss well. Transfer the wings to a platter. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

 

Lightened Up 7-Layer Dip

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 avocados, mashed well
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup black beans
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives and scallions, to garnish

  • Spread chopped romaine lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.
  • Add avocado layer on top, and smooth out with a spoon to even height.
  • Spoon Greek yogurt layer, and smooth if necessary.
  • Layer black beans, then diced tomatoes on top.
  • Sprinkle cheese and add olives and scallions.

 

Loaded Zucchini Skins

½ pound bacon cooked until crisp, then chopped

4 large zucchini

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper freshly ground

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups shredded cheddar

green onions (optional)

sour cream (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
  • Cook bacon using your preferred method and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a large metal spoon, scoop out seeds from the insides, then cut each half into chunks.
  • Place zucchini pieces into a colander & sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture for about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer zucchini to the prepared baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and top each piece of zucchini with cheese and bacon.
  • Return to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly, and zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes more.
  • Garnish with sour cream and green onions before serving.

 

Mediterranean Nachos

4 pita pockets, sliced into 8 triangles each

1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed, pat dry

1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for drizzle

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 medium cucumber, diced small

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes julienned

1/2 cup banana peppers, sliced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1/2 cup feta crumbles

2-3 green onions, sliced for garnish

2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Hummus, for serving

Tzatziki sauce, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pita triangles across. Drizzle olive oil lightly across the pita bread, along with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
  • On a second baking sheet, spread out the rinsed and dried chickpeas. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, tossing each halfway through.  Check for desired crispiness and remove from oven.
  • Meanwhile, prepare toppings and dips, if making homemade.
  • When the pita chips come out of the oven, transfer them to a serving tray/plate (or just leave them on the tray!). Top pita slices with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers, shallot slices, and feta crumbles.
  • If desired, put the nachos back in the oven for 3-5 minutes if you want the toppings to be warm, too. Garnish with green onion and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with hummus and/or tzatziki sauce.

 

Squash & Walnut Crostini

2 small (or 1 large) acorn squash, halved and seeded

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1 ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 (12-ounce) baguette, sliced and toasted

2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Fried sage leaves, for serving (optional)

  • Season squash with salt and pepper. Arrange cut sides down on a microwave-safe plate or baking dish. Microwave on HIGH until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (Squash can also be roasted in a 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.) Scoop flesh into a bowl; discard skins. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and walnuts. Cook, stirring often, until the nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant and the garlic is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.
  • Spread squash mixture on toasts, dividing evenly. Top with walnut mixture, blue cheese, and fried sage, if desired.

 

Ultra-Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas

19-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

  • Heat air fryer to 390°F
  • Drain and rinse chickpeas. No need to dry.
  • Toss with olive oil and spices.
  • Place the chickpeas in the air fryer basket. Cook for 12-15 minutes, shaking a few times.
  • Remove from air fryer. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

*These recipes contain salt. If you’re under the care of a cardiologist, please check with your physician for your specific heart-healthy dietary needs.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

Winter Fitness Tips

Winter Fitness Tips

It’s easy to exercise in the spring and fall when the weather beckons you to come outside. It may take a bit more inspiration in the winter, but it’s worth it.

Getting outside in cold weather connects you with nature, lifts your mood, and gives you a beneficial dose of sunlight/vitamin D. It also boosts your immunity during cold and flu season. With no heat and humidity, you might even be inspired to work out longer.

However, there is a way to do it safely. Follow these winter fitness tips for the basics of exercising in cold weather.

Choose the right fabrics.

When you’re wet, you lose body heat and that makes you feel cold. The colder you are, the less likely you’ll want to work out. In addition, cold can put you at risk for frostbite or hypothermia. Avoid active wear made from cotton, which holds in moisture from sweat and rain/snow. Instead choose synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. They dry quickly and wick away moisture.

Layer your clothes.

Use layers to trap warm air next to your body. Start with a thin base layer of synthetic fabric, which will keep sweat away from your skin. Then add a middle layer such as a fleece. Your outer layer should be either a lightweight nylon windbreaker or if it’s cold, a heavyweight waterproof jacket. As you exercise and get warmer, remove a layer, and tie it around your waist. That will help you from getting hot and sweaty which can lead to feeling damp and cold.

Pro Tip: Wear bright colors. Visibility is more limited in winter from rain, snow, fog, or dark skies. Be seen by the people and vehicles in your immediate area.

Protect your hands and feet.

In cold weather, blood is circulated to the core of your body, leaving less heat funneled to your extremities – your fingers, ears, nose, and toes. That means these areas are less warm. To counter that effect, wear a hat or headband, gloves or mittens, and thick socks. Choose materials like wool or synthetic as cotton could get wet. If your toes get cold, consider your shoes. Running shoes are designed to let heat escape. You can buy shoe covers at skiing and hiking stores. There also are specialty running sneakers designed for winter.

Protect your skin.

Winter isn’t just cold; it’s dry, and that can affect your skin. Apply moisturizer or lotion regularly. When you’re going to be outdoors, also apply sunscreen. SPF rays can damage your skin even when it’s cloudy. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV rays, so you get doubly exposed. UV rays also increase with elevation. Every 1,000 meters (3,281 ft.) in altitude, UV radiation increases by 10 percent.

Make sure you have traction.

When you’re exercising on icy surfaces, it’s easy to slip. That can lead to injury. Make sure that you have footwear with good traction and stay on plowed surfaces or salted ones. Take care to remove ice from your own property. If you will be primarily on the ice and snow, consider adding snow or ice spikes to your footwear. Just note that while those spikes help on icy surfaces, they can affect your balance on dry ones.

Take the time to warm up.

It’s especially important to warm up for an exercise routine in cold weather. You want to

Increase your blood flow and temperature so you’re not at risk for sprains and strains. A good analogy is what happens when you stretch a cold rubber band. It can snap more easily than a warm one. That’s what could happen to your muscles. For your warm-up, choose low intensity moves that are like those in your workout. Lunges, squats, and arm swings, for example, are good for runners.

Pro Tip: Head into the wind at the beginning of your workout. When you’re on your way back and feeling sweaty, you won’t have to fight the wind chill as much. That will help keep you warmer.

Pay attention to your breathing.

Cold weather causes your airway passages to narrow. That’s why it can hurt to breathe when you’re exercising in cold weather. Breathing through your nose can help but isn’t always possible when you’re moving intensely. Try wrapping a scarf or some thin fabric around your mouth. It will help keep in the humidity.

Hydrate.

You may not feel as thirsty during cold weather workouts. However, you’re still losing fluids. Dehydration carries risks, including headaches and a drop in energy. Sip water while you’re exercising. If you’re going to be exercising for more than 90 minutes, choose a sports drink like Gatorade.

Cool down. Change clothes.

You can get chilled fast after a workout. Take the time to cool down, which helps reduce later muscle soreness. It also helps your heart transition from an exercise pace to a normal rhythm. Then get out of your damp clothes. Take a warm shower and change into clean, dry clothes.

Avoid severe weather.

While cold weather workouts are beneficial, there’s a limit to when you should exercise outside. Avoid the extreme cold. Don’t exercise outdoors during winter storms. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite and hypothermia. The cold also can put a strain on your heart. If you have a chronic health condition such as asthma or a heart problem, talk to your doctor about whether cold weather exercise is right for you.

Know the signs of hypothermia.

Finally, be aware of the signs of hypothermia. That’s when your body temperature drops too low and affects other systems in your body.  If you experience any of these signs, get medical help right away.

  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slow reactions
  • Slurred speech
  • Mental confusion
  • Exhaustion or sleepiness

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

 

12 Productive Things to Do at Home on Cold Winter Days

12 Productive Things to Do at Home on Cold Winter Days

It may be tempting to hide under the covers on the next cold winter day and binge movies.  But it’s also a great time to get things done at home. In fact, it’s easier to be productive when you don’t want to be outside. Plus, checking off your “to do” list feels great. Follow this guide for some ideas of productive things that you can do at home on cold winter days.

  1. Declutter

It’s time to pick your favorite waffle iron and set the rest free. Go through your home and collect items to donate. Include gently used bedding, warm clothing, shoes, books, and even canned goods for the food bank. Clean up and give back at the same time. Check out our guide on Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home for more tips.

  1. Throw things out.

It goes without saying but you probably have single socks that you’re hoping will eventually find a mate. Now is the time to part with them, too. Go ahead and throw out your extra socks, your worn-out underwear, half-used candles, orphaned Tupperware (bottoms without lids or vice versa), expired food, and half-empty, fully expired beauty products.

  1. Organize

When is the last time you took a good look at your closet? Or your kitchen cabinets? Now is a great time to go through them. Start with one space. Pull out everything and assess whether you use these items or not. For your closet, put together outfits for various occasions to determine what you will wear and what you probably won’t. For closets, cabinets, and other storage areas, it’s always helpful to put similar things together so that they’re easy to find for future use.

  1. Listen to a book.

You can curl up on the couch and read the latest bestseller—or you can listen to the audio version while you’re cleaning, organizing, and decluttering. Not only will it provide the perfect soundtrack, but it will also engage your brain and you will feel extra productive.

  1. Workout

Getting up and moving is just what you need on a cold winter’s day. Luckily you can do that right inside. Find an inspirational YouTube workout video or turn on your favorite tunes and have a private dance party. If you have a jump rope or hula hoop, channel your inner child and have some fun!

  1. Try a new recipe.

Cold winter days are perfect times to bake cookies, make soup, make pet treats, and enjoy the time you might not otherwise have to try out new recipes. You can also take some time to cook and freeze meals so you’re ready for the week ahead. Tools like Recipe Radar help you find recipes based on ingredients that you already have on hand.

  1. Do a craft project.

Indulge your creative side with an arts and crafts project. It’s a great way to relax. Choose something practical, like making birthday cards or holiday cards to have in stock for the future. Or try something whimsical such as a sock bunny. The Internet has lots of ideas; do a search based on your interests and the supplies at hand.

  1. Explore a hobby; learn a skill.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a second language or brush up on your knife skills in the kitchen. There’s so much free content online that it’s easy to find videos about your areas of interest. Take a makeup tutorial. Try meditation. Not sure where to start? Sites like Skillshare offer a free month of classes on a variety of topics.

  1. Enjoy a spa day.

You don’t get a chance to pamper yourself nearly enough. Make time for a long, hot bath. Do a beauty treatment. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. Don’t forget to hydrate. Make yourself a glass of cucumber water for that extra spa touch.

  1. Organize your photos.

If you’re like most people, you have albums of photos – on your phone, in print, or both. You just don’t always have the time to cull through them. Organizing your photos is the perfect indoor activity for a cold winter’s day. Sort your digital photos into albums so you can more easily find them. Save them to the cloud to free up space on your phone. Delete any photos that you don’t want anymore. For printed photos, follow a similar process. Decide which ones you will keep and in what format (e.g. scan to digital, place in a photo album). Consider giving away or throwing out photos to keep your collection manageable.

  1. Catch up with friends or family.

If you haven’t had a chance to chat with friends or family in a while, give them a call. Chances are that they’re stuck inside too and would love to hear from you. Not only can you catch up, but you can also plan your next get together. Don’t feel like talking? Write a letter. Everyone loves a handwritten note.

  1. Plan your summer vacation.

What better time than a cold winter’s day to dream about summer? Do some research and plan your next vacation. You can often find a better selection of vacation rentals by planning so far in advance. You may find money-saving deals on flights, accommodations, rental cars, and activities. Plus, you’ll be able to set a budget with ample time to save up for your trip.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

Winter Camping Destinations

Winter Camping Destinations

Get your gear ready. It may be winter, but it’s a great time to go camping. Not only will you find comfortable temperatures, but you’ll also enjoy spectacular scenery, lower costs, and fewer crowds. Here are some of our favorite destinations for winter camping.

ARIZONA

Twin Peaks Campground

https://www.nps.gov/orpi/planyourvisit/twin-peaks.htm

Sonoran Desert, Arizona (2 hours from Phoenix)

Cost: Starting at $20 per night plus a $25 entry fee into the park

Average winter temperatures: Daytime highs in the 60’s to low-40’s at night

What you need to know: This is the main campground for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The area is surrounded by desert plants and cacti and has numerous hiking trails.

CALIFORNIA

Joshua Tree National Park

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/jumbo-rocks-campground.htm

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Twentynine Palms, California

Cost: $20 per night plus entrance fee

Average winter temperatures: Daytime temperatures average 60 degrees with freezing nights

What you need to know: There are several campsites at Joshua Tree National Park. The Jumbo Rocks is centrally located and offers beautiful views of the rock formations. The park is known for hiking, climbing, and stargazing. Pets are not allowed on trails. Make your reservation early; the park is busiest during February and March.

FLORIDA

Everglades National Park

https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/camping.htm

Homestead, Florida

Cost: Starting at $33 a night

Average winter temperatures: Range from high 50’s to high 70’s

What you need to know: This park features towering Cyprus trees and an abundance of animals who call the Everglades home. Choose from front country and wilderness back country campsites, the latter reached mostly by canoe, kayak, or motorboat. Reserve early as this park is busiest from November through April.

GEORGIA

Reed Bingham State Park

https://gastateparks.org/ReedBingham

Adel, Georgia

Cost: From $35 per night plus $5 parking fee

Average winter temperatures: Low 40’s to mid-60’s

What you need to know: This park features a 375-acre lake, and there are rentals for canoes and kayaks. Visitors also enjoy fishing, birding, and hiking. There is abundant wildlife, including tortoises, snakes, alligators, and nesting bald eagles. During the winter, thousands of black vultures and turkey vultures make their home here.

LOUISIANA

Grand Isle State Park

https://www.lastateparks.com/parks-preserves/grand-isle-state-park

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

Cost: Starting at $18 per night plus $3 per person admission fee

Average winter temperatures: mid-40’s to mid-60’s

What you need to know: This park offers fishing, birding, crabbing, hiking, and boating throughout the lagoons and the Gulf shore. There is a toll bridge to get to this state park. While the park is open, the boardwalks are currently closed due to damage from Hurricane Ida and campsites are limited.

NEVADA

Valley of Fire State Park

https://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire

Overton, Nevada

Cost: $20 per night for Nevada residents and $25 per night for non-Nevada vehicles, an additional $10 for utility hookups (WiFi for an additional fee)

Average winter temperatures: Can range from freezing to 75 degrees so pack accordingly

What you need to know: This 40,000-acre park is known for its bright red Aztec sandstone and its ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

OREGON

Harris Beach State Park

https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=park.profile&parkId=58

Brookings, Oregon

Cost: Starting at $20 per night for residents (non-residents pay 25% more)

Average winter temperatures: Mid-50’s in the day to low-40’s at night

What you need to know: While winter is not beach weather, this park includes a beautiful beach for strolls, as well as walking paths and hiking trails. There are tent sites, RV sites, and yurts. Some of the campsites are closed during the winter so please check before you book.

SOUTH CAROLINA

James Island County Park

https://ccprc.com/68/James-Island-County-Park

Charleston, South Carolina

Cost: Starting at $35 per night campgrounds and cottages are available

Average winter temperatures: Mid-40’s to low-60’s

What you need to know: The 643-acre park features open meadows and miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating. While the Splash Zone is not in operation during winter months, there is a climbing wall and disc golf course. Not only is the park pet-friendly, it also features a dog park.

TEXAS

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock

Fredericksburg, Texas

Cost: Starting at $14 per night plus a day pass fee of $8 per person; no RV or vehicle camping

Average winter temperatures: Daytime highs of mid-60’s to nighttime lows of low-40’s

What you need to know:  The park features a huge pink granite dome that gives it its name. There is 1,600 acres of desert landscape, including opportunities for hiking and rock climbing. Pets are limited to one trail, and there is no bike riding on any trails.

UTAH / COLORADO

Dinosaur National Monument

https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm

Jensen, Utah

Cost: Camping starts at $0 in the backcountry and ranges from $6-$40 at other sites plus an entrance pass ranging from $15-$25

Average winter temperatures: Elevations in the park may influence temperatures which can fluctuate from 0 degrees to 30 degrees in January. Pack accordingly.

What you need to know: This is your chance to camp where dinosaurs once roamed. The park covers 210,000 acres at the intersection of Utah and Colorado, and offers hiking, river rafting, and petroglyph viewing. Six campgrounds provide a variety of options. Not all are open in the winter. There are places where pets are permitted and where they are not.

Do you have a favorite winter camping spot? Share it in the comments.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

When Someone Else Gets in an Accident in Your Car

When Someone Else Gets in an Accident in Your Car

Your best friend wants to borrow your car. He wouldn’t ask unless he really needed it. So even though you know about his past fender benders, you give in. What happens if your friend gets into an accident in your car? Read on to find out.

Car insurance follows the car, not the driver.

You may assume that your friend’s insurance will cover him, since he got into the accident. That’s not the case. Car insurance covers the car rather than the driver. You don’t even have to be in the car. If your car is in an accident, and the driver is at fault, your insurance will be used to cover damages to the vehicles involved. If you carry collision coverage, it will take care of damage to your car, less your deductible. If your coverage isn’t enough to pay all the damages, your friend’s auto insurance may act as secondary coverage.

Interesting sidenote: While car insurance follows the driver, that’s not the case with tickets. If your friend gets a ticket while in your car, that only affects his record.

 Permissive use vs. non-permissive use

The fact that you gave permission to your friend is important. Most auto policies allow you to lend your car to a person for occasional, short-term use. If they are driving your car on a more regular basis, you need to add them to your policy. It’s worth noting that coverage limits may vary under permissive use.

Sometimes a family member or friend borrows your car without permission. If they cause an accident, you are not responsible for the damage. However, it can be difficult to prove that you did not grant them permission. Plus, you will still need to get your car repaired and file a claim with your insurance company. A good tip is to keep your keys secured away from others if you have concerns with them taking your vehicle.

When insurance won’t pay

There are very few instances where insurance will deny coverage of an accident. These include:

  • If the person is specifically excluded from your policy
  • If the person was intentionally breaking the law
  • If the person borrowed your car to offer a commercial service, like a rideshare

 How coverage works

For those times when insurance does pay, here is a breakdown of the coverages that typically apply in a car accident:

  • Collision: Your collision coverage will pay for repairs to your car minus the deductible. Collision coverage is not required unless you’re leasing a car or paying off a loan on a vehicle. However, it may be good to have, especially in the event of an accident.
  • Liability: Liability covers damages to the other vehicle. This coverage is required by law in most states. The two main types of liability coverage are bodily injury and property damage.

 Bodily injury: This coverage helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering for the driver and passengers in the other In no-fault states, your own injuries are typically covered by your auto policy through a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim. (It differs from state to state.)

 Property damage: This coverage helps pay for repairs for the other vehicle or for repair/replacement of property, such as a fence, that is damaged or destroyed by the collision.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage: If the other driver is at fault and is not insured or is underinsured, UMPD coverage will help pay for repairs. These are optional coverages in most states. In some states, you are not allowed to carry collision and UMPD at the same time. Also, sometimes UMPD has a policy maximum, or cap on the amount it will pay.

Lending your car can be an expensive favor.

Think carefully before you lend your car to anyone. Even though you didn’t cause the accident, your insurance rates can go up at the next policy renewal.

Before you lend your car, it’s a good idea to review your auto policy and the policy of your friend or family member. Your insurance provider can help to answer any questions you may have.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

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