Saturday, 21 September 2019

Silo Sweet Silo Pt.2

Here's another post which is part of a series that started with "Silo Sweet Silo", showing how some creative people have turned the old standard grain silo into a comfortable and cosy home.

There's a cool bed and breakfast place in Oregon that is part of an 82 acre working farm, including winery. Abbey Road Farms turned three silos into a unique, luxury accommodation for guests at their acreage. Another example of how to beautifully blend a building into it's surroundings!
The grand entrance

Looks inviting

Sweet sleeping space

The farm and vineyards in the area

Another look at the sleeping quarters

Beautiful and inviting 

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Who's At Fault?

Any time there's an auto accident, there is quite often an immediate reaction to find fault and ascertain who is ultimately responsible for the injuries and damages suffered in the collision.

Nobody wants to be guilty of causing an accident and it must be human nature to deny wrongdoing or assign blame elsewhere, whether it is true or not. Accidents are, well...accidental, and anything else might be considered attempted murder perhaps.If there is an accident, the involved parties are likely going to think it was the fault of "the other guy"!

Of course, the first course of action after an accident should always be attendance to those who are injured, and calling for the police, ambulance, or other emergency services. You may even be injured yourself and need medical attention, so all other concerns should be secondary.

Fault will inevitably be assigned by the police during the initial investigation. Sometimes this is fairly simple and straight forward, especially in minor fender benders. Other times, the investigation takes a long time and may involve traffic accident reconstruction experts, especially if there are serious injuries or a fatality. And, even should the police assign fault, legal action could change that should a judge determine guilt different to that of the initial investigation.

Naturally, accidents and injuries are the reason why we have insurance, as even the costs associated with a minor fender bender can add up quickly. And just consider how an individual would fare should they face the financial consequences of a serious injury or death. Assigning fault is an enivitability and the guilty party will responsible for costs associated with the accident. Sometimes this cost is indirect, as claims for "at fault accidents" are a determining factor for insurance premiums.

As for that assigning of fault and how it may not be clear as to who is guilty, consider a rear end accident scenario where there is often an assumption that the fault automatically lies with the driver of the vehicle who runs into the back of the car in front. But hang on a second! Did that car in front pull out of a side street or parking stall and not give the other vehicle any chance to avoid the accident? Or did they change lanes and cut in front of the other vehicle without allowing for a proper following distance, then slamming on their brakes and getting rear-ended? Suddenly things are not so cut and dry!

So, what's the point of all this talk about fault? It was meant to bring up a couple of points, one being that we all have a duty to drive in such a way that we prevent accidents. Defensive driving is meant to prevent accidents due to the action or inaction of other drivers, regardless of who's at fault. Regardless of fault and regardless of which vehicle operators or passengers are injured and/or killed, no-one wants to be part of that horrible scenario. Even the mental health implications can be difficult to deal with, like PTSD!

Secondly, think of the other costs associated with an accident. Car repairs, damage to property, emergency services response, hospital bills, physiotherapy. Yes, it may all be covered by insurance and our national health care system, but we, as consumers, are the ones paying for it with our taxes or our premiums and inevitably the cost will trickle down.

The government has been critisized for raising taxes and lately the same can be said for the insurance industry in raising their rates. In the case of the latter,  as with any business they are there to make a profit and when that stops happening, rates will rise. If you think of the underlying cause of profit loss being accidents and injury claims, suffice to say that if we all took a bit more care and avoided these scenarios altogether, those rates will stabalize.

Ultimately, we all want to get to where we're going safely and in good time, and need to watch out for one another, avoiding the devestating cost of accidents. Drive defensively!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

To Tell The Truth

There are many reasons why people don't tell the truth and when it comes to the insurance industry, there's a perception that by not admitting or omitting certain facts a person may save some money on their premium.

Yes, people sometimes lie to us when they think it may save them a few dollars on the cost of their insurance. One of the more common "untruths" is typically the commuting distances for auto insurance, as people do understand that the longer your commute, the more daily risk exposure you face and subsequently will see higher rates.

What most people don't remember is that insurance is based on the principal of good faith, and not telling the truth, also known as "non-disclosure", is grounds for a claim to be denied should the offending party be involved in an accident or incident!

The Most Misrepresented Facts When It Comes To Insurance!

  • Dangerous Dog Breeds: considering the fact that some animals have a bigger bite which could be more injurious or even deadly.

  • Home Use: If you rent out your home, including AirBnB, if you are not living in the home at all, or you are away for extended periods without someone checking in on a regular basis as outlined by the insurer, your home is at a higher risk and may need additional coverage.

  • Wood Stove Or Fireplace: As you can imagine, either of these features use wood for fuel and are an added risk for fire.

  • Renos: If your home is under construction your insurer needs to know, or if you have repairs that are needed, you must get the work done.

  • Pools: The risks in having a pool are very high, which is why there are so many regulations regarding fencing and gates and other such safety requirements, but which are also factors that affect your insurance premiums.

  • Trampolines: Another dangerous item to have on your premises and one which attracts children, just like the pool. Anytime a child is at risk for injury or death, there are much stricter rules and regulations, and proper insurance coverage is a necessity.

The reality is that honesty is the best policy, so make sure your insurer knows what's going on with your home to ensure you're properly covered and can avoid the chances of having a claim denied should a tragedy occur.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Silo Sweet Silo

Living in and around the prairies, seeing a silo is an every day experience and it's quite common to see multiple units, large and small, together on the same farm.

Given the normalcy to have a silo on one's property, how easy would it be to have one on your farm as a home? Of course, I'm talking about a nicely retro-fitted version of a silo, as was done in Utah with "Monte-Silo".

Check out these great photos of this custom designed and built silo home and I'm sure you'll agree that it would blend in seamlessly with it's surroundings when placed on a rural acreage.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Cars and Bicycles Sharing the Road

I'm always a bit leery about riding my bicycle on Calgary roads, given the discourteous manner in which too many drivers seem to operate their vehicles in and around us cyclists.

Of course, in some ways it's not overly surprising that drivers act so poorly toward cyclists, since I am also a motorcyclist and know that many drivers just don't look, see and recognize a motorcycle as another vehicle on the road. It's why motorcyclists need to ride like they're invisible and use defensive driving skills to avoid conflicts and accidents in order to protect themselves.

In regard to bicycles, there is a new Calgary bylaw coming into effect September 1, 2019 whereby motorists driving slower than 60km/h will be required by law to leave a minimum of 1 metre when passing someone cycling. When driving faster than 60km/hr the distance increases to least 1.5 metres of space when passing. Failure to leave the minimum safe passing distance may result in a $203 fine as per the new bylaw. 

Don't get me wrong, as I'm all for taking measures to protect cyclists, and that includes giving my support for the dedicated cycling lanes that have been introduced on certain streets and avenues. I have an issue though, and I'm sure it's not just a sore point with me since many drivers have probably faced the same scenario when encountering bicycles on the road.

  • You're driving in the right hand lane on a busy street and come up behind a cyclist riding in the same direction. 
  • Keeping in mind safety, not withstanding the new bylaw that's coming out, you wait for a clear lane on your left and swing out and around the bicycle, giving him/her adequate space as you pass and then return to the right hand lane. 
  • Now you're sitting at the next light and that same cyclist squeezes past you between the curb and your car and is now in front of you again, meaning you once again must pass them while giving them that safety space of one metre! 
  • Sometimes the cyclist can't squeeze past on the right so they go up on the sidewalk or boulevard to get past, or ride by on the left side and cut back in front that way.

Aggravating, right? I mean, you treat the cyclist with respect and give them their full lane in which to ride when you pass them and they don't seem to respect you back. And i see the temptation, with the ability to scoot through backed up traffic and get ahead, but are you suprised that drivers get irate and start cutting you off or getting a tad too close for comfort.

Just like the foolish motorcyclist who's ripping around, weaving in and out of traffic, being a wahoo and going too fast for the road and traffic conditions, are selfish cyclists setting themselves and fellow riders up for an incident or some sort of injury because drivers get fed up or don't care about their safety? Something to think about, that's for sure. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Fresh Start Recovery Centre Scavenger Hunt Ride

Ever wish you could have a fresh start at something? We all have those moments when some of the things in our daily lives don't quite work out as we planned and we wished we could have another shot at it to see if we can get it right. Now imagine you have a very real issue, like an addiction of some sort, and feel like you have nowhere to go and nobody to help you out.

Enter the Fresh Start Recovery Centre, a facility here in Calgary who help with  "recovering lives by housing, treating and supporting people affected by addiction".

The Fresh Start treatment program follows the disease concept, seeing addiction as an illness that is progressive and potentially fatal if not treated properly. In their 40,000 sq.ft. purpose built home, they employ an interdisciplinary approach to treating addiction through individual and group counseling sessions, in conjunction with enhanced recreational and therapeutic activities by creating an atmosphere conducive to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth.

As you can imagine, this is no small task and there's a fair bit of expense to keeping this program going, which is one of the reasons there's a fundraiser "scavenger hunt" style motorcycle ride taking place this Saturday, August 24.

One of the great things about the Fresh Start program is the way they use the money they raise. Many charities spend donated dollars on administration and fundraising campaigns. Yes, some oranizations spend as much as half of every dollar raised to fundraise for more money!. With Fresh Start, 85% of the money donated to their program goes toward running the program, which is why they're so highly rated by Charity Intelligence Canada.

The scavenger hunt style of motorcycle ride is not just a different ride, with various destinations that seek you to challenge yourself and your fellow riders. This year they expect about 250 riders and, as always, you can expect a great bunch of people who all love to ride and who support such a great initiative.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Umbrella's Aren't Just For Rain!

An umbrella insurance policy is extra liability insurance coverage that goes beyond the limits of the insureds' home, auto or watercraft insurance, adding an extra layer of coverage for those with a higher level of risk exposure.

There's a very good chance that most people will fit into one of the following categories, of having children, partaking in hobbies, travelling, using social media, or perhaps owning rental property or being a volunteer with some organisation or charity group. 

Think about social media for a second. Who doesn't participate in this activity? But also consider the potential for risk when you think of the hundreds or thousands of people that may see a post where you might commit libel, slander or breach of privacy. A defamatory review of a business or service or a photo "published" of someone that doesn't want their photo shown are certainly quite possible, even if innocently done.

And what about those kids? They're on social media as well, or out and about doing kid things, especially if they're teens. If your dependent is responsible for some sort of damaging action, you, the parent, could be held responsible. 

Image courtesy of Wawanesa

Canadians are becoming more and more litigious and sometimes basic coverage just isn't enough, which is why getting an umbrella policy should be an easy decision. It's often more affordable than increasing limits on each policy base and it extends worldwide.