Let’s Keep Our Lawns – and Ourselves – Safe in California

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For many of our neighbors in the Bay Area, summer means more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard – often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.

Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips.

Tool safety tips from the U.S. CPSC

  • Dress appropriately. To protect yourself from debris when using lawn tools, wear eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes and no jewelry. Sturdy shoes are recommended, and ear plugs may be appropriate depending on how loud the device is.
  • Before starting, remove objects from your work area that could cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass or stones.f925544a4ebc7ec323c18e0eb2f25f8815a3c748
  • Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised. And never assume children will remain where you last saw them.
    Use extreme caution when backing up or approaching corners, shrubs and trees.
  • Teenagers using power equipment should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Handle gasoline carefully. Never fill tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot. Of course, you should never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Do not work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.

Lawn Chemical Safety Tips from Texas A&M University

  • If you use chemicals to control weeds or pests in your lawn, read the product label carefully so you understand the potential effects on humans, animals and the environment. Follow all instructions.
  • Keep children and animals away from the application area, and protect your skin, eyes and nose during and after application.
  • Remember, use only the recommended amount. Using more of the chemical will not do a better job.
  • Ask yourself if you truly need to use a general pesticide. Is there a product that will specifically treat only the problem you need to solve?

From all of us at Harrington Insurance, here’s to keeping both you and your lawn healthy this summer!

How to protect your most cherished possessions

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If you’re like most people, there are certain items you own that you can’t imagine ever losing—possessions you deeply cherish or those that would be impossible to replace due to the cost of re-purchasing them or simply because they’re irreplaceable.

 

While your homeowners insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings (as well as damage to your home’s structure), your policy might provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items.personal-valuables-insurance-wide.v1412395234

 

The good news is that you can still protect the things that matter to you most, even if they’re not fully covered under your homeowners, with a scheduled personal property endorsement that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

 

Not an easy name, but it can help you sleep better at night

A scheduled personal property endorsement is not something that everyone talks about, but we at Harrington Insurance can help you determine if it would be a good fit for you. The first step begins with you. Look around your home and make a list of your cherished possessions. Be sure to consider the following:

  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Collections
  • Musical instruments
  • Silverware/China
  • Autographed items
  • Rare or one-of-a-kind items

 

Once you have taken an inventory, make the time to talk with us. We are always here to help you determine whether if your prized possessions need more coverage than your current policy provides.

 

Please keep in mind that it is wise to complete an inventory every year or so, because it’s easy to acquire new items over time that should be added to a scheduled personal property endorsement. It could be tragic to find yourself in a situation rendering you unable to replace what matters most to you.

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Contact Us!

 

At Harrington Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (408)754-9000 or send us a note at [email protected] We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Get started early to get your boat ready for summer

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If you love the water, few things are better than boating season.  Summer just wouldn’t be summer without spending those long, hot days on the lake, cooling off with a lazy dip in the water, dropping a line in hopes of catching a “big one,” or having an action-packed day of waterskiing and tubing.

 

Boating is not without its share of pre-summer preparation.  If you’re not on the ball early, it’s easy to find yourself midway through July still on dry land.

 

At Harrington Insurance, we want to ensure you’re first in line at the boat launch at the first sign of the season change, so here are a few tips for being ahead of the game.

  • Tune it up. It’s always a good idea to have your boat winterized at the end of each season, but whether you did or didn’t get it done last year, make sure to get a full tune-up before you hit tampathe lake this summer.
  • Charge it. Make sure your battery is fully charged.
  • Clear it out. If there’s a chance any bit of gas from last season is still in your tank, fill it up with fresh gas as well as a stabilizer; this will prevent buildup in the gas lines and injection system.
  • Give it a test. Before you get the boat all the way into the water and off the trailer, lower your motor into the water and make sure it will turn over.
  • Plug it up. Ensure your drain plug is in and the bilge pump is functioning properly.
  • Double- and triple-check. The last thing you want is to be turned away at the ramp for not having an updated registration or missing your ski flag or life vests.  Double check that your documents are updated and that your boat is fully stocked with everything you need.

We at Harrington Insurance wish you a fun-filled and safe boating season!

Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home?

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Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.

 

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away!IND_048

 

What is insurance to value?

Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home.  Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss

 

Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?

A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost.  The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area.  It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value

 

Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?

New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.

 

How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?

Work with your agent to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.

Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.

Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.

Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.

Create great fishing memories for your children

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No matter what season is winding down, the next season is just another reason to spend on the water in the boat with rod in hand. One of the best ways to enjoy boating and fishing in California is to share the fun with others – especially your kids or grandkids.

While expert anglers tend to know the ropes of both boating and fishing on Clear Lake, there are still many mishaps that can occur if the excursion is not well-planned and strategically executed. This is especially crucial when you have little ones along for the ride.Kids fishing clip art_420x280_thumb

The next time you’re gearing up with your offspring to go after the ‘big one,’ make sure that it’s as enjoyable as you anticipate by considering the following guidelines.

Only if weather permits. Check the weather forecast in detail, using your favorite app, before you head out onto the water. In many climates, weather can change quickly and drastically, ushering in unexpected storms that could scare your children and put you all in harm’s way

Dress yourself – and your little ones – for the adventure. Though it may seem obvious, it can get slippery out on the boat or the dock! Ensure stable footing for all by making sure you and your kids are wearing shoes that grip boat floors and slick rocks and docks.

Make safety a game. It’s important to be equipped with everything you need for safety and protection – from flashlights and sunscreen to plenty of water and life preservers – but you can also make it fun for the kids. For example, make them the keepers of the radio or the person who makes sure everyone is wearing a hat or sunglasses for protection from the sun.

Be hyper-vigilant about dangerous items. The sport of fishing is accompanied by some sharp items – hooks and knives to name just two. Make sure you have these items in a locked tackle box to ensure no one accidentally gets hurt.

Follow boating rules. Make sure your boat is in good standing by adhering to all the laws of the lough. To find these, research the body of water you’re going to be fishing on before you head out.

At Harrington Insurance, we hope your fall family fishing outings become lifetime memories!

Contact Us!

At Harrington Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (408)754-9000 or send us a note at [email protected] We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Daylight Savings Time is also Daylight Safety Time.

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In most places in the United States, March 13th, is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. We here at Harrington Insurance want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety.

 

Be safe in your Bay Area home

 

Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Whether you live in California, or elsewhere, practice the plan too – at least twice a year.daylight-savings-spring-forward-clipart-1

 

Daylight Saving is a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.

 

Carbon Monoxide a concern too

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward this Sunday.

 

The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

 

See the CDC’s site for more ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.

 

We here at Harrington Insurance hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.

Keeping your home secure

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Everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security.

 

And nowadays, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security, so we at Harrington Insurance want to help you sort through those options with a few tips.

 

Do-it-yourself options

The widespread availability of electronic tools means that homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.iStock_000011785457Medium

  • Cameras: Smaller and more inexpensive than ever, cameras can be placed nearly anywhere on the exterior of your home and monitored from inside wirelessly — or set to record footage for review later. Available software even allows you to point your laptop camera in a particular direction (say, at the front door) and check the images from a remote location.
  • Lights: Motion-detecting floodlights are an excellent deterrent to thieves, because they don’t want to be seen. Make sure they’re installed near entryways, and that they aren’t easily reached from the ground. And using timers for interior lights is a good way to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
  • Alarms: Vibration alarms are available for windows, alerting you if someone is trying to get in. Similarly, other monitors can be installed near doors and programmed to sound if a person comes within a set distance. Some even emit barking sounds to make it appear that a dog is in the house.

 

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety:

  • Keep your home locked. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people leave windows or doors unlocked. Make sure that sliding doors and windows have extra security, such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
  • Don’t leave a key outside. If you need to provide access to your home while you’re away, leave your key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Watch the landscaping. Thick shrubs and bushes around your porch or yard can give thieves a good place to hide. Keep them well-trimmed and ensure that problematic areas can be illuminated with your outdoor lighting.
  • Use common sense. If you’re going away on vacation, cancel your newspaper and other deliveries. Ask a neighbor to keep watch, and park a car out front. Don’t post publicly on social media or leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail indicating that you’ll be away for an extended period.

 

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina.  So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

 

Sidebar:

It’s a great time for a home inventory

If your home was burglarized, would you know what was missing? A home inventory is a crucial tool to help replace everything that was lost. And we can help you do one! Give us a call at (408)754-9000 or visit our website at www.HarringtonInsurance.com to learn more.

 

Contact Us!

 

At Harrington Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (408)754-9000 or send us a note at [email protected] We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It!

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A 2009 survey shows that identity theft is on the rise – and it’s more likely to start with a stolen wallet than an online phishing expedition.

 

Researchers at Javelin Strategy & Research reported that the number of identity theft cases increased 22 percent to 9.9 million in 2008.ContentImageHandler

 

Crimes of opportunity, such as stolen wallets, represented 43 percent of cases, compared to 33 percent in 2007, indicating an increase in the desperation of criminals.

Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity theft, reporting a higher incidence of lost or stolen information during purchases in stores.

Only 11 percent of cases involved online access.

 

The smartest way to protect yourself from identity theft is to prevent it from happening to you. However, if your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly.

 

  • Call your credit card companies immediately. Explain what happened, and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
  • Call and report to the police. Make several copies of police report.
  • Complete a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Theft Affidavit and FTC report (call 1-887-ID-THEFT to request the forms).
  • Call your bank. They can place an alert on your Driver’s License number and Social Security Number, and freeze your account.
  • Call fraud units of credit report agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

 

Fortunately, identity theft protection is available as an endorsement on most homeowners’ policies at a small cost. For example, Safeco offers Identity Theft Protection for $12 a year to homeowner policy holders. The coverage reimburses certain expenses associated with identity recovery. Customers can also get guidance on how to protect themselves from ID theft before it happens and may receive assistance with identity restoration.

 

If you’re interested in learning more, call Harrington Insurance at (408)754-9000 or email at [email protected]

Reduce Car Accident Risk

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3 Easy Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Car Crash

 

Spring is right around the corner, and the warmer weather often prompts people in the Bay Area to hop in their cars for weekend (or longer) road trips.

 

Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to crashes and other risks that drivers face anytime they hit the road.image

 

You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s across the state or across town, by following these simple rules:

 

  1. Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the country are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now? If it’s daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Anything that takes your eyes off the road or distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that guy who is shaving on his way to work.

 

  1. Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver. Best of all, have the party at your house and let everyone sleep over.

 

  1. Slow down. They say “speed kills,” and, as depressing as it sounds, it’s true. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC Surprisingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below. Remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions, going slower might be the safest option.

 

Improving safety on the roads isn’t rocket science. Just a little common sense can make a big difference for you, your passengers and your fellow drivers. So be alert and be safe out there on the roads in the Bay Area.

Make recycling and reducing routine

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Make reduce, reuse and recycle a part of your routine

 

“Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Most likely, you’ve heard that catchy phrase connected with information about saving natural resources and even saving your family money. But how many of us really make reducing, reusing and recycling a part of our everyday life?

 

At Harrington Insurance, we’re happy to say that we try to do our part to protect our environment and use our resources wisely. And we’re hoping you’ll take the time – if you’re not already – to make reduce, reuse and recycle part of your daily routine. Depending on where you’re starting from, it may take a change in mindset, or maybe just a little more dedication. But these tips from the Environmental Protection Agency can help.thCADCRF0W

 

Reducing and reusing

  • Look for products that use less packaging. Companies use less raw material when they use less packaging, reducing waste and cost. This means that you can save money while helping to protect the environment. A great example (though it sounds at odds with “reduce”) is buying items in bulk.
  • Avoid disposable items. Take your own travel mug to the coffee shop, for instance, or bring real silverware to work for lunches, instead of using plastic.
  • Let technology help. New compact fluorescent light bulbs use far less energy than standard bulbs, and low-flow shower heads, coupled with aerators, can reduce your water use without you even noticing.
  • Invest in maintenance. When properly maintained, many items, such as appliances and clothing, won’t need to be replaced as frequently.
  • Don’t buy limited-use items. If you need something that you won’t use more than once or twice, such as a power tool, see if you can borrow or rent instead of buying.
  • Donate! When you’re done with an item, if it’s in good shape, consider donating it to a charitable organization that will sell it or continue using it. You just might get a tax deduction, too! And don’t forget, you can always buy used items as well.

 

Recycling

Recycling isn’t just about putting your cans, bottles and newspapers into a bin, although that plays a big part. Here are some other things to consider.

  • Electronic waste: TVs, computers, cell phones and other electronics should not go into landfills. Many companies offer options now for proper disposal at little to no cost. Even printer ink cartridges can be recycled.
  • Food waste: In many communities, food scraps and waste are collected along with yard waste and used for composting.
  • Restaurants and grocery stores: Some establishments are beginning to offer separate bins for recyclable materials and food waste. Be sure to use these when available, and if your favorite place doesn’t offer this option, ask about it!

 

Though your actions may seem small, they do make a difference in the Bay Area — and the world. And when they’re combined with the efforts of millions of others, the impact is even bigger than you can imagine!

 

Contact Us!

 

At Harrington Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (408)754-9000 or send us a note at [email protected] We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!