Make football season not just fun, but also safe

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Finally, we’re welcoming fall, that eagerly anticipated season when we get to enjoy cooler temps, colorful leaves, the start of school and, of course, football season in the Bay Area!

 

Football season in the Bay Area brings with it a whole host of seasonal activities for football fans, from game-day tailgates and sports bar outings, to friendly bets and bowl parties.  At {agency_name_long}, we want your football season to be both exciting and safe, so as you cheer your team to victory, consider the following tips.87d462a6ad432c3eef5d2779e74d46b5

  • Keep it clean: Tailgating is one of America’s favorite pastimes! If you’re tailgating, opt for non-breakable, recyclable containers. This will make cleanup easier and help avoid injuries resulting from broken glass.
  • Be smart: Whether you are tailgating, hosting a football-watching party at your house in San Jose, sitting in the stands at Levi’s Stadium or joining your buddies at the local bar, know your limit on alcohol intake and make sure you have a designated driver.
  • Know where you’re going: Pre-plan travel to and from the stadium to avoid getting lost and to make finding parking easier if you drive.
  • Fill those bellies: Whenever alcohol is consumed, make sure food is too!
  • Be weather wise: If you’re heading to the stadium, be sure to prepare for the weather. In colder temps, bring layers and blankets (especially if you’re bringing the little ones along).  Also, avoid umbrellas if you find yourself in a lightning storm.
  • Keep it close: Whether you’re hitting the live game or the local tavern, be sure to keep your valuables, such as wallets, mobile phones and purses, safe.  Also, keep it close to you (better yet, attached) at all times to avoid theft.

Wherever and however you’re watching the game this weekend, we hope you enjoy every last minute.  Go team!

 

Game day insurance tips

Here are a few pointers for making sure your insurance provides an additional safety net on game day:

  • Make sure you have adequate auto coverage to cover any contents that may be stolen in the unfortunate event of a break-in at the stadium parking lot.
  • Ensure you have sufficient liability coverage on your homeowner’s policy, as well as medical payments coverage and possibly umbrella coverage. These exist to protect you in the event someone becomes injured while at your house.
  • Consider roadside assistance coverage. In the event your vehicle breaks down or you lock your keys in your car, it can save the day.

5 Tips for a More Secure Workplace

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Protecting your business in the Bay Area used to mean locking the doors at the end of the day. That’s still important, of course, but now a security breach can extend beyond your physical assets to include software, systems and sensitive data. And, if customer information is compromised, you may lose the most important asset you have — their trust.lockandkey

 

How can you protect your business? Here are five tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and others to help you stay secure, both physically and digitally.

 

  1. Manage and assess your risk. What valuables do you need to protect? What about data? What losses would impact you most? The answers to these questions can help you form a plan.
  2. Control physical access to your workplace. Establish procedures for distributing keys and how you keep track of them. Secure valuable information or equipment in a locked area with access only to those who use it. Customers should be able to access your office only in one monitored entrance.
  3. Don’t forget about controlling digital access. You wouldn’t give every employee a key to your safe, so take similar precautions when it comes to access to computers, networks and sensitive data.
  4. Be proactive. Set up automatic software updates for your most important systems. Require your employees to change passwords at regular intervals for additional security. If you provide a wireless network, make sure it is secured, and preferably encrypted.
  5. Consider other measures. It’s easier than ever to install cameras and monitoring systems that allow you to check on your facility at any time. Of course, there also are companies that will monitor your office and alert you to any issues. Cybersecurity insurance is relatively new and can provide some protection if your systems are compromised, but find out exactly what is included in the policy. Remember, even if you purchase coverage, you’ll still need to keep your data as secure as possible.

 

We here at Harrington Insurance hope you find these tips helpful, but keep in mind that we’ve only scratched the surface! We encourage you to dig deeper and thoroughly investigate potential solutions to help ensure your office and data have the right level of security for your particular needs.

Insurance Tips for Back-to-School Time

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College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.

It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

School books with apple on desk

 

HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)

  • Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.
  • For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
  • Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
  • Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.
  • Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.

 

AUTO (may vary by state)

  • Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
  • Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
  • Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.
  • Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.

 

Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!

After-School Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

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After-School Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

 

Parents, class is back in session in The Bay Area, so you’ve likely already reviewed the basic safety tips for kids who walk or bus to and from school.

Those tips, of course, are:

  • Walk with a buddy
  • Stay in well-lit areas
  • Never accept a ride with strangers
  • Once home, lock the door and don’t let anyone inafter school

 

However, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, urges you not to overestimate your kids’ safety smarts. Kids under 10, for example, may not grasp the concept of crossing a street safely, she says.

She suggests teaching them: “Stop. Left. Right. Left.” Meaning that children should, “stop at the curb, look left, right, then left again before crossing, and keep looking as they cross.”

Another thing kids need to know, says Borba, is how to ask for help. Have kids practice saying, “I need help,” out loud and instruct them to “find a uniformed employee, a police officer or a woman, preferably with a child,” when they need assistance, she says.

Once home, kids will likely use the Internet, so be sure to discuss digital safety too.

Staying Safe Online

Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff, author of Wit’s End and Google Bomb, says that, “we need to put parental controls/security measures on computers and cell phones. Unfortunately, these aren’t guarantees, so having a cyber-smart child is your best defense.”

Teach kids about the dangers of sharing personal information, such as their home address and phone number, online. And about using social media responsibly.

While online, it’s best for kids – and adults – to converse and connect only with people they truly know and trust, to keep their social accounts private and to still be cautious even then. After all, photos and information that go online today will still be there years later, when kids apply for college scholarships and jobs.

Above all, stay involved in your kids’ digital lives. Let them know you’re there for them, always – to talk, not to judge or punish, says Scheff. “Many kids fear having their Internet removed if they tell their parents they are being bullied online,” she says.

So keep the lines of communication open to help keep everyone safe, both in and outside of your home.

Back to School Safety

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As kids head baback_to_schoolck to school, let’s keep them safe

 

The end of summer means many things, such as cooler weather, shorter days and … the start of football here in California!

 

But most important, it means kids are headed back to school. And that means we all should be extra careful on the roads, in school zones and around buses in the Bay Area. Remember to watch for bikes, too! Here are some tips for both parents and kids to make sure everyone stays safe.

 

Use caution on the roads

 

  • There are going to be a lot more kids on the sidewalks and streets when school starts, so take it slow and always be aware of your surroundings. That’s good advice for all situations, of course, but be extra cautious around the times when school starts and ends for the day.
  • Watch out for school zones! They’re usually easy to spot, as many have flashing signs indicating a slower speed limit.
  • Remember to follow school-bus rules. You aren’t allowed to pass the bus on either side of the road when the red lights are flashing. Even when the lights stop, make sure the coast is clear before moving on. Kids can move quickly and erratically.
  • Leave yourself extra time to make it to your destination. Whether you’re headed to work or dropping your child off at school, rushing is a recipe for disaster.
  • Be especially careful in school or child-care parking lots and loading zones!

 

Teach kids to be safe while walking

 

Just a few minutes spent explaining some basic safety rules to your child can help keep them safe when they’re walking to or from school. Young children should never cross streets alone, but if your child is old enough to walk with others, remind them to do the following:

  • Always use marked crosswalks when crossing streets and look both ways twice.
  • Do not assume that drivers can see you. Try to make eye contact with them, if possible, when crossing the street.
  • Watch for driveways when walking on the sidewalk.
  • Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Never move into the street from behind a car or other obstacle. Don’t chase a ball, pet or anything else into the street.
  • Always use sidewalks and paths. If there is no sidewalk or path, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.

 

Help them stay safe on their bikes

Just as it’s important to help your children learn safety tips for walking to and from school, it’s important to teach bike safety, especially by setting good examples yourself.

  • Make sure your child wears a properly fitted helmet every time he or she rides a bike.
  • Before the bicycle is ridden, do a quick inspection to ensure it is working properly and reflectors are in place.
  • Show your kids how to ride on the right side of the road with traffic and to stay as far to the right as possible.
  • Encourage your child to walk his or her bike across busy intersections. Or better yet, choose a route without any busy crossroads.
  • Explain to your child why no one should ride on the handlebars.
  • Demonstrate the rules of the road by using proper hand signals and obeying traffic signs when you ride bikes together with your child.
  • Set curfews so your child is not riding a bicycle at dusk or in the dark.
  • Most importantly, supervise your children every time they ride until you are certain they have good judgment.

 

We know you’re probably familiar with all of these good ideas, but everyone needs reminders. So take it slow, and let’s have a happy and safe school year!

Five sure-fire ways to get your car stolen

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Most people would say their car is one of the most valuable assets they own — if not the most valuable. Despite that, however, some people make it downright easy for thieves to drive off in their pride and joy.

 

At Harrington Insurance, we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving the mall only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes.Car-Theft

 

  1. Leave your car running … and unattended. We know it can be chilly in the mornings, and who wants to wait in a cold car while it warms up? Well, a thief certainly won’t mind the chill — as he’s driving away in your car while you’re finishing that cup of coffee in your kitchen. If your car is running, you should be in it. Period. Even if you’re just running over to the ATM to get some cash or dropping off some mail.
  2. Keep a spare set of keys inside the car. Law enforcement agencies say this is a great way to turn a car prowler into a car thief. They’re already breaking into your car to get a phone, or a laptop, etc. What do you think they’re going to do when they find a set of keys? They’re not going to drop them off on your porch with a nice note, that’s for sure.
  3. Put valuables in plain sight. Seems simple, but we’ve all made this mistake. You’ll just be in the store for a second, after all, so who cares if you leave your smartphone on the front seat? Or items from your other errands in the back seat? Be smart — if you have to leave items in your car, put them in the trunk, or at least hide them as best you can. And do it before you get to your next destination.
  4. Leave your car unsecured. The best thieves can work wonders with a window that’s left open even just a crack. And even the worst thieves can steal a car that’s been left unlocked, with no alarm set.
  5. Assume nobody would want to steal your car. Think your car is too old or too undesirable for a thief to bother? Scrap metal is worth money, so never assume that your car is safe — even if you think it’s just a “junker.”

 

Keeping thieves away helps to keep everyone’s insurance costs down, so avoiding these mistakes not only will save you hassle, it will save you money as well. So stay safe, not only on the roads, but in the parking lots as well!

 

 

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 info@harringtoninsurance.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Tips for College-Bound

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A Few Tips for the College-Bound

 

College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft, not covered by your insurance policy. If you have a student heading away to school, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your coverage.college

HOMEOWNERS (varies by state)

  • Personal Property: Most homeowners policies will cover personal property for up to 10% of your total policy while your child is residing at school (a $100,000 policy equals $10,000 in coverage). Not all types of damage are covered, so read your policy carefully. Some items such as jewelry or expensive electronics, require special coverage. Renters insurance is strongly recommended.
  • Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered.
  • Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.

AUTO (varies by state)

  • Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.
  • Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered.
  • Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary.  The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.
  • Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.

Before your child leaves for school, call Harrington Insurance at  (408) 754-9000 or email info@harringtoninsurance.com. We can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. We’re here to help!

Lightning Safety

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Lightning Facts and Fallacies

The next time you see or hear a thunderstorm in the Bay Area, you might want to take a moment to review what you know about lightning safety. Strikes are most common during the summer thunderstorm season, but they can happen at any time of the year. And, a lot of less-than-accurate ideas about lightning have found a place in the popular imagination over the years. Here’s a look at current knowledge.article-1213651-06724E8C000005DC-524_964x623

Indoor Safety

  • The safest place to be during a storm is typically indoors, but it is important to avoid anything that conducts electricity – metal, landline phones, appliances, wires, TV cables and plumbing.
  • Automobiles can be safe havens thanks to the metal frame that diverts the electrical charge. Don’t lean on the doors during a storm, though.

Outdoor Safety

  • Don’t look for shelter under a tree. If lightning hits its branches, a “ground charge” could spread out in all directions.
  • Don’t lie flat on the ground. This makes you even more vulnerable to a ground charge.
  • Don’t crouch down. Once recommended, the “lightning crouch” has been discredited – it’s not likely any safer than standing if you’re outside during a storm. Instead, get inside or into a car.

Where Strikes Will Happen

  • Contrary to folk wisdom, lightning does indeed strike twice in the same place. The best example is New York City’s Empire State Building. It was once a lightning laboratory due to being struck scores of times every year.
  • Lightning doesn’t only strike the tallest objects. Although tall, pointy, isolated objects are often hit, lightning has been known to hit the ground instead of buildings and parking lots instead of telephone poles.
  • The presence of metal doesn’t affect where and if lightning will strike. Neither mountains nor trees contain metal, and both get struck. However, metal is a conductor of electricity, so avoid it during any storm.
  • Strikes don’t just happen in areas where rain is falling. Even if you’re miles away from a thunderstorm, lightning can still occur.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you won’t be electrocuted if you touch someone who has been struck – the human body doesn’t store electricity. So, by all means, give a lightning strike victim first aid. You might just save a life.

Convertibles

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Put the top down and hit the road in California

 Cobra3

The call of the open road is at its strongest during the summer – and so is the call of the convertible. If you’re one of those drivers who has long dreamed of dropping the top and heading across California and beyond, we here at Harrington Insurance have some buying tips for you.

 

And before we forget, make sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen!

 

Safety considerations

 

Of course, you want to be safe when driving your new car, so here are a few things to look for in a convertible, according to Edmunds.com.

 

  • Roll bars: Generally, convertibles offer some sort of roll bar to protect passengers should the car roll over.

 

  • Airbags: Side airbags that deploy from seats can be an optional feature on less-expensive convertibles and something you should consider. Some of these airbags offer extra protection for the head.

 

  • Rear-view cameras and sensors: When the top is up, it can be difficult to see out of the rear window. Cameras and sensors can provide added safety.

 

Hard or soft top?

 

You have two main choices when it comes to tops: Soft, which can result in more road noise and may be more susceptible to damage, and hard, which often look better but add weight and take up more trunk space when down. (A third option is a completely removable hard top, such as those found on some Jeeps.) This choice is largely a matter of personal preference, though cost can be a factor.

 

You’ll also want to test the top for leaks – regardless of whether it’s a soft or hard top. Spray water where the roof connects with the windshield and where the glass meets the roof along the sides. You’re looking to make sure no moisture gets inside.

Everyday issues

 

If you’re planning to drive your convertible frequently (and why wouldn’t you?), there are some practical things you should take into consideration:

 

  • Wind noise: When you have the top down at California’s highway speeds, you might find it difficult to hear the stereo system. If you’ll be driving a lot with the top down, getting the upgraded stereo might not be worth it. Then again, a better stereo can have more power, allowing you to actually hear your music.

 

  • Putting the top up/down: A motorized top, of course, makes everything easier. But they are more complex. Be sure to test out the top and how long it takes you to put it up or down, especially if it’s a manual process. After all, if it starts raining suddenly, you want to be able to get the top up as quickly as possible!

 

  • Luggage space: Most convertibles aren’t large to begin with, but trunk space is even smaller when the top is down. If you plan to take your convertible on vacation (or pack golf clubs or other bulky items), it’s a good idea to really take a hard look at the trunk space before you buy.

 

  • Passenger space: Do you need to take more than one passenger on many of your drives? If so, a roadster (two seats) isn’t an option. But even if the convertible you’re eying has four seats, hop in back and check the comfort level. If you aren’t comfortable, your passengers probably won’t be, either.

 

Special features

 

According to Edmunds.com, there are certain features that truly make a difference in convertibles, such as wind deflectors, heated/cooled seats and sun-reflective upholstery. Certain features, such as heated seats, can make your convertible much more comfortable to drive on cooler days in the Bay Area.

 

Above all, you’ll want to choose the convertible that best fits how you’ll use it. If you’re lugging golf clubs (and golf buddies) around in the summer, you probably don’t want a roadster. Conversely, if your idea of a great weekend is to toss a duffle bag in the passenger seat and hit the road, smaller may be better.

 

One of the great – and annoying – things about buying a car is the sheer number of options out there. But if you get frustrated, remember one thing: You’re buying a convertible. Your friends are probably envious!

 

And when you buy that convertible, give us a call. We’ll make sure you’ve got the right coverage – and we’ll probably be envious, too!

July 4th Safety

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10 Ways to Keep You and Your Family Safe This Independence Day

 

In California, summer truly begins when the Fourth of July arrives. It’s a holiday full of fireworks and food, barbecues and boating, family and friends. It can also be full of danger — and we’re not only talking about the fireworks.

 

Whether you’re lighting your own fireworks at home, going to a community show or heading somewhere else, here are 10 ways to help ensure a happy and healthy holiday:

 

  1. Stay protected — and hydrated. If you’re going to be outdoors during the day, use plenty of sunblock (and bring extra). You’ll also want to drink water throughout the day, particularly if you’re drinking alcohol Fireworks displayed over the American Flag(in which case don’t drive). It’s easy to get dehydrated in the heat.
  2. Watch what you eat. We’re not talking about counting calories. We’re talking about making sure your food is fully cooked. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meats (steaks, roasts or chops) need to be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground meats to 160 and poultry to 165.
  3. Watch what you serve. If you’re heading to a party and bringing food, put it in an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs so it doesn’t grow harmful bacteria between the time you leave your house and the time people dig in. Pull it from the fridge right before you leave for the party.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. We shouldn’t need to tell you this, of course, but the period around the Fourth of July holiday is a deadly one for drunk-driving fatalities.
  5. Don’t drink and boat. Alcohol is a factor in about one-third of recreational boating deaths, says the Coast Guard, so boating under the influence is never a good idea.
  6. Make sure everyone’s got a life jacket. If you’re going to be near or on the water, life jackets are a must. On a boat, there should be enough life preservers for everyone, and remember that kids need an appropriately sized jacket.
  7. Lighting fireworks? Be prepared. Keep a hose or bucket of water close by, and make sure you’re not aiming at people, animals, homes, plants or cars.
  8. Supervise the kids. Youngsters shouldn’t be lighting fireworks at all, and older kids need to be watched closely. Even sparklers get much hotter than you think.
  9. Keep your distance, too. Thousands of people show up in the emergency room this time of the year with firework injuries. Don’t be one of them!
  10. No matter what you’re doing, keep safety in mind at all times.


Those of us at Harrington Insurance wish you and yours a happy and safe Fourth!