Earthquake Insurance

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Earthquake Insurance – What Californians needs to know

What are the two most important things to know about earthquake insurance?

  1. Most home insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.
  2. Even if you don’t live in an area where earthquakes are common, you may still need earthquake insurance.

 

Earthquakes have occurred in 39 states since 1900, and about 90% of Americans live in areas considered seismically active. For many of our neighbors in California, earthquake insurance can be inexpensive – contact Harrington Insurance to find out what the costs would be for your home.

 

Earthquake insurance can have many options

Most homeowner, condo and rental insurance policies do not cover damage caused by an earthquake, but coverage can be purchased as an endorsement or a separate policy. You may be able to choose to purchase earthquake insurance from the same company that provides your home insurance, from a specialized earthquake insurance provider, or from an independent organization such as the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).

 

Do Californians really need earthquake insurance?

In all likelihood, almost the entire US would be better protected by purchasing earthquake insurance. Consider the facts:

 

In the West: According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a 70 percent probability that one or more damaging earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 or larger will strike the San Francisco Bay area during the next 30 years.

 

In the East: The Earthquake Education Center at Charleston Southern University claims there’s a 40 to 60 percent chance of a major earthquake somewhere in the eastern United States in the next 20 years.

 

In the Midwest: According to the Insurance Information Institute, there’s a 40 to 63 percent chance the New Madrid Fault (which runs through Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee) region will suffer an earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude in the next 15 years.

What does earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance provides coverage if your home is damaged by an earthquake. Standard homeowner and renters policies will not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance is a separate endorsement you must buy and add to your homeowner or renters policy.

 

An earthquake endorsement generally excludes damages or losses from floods and tidal waves – even when caused or compounded by an earthquake. However, if you experience a loss due to a landslide, settlement, mudflow, or the rising, sinking and contracting of earth, your endorsement may cover it if the damage resulted from an earthquake.

 

There are several options to consider when purchasing earthquake insurance, including:

  • Does the policy cover only your home? Are other structures, such as garages, also included?
  • Will your policy pay for the contents of your home and for additional living expenses if your home is badly damaged or destroyed?
  • Are there any exclusions or limitations to coverage?
  • What deductible must you pay before the insurance kicks in?

 

Earthquakes happen in California – here’s how you can protect yourself

  • Make sure your water heater, gas appliances, and other fixtures are fastened securely.
  • Check that bookcases and furniture are secure and fastened to walls.
  • Have a family emergency plan that all family members know. Designate a meeting place outside the home where family members can gather once the danger has passed.
  • Designate a distant relative or friend who can serve as a point of contact and communication for you and your family members if you get separated.
  • Plan ahead. Keep flashlights, batteries, and candles on hand. Have a portable radio.
  • Be sure everyone in your house knows how to turn off utilities (electricity, water, and gas).
  • When shopping for earthquake insurance, ask the company to help you identify possible repairs and other improvements that will make your home safer and minimize damage.

 

What to do when an earthquake strikes

If you are inside when an earthquake hits, stay inside and get under a heavy table or desk. Stay away from windows. Do not evacuate the building unless emergency personnel direct you to leave.

 

If you are outside, get away from buildings and power lines, and remember that stone and masonry facings can break loose and fall away from upper parts of buildings.

 

If you are in a car, stop safely away from structures, large trees, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle.

 

Keep in mind:

  • Don’t use candles until gas lines are checked. Also, check throughout your home before you use certain utilities, such as water and electric, sewage connections, and even chimneys.
  • Don’t tie up phone lines except to report emergencies.
  • Be prepared. Remember that you will need food and water, even for the short term. Keep your family together and stay alert for aftershocks.

 

Earthquake insurance needs can vary significantly – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on earthquake insurance for you.

Staying Cool Without Power

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Staying Cool When the Power Goes Out

 

In the heat of summer, a power outage can be more than an inconvenience — it can be downright dangerous, especially if you don’t have a game plan to keep cool and minimize risks.

 

This list of tips can help you create that game plan, stay safe and maintain your sanity. Print it out and keep it handy; after all, if the power’s out, you won’t be able to fire up the computer for help!

 

Water-bottlePersonal safety

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine; they can cause dehydration.
  • If you feel overheated, dizzy or weak, rest in the coolest part of your home and wipe yourself down with a cool, wet cloth. Seek medical help if you don’t improve quickly.
  • Minimize physical activity as much as possible.
  • If you must be outside, use sunscreen and wear protective items such as a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Don’t forget your pets! Animals need plenty of water, too, and shaded areas if they go outdoors.

 

Staying comfortable

  • Cool showers (or better yet, a dip in the pool, if you’re so lucky) don’t just feel good in the moment. When you get out, the water on your skin will evaporate and cool you even more.
  • Applying cold water or ice cubes directly on your wrists can have a wonderful cooling effect.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing or a wet shirt, and add a damp bandana around your neck.
  • Use silk or satin bedding if you can — it will feel cooler than other materials.

 

Home matters

  • When the sun is out, keep the windows and blinds closed. At night, if it’s safe, open as many windows as you can to create a cross-breeze with the cooler air.
  • Open your refrigerator and freezer as little as possible. It’s tempting to open the freezer and stand there, we know. But that will accelerate the spoilage of perishable food (24-48 hours for the freezer; about four hours for the fridge).
  • Unplug your electronics and appliances. This won’t keep you cool, but you don’t want a surge to fry your computer when the power comes back on.

 

Finally, one of the best strategies for getting through a summer power outage is to distract yourself. How about reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to? Or writing a letter (yes, an actual letter) to that old friend? Try to relax, because the power will be back soon — along with your normal, hectic life!

Father’s Day

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Time to Honor Dad

 

With summer drawing near and the weather warming up, California’s neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few.

 

For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we at Harrington Insurance thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and some fun history trivia, too!fathers-day-greetings1_567x4051

 

The history of Father’s Day

Marked on the third Sunday of June in the United States (and in many other countries), Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, the day was created by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who wanted to honor her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.

 

Although Dodd originally suggested her father’s birthday in early June, she had not provided organizers with enough time to arrange the event – and the celebration was delayed until the third Sunday of the month.

 

Although Mother’s Day has been an official national holiday since 1914, Father’s Day had a tougher road. Congress refused to make the celebration official in the years immediately following Dodd’s first observance, fearing that the day would become commercialized. (Some would say those fears were well-founded; the creator of Mother’s Day later came to regret the commercialization of that holiday.)

 

It wasn’t until 1966 that Father’s Day received an official proclamation, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And six years later, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the day a national holiday.

 

Facts and figures (from government website USA.gov)

  • There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation
  • An estimated 1.7 million men are single fathers
  • Approximately 176,000 fathers are stay-at-home dads

 

What to get Dad?

Once you’re past the age of, say, 10, the “Old Spice and a tie” routine probably won’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting a gift for your father. Here are some better ideas from AskMen.com:

  • Grilling tools (this way, perhaps he’ll even cook for you on Father’s Day!)
  • Alcohol (to be enjoyed in moderation, of course)
  • Fishing gear
  • Golf clubs, balls or other sporting goods – or take him out for a round of golf
  • Books (particularly grilling cookbooks)
  • Gadgets (such as a GPS; after all, many dads don’t like asking for directions)
  • Landscaping services (so he can take a break from mowing the lawn)

 

Aside from ties and cheap cologne, you’ll probably want to avoid the most clichéd gifts, especially “World’s Best Dad” items (even if it’s true!) and socks.

 

As with all gifts, though, it’s the thought that counts. And we’re sure your dad will appreciate simply being appreciated. And if you’re a dad yourself – Happy Father’s Day! We hope you’ll enjoy your day.

Dogs and Umbrella Insurance

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Love Bites—Get Umbrella Coverage

 

In today’s economy, everyone is pinching pennies.  So why worry about umbrella coverage?  Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?

pet-umbrella-dogs-pets-design-ideas-10

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits.  Large damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive and have long-term financial impact.  Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.

 

Take Herschel for instance.  Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.

 

Herschel watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids.  The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel’s house and broke his leg.  He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.

 

Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages.  He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary.

 

But Herschel’s owner was lucky–a jury vindicated Herschel. However, lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder.  An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.

 

Our furry friends can put your assets at risk in other ways as well.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner’s property.  Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.

 

Protect what you love.  Call us to talk about your umbrella options.

Modern Insurance for Your Classic Car

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It takes more than age to make it a classic. A collector car isn’t just a way to get around. It’s an investment that will continue to appreciate in coming years.

Not all classic or antique cars are used the same, so Harrington Insurance will work with you to select the appropriate policy to accommodate coverage needs, miles driven, vehicle age, and vehicle modifications to make sure you have the best policy to meet your needs. Here are some features you should look for when shopping for classic car insurance:car-insurance-jency-ageny-san-jose-ca-auto

  • Agreed Value: This means the provider will pay you the full (agreed to) amount in the event of a covered total loss, less any applicable deductible. This type of coverage is much better than “actual cash value” or “stated value” that you may get with some companies.
  • Low Rates: Why pay full-time insurance when you driver your collector car only part-time.
  • Coverage Options: Not all collector cars are the same, so Harrington Insurance can work with you to determine the right amount of coverage to meet your specific needs.
  • Generous Mileage: You’re proud of your collector car, so drive it. Not all insurance companies have a mileage limit, but most collector cars should be driven less than 5,000 annual miles to maintain their value.
  • Roadside Assistance: Whether you’re down the street or on a classic rally through the mountains, you’ll want to find coverage that will flatbed your car to the closest qualified repair facility.

Do you need the insurance for your prize Mustang, Camaro, Charger, Corvette, Thunderbird, or other collector car? Talk with Harrington Insurance today to identify the best combination of coverage, value, and price for you. We can help make sure your insurance continually meets your needs. Give us a call today at (408)754-9000.

Grilling Safety

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Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!

 

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.BBQ

 

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

 

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

 

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS

Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).

NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.

Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.

Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

 

CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS

From Kingsford.com

Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.

Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.

Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.

To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.

 

GAS GRILL TIPS

From the National Fire Protection Association

Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.

Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

 

From all of us at Harrington Insurance, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!

Mother’s Day

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A time to celebrate mothers

 

AMother's Days the second Sunday of May nears, it’s time to think of ways to celebrate mothers – although, of course, that’s a worthy pursuit at any time of year!

 

At Harrington Insurance, we thought it would be fun to give you a little of the history behind Mother’s Day, as well as a few ideas to honor the special women in all our lives.

 

Ancient beginnings

According to MothersDayCentral.com, the ancient Egyptians held an annual festival to honor “the mother of the pharaohs” – the goddess Isis. This is one of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a mother.

 

How Mother’s Day came to be in the U.S.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, a social activist and poet (and author of the lyrics for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) had became distraught by the toll of the Civil War. She issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” that year, calling on mothers to protest the killing and create a day celebrating peace and motherhood.

 

Howe’s proclamation did not result in a national Mother’s Day, but in 1908, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia took up the cause. She wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration of all mothers. By 1909, more than 40 states were holding Mother’s Day services, even though it was not a national holiday.

 

In 1912, according to Wikipedia, West Virginia was the first state to officially observe Mother’s Day. Jarvis continued to promote the day until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.

 

She later regretted creating the holiday, believing that it had become too commercialized.

 

Enough with the history – where are the gift ideas?

Like us at Harrington Insurance, we know you might have more urgent concerns on your mind, like last-minute shopping, so here are the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, according to MothersDayCentral.com.

Flowers

Gift baskets

Personalized gifts

Jewelry

Perfume

Spa gifts

Magazines

 

Of course, perhaps the best gift of all is getting in touch and letting the moms in your life know just how much they mean to you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Is a motorcycle right for you?

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Is a motorcycle right for you?

 

As springtime approaches, you probably notice something in addition to the warmer weather and blooming flowers: more motorcycles on the roads of the Bay Area.

 

Riding looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? Just imagine heading down Hwy 1 with the sun shining and the road stretching out to the horizon. There are other benefits motorcycle riders enjoy as well, such as lower fuel costs and easier parking; but riding a motorcycle safely requires different skills than driving a car.

 

If you’re thinking that this is the year you’re going to buy your very own bike, let us Harrington Insurance help you determine if a motorcycle is right for you. We’ve provided some questions below that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends you honestly answer before becoming a bike owner.

 

Are you a risk-taker? Or are you safety-minded?

Think about how you drive your car. If you have aggressive tendencies or do things like talk on your phone while driving, a motorcycle probably isn’t for you. Motorcycles lack the protection that cars can provide in an accident, so driver focus and caution are extremely important.

 

How is your vision? What about your balance and coordination?

It’s extremely important that you see well – peripherally and in general – when riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles are not as visible as other vehicles on the road, so riders need to be alert and aware at all times. And, of course, riding requires balance and coordination, much like a bicycle. If you’re not great on non-motorized two-wheelers, you might want to think again about motorcycling.

 

Do you respect dangerous machinery?

When you use a chainsaw or other equipment that can cause harm, do you always follow the instructions and wear the proper safety gear? If not, a motorcycle probably isn’t right for you. Maintenance and protective equipment is vital to riding safely. What you might be able to get away with when driving a car or using power tools could lead to a tragic outcome on a motorcycle.

 

Are you willing to invest in riding safely?

The best way to stay safe on a motorcycle is to invest some time before you get on the bike. Take a safety course and learn how to ride the right way. Purchase the right gear, including approved helmets and padded clothing. And learn about properly maintaining your motorcycle.

 

If you’re prepared and commit to safe riding, motorcycling can be a great way to get around. The freedom you’ll feel on the road is different than driving any car, which is just one reason millions of people find riding to be incredibly rewarding.

 

And when you’re ready, we are too! Feel free to give us a call at (408) 754-9000 to discuss your motorcycle insurance options as well as safety tips!

 

 

Sidebar:

Motorcycle safety resources

There’s a lot of great information out there about safe riding. We’ve just scratched the surface. To read more, check out:

  • Motorcycle Safety Foundation: http://www.msf-usa.org
  • SMARTER: http://www.smarter-usa.org

Boating Season

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It’s Almost Boating Season

Every summer, our team gets calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are a few tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.

Don’t let an accident wreck your fun!

Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children: More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!

Watercraft Insurance
Most home insurance policies have limited coverage for boats. If you own a boat, watercraft insurance is your best bet: It covers theft, damage, and injuries or accidents while you’re on the water, as well as some of your expensive watersports gear.

Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Both Washington and Oregon made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years, after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats; older boats install devices for less than $100.

Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat’s operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.

Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Sites for Information:
Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org
Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/

We have a list of summer boat safety classes that can save you money! Contact Harrington Insurance at (408)754-9000 or e-mail infor@harringtoninsurance.com for more info.

After-School Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

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Parents, class is back in session in Silicon Valley, 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 in

 

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.