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A Bidding Strategy That Works In Insurance

By | General Insurance

What’s fun about auctions? It’s the bidding! It’s the thrill of the chase and sometimes the victory of a win! Bidders drive the price up until they stop bidding and then the price is set. At an auction, it’s the bidding that makes it fun.

When you buy or sell a car, the final price is determined by the “bid” or offer. The offers are spread out on the table and the buyer and seller choose the one that best meets their needs. So, if bidding works when buying a car, why not when buying insurance?

Gambling with insurance can be risky - be sure to find an insurance broker you can trust in San Jose, CAOn the surface, insurance can appear to be a commodity; a product that is easily bid out. Slogans like “Save 15% in 15 minutes” gives the impression that all insurance is the same except for the price. We’re bombarded with advertising offers that will save us money with this company or that one. Let’s face it, we would all love it if insurance was that easy. But insurance is not simple because your assets and exposures are not simple. This is why consumers depend so much on the trust they have in their broker to protect them.

Many businesses must provide bids to generate revenue for themselves and many of them tend to expect the same when it comes to their insurance. Take a machine shop or distributor who bids for work all day long. They may expect better insurance pricing if he goes out to bid. So why is it not the same when it comes to insurance?

In reality, the process of putting together a proper insurance plan is more like preparing a tax return than bidding a 10,000-piece run of widgets or 600 pounds of halibut. A good broker goes through a process that includes compiling historical information, classifying operations, and, with the help of the client, making projections of exposures and potential future risk. This important process protects the client from unanticipated, potentially devastating losses. Our clients’ perception and understanding of the difference between a bid for insurance and a proposal for insurance is mandatory.

A request to bid insurance is an opportunity to educate the prospect’s understanding from what is being said or sold to what is truly desired or needed. This is the essence of a professional broker – using our knowledge, experience and communication skills to help a client evolve and move past their existing perception of an insurance brokers value, to something much better and important!

The same thing applies when it comes to tire-kickers – people who are not intending to make a change but who are just curious about what else is out there. If they give us a few minutes of their undivided attention – we should take it. Here’s where we ask a few thoughtful questions and then paint a verbal picture of the enhanced or upgraded insurance world that is waiting for them if they worked with us.

A good broker will quickly uncover the client’s true needs and describe the advantages we bring, both monetarily and for their peace-of-mind.

Clients that are looking to bid at an auction are doing themselves a disservice. Having the opportunity to work with a broker will not only give them well thought-out coverage but also save premiums.

So, the next time someone asks for a bid on their insurance, we’ll start by asking what their best outcome would look like. Just as the tax-preparer will ask a lot of questions, the questions that insurance brokers’ ask will assure the client that the outcome will be accurate and provide coverage he needs and wants.

Create great fishing memories for your children

By | General Insurance

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 info@harringtoninsurance.com. 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.

By | General Insurance | No Comments

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.

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

Green Holiday Tips

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Give the gift of ‘green’ this holiday season

 

As the holidays approach, regular habits tend to fall to the wayside. Folks who are consistently rested lose sleep, habitual fitness fanatics sink into recliners and, occasionally, even the most 243environmentally committed citizens loosen up on their personal rules.

 

With a little know-how, along with a promise to give to the Bay Area environment just as you do to your loved ones over the holidays, you can be just as “green” as you are the rest of the year, if not even greener.

 

At Harrington Insurance, we want you and the environment to breathe easy and experience joy this holiday season. Check out these pointers for reducing waste throughout and beyond the season.

 

Wrap it up (and again… and again…).  Are you both giving and getting this year, or holding more than one gift exchange?  If so, re-use items like wrapping paper, ribbon and packing materials. No one will complain about this kind of “re-gifting,” especially the environment.

 

Bring your own. The reusable bags you use for groceries each week work just as well for holiday shopping.  Keep them in your trunk or near the door to your home through the season so you always have them on hand for gift buying and giving trips in the Bay Area.

 

Think “e-everything.” Everything that you traditionally did on paper – party invitations, greeting cards and holiday letters – can be just as meaningful and attractive when created and sent electronically.

 

Opt out. Retailers inundate consumers with catalogs through the holiday season.  Collect them in a pile and dedicate some time to calling each one and asking to have your name removed from their mailing lists.

 

“Recycle-ize” your home. Place recycle receptacles in every room in which you will be cooking, having meals, discarding waste, wrapping gifts, decorating and working. This will keep recycling top-of-mind, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

 

From Harrington Insurance to you and yours, we wish you the greenest holiday season yet!

Halloween Safety

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5 Questions to Ask to Keep Your Haunting Brood Safe on Halloween

 

Despite the fact that Halloween in the Bay Area involves walking around at night amongst ghouls and witches, it really only takes a little common sense to make the night safe for everyone.

 

Here are five questions to ask so your entire family, even pets, can enjoy a safe and fun evening of trick-or-treating or handing out candy to others:Stampa

 

  1. Are we visible?

Add reflective tape to costumes, clothing and candy bags to make it easier for drivers to see you and your group. That also goes for pets who are tagging along. Put reflective tape or flashing lights on their leashes or collars. Carrying flashlights and glow sticks is a good idea as well — they make you more visible and help you see better, too.

 

  1. How safe are our costumes?

Costumes, including masks and shoes, should fit well to prevent blocked vision, trips and falls. Baggy clothing can also increase the risk of contact with candles. If you purchase costumes, make sure they are marked as flame-resistant. And accessories such as swords and knives should be soft and flexible.

 

  1. Where are we going?

It’s best to have a plan before taking your kids trick-or-treating. You should only go to known neighborhoods and houses that have outside lights on, and children should never enter someone’s home unless an adult is with them. If you have older children going out on their own, have them tell you their plan.

 

  1. What are the kids eating?

It’s always a good idea to examine the items your kids have collected before they dig in. And it’s not just about tampering, either. Be aware of choking hazards, too, particularly for young children. And remember, when it comes to eating treats, moderation is key.

 

  1. How are Fido and Fluffy doing?

Even if your dogs and cats are just hanging out at home while you hand out candy, don’t forget about them. They shouldn’t eat candy at all, but especially chocolate, which can be toxic. Make sure candles are placed in areas where they won’t be knocked down. And remember that, depending on your pet’s personality, having people constantly coming to your door can be stressful. You might want to create a comfortable spot for them away from your home’s entrance.

 

With the right plan, you can make Halloween fun — and safe — for your little ghosts and goblins. And you can probably snag a little leftover candy for yourself, too.

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!

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.