Lallis and Higgins Blog

Advice from a Teacher for Homeschooling Parents

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 07, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance

At Lallis & Higgins Insurance, we know life as we know it has changed dramatically. Many of us are working, parenting, teaching and filling roles in ways we have never had to before. We found this article helpful and wanted to share it. We hope you find it helpful as well.

'You don't have to strive for perfection' when homeschooling your kids.

As schools continue to remain closed throughout Massachusetts due to coronavirus, more and more parents are finding themselves with an unexpected and challenging new job title: Teacher.

Kids have lists of online lessons to complete and curriculum to review with their moms and dads, and parents may be feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the workload and the pressure to help their children make the right amount of progress during the time their schools remain closed.

When it comes to teaching kids at home, parents should practice self-compassion.

Here is what teachers wish parents knew about home learning during COVID-19-related school closures.

1. Take it easy on yourself

Although some parents may have the time and resources to throw themselves into intense homeschooling mode overnight, it’s not realistic for most people. Expectations and guidance vary greatly from school to school (and even teacher to teacher), so what one family is doing with their kids might not make sense for yours.

Try to avoid social comparison; cute color-coded schedules and elaborate crafts just might not work in your house, and that’s OK. Remember that we’re modeling for our kids that we don’t have to strive for perfection or imitate what others are doing.

2. Let them get bored

Kids are used to having lots of structured activities and near-constant visual stimuli at their fingertips. Letting them sit with the discomfort of boredom may be really hard at first — for all of you — but it’s worth it to let them struggle. Imagination, creativity, and self-discovery blossom during boredom.

3. Lean into reading

Maintaining and building reading skills will serve students at every level. While younger kids love being read to by a parent, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Actors are reading children’s books aloud online, and audiobooks are more accessible than ever. While most public libraries are closed, many offer electronic downloads of e-books.

Whenever possible, let kids choose their own books. Following a child’s interest is more important than identifying the right reading level; when motivated by their own curiosity, kids can stretch their reading comprehension. And don’t dismiss graphic novels; they are great for reluctant readers and voracious book worms alike.

4. It's OK if you hate math

Unless you love exploring math with your kids, go easy on yourself with this one. And since most parents are unfamiliar with — and even afraid or suspicious of — the current approaches to math, you’re really off the hook here.

Luckily, there are many high quality online resources for math. Younger kids can use flash cards to maintain or build automaticity with their math facts, and they can do it on their own, without an adult or a computer.

5. Don’t forget home economics

We’ve all heard the horror stories of young adults going out into the world not knowing how to do even the most basic household tasks. This is the perfect time for them to learn key life skills, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry and pet care. With teens, you can introduce financial literacy by including them in your checkbook balancing, budgeting and online bill-paying.

6. Give them choices

Some kids may have structured schedules for online classes. But for others, you can let them have a say in how, when and where they want to do their work. This is a great chance to build their metacognition — where they can become more aware of how their own learning and thinking process works.

7. Be intentional with screen time

It’s helpful to separate screen time for school from screen time for leisure, so encourage kids to switch gears with some physical cues — for instance, have them use a computer at a desk for schoolwork and later watch a movie on the TV while sitting on the couch.

Remember they may need their phone now more than ever, as it gives them access to essential social connections.

Having family movie nights — or even weekend movie marathons — can make screen time a chance to connect rather than just zone out. If your child has a cell phone, ask for their input on establishing reasonable boundaries around phone usage; and remember they may need their phone now more than ever, as it gives them access to essential social connections.

8. Go old-school

Even if your child is accessing school materials online, this is a perfect moment to make space for some low-tech activities. Encourage them to pull out the art supplies and get their hands dirty. Writing an old fashioned letter to friends or family — or even fan mail to a celebrity — helps them not only feel connected but also supports communication and fine motor skills.

9. Model self-care

This is an anxiety-provoking time, so it’s important to take care of our own mental health, whether that’s accessing a care provider by telemedicine, enjoying our favourite comfort food or going for a daily walk — whatever it is that works for us, given the parameters of social distancing or even shelter-in-place requirements.

It can be helpful to name our actions for our kids — for example, “I really love taking baths, so I’m going to go relax in the tub because it’s been a really hard day.”

Let your kids sleep in, high school teacher advises, but keep a regular schedule

10. Let kids feel their feelings

Social-emotional skills are at the core of all meaningful learning and are key to our overall well-being. While our kids may not always have access to ideal instruction in their academic subjects, they can still learn essential emotional literacy skills that will serve them their entire lives.

Our kids are going to remember this moment forever. Teaching them how to weather a crisis just may be the most important lesson they ever learn.

This moment gives us the opportunity to help our kids name and process lots of difficult stuff, so acknowledge their worries and fears and frustrations and just be with them. We aren’t “fixing” anything; we’re showing them the power of feeling heard and valued.

Be safe, healthy, and take care.


Massachusetts RMV Enforcing No Walk-In Policy: Updated Phone Number

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 02, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance

RMV UPDATE: No Walk-In Policy Effective March 27
Contact Center Phone Number Correction: 857-368-8000

The RMV will be strictly enforcing a No Walk-In Policy. Only Customers with Appointment Reservations Will Be Served for Required In-Person Transactions

Effective today, Friday, March 27 the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is enforcing a strict no walk-in policy at its eight service centers that are open to the general public. The only transactions that will be processed at service centers are those that require an in-person transaction, including Commercial Driving Licenses or Permits (CDLs/CLPs), some new registrations, out-of-state conversions and new Mass IDs. Customers who need to complete these transactions will be required to make an online appointment reservation, and customers arriving without an appointment will be asked to leave and make an appointment online to return at a future date.

Appointment reservations can be made online at in the myRMV Online Service Center under “Make or Cancel a Reservation.” Customers who make an appointment will receive a confirmation email that they should be prepared to show on arrival at their designated time at a specific service center. Customers can also call the Contact Center at 857-368-8000 to make a reservation.

The eight RMV Service Centers that are open for reservations are:

  • Boston
  • Brockton
  • Fall River
  • Lawrence
  • Pittsfield
  • Plymouth
  • Springfield
  • Worcester

The RMV offers many services online, including renewing motor vehicle registrations, and customers needing these services will only be serviced online at this time. If the service can be completed online, the RMV will not process the transaction in a service center. Renewals for standard driver’s license and ID credentials can be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV along with more than 40 other transactions that can be conducted online, over the phone, or by mail.

As a reminder, the RMV has already suspended knowledge/written exams and road tests for non-commercial (Class D and Class M) learner’s permits. In addition, the federal government’s REAL ID compliance deadline has been postponed, and is now next year, in October 2021. For this reason, the RMV has suspended at this time the issuance of new REAL IDs.

Commercial (CDL/CLP) Transactions and B2B/IRP Services

The Milford and Wilmington RMV Service Centers will remain open to exclusively perform walk-in commercial transactions for CDLs and permits (CLPs), and CDL road tests continue to be administered. Drop-off only services for B2B and IRP transactions will continue to be accepted at the Milford, Springfield, and Wilmington Service Centers.

60-Day Extension of Commercial and Non-Commercial Credentials

All Class D, Class M, and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, Learners’ Permits, and commercial driver’s licenses and permits (CDLs/CLPs) with an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, have had a 60-day extension applied to their credential, with the exception of customers whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit. Customers eligible for these extensions should wait to visit an RMV Service Center to renew after the State of Emergency has concluded. CDL Medical Certificates (Med Certs) expiring after March 1 will also have a 60-day extension applied to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers, during the State of Emergency.

Suspension Hearings

Customers may continue to request suspension hearings by visiting a RMV Service Center in-person on a first-come, first-served basis, but under new protocols, customers will be required to submit their application and all required supporting documentation depending on the type of suspension, before leaving and having a Hearings Officer call the customer directly to conduct their suspension hearing by phone.

Some suspended customers may already be able to complete the reinstatement process and payment online if all other outstanding requirements have been satisfied by visiting Mass.Gov/RMV and selecting “Pay my Reinstatement Fees.”

Hearings are being conducted at Boston/Haymarket, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester. Hearings at the Pittsfield RMV occur weekly on Wednesdays and no hearings are conducted in Plymouth. Chemical test refusal (CTR) hearings are only held at Boston/Haymarket.

These and several additional measures are being implemented at the RMV to prioritize reducing customer volumes in physical locations and maintaining proper “social-distancing” under Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9 and to complement the work that has been underway for weeks across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.

More information about available services and additional steps the RMV has taken under the State of Emergency declaration, including the extension of expiring licenses/permits and vehicle inspection stickers, is on the RMV website here.

The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to update the public on COVID-19 response and precautionary measures at Mass.Gov/Coronavirus.

RMV UPDATE -- Massachusetts RMV Extending Motor Vehicle Inspections for Commercial Vehicles

Darren Kincaid - Friday, March 27, 2020

60-day extension now applies to both commercial and non-commercial vehicle inspections

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is implementing a 60-day extension to commercial vehicle inspections expiring in March and April. The RMV announced the 60-day extension for non-commercial vehicle inspections on March 20th. These initiatives recognize the importance of commercial vehicle drivers to the supply chain during the State of Emergency declaration, and will continue to prioritize reducing customer volumes in physical locations.

In an effort to help customers maintain proper social distancing, as today, March 26, the annual motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection expiration dates are being extended as follows:

  • All commercial and non-commercial vehicle inspection stickers that expire on March 31, 2020 (designated by a number 3 on the inspection sticker) must be inspected by May 31, 2020.
  • All commercial and non-commercial vehicle inspection stickers that expire on April 30, 2020 (designated by a number 4 on the inspection sticker) must be inspected by June 30, 2020.
  • Commercial and non-commercial vehicles that are issued a failed inspection sticker (indicated by a sticker with a red or black letter ‘R’) that is due to expire in the month of March, 2020, must be re-inspected by May 31, and all vehicles issued a failed inspection sticker due to expire in the month of April, 2020, must be re-inspected by June 30. Additionally, the one free retest for these vehicles is also extended to May 31 or June 30 provided the retest is performed at the same inspection station that performed the initial inspection.
  • Regardless of the date of inspection, vehicles issued a failed inspection sticker due to a safety defect (indicated by a sticker with a red letter ‘R’) are prohibited from operating until appropriate repairs have been completed.
  • All motorcycle inspection stickers originally set to expire on May 31 must be inspected by June 30.

As a reminder, the RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected, which is typically within seven days of the date of registration.

  • Any newly registered commercial and non-commercial vehicle purchased between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 must be inspected by May 31.
  • Any newly registered commercial and non-commercial vehicle purchased between April 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 must be inspected by June 30.

Please share this information with colleagues, customers, and constituents.

Information You May Need to get a Homeowners Insurance Quote

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 23, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Homeowners insurance, Quincy, MA

Getting a homeowners insurance quote can only take a few minutes when you have all of your information at hand. Knowing the details of your house, including what kind of safety features you have installed, may help you qualify for money-saving discounts and help ensure that you choose the coverage that meets your needs.

There can be more questions involved in getting a homeowners quote than a car insurance quote, so it can be helpful to gather your paperwork and be ready to answer specific questions about your home in advance. Here’s a checklist to help you get started.

  1. Who lives at your house? You may be asked for contact information about you and anyone else who lives at your house, how long you’ve lived there, your marital status, whether you run a business from the home and whether you own a dog or any pets.
  2. What’s your insurance history? It’s good to be ready with details about your existing coverage, if your home is already covered by homeowners insurance. Do you have a mortgage on the home? Are there any prior insurance claims? How much would it cost you to rebuild your home?
  3. What’s your house like? You’ll likely be asked a series of questions, including the year your house was built, the type and age of the roof, the style of the home, its exterior finish and whether or not you have a garage. You’ll also probably want to know the square footage of your home and may be asked for details on the number of bathrooms or fireplaces. This information helps determine the cost to rebuild your home and may help with determining the amount of coverage that fits your needs.
  4. What improvements have you made? If you have made upgrades to your home since you bought it, such as replacing the roof, installing a central air system, finishing your basement, remodeling a kitchen or other updates that increase the value of your home, your existing homeowners policy may not reflect the current value and replacement cost of your home.
  5. What kind of safety devices do you have? If you have certain safety devices, including smart or connected home technology, a security system or fire sprinklers, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance.

Having all of this information ready to go can make it easier for you to get a quote and can help you get coverage to protect you and your family that fits your needs.

Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance for help getting coverage that meets your needs and budget.

Deadline Extensions Under State of Emergency

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 16, 2020
Alert: Deadline Extensions Under State of Emergency

The Massachusetts RMV is taking an important step following Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9th and to complement the work that has been underway for weeks across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.

Due to the recent activity surrounding COVID 19 (Corona Virus), the RMV is taking measures to reduce customer visits in our Service Centers and AAA offices. One of these actions includes extending the expiration date of certain credentials.

All Class D and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date.

  • This deadline extension will not apply to customers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) or those whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit.
  • The RMV will implement this 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system the week of 3/16 – all people with expired/expiring credentials physically dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have an active status within the RMV system with extended expiration date. For example, if the credential expires on April 15, 2020, the RMV system will extend the expiration to June 15, 2020 and display the same. The RMV is not providing updated credentials to reflect the extended date.
  • This does not apply to vehicle registrations at this time. Most vehicle registrations can be renewed online at Mass.Gov/RMV.

We are requesting your assistance in sharing this information.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Do I Need Homeowners Insurance After I Pay Off My Mortgage?

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 12, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Maybe you bought your home decades ago and the balance on your home loan is getting close to zero. Once you've made your last payment, your mortgage lender will no longer have any say in whether you carry insurance. But, consider the fact that you've spent years investing in your home and building equity and should a loss occur, you will want to have the protection of insurance for that investment. Your home is your safe haven, the place where you raise your family and create memories that last a lifetime. Homeowners insurance can help protect that investment well into the future.

What Will Happen If My Home Is Damaged and I Don't Have Homeowners Insurance?

If your home or property is damaged by a fire, windstorm or another covered event, your homeowners insurance can help pay for the necessary repairs. But if damage occurs to your home and you don’t have homeowners insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for repairs or find other resources to help rebuild your home. In a worst-case scenario, you could lose your entire investment. Keeping your homeowners insurance in good standing is a good way to ensure you’ll be able to cover the costs to repair and/or replace your home and belongings if they are damaged by a covered loss.

Learn more about homeowners insurance, or if you want a comparison quote, contact Lallis & HIggins Insurance.


How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 03, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

The amount of homeowners insurance you may need depends on the value of your home and your possessions. First, talk to your agent about a recommended dollar amount that will cover the value of the structure of your home, but also crunch the numbers to determine how much it would cost to rebuild in your area.

Next take an inventory of your belongings to see if their value falls within the policy dollar limit for personal property, typically set at 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance on the dwelling. Consider getting Replacement Cost overage, which can pay the amount needed to replace your items, rather than Actual Cash Value coverage. Think about how much Additional Living Expenses coverage you'd need if you were displaced from your home for an extended period. And finally, decide on the amount of liability coverage you need. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends you buy enough to cover your assets, or at least $300,000 to $500,000 worth of coverage for the average homeowner.

Keep in mind that many insurance carriers offer discounts if you bundle multiple policies, install smart home technology or have a ‘green’ home. Check with your carrier or insurance agent to learn about ways you can potentially save on your homeowners insurance.

When Do I Need to Get Homeowners Insurance?

It's a good idea to start shopping for homeowners insurance as soon as you sign a contract to buy a home. This allows you to shop around for quotes and gives you time to get your policy in place before closing on the purchase. Typically, you will have a month or more between the time you sign a contract and the day you close on your new home. Do you need to have homeowners insurance before closing? Yes, you'll typically need to prove at closing that you've paid the first full year of premiums on your homeowners insurance.

How Long Does It Take to Get Homeowners Insurance?

If you are buying homeowners insurance for the first time, you probably wonder about the timeline for getting covered. The good news is that getting a homeowners insurance quote typically takes just a few minutes. If you decide to move forward and you're in a hurry, you may be able to get a homeowners insurance policy in a few hours depending on the type of property you are looking to insure. Otherwise, it typically takes one to three days to get homeowners insurance.

Lallis & Higgins Insurance allows you to customize your coverage to fit your unique needs. We'll help you understand the risks you face and get the coverage to help prepare you for the unexpected. Contact us


Do I Need Homeowners Insurance and When Should I Buy It?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

If you're shopping for your dream home, you may have questions about homeowners insurance. It’s another expense of home ownership, so it’s logical to ask the question: Do you need homeowners insurance, and if so, when in the house buying process do you buy it?

Here's a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you understand when you need to get homeowners insurance.

Is Homeowners Insurance Required?

There's no law that requires home insurance. But mortgage lenders do require you to get home insurance coverage before they will agree to finance your home purchase. Home insurance protects the mortgage lender’s investment by providing the money to repair or rebuild the home if it is damaged or destroyed by a fire, a lightning storm, a tornado or some other covered event.

What Kind of Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

There are many things to consider, but for starters, you will probably want a homeowners insurance policy which typically covers:

Your house: Homeowners insurance coverage can help pay to repair or rebuild your house and possibly other structures on your property, such as a detached garage or a storage shed, after damage from a covered loss.

Your stuff: Homeowners insurance can help pay to replace your possessions if they're damaged or destroyed by a covered loss.

A place to stay: Your homeowners insurance policy may include additional living expenses (ALE) coverage to help cover the cost of a hotel or other lodging while your home is being fixed or rebuilt.

Legal bills: If a guest slips on your walkway, you could be held liable. In this case, your homeowners insurance can help cover the related medical bills, your legal costs and potential court awards up to the dollar limit determined in the policy.

Generally, a typical homeowners policy does not include coverage for earthquakes or flood. Depending on the location of your home, your lender may require you to buy insurance that covers loss caused by earthquake or flood . And if you have valuable items that exceed the special dollar limits of your homeowners policy, such as an art collection or fine jewelry, you may want to purchase extra coverage, known as a Personal Articles Floater (PAF), for those items.

Is Hazard Insurance the Same as Homeowners Insurance?

Some mortgage lenders use the term "hazard insurance" to refer to the part of a homeowners insurance policy that covers the structure of the home. Even if the terminology seems a little confusing, simply put, this means the lender requires that you have homeowners insurance. The lender also may require you to have flood insurance or other coverage, depending on the location.

Lallis & Higgins Insurance allows you to customize your coverage to fit your unique needs. We'll help you understand the risks you face and get the coverage to help prepare you for the unexpected. Contact us.

Buying a House? When to Get Homeowners Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance -- Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Buying a new house is exciting, whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced homeowner. Going through open houses or viewing homes for sale with a real estate agent offers the chance to see what features you do and do not want in your new home. While finding your perfect new home and starting the buying process is thrilling, it can also be stressful. Worrying about price negotiations, home inspection and mortgage terms can dampen the excitement of buying a house.

Often overlooked in the long list of things to do before buying and moving into your new home is getting home insurance. Getting homeowners insurance before closing is an important step in the homebuying process and should be a priority.

When Do I Need to Get Homeowners Insurance?

In general, you purchase homeowners insurance before closing on the home. By securing the coverage you need before you even move into your new home, you safeguard your purchase from disaster. It is important to research various insurance policy options as they may offer different levels of coverage. Once you have found a policy that is best for you, check that it meets the requirements of your lender. Most financial institutions won’t fund a mortgage, or home equity lines of credit, without the home being insured. In fact, some lenders may require that you purchase extra coverage in addition to a basic homeowners policy.

After determining that your desired policy meets your lender’s requirements, you can purchase the insurance. This should be done sometime before you go to the meeting to officially close on your home. The insurance company will normally pre-approve the policy and then wait for your escrow/title company to send a request for Proof of Insurance when the final closing date is near. The insurance company will then email or fax the confirmation of coverage before the closing date.

Protecting Yourself and the Lender

Purchasing a homeowners insurance policy keeps your new home safe from disasters such as a burst pipe or fire. This safety net offers a clear advantage for the homeowner should an accident occur. Rather than paying out of pocket for expensive repairs, the insurance covers the cost of repairing any damage. Homeowners can relax knowing their home will be repaired and they can continue enjoying their investment.

Your lender enjoys similar protection from your home insurance. Having invested their money to help you buy your new home, your lender wants to know that their investment is safeguarded. Luckily, paying for your home insurance is usually made simple with an escrow account. This account is set up by your lender to hold funds for certain property expenses. Some of your monthly mortgage payment is put into your escrow account by your lender. They can then pay for your insurance costs and/or property taxes using the money in the account. Paying the premium on your behalf protects the lender by allowing them to verify that your home is covered. The escrow account also makes your life as a homeowner less stressful, as you pay one monthly payment to the lender rather than paying several different monthly, yearly or quarterly payments to various outlets.

Smart and Necessary

Purchasing an insurance policy is a smart move in protecting the incredible investment of a new house. In addition to covering repairs to your home, many policies offer some coverage for you and your family’s belongings. Basic homeowners policies usually include liability coverage to protect you against legal action if someone is hurt on your property. These lesser-known benefits of homeowners insurance increase the value of purchasing a policy.

Your lender’s required amount of coverage for your new home may not be clear. Each lender may differ in their insurance requirements, so it is important to understand exactly what coverage is needed. Additionally, there may be extra coverage options that are not required but are included in your homeowners insurance policy or offered optionally. If you have any questions about what is covered in your policy, speak with a trusted Wawanesa homeowners insurance agent by calling 1-877-WAWANESA (929-2637). Your agent can help you determine if you have enough coverage to meet the lender’s requirements.

Your HOA and Homeowners Insurance

If your new home is in a subdivision or planned community, you are likely required to pay a homeowners association fee. Also known as HOA fees, this money helps cover the upkeep and maintenance costs of the community where your home is located. Often included in HOA fees are your home’s portion of an insurance policy for the community and/or complex.

As a community member, this HOA policy is partly your responsibility, but it does not cover the structure of your home or the belongings inside of it. To protect your new house from disaster, the HOA insurance is insufficient. It is important to protect your home with a personal homeowners insurance policy. A personal policy covers the physical structure of your home. Coverage may also be available for your family’s belongings inside the home and outbuildings such as garden sheds.

Your HOA and Condominium Insurance

The insurance policy purchased by the Condominium Association offers coverage for the common areas and, in most cases, the basic structure of a condominium or townhouse complex. Swimming pools, tennis courts and playgrounds for neighborhood families to enjoy are usually covered in this policy. As a part-owner of these amenities, it is partly your responsibility to pay for accidents or liabilities that may occur in community areas.

Should a child sustain an injury on the community playground and the parents decide to sue the Association, you may be liable for a portion of the costs. Any loss costs in excess of the Association’s coverage limits are passed on to you as a part-owner of the community. You may be able to add extra coverage to your personal insurance policy to help protect you in the event the Association’s insurance is insufficient to cover the community expenses related to a covered loss.

Flood Coverage

There are some limitations to basic homeowners insurance policies. Depending on your home’s geographical area, you may need to purchase additional coverage for disasters such as floods.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover flooding from a burst pipe or other water leak in your home, but they usually do not cover flooding as a result of natural disaster. Homes that are built on a floodplain, or are in commonly-flooded areas, often benefit from flood insurance. Your lender may even require additional coverage for flooding if you live in a floodplain. Adding flood insurance to your basic insurance helps cover repairs to your home if it suffers damage from flooding.

Homeowners insurance policies offer both you and your mortgage lender protection in the investment of your new house. Shopping for a new home is an exciting and stressful time and purchasing insurance may become an afterthought. Take the time to understand how to get homeowners insurance when buying a house by researching what coverage your new home needs.

For more information on home insurance policies, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Hands-Free – It’s the Law as of Feb. 23

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 10, 2020

Are your clients aware that holding their cellphone while driving will soon become a surchargeable offense? Effective 2/23/2020, the new “hands-free” law in MA makes it illegal for motor vehicle and bicycle operators to hold any electronic device or phone, including when stopped at red lights or stop signs! All devices must be properly mounted and can only be used in hands-free mode. Penalties start at $100 and go up to $500 PLUS mandatory distracted driving education AND an insurance surcharge. The state has created a downloadable pamphlet you can use to help notify your clients.

DOWNLOAD PAMPHLET: Hands-Free While Driving from

This pamphlet provides an excellent overview of what the new law means for drivers under and over age 18, and the consequences they’ll face for breaking the law.

To summarize the key points…

Drivers 18 and over:

Can ONLY use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode

CANNOT touch phone except to activate the hands-free mode or enable GPS, and then ONLY if the device is installed or properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console in a manner that does not impede the operation of the motor vehicle.

CANNOT touch the device for texting, emailing, apps, video, or internet use

Can use voice-to-text communication to electronic devices ONLY when device is properly mounted; use of headphone (one ear) is permitted.

Handheld use is allowed ONLY if the vehicle is both stationary and not located in a public travel lane.

Handheld use is NOT allowed at red lights or stop signs

Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices. All phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.

In an Emergency

Operators may use a cell phone to call 911 to report an emergency. If possible, safely pull over and stop before calling 911.

Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance for more information.

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