Lallis and Higgins Blog

Small Business Insurance Mistakes that Cost You Money

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Independent insurance agents are your best bet for finding true value for your insurance dollar. At Lallis & Higgins Insurance we believe that a well-educated business insurance consumer will ultimately seek out the advice of trusted independent insurance agents.

Here are five Small Business Insurance Mistakes that Cost You Money.

Not Having the Right Insurance for Online Sales

Online sales help boost many small businesses’ revenue. However, defective products can lead to expensive lawsuits. Business owners should have a product liability insurance to help protect them against these types of lawsuits. Also, a contingent business income (CBI) coverage can protect policyholders against economic losses caused by damage to property owners.

Not Checking Your Business Credit Before Getting a Policy

Small business owners often don’t realize that the insurer may check their business credit profile as part of the underwriting process. A poor business credit history may make it difficult or more expensive to get the insurance they need. Before you apply for any kind of business insurance, consider checking your business credit profile to see where you stand.

Not Taking Advantage of IRS Code Section 162

Section 162 allows for an Executive Bonus plan. An executive bonus plan is a fringe benefit, funded with life insurance, given to a select group of key employees and/or business owners. It provides protection to the executive’s family during their working years, and when it’s funded with permanent life insurance, it can also provide tax-advantaged supplemental retirement income.

Not Having a Cyber Insurance Policy

Cyber insurance protects businesses and individual users from internet-based risks. It is designed to help an organization mitigate risk exposure by offsetting costs involved with recovery after a cyber-related security breach. Unfortunately, only around 58% of small businesses have cyber insurance. There are businesses who incur losses due to cyber-security risks and having a cyber insurance can help you prevent such risks and losses.

Buying a Policy Based on Price Rather than Value

Most small business owners treat insurance as a commodity and as a result, are buying based on price rather than value. When it comes to buying , one size does not fit all. It is critical that the insurance carriers understand your business and craft the coverage to meet your needs. Cheap policies are not always the best policies for your business.

If you have questions regarding securing insurance for your business, call us! We are independent insurance professionals serving all of Massachusetts.


Fire Safety Month: How to Protect Your Home and Family

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 07, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Fire Safety Month: How to Protect Your Home and Family in Quincy, Weymouth, MA

For Fire Prevention Month this year, families should improve their home’s safety by checking their alarms, testing the alarms regularly and adding reliable protection when replacing expired alarms. We are dedicated to helping protect what matters most because a home emergency can happen at any time and we want you to be prepared.

Fire Prevention Month is the prefect time talk with your whole family about fire safety – include testing alarms, changing the batteries or upgrading to 10-year sealed battery alarm for hassle-free protection, and escape planning.

  • 3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms
  • Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental death
  • 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly*
  • Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their home
  • Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan*

Are You Fully Protected?

Having functioning alarms installed throughout your home is the first line of defense for fire prevention. They work around the clock to give your family an early alert in the event of an emergency, allowing you time to safely escape. Smoke and CO alarms should be placed on every level of the home, including the basement, as well as inside and outside each bedroom. Fire alarms should also be placed on every level of the home, especially in the kitchen and garage.

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. Learn what else to do to keep your loved ones safe!

Top Tips for Fire Safety

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

For more information on protecting your home, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Firstalert.com


2019 Fall Bucket List

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, October 03, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance,  Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Four activities you and your family can do this fall:

1. Corn Mazes, apple and pumpkin picking.

  • Sauchuk’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Plympton has fun activities for all ages. Two corn mazes, Hay Wagon ride, cow rain jumpy pillows and more! This is one of our favorites to visit each fall. www.sauchukmaze.com.
  • Lookout Farm in South Natick offers both pumpkin and apple picking during the fall. The farm also has children’s play area along with a train and hay ride. www.lookoutfarm.com
  • Connors Farm in Danvers on top of the apple and pumpkin picking – this farm offers a 7-acre corn maze, barn yard animals hay-jump and slide, and more… www.connorsfarm.com

2. Go for a walk or hike! Some of the most beautiful walking and hiking trails are at our footsteps. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • World’s End Hingham GPS address 150 Martins Lane Hingham, MA 02043. Overlooking the Boston sky line, this location brings the best of both land and sea.
  • Blue Hills trails in Canton are a great location to hike. They have different levels of hiking from beginner to intermediate. You can also visit the Trailside Museum at the base of trails after you’re done with your hike.
  • If you enjoy the foliage and like going for car rides, then you may want to take a trip up to New Hampshire this fall for a hike. A Moderate Hike Moose Mountain is just a little more than an hour and a half from Boston. For those more adventures keep driving north to the Franconia Notch State Park.

3. Haunted houses! If you like a good thrill, then these places may give you want you’ve been looking for.

  • Factory of Terror – located in Fall River, Worcester and West Warwick RI. www.factoryofterror.com. If you like a good old fashion scare, then this is right up your alley.
  • Barrett’s Haunted Mansion in Abington. www.bhmansion.com . Experience the madness behind the walls of Black Hinge Maximum Security Penitentiary at Barrett's Haunted Mansion. Prisoners are unhinged and running rampant!
  • Witch’s Woods in Westford, MA. https://witchswoods.com. We dare you to go for this haunted hayride through the Nashoba Valley Ski area!

4. Visit a zoo for a not so scary experience. The Fall is a great time to visit a zoo, and many of the zoos decorate for the seasons. Here are our top three zoos to visit in New England:

  • Southwick Zoo in Mendon, MA. Just an hour south of Boston this zoo is a must see. They even have carnival rides for the little ones to enjoy. Zoo Boo Days are from October 19 – 31th. www.southwickszoo.com
  • Franklin Park Zoo in Boston www.zoonewengland.org/franklin-park-zoo. Conveniently located in Boston. Zoo Howl takes place on 10/26 and 10/27 from 11:00am3pm each day.
  • RogersWilliams Park Zoo in Providence Rhode Island. This zoo has a fun Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular from October 4th to November 4th. www.rwpzoo.org

Why an Independent Agent?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance,  Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Not all insurance agents are the same! Choosing the right one can make a big difference – in price, service, and value.

With other agencies, you get one company that sells one brand of insurance. With an independent insurance agency like you get choices.

Why? Because independent insurance agencies, like Lallis & Higgins Insurance, represent a number of different insurance companies, and can compare coverage and prices to find the best possible value for your individual circumstances. As independent agents, we are members of the community, and we’re committed to doing business face-to-face and being your advocate in times of need.

Serving Quincy, Weymouth and the South Shore and the entire state of Massachusetts here are a few reasons why Lallis & Higgins Insurance should be your first and last top when looking for insurance.

  • We work for you when you have a claim.
  • We are not beholden to any one company. This means you don’t have to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
  • We are your consultants, working with you as you determine your needs.
  • We are value-hunters who look after your pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage, and service.
  • We offer one-stop shopping for a full range of products, including home, renters, auto, business, life, health, and retirement plans.
  • We can periodically review your coverage to keep up with your changing insurance needs.
  • We are committed to customer satisfaction – it’s the key to our livelihood.
  • We treat you like a person, not a number.
  • We are licensed professionals with strong customer and community ties.

There is a difference. To find out how our independent insurance agency can help you find the right insurance coverage, please contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance today.


Do You Need a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 16, 2019
Auto Insurance

As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the car you use in your business as you do for a car used for personal travel -- liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states) and coverage for uninsured motorists. In fact, many business people use the same vehicle for both business and pleasure. If the vehicle is owned by the business, make sure the name of the business appears on the policy as the "principal insured" rather than your name. This will avoid possible confusion in the event that you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.

Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask you many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.

While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask Lallis & Higgins Insurance to explain all the differences and options.

If you have a personal umbrella liability policy, there's generally an exclusion for business-related liability. Make sure you have sufficient auto liability coverage. Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance for more information.

iii.org


Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 09, 2019
Flood Insurance

Do you have flood insurance? Do you need flood insurance?

If you don’t know, keep reading.

Of all the natural disasters that affect us, floods are the most common. In fact, homeowners are five times more likely to deal with flood than fire damage. (And your chances increase if you live in a medium- or high-risk area for floods.)

Flood damage can be expensive to repair. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates a six-inch flood that hits a 2,000-square-foot home is likely to cause about $40,000 in damage.

On top of that, most standard homeowners and renters insurance policies don't cover flood damage.

Homeowners and Renters Policies Don't Cover Flood Damage

Typical homeowners insurance policies don't cover flood damage.

Most people ignore flood insurance for this very reason. They assume the insurance they have will protect them from the aftermath of a flood.

You have to go out of your way to buy flood insurance as a separate policy from the NFIP. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers this insurance as does one of the 80 private insurance companies that provide flood coverage.

More Reasons Why You Shouldn't Ignore Flood Insurance

People overlook flood insurance because they think they don’t need it.

Statistics show US homeowners (and renters) are likely to deal with flood damage at some point in their lives.

Chances are higher if you live in an area that's considered “high risk” for flooding. There’s a one in four chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage in high risk areas.

Low- or moderate-risk areas field almost 25 percent of flood-damage claims. So, flood insurance is a good idea no matter where you live.

When You Are and Aren't Required to Have Flood Insurance

Do you live in a high risk area? Is your mortgage with a federally regulated or insured lender?

If you answered yes to both questions, you're required to have flood insurance.

If you live in a moderate- or low-risk area, you aren't federally obligated to have this kind of insurance, although some lenders may still require it.

In some situations, government aid is available for flood damage to homeowners who didn’t have flood insurance. However, if they want to quality for future aid, they need to purchase a flood policy first.

Is One Rate Just Like the Other?

Flood insurance rates are set nationally and don’t differ from company to company or from agent to agent.

BUT, don't take that to mean that everybody pays exactly the same amount of money for this kind of coverage. What it means is that, all things being equal, the quote that you receive from one agent will be the same as one you receive from another agent.

That particular rate is based on a number of factors. Including the age of your home or building, how it was built, the elevation of your property, and its overall flood risk.

You can find out what that rate would be by requesting a quote for a flood insurance policy.

Contemplating Coverage Impacts and Limits

Another factor companies take into consideration when determining your rate is the desired amount of coverage.

Be aware that standard flood policies place certain limits on the coverage they offer.

Homeowners can buy a maximum coverage of $250,000 for buildings. And up to $100,000 for the contents.

Buildings may include the actual structure and its foundation, as well as any air-conditioning, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems and equipment.

Business owners can buy up to $500,000 in structure coverage and $500,000 in personal property coverage.

If your building is worth over $250,000, you'll have to buy excess flood insurance. This increases your coverage limit to $750,000. (Businesses can extend their coverage up to $1 million.)

Don't Worry, It's Easy to Buy

Despite the fact that flood insurance is a separate policy, it isn't difficult to purchase.

In fact, it may be easier to buy than some other forms of insurance. Options are limited to private companies and agents that have partnered with the NFIP.

A Few More Things You Should Know About Flood Insurance

There's a 30 day waiting period. In most cases, flood insurance policies won’t take effect until after that period is over.

You'll still be eligible for government aid. Having flood insurance won't prevent you from receiving government aid if you live in an area declared as a federal disaster area due to flooding.

Government aid isn't a suitable alternative to a flood policy. You may be thinking, "Hey, why should I bother paying for insurance when federal disaster assistance will bail me out?"

The reality is government aid isn't all it's cracked up to be. There are a few reasons for that.

First, before a community can become eligible for this assistance, it has to be declared a federal disaster area. And these declarations are issued in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents.

Second, federal disaster aid usually takes the form of a low-interest loan. The loan is designed to help pay for the repair of flood damage. It isn’t straight compensation that doesn't need to be repaid.

A flood is a fairly specifically defined event. Just because your basement fills up with water after a torrential rain storm, doesn't mean the resulting devastation will be covered by your insurance policy.

For that to happen, the flood has to affect two or more properties. Or, if affects only your property, it has to have covered two or more acres of land.

Also, you might want to note that damage from wind-driven rain--such as when rain comes through a hole in a wall or roof, or through a wind-damaged window--isn't considered flood-related.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

quotewizard.com


Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 05, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Maybe you’ve been here before. You’ve just come off the plane, picked up your baggage and gone to the rental car counter. You’re tired from the flight, about to begin an ambitious vacation or a challenging business project. And, this is the point at which you’re asked, “Do you want insurance with that?”

Most travelers, facing that question from the rental representative, have the vague notion that they don’t really need to buy rental car insurance – which somehow is covered already. With just enough doubt in their minds, and the need to make a quick decision, perhaps they buy it just to be safe.

So, which is it?

Do you need to buy rental car insurance or not?

Truth be told, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. However, you can likely reach a conclusion you’re comfortable with by considering these three questions.

1. What Types of Rental Car Insurance Are Available?

Typically, car rental agencies will offer you four types of insurance to purchase:

  • Collision damage waiver – The rental car company won’t charge you for a damaged or stolen vehicle when you buy this.
  • Supplemental liability protection – Electing this will ensure you’re covered for costs to others if you cause an accident in the rental.
  • Personal accident insurance – This coverage will pay for injuries or death of the driver and passengers of your rental car.
  • Personal effects coverage – Reimburses you for stolen personal items while renting the car.

2. What Rental Car Coverage Might I Already Have?

Start with your personal auto insurance. It’s likely that your policy will provide the same level of coverage for your rental as it does for your own car. That usually includes liability insurance, and, depending on the policy you purchased, may include collision, comprehensive and medical payments, too. There are exclusions, however. Some insurers won’t cover rentals in a foreign country, or rentals that are being used for business. Get in touch with your independent insurance agent to verify your coverages.

Next there’s your credit card. Most cards offer some degree of coverage, but it varies widely. Coverage is usually secondary, designed to step in and pick up where your auto insurance leaves off, and it tends to be mostly confined to collision, damage and theft. For coverage to apply, most cards require that you decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and pay for the car in full with the card that provides the protection. Again, contact your card company to find out exactly what is covered.

Then, consider your health and life insurance, too. If you’re in an accident involving a rental car and you have these policies, you likely have coverage for your own costs. Plus, with your homeowners insurance, you may have personal property coverage to help repair or replace valuable belongings that are lost, damaged or stolen while you’re in a rental. Your deductible and policy limits will apply, and the same goes for renters insurance or condo insurance.

3. What Rental Coverage Might I Be Missing?

In the event something does happen to the rental car, you may be looking at loss of use and diminished value fees, and your regular policy may not cover them. Loss of use is the income that the rental agency loses due to the vehicle being in the shop for repairs, and diminished value is the calculated reduction in a vehicle’s resale value as the result of an accident. Credit cards sometimes cover these, but be aware that they may require documentation that rental agencies can be reluctant to provide.

So, before you make that next trip, give us a call and check with your credit card company. That way you’ll be ready to make an informed decision when you get to the rental car counter.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.


Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance,  Quincy, Weymouth, MA

What Is Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance helps pay a lump sum in the event of a covered accident. Specifically, these covered accidents are ones that could not be foreseen and are fatal or dismembering. Deaths that come due to prior medical conditions are not covered under this accidental death and dismemberment policy. hy Employees Need Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

Unlike Workers’ Compensation, which covers only work-related accidents, AD&D insurance applies wherever covered accidents happen, such as at home or on the road. Along with life, disability and critical illness benefits, AD&D insurance can help round out a comprehensive benefits package. Access to a full range of protection solutions can help attract and retain top employees.

What Does Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Cover?

Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance policies (AD&D) provide benefits for covered accidents that result in fatality, paralysis, the loss of a limb, eyesight, hearing, speech and more. An AD&D plan may include coverage for employees only or employees and dependents and typically provides 24-hour coverage no matter where a covered accident occurs, whether at work, home or away for:

  • Loss of Life
  • Loss of Speech
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Loss of a Hand, Foot or Sight
  • Loss of Thumb and Index Finger on Either Hand
  • Loss of Movement

AD&D applies in the event of a covered injury, paralysis or death resulting from a covered accident, There are plenty of plan options available.

  • Benefits are payable for losses that occur within 365 days of the covered accident.
  • Plans are available on an employer-paid, voluntary and standalone basis.
  • A variety of options are available to choose from, including high coverage limits and no medical underwriting necessary.
  • Is Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Flexible? h3
  • In addition to the standard AD&D plan, there are enhanced and premium plan designs and services that can be customized to best suit the specific needs of each company.

The following optional benefits are also available with AD&D Insurance:

  • Accelerated Death Benefit
  • Accident Hospital Income
  • Adaptive Home and Vehicle Benefit
  • Anti-Inflation Benefit
  • Bereavement Counseling Benefit
  • Child Education Benefit
  • Coma Benefit
  • Common Disaster Benefit
  • Critical Burn Benefit
  • Day Care Benefit
  • Funeral Expense Benefit
  • HIV Occupational Accident Benefit
  • Loss of Use Benefit
  • Newborn Coverage
  • Newlywed Coverage
  • Paralysis Benefit
  • Permanent Total Disability
  • Rehabilitation Benefit

Lallis & Higgins Insurance makes it easy for brokers and employers to find the right coverage. Connect with us today.

Hanover


Get A Discount With An Auto and Renters Insurance Bundle

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 08, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

To protect yourself from some of the perils of college, we would recommend you have insurance for both your car and rental home. Car insurance is mandatory in Massachusetts, while renters insurance is strongly encouraged. Luckily, you can save on both by bundling your purchase with one insurer. Most large companies offer solid discounts ranging from 3% to 10% for those who get both a rental and auto insurance policy with them.

How to Bundle Your Auto and Rental Insurance Policies

Bundling two policies is quite simple: When you're shopping for a renters or car insurance quote, the company will usually ask you if you would like to bundle your policy with the other. If you currently don't have either policy, you have the flexibility to go to whatever company suits you best. It is more likely you will already have a car insurance policy however, since auto insurance is mandatory mostly everywhere. In that case, you can just obtain a renters quote from your company and see how much of a discount you would receive.

If you plan to purchase renters insurance, it may be worth investigating a quote with insurers who offer bundling discounts to see if you can get a lower overall price for your insurance. Even if you already have both auto and renters policies, you should shop around to see if you can find better rates. In fact, your shopping may lead you to conclude you don't even need to bundle. Bundling policies with the same insurer is most likely to provide the biggest discounts, but you should always compare quotes, as it's possible that independent policies with two different insurers could provide you the best combination of price and coverage.

Even if your current auto insurance company offers bundling, you should not assume they offer the lowest cost policies around. In major cities, where most renters reside, the difference between the costliest and cheapest insurance company averages over $3,000. We encourage every car insurance customer to shop around for new insurance at least once every two years, and this biennial search is the perfect time to look into the possibility of buying a renters insurance policy to bundle and save.

Should You Bundle Your Car Insurance and Renters Insurance?

As a general rule, it only makes sense to bundle auto and renters insurance if your new price will be less than what you are currently paying or you can't find a cheaper deal by going with two different companies.

However, outside of the discount, there a several advantages to insurance bundles you should consider when making your decision. The first one is a stronger relationship with your insurance company. Should you run into some bad luck and have a couple accidents in a short amount of time, your company will be less likely to drop you if you have a secondary policy with them. There is also a convenience factor of receiving one bill for both insurance policies when you're a multi insurance customer. In addition to more competitive prices, these factors likely contribute to the finding of auto insurance company customer satisfaction that customers with bundled policies tended to be more satisfied with their company than those who don't bundle insurance packages.

For more information on bundling car insurance and renters insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: valuepenguin.com


Free Fun Fridays From Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Free Fun Fridays offers families no-cost admission to many of the most treasured cultural venues in Massachusetts. This program was created to increase access and enrichment opportunities for children and families throughout Massachusetts during the summer months. Every Friday, from the end of June through the end of August, multiple sites are open for free. We reach out to schools, veterans groups, libraries, seniors centers, and many other community organizations to ensure that everyone knows that they are also welcome.

2019 Free Fun Fridays Schedule

Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Download the Free Fun Fridays Schedule HERE.

Since 2009, Free Fun Fridays has drawn more than 900,000 visitors to venues throughout the Commonwealth. The program has grown to include participating venues in every corner of the state, helping them open their doors for free to the community. 

highlandstreet.org



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