Lallis and Higgins Blog

Why Your Business Needs Umbrella Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAA business insurance umbrella policy could protect your business against excess liability judgments for loss, injury, or even death cause by negligent acts. It is designed to provide liability protection over and above the insurance policies you currently have.

Expect the Unexpected

How well protected are you and your business from paying a large liability loss.

Why do you need more insurance?

You may say we have commercial auto and business coverage. That should be sufficient. Why would we need an business umbrella policy? Today, lawsuits are occurring more and more frequently. And, the monetary awards from these lawsuits can be staggering.

Your current insurance will protect your business against misfortune, but it may not give your business the coverage it needs against a catastrophic loss.

How much insurance is enough?

To ensure that you are protected against the unknown, changing your liability policy limits can critical. Most likely you have liability coverage. In the event of an accident, this will give your business protection for both bodily injury and property damage, but only to the limit of your policy. Beyond those limits, you would be expected to pay the excess amount for which your business is liable.

Umbrella insurance policies also give you the additional benefits of covering defense costs and attorneys’ fees associated with claims against your business that are covered by your umbrella policy but not your primary policies. These expenses are paid in addition to your policy limit.

You may also be protected with umbrella insurance for claims that may not be covered by your underlying policies.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


Commercial Auto Insurance is a Necessity

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 03, 2018

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MABusinesses who want to stay in business need to protect themselves, their employees, their vehicles, and their property. This is done with business insurance that can protect you from liability.

One overlooked type of insurance protection is commercial auto insurance. If your small or medium sized business has vehicles, or if you use your own vehicle for business use, you need commercial auto insurance. Regardless of if your business has one car or 100 cars, commercial automobile insurance is the only way to protect your business, car and driver in the case of a loss.

Commercial vehicle insurance does not just protect you in the case of an auto accident. Auto insurance protects you in the event of vandalism, auto theft, or if other’s property is damaged with your commercial vehicle. Regardless, commercial auto insurance needs to protect your business in a minor fender bender to loss of life.

Commercial automobile insurance policies are not cookie cutter. They should all be created to accommodate your business, the amount the vehicles are driven, the driving records of the drivers, the cargo, and what they are used for. With the proper insurance policy, your company will be protected for any type of accident to ensure you aren't paying out of pocket for any type of damage.

However, choosing the policy with the lowest possible price is not always the best decision. Choosing the policy with the most coverage for the price is a better decision. You want a cost-effective policy that will protect your business in the case of a loss.

For more information on commercial auto insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


It’s Christmas In Massachusetts! Time to Do These 11 Enchanting Things

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 26, 2018

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAWhether it’s walking through a neighborhood of Christmas lights or stuffing yourself with holiday snacks, everyone has special traditions and treats that put them in the Christmas mood. Every season Lallis & Higgins Insurance shares some of our favorite activities and things to do. Here are some Massachusetts places and activities that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

1. Go ice-skating on the Frog Pond in Boston.

Skating on the frozen Frog Pond in Boston Common is a winter tradition for many Bay Staters. It’s free for skaters under $58 inches and just $6 for skaters over that height. They offer rentals, lockers and ice sharpening. (38 Beacon St., Boston)

2. Get your thrills at this wintery amusement park.

Six Flags New England has transformed into a holiday wonderland. From meeting Christmas characters to riding festive rollercoasters, there's something here for everyone in the family.

3. Visit "the Christmas City" of Massachusetts.

Taunton has earned the official nickname "The Christmas City" due to its spectacular holiday celebrations and light displays. Checking out the festive town green in this community is a must-do every season.

4. Play with the reindeer at Stone Zoo.

The annual ZooLights festival at Stone Zoo in Franklin is an enchanting holiday tradition. With animal enclosures bedecked in holiday lights and garlands, crafts, food and even meet-and-greets with real reindeer, everyone should check this event out.

5. Indulge in a cup of holiday-flavored coffee from Dunks.

Hey, nothing says Christmas like something hot and sweet from Dunkin' Donuts. Slurping down some sort of candycane-cinnamon-chocolate frankendrink is the perfect way to get that festive feeling inside you.

6. Drive through miles of fantastic holiday lights.

Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield is one of the largest displays of Christmas lights in New England. Pile into the car and prepare to be dazzled by three miles of glittering scenes. Click here for more information.

7. Splurge on holiday gifts at a festive Christmas market.

Massachusetts is filled with holiday markets and festive craft fairs to inspire you on your hunt for the perfect gift or decor. The Salem Holiday Market is the perfect spot to pick up something handmade and beautiful this season.

8. Stroll through a vintage Christmas village.

The Enchanted Village once dazzled Bay Staters at its original location at Jordan Marsh in Boston during the 1960s. Today, it's been restored and brought back to life at Jordan's Furniture in Avon. Take a stroll through the festive lanes of the village for free this season.

9. Hitch a ride to the North Pole.

Yes, Massachusetts has its very own Polar Express and it's a fantastic way to get in the holiday mood. Grab the kids and ride the Scituate North Pole Express for special time with Santa, milk, cookies and storytelling.

10. Take in the beauty of LaSalette Shrine's Festival of Lights.

LaSalette Shrine's Festival of Lights is a Christmas tradition that is sure warm your heart. It's a good option if you're looking to celebrate the spiritual side of the season, or just surround yourself with holiday beauty. (947 Park Street, Attleboro)

11. Explore a magical indoor Christmas wonderland.

Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield isn't just a purveyor of smelly wax – it's home to a year-round Christmas village that just gets more enchanting each year. Visit the Bavarian Forest, make your own candles, indulge in holiday treats and experience an indoor snow shower.

Only in Your State


5 Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey This Thanksgiving

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 19, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAThose in Quincy and Weymouth, MA who have tasted deep-fried turkey usually say there’s simply no comparison to an oven-roasted bird — turkey out of the fryer is moist, with crispy skin and a beautiful color.

And, it cooks much more quickly than a turkey in the oven, which means you don’t have to wait for hours on end to get your fix.

But, if you’re not careful, frying a turkey can ruin your Thanksgiving, too. You’ve no doubt seen videos of people accidentally starting fires with their attempts. In some cases, families have even lost their homes.

With a little common sense, though, you can safely enjoy that great taste and fast cooking time. Here are five tips for cooking a great deep-fried turkey — without doing any damage (except maybe to your waistline):

1. Find a safe place to cook.

Don’t ever set up a fryer any closer than 10 feet from your home, garage or any other structure. Make sure the area is flat to keep the fryer from tipping, and never put it on a deck or other flammable surface.

2. Don’t use too much turkey.

You don’t want to drop a 20-pound bird in your fryer; it’s just too big. Keep your turkey to 12 pounds or less, don’t stuff it and make sure it’s completely thawed and dry.

3. Don’t use too much oil, either.

When it comes to the oil, use something with a high smoke point (for example, canola or safflower) and do a test with water beforehand to figure out how much you need. Put the turkey in your fryer and fill with water until it is covered. Then take the turkey out and make a mental note of the water line — that’s how much oil to use. Be sure to dry everything completely after your test.

4. Use caution when it’s time to cook.

Don’t just drop the turkey into the fryer, unless you want to splash hot oil on yourself (bad) or the burner (even worse). Gently lower it into the oil, and then monitor everything as it’s cooking. Keep an eye on the oil temperature to make sure it doesn’t get too hot. Keep an eye on the clock, because you want your turkey to cook for about 3-5 minutes per pound. And, watch kids and pets so they don’t get too close to the fryer.

5. Be prepared for disaster.

If you’re cautious, the odds are you won’t need a fire extinguisher, but you should have one on hand anyway – a multi-purpose model with dry powder. Don’t ever spray water on a fryer fire. If you don’t have an extinguisher, either cover the oil or dump a large amount of baking soda on the blaze. And, if all else fails, call 911 – quickly.

Of course, there’s one way to get a deep-fried turkey that can’t fail: Buy one from a professional. They’re available at some grocery and specialty stores, and even restaurants are getting into the act now.

Whichever you choose, we here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Snowmobile Insurance: Tips for Finding the Right Insurance for Winter Toys

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAAs snowmobile owners prepare to take to the trails with friends and family this winter, we want to remind enthusiasts that proper snowmobile insurance coverage is crucial to enjoying the ride.

According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, the average snowmobiler spends $6,550 on a snowmobile and $1,100 on accessories such as clothing and a trailer. It is important to choose the right coverage to protect this investment.

Below are some tips for snowmobile owners choosing insurance coverage:

  • Cover your snowmobile with a dedicated policy. If your snowmobile is covered under a homeowner's policy, you may not be as protected as you think. Many riders don't realize that snowmobile damage usually is not covered under a homeowner's policy if the snowmobile is ridden off the insured individual's property. Companies have stand-alone policies for snowmobiles that keep you covered on and off your property.
  • Check for discounts. Taking a safety course will teach you valuable skills about everything from trailering to handling rough terrain. Plus, many companies offer policy discounts for snowmobilers who have completed a safety course. Other discounts are available to riders who belong to organizations such as a state snowmobile association.
  • Protect the extras. If you're adding a personal touch to your snowmobile, check on insurance coverage first. Some policies include custom equipment as part of the standard coverage-a big benefit if you are investing in costly aftermarket parts.
  • Ask about roadside assistance or trip interruption coverage. Many owners trailer their snowmobiles to their favorite riding spot. Be sure your coverage includes reimbursement for lodging, transportation and meals if you are stranded due to an accident or breakdown.
  • Check to see if one policy can cover all your motorized transportation and toys. Some policies cover up to 12 vehicles, including motorcycles, Segways, golf carts, dune buggies and ATVs.

For more information on insurance for winter toys, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Snowest


Homeowners Insurance Survey: The Results May Surprise You

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAAlmost half of the owners surveyed don’t understand liability home insurance, a quarter have no idea how much they have

Liability insurance is one of the major components of a home insurance policy, but 84% of homeowners surveyed incorrectly thought you pay a deductible when filing a liability claim. Almost half (48 percent) don’t understand what liability home insurance covers and nearly a quarter (24 percent) have no idea how much liability insurance they have.

This was a survey of 1,000 homeowners to find out how much they know about their home insurance policy, if they shop for the best rates and whether they're discussing needed coverage changes with their insurer. Turns out, many homeowners don’t understand how their home insurance coverage works.

The survey also found that many homeowners aren't shopping around to get the best coverage for the best price. One-third don't compare home insurance rates to make sure they're getting the best deal.

Additionally, the survey found that nearly a quarter said they’ve never read their policy. That could leave them vulnerable and underinsured.

Homeowners don't understand their policies and coverage

The survey found that many respondents didn't comprehend or are confused about parts of their home insurance policy.

Slightly more than half of the respondents (52 percent) recognized what liability insurance covers. Liability insurance covers accidents in which the homeowner or family member is at fault and causes bodily injury or property damage, as well as lawsuits filed because of those accidents.

More than one-fifth thought it deals with damage to your home. Slightly less answered that it covers injuries for you and your family.

Concerning replacement cost, slightly more than half (52 percent) answered correctly that it's the cost to repair damage to your home or rebuild it completely at equal quality at current prices. One-third of respondents thought replacement costs deal with personal items damaged or stolen at a depreciated value.

Most respondents also didn't know about dwelling coverage:

  • 41% correctly said it's the amount that best matches the replacement cost of your home
  • 24% believed it was the amount it would cost to rebuild your home with the same materials used during construction
  • 23% thought it was the same as the market value of your home.
  • 12% admitted they had no idea

When it comes to personal property coverage:

  • 60% correctly said it replaces your personal possessions up to a certain limit, usually a percentage of your dwelling coverage, and up to $2,500 for valuables.
  • 29% thought it replaces all of the items in your home.
  • 7% thought it replaces trees and landscaping.
  • 4% thought it just covers valuable items, such as jewelry, antiques and art.

Cost of flood insurance

Though many homeowners didn't know basics about their home insurance coverage, most understood flood insurance and how credit affects insurance rates.

Two-thirds of respondents answered correctly that home insurance doesn't cover flood damage from groundwater. Slightly less than half of people 25-34 knew that flood insurance isn't part of a homeowners policy. Instead, homeowners need a separate flood insurance policy.

Though flood insurance costs can vary depending on where you live and if you buy from a private company or the federal program, the average yearly cost for a policy bought from the National Flood Insurance Program is $700. When asked how much flood insurance costs, 18 percent answered correctly. Forty-four percent thought it was much more expensive than that, 38 percent thought it was several hundred dollars cheaper.

Credit history and home insurance

The vast majority of respondents (88 percent) also knew that credit history can influence your home insurance rates.

Many homeowners don't tell insurers about renovations and other changes

Renovating your home usually increases the value of your home. That could be whether it's an addition or a new bathroom. Insurance.com's survey found that 87 percent of people told their home insurance company about an addition or a new deck and 67 percent informed their insurer about a home renovation project that didn't add to the footprint, but increased the home's value.

When it comes to telling the insurance company about something that could add more risk though, 31 percent of people who added a pool or trampoline and 52 percent of people who brought a dog into the family didn't let their insurer know.

Homeowners might not know they should contact their insurer in these cases. However, not telling your insurer about these situations could mean you're not adequately covered if someone files a claim later. Also, you might not have enough insurance to cover your renovated home without improving your coverage.

Many homeowners don't shop around for home insurance

The survey found that one-third of homeowners don't ever compare home insurance rates to make sure they're getting the best deal. That includes 39 percent of women and 24 percent of men.

Only 27 percent said they compare rates whenever their policy is up for renewal. Another 39 percent said they compare prices every two or three years.

These results show that many homeowners may be paying more for their insurance. It's a good idea to get multiple quotes from companies each year or at least every two to three years. That way you can make sure you're getting the best deal. Insurance.com’s average home insurance rates tool shows rates by ZIP code, as well as the highest and lowest rate fielded from up to six insurance companies. You’ll see that the difference in price for the same policy can be hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. That’s why it’s important to compare rates – you can wind up overpaying if you don’t.

For a comparison rate on your home insurance policy, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Insurance.com


Contractors Insurance for Protection Against Inherent Risks While Plowing this Winter

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 29, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAContractors insurance is specialized insurance coverage for home contractors because of the risks involved in the job. Many contractors begin plowing in the winter to supplement income and keep their employees working. They need insurance for this side of the business too. Contractors insurance protects against liability from injury, property damage or damage or injury to a third party, all of which the contractor can be found liable. Contractors insurance also protects against claims for injury or damage caused by the contractor, the plow, or employees of the contractors. This holds true for those contractors who are moving into the plowing business for the winter.

The job, the job site, and plowing are all prone to hazards, accidents or injuries opening up the potential for claims or loss. Contractor insurance covers medical, legal and compensation fees and costs. In the event that there is injury or damage to a third party, contractors insurance also covers this risk.

Negligence, property damage or personal injury of contractors is covered under general liability insurance. General liability insurance will protect you against a lawsuit or cover your loss.

Claims can also be made by clients who believe they have suffered financial loss as a result of your negligence. With the right insurance policy, you are protected here as well even in the case of litigation.

For more information, or for a review of your contractors insurance policy, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


Quick Tips for Your Personal Insurance Tune-Up

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 22, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAOne of the top insurance mistakes is having a bunch of insurance policies bought from multiple agents, one for you primary residence, another for a vacation home, and another for your cars. That can leave you with policies that aren’t coordinated, so you have coverage gaps. Here’s a summary of some of the biggest issues.

Home.

Be sure to review your homes replacement cost with your agent every three year or so to make sure it’s in-line with what the cost should be to replace the same like and kind home. Look for expanded replacement cost coverage where the insurer agrees to replace the dwelling even if the replacement cost exceeds the policy limit. And check that the home insurance policy would replace any special architectural and historical features if that’s important to you.

Vehicles.

Consider increasing your auto insurance deductible to $1,000 or more, and use the premium savings to increase your liability limits, or adding accident forgiveness if you do not already have the coverage in place on your policy. Check how your insurer would value your car if you own a collector or antique vehicle – is it insured at market value or at an agreed value (you want the latter).

Collectibles.

Often collectibles are very much under-insured, or not insured at all. If you have art, wine, or other valuable collectibles, you need a collectibles rider to your homeowner’s policy or a separate collectibles policy. The best policies will pay market value up to 50% higher than the scheduled amount of coverage in case of loss. Having an inventory system to keep track of your collection, and its fluctuating value, is key.

Boats, ATVs and more.

If you have ATVs, boats, or snowmobiles not covered by your homeowner’s policies, make sure they are covered by your personal umbrella liability policy.

For more information on personal lines insurance policies, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Forbes


Common Insurance Mistakes Made by Small Business Owners

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 15, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAIt takes hard work, dedication, creativity, and tenacity to get a small business up and running successfully, and it makes sense to have the right business insurance coverage in place to protect it. In fact, purchasing business insurance may be one of the most important decisions that the new business owner will make. The right coverage can help prevent unforeseen events from ruining all the work invested in starting and managing your new business.

Small business owners often make mistakes in the area of insurance. To help you avoid them, some common insurance mistakes business owners make are listed below:

Thinking that two insurance agents are better than one:

This is simply not so. When you use more than one agent, you are setting your business up for lost discounts (higher premiums) and potential gaps in coverage. It is better to use one agent for all your business insurance needs.

Buying unneeded insurance policies:

This is one of the most common mistakes of small business owners – paying for coverage they don’t need. Our independent business insurance agents serving the Quincy, Weymouth and South Shore area can help you determine the coverage you need and most economical way to obtain it.

Only buying general liability insurance:

This could be a serious mistake. While general liability insurance can protect you from many business risks, it does not cover everything. Work with our knowledgeable insurance agent to evaluate your risks and determine what additional coverage you need.

Not buying loss of income coverage:

Also known as business interruption insurance, this covers loss of business income in the event of a disaster. Property insurance only covers physical damage should a disaster require you to shutter your operations. Loss-of-income coverage can be added as a rider to your business owner’s policy or business property insurance policy.

Not keeping policies updated:

Successful small businesses are continually expanding and evolving. It is essential to review with your agent and update business insurance policies accordingly at least once annually, if not more frequently.

Paying too much for business insurance:

Always shop the coverage offered to find the best rates available. Our agents will work hard to help ensure that you have the right business insurance coverage for the lowest available premiums.

If your business is expanding, you may be purchasing equipment, setting up new facilities, hiring employees, or adding to your product or service lines. To protect all you have invested in your business, it is crucial for your insurance coverage to keep pace with the changes. Contact the independent insurance agents at Lallis & Higgins Insurance. We have the knowledge, experience and affiliations to advise you on the coverage you need, shop the policies for the best rates, and help you make the right business insurance decisions.


Four Actives You and Your Family Should Do This Fall:

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 08, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MACorn 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

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.

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!
  • Ghost Ship Harbor is a unique experience that brings the terror of a haunted house onto the historic USS Salem battle ship. www.ghostshipharbor.com

Visit a zoo. 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 13 – 31th. www.southwickszoo.com
  • Franklin Park Zoo in Boston www.zoonewengland.org/franklin-park-zoo. Conveniently located in Boston. The Jack O’Lantern Journey started October 5th and runs to November 4th from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
  • Rogers Williams Park Zoo in Providence Rhode Island. This zoo has a fun Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular from October 4th to November 4th. www.rwpzoo.org


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