Lallis and Higgins Blog

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®.



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