Lallis and Higgins Blog

Happy Holidays from Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 24, 2018

Lallis & Higgins, Weymouth, Quincy, MAOur warmest Holiday wishes from the entire team here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance. Calendar year 2018 was, and continues to be, a truly remarkable year and we take this moment to recognize the joy that each and every one of you has brought to our personal and professional lives. We exist because of your faith and trust in us.

As calendar year 2019 approaches, we reflect upon the foundational recognition that "your success is our success". Our New Year’s wish for 2019 is to nurture our positive and ever strengthening partnership and to deliver ever increasing value to you and your family through the entirety of 2019.

Throughout this Holiday season may you be blessed with health and surrounded by friends and family. All the best! Cheers!


In an Auto Accident? Never Admit Fault

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 17, 2018

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MANow that we've helped you secure automobile insurance coverage for you or your newly licensed son or daughter, be sure to periodically review with them what to do in the event of an accident. The following words of advice could save you money and legal problems.

Never leave the scene of an accident.

Regardless of how bad the accident is or who is at fault, most state laws require you to stop. If you drive away, you can be charged with a hit-and-run even if you are not at fault. A minor accident is an accident that does not involve any injuries or large scale damage to any vehicles or property. If there are any injuries, if the accident is blocking a lane of traffic and cannot be moved, or if there is significant damage, call the police immediately. Low impact fender-benders or hitting a parked car in a parking lot would be examples of minor accidents.

Assigning Blame.

For any type of accident, neither you nor your teen should ever admit fault or apologize. On the other hand, your teen should never accuse the other driver of being at fault. Immediately after an accident is not the time to play the blame game. The insurance companies can solve that argument. Never sign anything unless it is from a police officer. No one should be bullied by the other driver. What is said and done after a car accident can impact the insurance claim. Sadly, some adult drivers will be aggressive and try to take advantage of a distraught new driver.

Make sure everyone involved is OK.

If so, move the cars off of the road and away from traffic, turn your hazard lights on, and turn the cars off. There could be damage to the engine or your car may be leaking fluid. A car fire would certainly make the situation worse. Then, inspect all cars involved for any damage.

When to file a police report.

Some minor accidents do not cause any visual damage or immediate injury. To a teenager, quickly clearing the matter up and driving away can seem like an easy way out of trouble so the parents do not find out. Your teen needs to be aware of the consequences of not filing a police report. Even if the other driver claims to be OK and refuses emergency treatment, they can always come back months or years later and file a lawsuit claiming damages. If you have a police report, you have the evidence to plead your case. Without the police report, it’s your word against theirs. Unfortunately, it’s easy to side against a new driver. Therefore, we suggest always contacting the police. After getting a police report and deciding to file a claim, contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident and follow their instructions.

In the event your teen decides not to contact police, make sure he gets contact information for the other driver, asks for proof of insurance, and writes down the insurance information. He should also write down the license plate number and a brief description of the car. In the future, this information might be needed. You can never been too cautious, and asking for this information is standard procedure when involved in a car accident.

Accidents happen and you need not worry....we've got your back! For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


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



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