Lallis and Higgins Blog

Insuring a Vacation Home

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 04, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Vacation homes present special risks.

Like any residence, your vacation home needs to be insured —but because the risks are different, the coverage might cost more than your primary homeowners policy.

Second homes provide a respite from weekday life, and may even be a good investment. They also, however, present more of an insurance risk than your primary residence—the fact that you don’t not physically occupy your second home as frequently puts it in more danger for theft, vandalism and easily undetected damage, like burst water pipes.

Key factors that impact vacation home insurance costs

While the homeowner policy for your second home will provide the same types of coverage as your primary home insurance policy, the following factors will likely impact your insurance costs:

Location is always a factor in homeowners insurance costs—for example, you need additional insurance if your dwelling is in a flood- or earthquake-prone area. With vacation homes the very location that makes a place desirable may also make it more expensive to insure. For instance, a ski house or hunting lodge in a remote or mountainous area could be at greater risk for damage due to wildfire. A beach house may be more exposed to wind damage or storm surge from a hurricane. These location-based risks will impact the price of coverage, and in some cases may even incur higher deductibles.

Type of property. As with any house, the age and type of building materials used in a vacation home will impact the cost of insurance. Is it a single-occupancy house, a condominium or a townhouse. A condo in a ski resort area may have lower insurance costs than a stand-alone chalet, because a homeowners association maintains the property and may provide some security.

Amenities. Though wonderful for relaxation, pools and hot tubs add risk to your second home. If your vacation residence is equipped with these or other special amenities, you may pay a higher insurance premium and you should also consider additional liability protection, which will increase insurance costs, as well.

Ways to save on second home insurance costs

There are steps that you can take to help make the cost of insurance more affordable.

  • Choose a location with less risk — A home further from the beach won't be as susceptible to high winds or storm surges, for instance.
  • Bundle your policies — If you insure your second home with the same insurer that provides coverage for your primary residence, you may be able to save on premiums.
  • Install an alarm system — A centrally monitored alarm system that detects both fire and break-ins can help lower the cost of insurance.

If you plan to rent your vacation home to others, your homeowners insurance costs will likely increase, and you may need to purchase additional coverage.

Because renting your second home entails additional, more complex risks, it’s a good idea to consult with your insurance professional and learn more about coverage for renting out your home to others.

For more information on insuring a vacation rental home, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

source: iii.org


Car Insurance for Recent College Grads

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 27, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

On average, drivers younger than 25 pay more for car insurance than do drivers in any other age bracket. While there isn’t a set age for recent grads, many do fall in within 21-to-25 cohort. Let’s review some helpful policy information worth being aware of.

Car insurance for college grads, ways to save

Although shopping around and comparing rates from different insurance providers is the best way to find cheap car insurance, there are other solutions worth keeping in mind.

Look into telematics programs

Telematics are in-car devices which monitor the way you drive in order to more accurately determine your premium. With traditional auto insurance, non-driving related characteristics are used to determine your rates. With telematics, your premium will be determined by driving habits, including:

  • Braking
  • Acceleration speed
  • Time of day driven
  • Overall speeds

Bundle your renters or homeowners policies with your auto insurance

Consider bundling renters or homeowners policy with your auto insurance on the same company. This will simplify the payment process and potentially provide a discount. On average, you can save $56 by bundling your home and auto policies.

Educational discounts

Many insurance companies provide discounts for “good students’. In most cases it requires a driver with under six years driving to have a B or better grade point average.

Be smart with your insurance coverage

If you have an older vehicle, consider whether having collision or comprehensive coverage is worth it. Unlike liability insurance, these coverages are only required if you’re leasing your vehicle or have a loan on the vehicle. If your car is bought and paid for and the value of the vehicle greater than $4,000, you might benefit from reducing coverage. While the cost of coverage options will depend, they can account for half of your monthly payments.

Bear in mind, however, that by doing this you put yourself at risk if you're in an at-fault accident as comprehensive and collision protect your car. So, if you still want full coverage for your vehicle in the event of an accident, keep comprehensive and collision.

Can you stay on your parent’s insurance plan?

Unlike health insurance, you cannot age out of an insurance policy. However, leaving your parent’s address and taking a car with you can make you ineligible. Because car insurance is zip code specific, your policy needs to priced for the garaging address the vehicle is the majority of the time.

If you get a job in another city and move, you will need an insurance plan for your new residence. Bear in mind, your parent’s can still pay for it - an insurance company doesn’t care who pays the bills.

Car insurance and roommates

Once you graduate from college, it’s likely you will have a roommate or two — it's cheaper than living alone, and, depending on the roommate, it can be fun. Your insurance company understands living with other people, but they do have some concerns that can complicate your relationship with your insurance company.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Thezebra.com


Condo Insurance Covers What the Association Policy Does Not

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 20, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

Condo Insurance fills your coverage gaps. Condo associations have master policies that cover the property, common areas, and outside/physical structure of your condo. But, you can't simply rely on your association's master policy. Your association's policy only covers the things they're responsible for, and not what you're responsible for.

Condo insurance (or condominium insurance ) covers your belongings, upgrades to your unit (new granite countertops, etc.), injuries at your place, certain lawsuits against you, etc. Without condo insurance, you'd have no coverage for these things.

When you should consider condo insurance

Condo insurance is for you if you own a condominium, townhome, row home, or other unit that has an association. It's similar to homeowners, but often more affordable because it excludes coverages your association is responsible for. If you rent a condo, you'd instead need renters insurance—or homeowners insurance if you own a home. Not sure? Just get a condo insurance quote. We'll ask the right questions.

If you have a mortgage, your lender will likely require condo insurance. We'll help coordinate the details with your lender. Plus, you'll usually be able to combine your insurance payments in your monthly mortgage bill (called escrow).

Condo insurance coverages we offer

We offer coverages for your belongings, any upgrades you make to your condo (granite countertops, custom cabinets, etc.), lawsuits against you, and more. Keep in mind, your association covers the physical structure of your condo.

Your personal possessions

Your clothes, electronics, furniture, appliances, tools, power equipment, etc. are all covered (even if they're not in your condo). If you have expensive jewelry, art, or other items, you'll likely need separate coverage. We offer that too!

Example: Your roof leaks and water damages thousands of dollars worth of clothes, furniture, etc. Typically, your association would be responsible for the damages to your stuff. But if they won't pay up, your condominium insurance would kick in to cover these.

Upgrades and customizations

We'll cover most upgrades you've made, such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, new kitchen cabinets, etc. Some association's policies may cover the original furnishings, but very few will cover your upgrades.

Example: A pipe bursts and water damages your custom kitchen cabinets and appliances. Your association may pay to repair the pipe, but they won't pay for any damage to your upgrades. If you still had the original countertops that were damaged, your association may cover those.

Temporary living expenses

If your condo is damaged, and you can't stay there during repairs, your insurance kicks in. Condo insurance covers hotel stays and meals (above what you'd normally pay).

Example: A fire damages your condo, and you have to spend $2,000 to stay two weeks at a hotel. That bill would be covered, plus your meal expenses above your usual food costs. Make sure you keep your receipts.

Injuries and lawsuits against you

This coverage is called personal liability. It covers lawsuits against you or your family members if you're responsible for someone else's injuries or damages to their property. You can add extra coverages for libel, slander, or other lawsuits.

Example: A delivery person falls on your steps, breaks their leg, damages their merchandise, and then their company sues you. This will pay for their medical bills, lost wages if they can't work from an injury, and the damaged merchandise.

For more information on Condo Insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: Progressive.com


Renting Out Your Home

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 16, 2019
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Renting out your Home? Find out what your mortgage company will need listed on your property’s insurance.

Mortgages require different insurance coverage for owners who rent their property. A typical homeowner policy (HO3 or HO5) policy is not designed for a home that is rented to others. Mortgage lenders mandate owners of investment property to procure landlord or dwelling and fire policy.

Landlord Coverage

Mortgage lenders want evidence that their borrower has enough coverage and show there is protection to the property owner for any loss of rent that was a result of a covered claim. The lender may want the borrower to have reasonable liability insurance coverage as well.

Personal Property Coverage

We strongly advised to require your tenant to obtain a renter (HO4) policy. This policy offers protection for the lessee's furniture, clothing, appliances, electronics and other personal property. This policy also has loss of use and liability coverage that can help the tenant out.

For more information on homeowners insurance or renter's insurance contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


What is Boat Insurance?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 06, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

Boat insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company that protects your watercraft and trailer, any damage you cause to others while boating, and other events. As with auto insurance, you’ll select and purchase “coverages,” which are things your insurer agrees to pay for.

How does boat insurance work?

Whether you buy watercraft insurance on your own, from an agent, or through a marine dealer, you’ll be asked some basic questions about you, your boat, and the coverages you’re looking for. All these factors will affect your price for insurance. Then, if you damage your boat or hit someone/something else, you’ll file a “claim” with your insurer. If it’s covered, they’ll pay for the losses or injuries up to your coverage limits.

Do you need boat insurance?

If you’re using your watercraft strictly for pleasure, only a few states mandate that you have boat insurance in certain circumstances. However, if you’re financing your boat, most lienholders will require you to carry insurance with comprehensive and collision coverage. In addition, if you plan to dock your boat, some marinas and harbors will require you to show proof of liability coverage. Regardless of the value of your boat, liability coverage is important and comes standard on watercraft insurance policies.

One of the biggest myths about boat insurance is that you and your boat will be adequately covered under home insurance. While your homeowners policy may offer minimal protection in some instances, it won’t offer the kind of coverage you need on the water—especially if you’ll be operating a large powerboat. Powerboats are typically more expensive and prone to accidents compared to small boats with smaller motors.

How to get boat insurance?

At Lallis & Higgins Insurance, you can buy watercraft insurance anytime and you can usually get coverage immediately. If necessary, we can provide you a verification of insurance form via fax or email. Prices can vary depending on how you buy. Contact us.


Easy to Forget Cleaning Projects

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 02, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance -  Quincy, Weymouth, MA

As a busy homeowner, it is easy to fall into the trap of pushing off tasks that maintain the long-term value of your home in favor of more pressing problems. That’s OK, to a point, as certain house-cleaning projects should be in the “long-term maintenance” category. But putting them on hold for too long can have disastrous results. As with so many things in life, preventive maintenance can save a lot of future effort and cost in your home, too.

We’ve put together the following checklist of cleaning projects that can save you headaches – and money – down the line.

  1. Keep up with general cleaning: Giving the entire house a light cleaning every couple of weeks goes a long way toward preventing unwanted build-up. Dust and grime accumulate gradually and can permanently impact the sheen of hardwood and the sparkle of bathroom fixtures. Clutter and smaller messes also often disguise spills, leaks, and stains. Over time, these can set and become more difficult to remove.
  2. Replace air filters: If your heating or air-conditioning system relies on vents or an intake with an air filter, make sure you know the proper replacement schedule. Extending an air filter past its useful life not only lowers your air quality, it also can force your air conditioner or furnace to work harder, leading to more frequent breakdowns.
  3. Clean the dishwasher: The appliance we rely on so heavily to clean up after us needs to be cleaned itself every now and then! Its ability to operate effectively decreases between cleanings, and the longer you wait, the more likely it is to malfunction. A number of moving parts in dishwashers can easily get stuck when they are covered in food or soap residue, which can result in a less-than-appetizing smell that might even transfer to your dishes. For optimal results, periodically remove the filter system from the floor of your dishwasher and clean it off. Then run the dishwasher with white vinegar to remove build-up, stains, and odors.
  4. Make sure drains are clear: A visit from the plumber is guaranteed to be expensive, so we recommend doing everything you can to limit build-up in your drains and toilets. Avoid putting coffee grounds or grease down your sink drains, purchase a drain cover to catch hair in the shower and use a slightly less-luxurious toilet paper to avoid clogs. At the first sign of a clog, use baking soda, dish soap, or store-bought drain cleaner on trouble spots.
  5. Have your carpets cleaned: Heavily-trafficked areas should be professionally cleaned at least once or twice per year, depending on where you live and how conscientious you are about removing your shoes at the door. This will revitalize your carpets, and can prolong their lifespan, too. And whenever a spill occurs, react quickly! Just one noticeable stain can ruin a beautiful carpet. If you’re stumped, search online for a solution – there are an endless number of step-by-step guides to address every conceivable spill.
  6. Check for leaks: Water damage can be one of the most significant (and expensive) repairs a homeowner can face – and it’s tough to spot before it’s too late. Proactively checking areas around bathtubs and sinks will help along with keeping an eye on walls and ceilings for discolorations as well. If a ceiling becomes discolored, investigate what could be causing the stain before giving it a fresh coat of paint.

Think back to when you purchased your home. You probably visited an open house where the fixtures sparkled, the floors gleamed, and the paint looked fresh. Following the checklist above can help you get that new-home feel again, while maintaining your home’s value as well.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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


Homeowners Insurance for Rental Properties

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 22, 2019

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAAlthough homeowner's insurance covers many of the basic problems that can arise through homeownership, it does not offer the extra liability coverage that is necessary to cover tenants and protect landlords in rental properties. Landlord insurance is designed to offer coverage that more closely fits the needs of a renting landlord. Because of the differences in coverage, the cost of landlord and homeowners insurance differs. You may be able to lower these through certain discounts or tax deductions.

Tip

Homeowners insurance for rental properties is actually known as landlord insurance. This type of coverage tends to be more expensive due to the increased risk non owner-occupied homes carry.

Rental Properties are Higher Risk

Generally, insurance providers see the insurance of a landlord’s property which he intends to rent as a higher risk because the policy holder does not intend to reside at the property. The fact that the owner will not be at the property daily presents a greater chance that the dwelling can be damaged or abused in some way – renters have less motivation to take good care of the property. Landlord insurance will cost more for both this higher risk and the increased liability protection that a landlord will need to purchase.

Covers Basic Damage

Most landlord insurance policies cover basic elemental damages, although flood policies and other natural disaster coverage, such as earthquake, must be purchased separately. If the landlord plans to furnish the apartment for tenants by providing appliances and dishes, this is also covered under the insurance but will add to the premium. You can purchased emergency assistance coverage, which helps pay for immediate maintenance needs, and theft, vandalism and liability coverage at an additional cost. These additions are specific to the location and fixtures of your rental property.

Landlord Policy Costs More

A landlord can expect to pay up to 20 percent more to purchase a basic landlord insurance policy versus a standard . However, if you can prove that your rental property will be occupied for a majority of the year, you may be able to negotiate a lower premium. Vacant rentals tend to add to the cost of insurance as there is more chance of damage when a home is unoccupied. Some insurance providers may see the constant habitation as a risk reduction on emergencies, such as a fire which could destroy the property if unnoticed.

Property Tax Deduction

As a landlord, you may be able to use the costs paid for your landlord insurance on a property as a deduction on your overall property taxes. If your insurance costs have been combined with your monthly mortgage payment, the bank should provide you with a Form 1098 which reports insurance costs, along with interest paid, which can be deducted. Owners of a condo property pay their structural insurance costs as part of their membership in the condo association, although the landlord is still responsible for insuring their personal fixtures and liabilities.

Rates Depend on Geography

The location of the rental property can also be leveraged to secure better terms on your landlord insurance. Some policies offer a 25 percent discount on landlord insurance premiums if a landlord can prove that the local fire department is located near a major water source, which could include smaller streams. A further 10 percent discount can be earned if your rental property resides in a gated community. Ask your policy provider about possible discount options that can be applied to your policy. Likewise, the state and neighborhood a home is located can also add to the cost of coverage. Rental property in areas with high theft or crime rates can also cost more.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: homeguides.sfgate.com


Hit the Road with the Right RV Coverage

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 09, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

RV insurance can protect your motorhome, travel trailer, camper and even your horse trailer. Here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance, let us help you select the right coverage for your RV needs and get a great price at the same time.

Call us today at to get your free insurance quote.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for recreational vehicle insurance:

RVs that are for personal, recreational use can be insured for up to 250 days per year. This gives you plenty of time to travel south and enjoy some warmer winter weather or that extended vacation.

Liability coverage provides you with bodily injury and property damage coverage, medical payments, uninsured coverage and more. Coverage varies by state.

You may be able to choose how your Comprehensive and Collision coverage will be settled in the event of a covered total loss. Options tailored to your needs can include:

  • Stated Value - market value/actual cash value of the RV
  • Agreed Value – the insured amount, regardless of the current market value
  • Replacement Cost – we will replace your insured RV with a new RV that is most like it

Consider Vacation Liability coverage for when you stop driving and start using your recreational vehicle as a temporary residence. Some policies can include additional coverage for physical damage in Mexico.

Personal Effect Coverage provides replacement cost for damage or loss to items normally used with your RV when physical damage coverage is selected.

Some policies include Roadside Assistance, which has you covered 24/7 in the event of a breakdown or accident. Some will even allow you to upgrade the coverage to include lodging, transportation and meal coverage if needed.

Ask if customer assistance is available 24/7 to answer all your insurance questions. In the event you have a loss, the insurance companies we work with have skilled claims teams who will work with you to get your RV repaired and back on the road.

Other additional coverage can include: Accident forgiveness, pet coverage, diminishing deductible, and more.

Discounts can lower your premium. Ask us at Lallis & Higgins Insurance whether you qualify for safe driver discounts, original owner discounts, package discounts and more.

You can save money if you insure more than one item with a single company, including your home, cars, motorcycles, classic cars and boats. It will also simplify your life.

Lallis & Higgins Insurance is independently owned and locally operated to handle your insurance needs. We focus on Boston and the South Shore and offer affordable and reliable insurance choices all across Massachusetts.


Spring is Here!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 01, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Nothing says Spring is here more than Easter Egg Hunts! Checkout our list of local events coming up this month to have fun at with the family.

Sat Apr 13, 2019 - Sun Apr 21, 2019
Easter Activities at Bass Pro Shops 1 Bass Pro Dr. Foxboro, MA

There will be Easter activities for the whole family, including photos with the Easter Bunny, crafts, and an egg hunt. Photos with the Easter Bunny (Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, Sundays from 12pm-5pm, Monday from 5:30pm to 7pm, and Friday from 2pm to 8pm). Crafts for Kids (Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm, Friday 4/19 from 3pm to 7pm). Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday April 20 from 2-3pm. FREE 4x6 photo each day; one per family! https://stores.basspro.com/us/ma/foxborough/1-bass-pro-dr.html

Sat, Apr 13, 12 – 4 PM
Adult Easter Egg Hunt! The Brook Kitchen & Tap 200 S Franklin St, Holbrook, MA

Kids shouldn’t have all of the fun, so join the Holbrook Rotary Club in Holbrook's first ever Adult Easter Egg Hunt Holbrook Rotary Club's Adult Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, April 13. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adult-easter-egg-hunt-tickets-56860754046

Sun 4/14 12:30pm
Spring on the Lawn: A Loring Greenough EggSpectacular! 12 South St. Jamaica Plain, MA

Egg Hunt, Ice Cream, Spring Parade and Portrait station with the bunny himself! – BYOCamera! Egg Hunt on the Lawn plus new kids activities, snacks, and special guests! New this year: Timed hunts for different age groups in separate hunt zones! Be sure to stop in at The Eliot School to decorate eggs before the event! 10:30 – 12:30. Arrive at 12:30 to register your hunter(s) in their age group. (If you pre-register online, you can skip the line!) http://loring-greenough.org/house-event/spring-on-the-lawn-annual-egg-hunt-and-spring-celebration/

Friday Apr 19th & Sat Apr 20th 11-3pm
C.N. Smith Farm 325 South St. East Bridgewater, MA

Due to the size of the contents of the eggs children must be a least 3 years of age to participate. Each Easter Egg Hunter is provided with one egg carton to fill with 15 eggs. Easter eggs are filled with candy and toys. We request that all young children be accompanied by an adult. http://cnsmithfarminc.com/special-events/easter-egg-hunt/

Sat, Apr 20, 9:30 - 12PM
Irish Cultural Center 200 New Boston Dr. Canton, MA

Check out Easter Egg Hunt at The Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton on April 20, 2019 http://www.irishculture.org $8 per person – pay at door. Includes pancake breakfast, face painting, hayride and more.

Sat, Apr 20th 10AM – 12 PM
United Church of Christ 460 Main St, Norwell, MA

This free event includes a DJ, crafts, games, and an Egg Hunt! All are welcome to this community Eggstravaganza. RSVP online at https://www.uccnorwell.org/event/3227

Sat Apr 20th 1pm
KPNA 6 Annual Easter Egg Hunt, 891 Montello St Brockton, MA

The Keith Park Neighborhood Association hosts their 6th annual Easter Egg event -- fun for kids up to about age 14. Enjoy arts, crafts, an egg and spoon race, the egg hunt, a free photo with the Easter Bunny, and every child goes home with a Bunny Bag of sweet treats. The event is free and you can find details here: https://kpnabrockton.weebly.com/

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


Surprising Coverage Built Into The Homeowner Policy

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 25, 2019
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

At Lallis & Higgins Insurance we realize that most home owners understand the basic limits and coverage a homeowner insurance policy offers, but many may be surprised to know there is additional coverage built into the homeowner policy that extends to the home owner beyond what is in the home.

  • Grave Stones! Many homeowner policies will provide coverage to grave stones that have been damaged or vandalized. The limit is generally $5,000 but can vary per insurance company, so be sure to check with your insurance agent for more information if you can’t find it listed in the policy packet.
  • Golf Clubs, lap tops, and other property inside your car! If your car is broken into and your golf clubs are stolen, then this would be covered under your homeowner insurance policy - not your auto insurance. This is also the case if you were to get involved in an accident and damaged personal property like your laptop.
  • If you injure someone while driving a bicycle, or golf cart! The lability portion of a homeowner policy offers coverage if a claim is made, or a suit is brought against a homeowner that injured another person while operating a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle, and is not a vehicle that is meant to be a registered vehicle such as a bicycle or golf cart.

These are three examples of when a homeowner policy can help you, but be sure to read the language on the policy for any exclusions, or consult your independent agent. You can also contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance if you would like us to review your homeowner policy.



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