Lallis and Higgins Blog

Spring Around Boston Bucket List 2021!

- Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Spring Activities 2021

It's finally Spring. Looking for things to do? This Bucket List should help!

Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru 3/19- 4/18

The unique, contactless, kid-focused drive-thru experience offers fans a rare opportunity to travel through the largest life-size collection of Hot Wheels vehicles ever including Hot Wheels Twin Mill®, Rip Rod®, Loop Coupe® and Bone Shaker®. Also starring in the lineup will be the original Monster Truck, BIGFOOT® and its extraordinary fleet featuring the popular BIGFOOT® #5, the world’s tallest and heaviest monster truck! Other fan favorites include Tiger Shark, Demo Derby, V8 Bomber® and many more! Click here for more information

Click here for more information

Cambridge Science Festival- Free 4/1- 4/30

Celebrate STEAM virtually this year with Cambridge Science Festival — learn something new every day from amazing science our contributors are sharing.

We supply the prompts, you bring your curiosity! Share what you learn, ask questions and join the conversation with #30DaysOfScience. Click here for more information

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Zoo New England’s First Virtual 5K Series 4/1 - 4/30

Run wild with Zoo New England's first virtual 5K series! Join the pack and set out for a run, walk, or stroll on a route of your choosing. Click here for more information

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Shen Yun 2021 4/10-4/18

A global sensation returns! Shen Yun is back with a brand-new production. Watch ancient legends, heavenly realms, and modern tales of courage spring to life through classical Chinese dance. See ethnic dances, dazzling costumes, and powerful flips fill the stage with color and energy. And let the orchestra’s exquisite melodies, the singers’ soaring voices, and the dynamic animated backdrops uplift your spirit and transport you to another world. Click here for more information

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Project Bread’s Virtual Walk for Hunger- Free 5/2

You can help families facing hunger by starting a personal fundraiser or fundraising team today to enable COVID-19 hunger crisis response. Click here for more information

Registration Click here for more information

New England’s Greater Boston Expo- To-Go (gluten free) 5/8

Created in an effort to help folks locate gluten-free resources, products, and dining. NO EXPO? NO PROBLEM! Drive through and we’ll toss a bag of gluten-free samples and coupons right into your trunk! Click here for more information

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Zootopia 5/8 (Adults only)

Zootopia, Zoo New England's annual fundraising gala, will virtually bring the Zoos to you for an inspiring evening this spring, featuring a special video message by E. O. Wilson Living the Mission Award honoree Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & U. N. Messenger of Peace. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the natural world with animal appearances, insider updates and a silent auction! Click here for more information

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Newport Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival (All ages) 5/22-5/23

Food Truck Festivals of America is bringing the 2nd Annual Newport Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival back to Rhode Island. Click here for more information

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Best of the South Shore 2021: We’ve made it to the final round!

- Monday, March 22, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Best of the South Shore 2021

Thank you all! Once again Lallis & Higgins Insurance has made it to the finalist round in the Best of the South Shore 2021 for both Best Insurance Agency-home & auto, as well as Best Insurance Agency-life.

Votes for finalists can be cast now through April 5th. Don't forget, you can come back every day to vote!

To vote Lallis & Higgins Insurance for BOSS, click here.

Let the voting begin!


Secure Your Home

- Monday, March 15, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Secure Your Home

A burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States. Home security has become an important issue for everyone, no matter where you live. While there's no foolproof way to stop every break-in, many burglaries are preventable. Keep in mind that burglars search for easy targets.

Here are some security measures that may force burglars to look elsewhere:

Use the right locks and solid doors

  • Choose a single-cylinder dead bolt lock backed by a reinforcing strike-plate with three-inch screws. The dead bolt should be at least one inch thick and extend at least one inch into the doorframe when locked. Standard door locks may not be enough to deter experienced thieves. For example, a thief can open key-in-the-knob spring bolt locks by pushing back the lock bolt with a credit card or similar flexible object.
  • Use solid core or metal clad entrance doors along with sturdy door frames firmly attached to your home. Many intruders enter residences by physically destroying lightweight hollow core doors and flimsy door frames.
  • Be sure entrance doors have wide-angle peepholes or view grills so you can see visitors without opening the door. Ask anyone who comes to your door for identification before allowing them inside.

Secure sliding patio doors and windows:

  • For best protection, use a bolt lock.
  • Second choice would be a dowel or pipe in the slider track. This helps, but isn't perfect. Thieves can bypass them by lifting the doors or windows out of their slide channels. You can help prevent this by tightening adjustment screws to eliminate "play" in a door or window.

Protect your home with proper lighting:

  • Keep entryways, pathways, stairwells, porches, yards and parking areas well lit.
  • Mount lights up high so burglars can't easily unscrew bulbs.

Don't give thieves an easy way in:

  • Keep shrubs trimmed away from your home. Prune back tree limbs, particularly from upper windows and porch roofs.
  • Keep your garage locked, along with any storage sheds on your property, especially if they contain tools or ladders thieves can use to break into your home. Use a quality dead bolt lock here, too, if you can.
  • Invest in a heavy-duty gun-safe if you have firearms in your home. This will keep guns out of criminal-hands, as well as away from children, friends and relatives who don't know how to handle firearms safely.

Source: Foremost.com


Choosing the Right Delivery Vehicle for Your Retail Business Fleet

- Monday, March 08, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Business Auto Coverage

Whether buying a new fleet or upgrading an existing fleet to meet the growing demand, fleet managers need to choose a delivery vehicle that’s affordable, reliable, and practical for the needs of the driver and business. Here we provide a quick guide to help fleet managers sort out which delivery vehicle type is the right option to meet their retail delivery needs.

Box Truck (aka cube truck)

Box trucks have been the workhorses of the moving and retail delivery industry for generations. If your business delivers appliances or furniture, this is probably the right fit for your fleet. Box trucks are made by adding a larger cube-shaped cargo area to a chassis cab, making the cabin and cargo areas separate (some models include a smaller door leading from the cabin to the cargo area). Box trucks can usually carry a sizable load while still being able to maneuver crowded downtown areas or neighborhoods. The rear door is typically a roll-up door that provides easy access to the cargo. Box trucks can also be fitted with a stow-away ramp or a hydraulic lift making them ideal for delivering heavier retail items.

The downsides: Rear visibility can be challenging, but this is easily overcome with experience and the right mirrors. Since it’s a sizable heavy-duty truck, maneuverability in small areas can be tough for even experienced drivers. Their larger capacity requires a larger, more powerful engine which translates to higher fuel consumption.

Multi-Stop Truck (aka step van or walk-in truck)

If your fleet is regularly delivering larger parcels or a high volume of packages, a multi-stop truck can be a good match. These delivery vehicles are most notably recognizable as the bread-and-butter workhorse of FedEx and UPS. But they can also be a great option for small business fleets – food trucks, bakeries, and dairies to name a few. These taller style delivery vans allow the driver to stand up comfortably inside a cargo area that is spacious and easily convertible to suit business needs. The driver can also access the cargo area from the cab or from the rear of the vehicle. They are generally lower to the ground with steps leading to the driver seat and to the rear cargo area, thus the name step van.

The downsides: There aren’t many downsides, but, like the box truck, multi-stop trucks can be tight in small areas and can have rear visibility issues.

Cargo Van

Smaller, but similar to the multi-stop truck, the cargo van is perfect for delivering small- to medium-sized parcels. Cargo vans usually have side doors and rear doors to access the cargo area. They can range in size from more compact sizes like the Ford Transit Connect to larger vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which is closer in size to a multi-stop truck. Cargo vans are very versatile, and their more reasonable size makes for easier maneuvering in tight spaces.

The downsides: They are less ergonomic than a multi-stop or box truck because loading and unloading can require bending or kneeling. Cargo vans typically do not come with a separation between the cab and cargo area, which can make hauling some retail goods without modifications to the cab impractical or even dangerous.

Light-Duty Truck

Like it sounds, the light-duty truck or pickup truck is used for more lightweight payloads – up to two tons. Light-duty trucks are perfect for smaller retail deliveries. Because of their size, they are much easier to maneuver and park. They can also be more fuel-efficient than any of the previous options.

The downsides: Their capacity is limited compared to box trucks and multi-stop trucks. They come standard with an open bed, which makes hauling sensitive cargo impractical without the addition of cover.

Once fleet managers identify the right option for their delivery fleet, the real work begins. Finding a delivery vehicle with a decent resale value, fuel economy, durability, and reliability will take further analysis. But performing thorough due diligence can help fleet managers to choose a delivery vehicle that will perform optimally and meet the increasing demands of retail delivery fleets in the 21st century.

For information on business auto coverage contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

wexinc.com


Motorcycle Tire Tips

- Monday, March 01, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Motorcycle Insurance

When it comes to motorcycles, there are few things as important as the tires. Tire maintenance is essential. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to inspect a bike's tires and it will help the motorcycle achieve top mileage and performance.

Here are some tips that can help keep motorcycle tires performing in top condition.

Check for proper tire inflation pressure.

For peak performance and fuel economy, it's important that the tires are not over-inflated or under-inflated. Repeated under-inflation should be inspected because it could signal a slow leak that could cause a blowout.

Don't overload your bike.

Overloading places stress on the tires and can cause poor handling and excessive fuel consumption. Check your owner's manual to determine limits.

Look for wear.

Get in the habit of getting professional inspections to be sure the tires are in the best condition possible. Pay attention to tread wear indicators and keep an eye out for foreign objects, and cracks or grooves that would require replacement.

Break in new tires.

Brand new tires should be ridden very cautiously for the first 100 miles to allow the tires to be "scuffed-in." This provides the rider with an opportunity to get to know how the new tires handle and react.

Lallis & Higgins Insurance want you to stay safe this on your motorcycle at all times

Source: foremost.com


Nominate Now! The Best of the South Shore

- Thursday, February 25, 2021

Small and local businesses are the lifeblood of the South Shore and we know, now more than ever, how important it is to support your favorite businesses like Lallis & Higgins Insurance. For our annual Best of the South Shore, we invite you to nominate Lallis & Higgins Insurance as well as the best restaurants, shops, services and other businesses in the region. This is a great opportunity to make sure your favorite business is the go-to spot for everyone on the South Shore. The results of BOSS 2021 will be promoted from Summer 2021 - Summer 2022.

Make sure your favorite business is featured on the Best of the South Shore ballot!

There will be two rounds of voting a nomination round and a finalist round. Nominations will be open from February 6th—February 28th. Help your favorite business become a finalist by inviting others to nominate them for BOSS.

To nominate Lallis & Higgins Insurance for BOSS, click here.

It's easy to do. Simply click the "NOMINATE" button and fill in your email address. Continue and complete the registration form (You MUST register to vote). Afterwards, you’ll receive a confirmation email which will contain a link that will allow you to auto login each day to vote again if you wish. For businesses with more than one location, please indicate the address of your #1 choice in the town field.

Let the nomination begin!


Office Ergonomics: So You Can Feel Your Best

- Monday, February 22, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Office Ergonomics

A comfortable work space can help you feel your best. Give your sitting work area a makeover with this visual guide to office ergonomics.

If you sit behind a desk for hours at a time, you're not doomed to a career of neck and back pain or sore wrists and fingers. Proper office ergonomics — including correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture — can help you and your joints stay comfortable at work.

Ready to give your work space a makeover? Get started making your sitting workstation comfortable with this visual guide to sitting workstation ergonomics.

Chair

Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust armrests so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.

Key objects

Keep key objects — such as your telephone, stapler or printed materials — close to your body to minimize reaching. Stand up to reach anything that can't be comfortably reached while sitting.

Keyboard and mouse

Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use. If possible, adjust the sensitivity of the mouse so you can use a light touch to operate it. Alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving the mouse to the other side of your keyboard.

Telephone

If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck.

Footrest

If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest. If a footrest is not available, try using a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead.

Desk

Under the desk, make sure there's clearance for your knees, thighs and feet. If the desk is too low and can't be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs. If the desk is too high and can't be adjusted, raise your chair. Use a footrest to support your feet as needed. If your desk has a hard edge, pad the edge or use a wrist rest. Don't store items under your desk.

Monitor

Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm's length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor an additional 1 to 2 inches for more comfortable viewing. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.

Mayoclinic.org


Make Your Apartment More Secure

- Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Have you wondered what additional security measures you can take at your apartment complex. You don't own the place, so what can you do besides lock the door? There are security measures you can implement in and outside of your apartment to help ensure your safety.

Get to know your neighbors and landlord.

Being familiar with your surroundings is very important. By knowing who your neighbors are and what they look like, you'll be able to identify someone who shouldn't be near your property.

Add extra locks to your doors and windows.

Always secure all points of entry into your home when you arrive, and before you leave. If you are not comfortable with the current locks on your door, install additional hardware on your doors and windows after receiving permission from your landlord. If you have a sliding door, keep a solid bar in place that will prevent the door from opening.

Install an apartment-friendly security system.

There are actually security systems made specifically for apartments! These cameras and motion detectors do not require drilling holes, so your security deposit will be safe. Like most security systems, you can control them on your smartphone or computer to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

Practice intercom security.

If your apartment has an intercom system, be cautious if you get a buzz, and weren't expecting company. Experts say it's better to leave your name off the intercom system because then, burglars won't have as much information to work with. Never buzz someone in without talking to them first. If you don't know them – don't allow them to enter the building!

Use a security checklist before signing the lease.

Write up a checklist and go through the apartment to make sure it's up to your standards. Be sure all the locks and windows are functioning properly. If you have a storage unit outside or connected to the unit, make sure it's secure and ask your landlord if they will provide a new lock for you. Also confirm that the landlord has changed the locks since the previous tenants.

Don't leave anything exposed on your property.

If you have a porch and a patio, do not leave any valuables outside. This provides easy access to burglars, who can quickly take the valuable and run. Also shut blinds on your windows while you're away – you don't want to expose valuables you have inside your home, either!

Purchase renter's insurance.

Help ensure your items are protected with renters insurance! If you do have the misfortune of experiencing a burglary in your apartment, a renter's insurance policy can cover possessions that were stolen after paying a deductible.

Hopefully you feel a little more confident knowing there are extra precautions you can take when it comes to your apartment and security.

Source: foremost.com


Renting an Apartment? Things to Consider

- Monday, February 08, 2021
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

It's no secret that apartment hunting can be stressful. It can be hard to find the perfect one that meets your checklist, and that's within your budget. If you are looking to rent, here’s a couple things to focus on:

Find out how to pay rent, and how late fees are calculated.

Most properties nowadays have an electronic payment option, and will charge a small fee for doing so. In that case, it may make sense to write a handwritten check to your landlord.

Will the maintenance workers enter your apartment without notice?

Because you don't own the apartment, some landlords have very loose rules on whether their employees have to tell you when they're stopping by. Make sure your landlord will give you a heads up before someone enters your apartment.

What is their guest policy?

Having a friend from out-of-town stay over for a few nights is fine, but some landlords have policies against anyone staying longer than two weeks.

Find out if you can sublet the apartment, or what the penalty is for breaking your lease.

Life's full of surprises, and you may run into a situation where you need to move ASAP. Some apartments are strictly against subletting, and it could be a serious breach of your contract. If you leave on bad terms, this could mean you just lost a future rental reference.

Can you make changes to the apartment?

Adding some fresh paint and putting your own personal touch on the apartment could end up costing you at some complexes.

What utilities are included in the rent?

This could make or break your decision on your 'dream' apartment. Renters are usually left to pay electric, gas, internet and cable — but it's different at every complex.

Does the landlord require you to obtain renters insurance?

Your landlord should tell you before you sign the lease whether they require you to have this. Renters insurance is important to have even if the landlord doesn't require it.

What is the parking situation?

This is another big one. Find out if it's included in your rent or not. If parking isn't provided, what are the alternatives?

Finally, don't be overwhelmed.

Enjoy the apartment hunting adventure and do your research before signing. You can check out more questions to ask during the leasing process here. From everyone here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance, have a safe and stress-free renting experience!

Source: foremost.com


Tax Tips for Accidental Landlords

- Monday, February 01, 2021
Tax Tips for Accidental Landlords

Did you become a landlord this year by accident? Unforeseen circumstances like job relocation, downsizing, or home inheritance may have put you in this category. Now that tax season is underway, the Internal Revenue Service won't see your "accidental landlord" status as an accident. In fact, if you rent any space for 15 days or more, you'll need to report your rental property and earnings on your federal income statement, according to the IRS.

Here are three tips to help steer you in the right direction as you file your taxes as an "accidental landlord" this year.

Gather records of your income and expenses

Record your rental income earnings from the prior year and all cash-related expenditures on the property on IRS 1040 Form Schedule E. Things like property taxes, energy costs, association fees, maintenance, legal fees (if a lawyer drafted your rental contracts), ad costs to rent the space, and repairs are now deductible because your home is a rental property and not a personal residence. In recent years, there's been an increase on rental property audits,1 so be sure you have receipts and proper documentation to support your deductions in case you're audited.

Exclude security deposits

If you have a hefty deposit that was returned during the taxable year, don't forget to leave that out of your statement.

Take depreciation

Tax pros who have real estate experience may be able to help you calculate your annual allowance for wear and tear. Taking depreciation helps offset any drop in property value.

The IRS states that if you meet the following requirements below, your property is eligible for depreciation:

  • You own the property.
  • You use the property in your business or income-producing activity (such as rental property).
  • The property has a determinable useful life.
  • The property is expected to last more than one year.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional as each property and landlord situation is different. A study by the Government Accountability Office shows that about 25% of rental property owners over-reported their net income from rental real estate — you don't want to be part of that statistic!

foremost.com



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