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Frequently Asked Questions about Home Insurance – Weymouth, Braintree, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It’s home buying season. Home owners insurance is required in order to get a loan. Many first time home buyers have questions about home insurance, here are answers to some FAQs.

Q. What does homeowners insurance cover?

A. Homeowners insurance typically covers the structure of your home, other structures on your property, personal belongings, and personal liability.

With home owners insurance you will be protected against fire, lightning, wind, theft, vandalism, and many other specific causes of damage or loss. It also provides Loss of Use Coverage, which helps pay expenses incurred if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere.

Q. How do I know how much coverage I need for my home?

A. Your insurance broker will evaluate your home’s specifications and upgrades to calculate the replacement cost using software that also take in to consideration location, type of home and how accessible your home is. The policy will also have set amount of additional coverage for personal property, loss of use, and options for your liability limits to protect you from a lawsuit.

Q: Does the neighborhood I’m moving to affect my insurance rates?

A: The neighborhood and location of your home plays a role in determining your insurance premium. Living in an area near the ocean has different risks than if you lived in the Berkshires. Each town or city is rated differently according to many factors including wind exposure, location to a fire station or fire hydrant, and population per sqare mile. These are just a few of the factors used to come up with the rate.

Q. Is it required to have homeowners insurance?

A. If you finance your home with a mortgage, your lender will require you to have a home insurance policy to protect your home in case of damage cause by unforeseen circumstances.

Q. What is unscheduled personal property?

A. "Unscheduled property" is property that is covered in your main insurance, but is not specifically itemized or valued. These items do not warrant specific insurance and are covered under the original policy.

Q. How do I decide which items to separately schedule on my home insurance policy?

A. Most home insurance policies cover personal belongings up to a specified dollar limit. Specific valuables that are more valuable may be separately scheduled on your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Scheduled items often include jewelry, electronics, collectibles of various types, and fine art.

For more information or answers to other questions regarding home insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Homeowners Insurance Tips for First Time Home Buyers – Weymouth, Braintree, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 18, 2016

What first time homebuyers need to know about homeowners insurance when shopping for a policy to protect their new investment.

Purchasing your first home is exciting and stressful. And homeowners insurance is imperative.

To prevent getting in a financial bind, get estimates on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Especially before putting down a large sum on your home.

Deciding which type of homeowner’s insurance policy to purchase can be complicated.  Here’s a few standard actions homeowners should take when purchasing their first home insurance policy.

Explore Your Options

Doing your research is the top piece of advice insurance brokers provide. When seeking a quote, there are many factors that determine your home insurance premium.

These factors may include location of the home, proximity to the fire department, previous claims filed, the age of the home, etc. Because so many factors go into determining premiums, you’ll want to ask about rebates.

You can help by fixing up or renovating your new home. Purchase safety features like an alarm system and smoke alarms. These will often reduce the cost of your coverage.

Premiums can be expensive. It’s important to shop around to get the best deal possible.

Be sure to get multiple quotes, because every carrier has a different pricing model. Your rates could vary significantly from one carrier to the next.

There’s no way to know which carrier will have the lowest rates for your particular circumstances. What you can do is use an insurance broker to help you gather quotes and find the best policy for your needs.

Bundle Your Policies

Bundling means combining auto insurance and homeowners under one policy. It can result in significant discounts and save you money.

Insurance companies want your business. By purchasing both an auto and homeowners policy, they’ll be more willing to give you a deal.

Besides bundling, you can have your homeowners premiums included in your mortgage payment. This is called an escrow account.

Your mortgage lender will pay your property tax and insurance premiums for you. Just make one combined monthly payment. This payment includes your mortgage and one twelfth of your annual property taxes.

Choosing a policy can be straightforward. However, consumers should be cautious of what is or isn’t covered in their policy.

Special luxuries and antiquities are not always covered. It’s important to do your research.

Sometimes adding endorsements or riders to your policy will help you get the coverage you need.

Assess Risk

Risk associated with your home or area you’ll be living in is critical. You measure risk in terms of “likelihood”.

Home insurers look at the likelihood of a natural disaster or other unforeseeable misfortune occurring. The definition for this is peril.

Where you live will dictate the type of homeowner’s insurance you’ll need. Some areas need flood insurance. Others need earthquake insurance.

Lower levels of risk result in lower home insurance premiums.

Homeowners insurance is not, “one size fits all”. There are several different types of homeowner’s policies (forms).

Which one is right for you, depends on the location of your home. This dictates the types of perils that may occur. And the relative risk of experiencing one of these perils.

The most common homeowner’s policy is the special form. They call this homeowners form 3 (HO-3).

This form covers all perils except for ones specifically excluded.

  • Ordinance of law
  • Water damage
  • Power failure
  • Neglect
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Intentional loss
  • Government action

It would be in your best interest to add on flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area. Sometimes law requires it.  Another popular policy many first time homeowners go with is the broad form. Also known as homeowners form 2 (HO-2).

This policy only covers 16 perils. Again, depending on where you live, this may or may not be the best policy.

It might be best to purchase an HO-3 policy to get protection from more perils. Or you can add endorsements such as extended replacement cost coverage. This pays out additional money to repair your home if needed.

All of these choices come with different premium amounts. To help ensure you get the best rate, use an insurance broker to get and compare quotes.

If you are moving to an area with a low risk of natural disasters, you might not need to purchase extra coverage. However, don’t assume where you’re buying a home lacks natural disasters.

Speak to an insurance broker. They can assess exactly the type of coverage you’ll need.

Along with the type of policy, there are varying amounts of coverage available. For example, you may opt to cover the entire value of your dwelling/home.

You can ask for coverage to include additional living expenses in case you lose your home to a covered peril. Your amount of coverage is due to the probability of a natural disaster occurring. Again, a licensed insurance agent or broker can help you determine your needs.

Wear and Tear of the Home

It’s important to assess what needs fixing up on your new home. Do this before deciding which type of homeowner’s coverage to invest in.

By spending up front to correct issues, you’ll be saving money in the long run. If you didn’t have a home inspection as part of the buying process, have one done.

Fix any items surfaced as a result of the inspection.  Tell your home insurance agent. This may result in a lower price tag on your premium.


The Comprehensive Loan Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) is a consumer reporting agency powered by LexisNexis. It allows you to search the history of the home you’re interested in purchasing.

It tells you about any previous claims for the home going back seven years. We recommend all homebuyers use this service first, before purchasing.

CLUE is a useful tool to determine what the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium might be. It lists everything that’s gone wrong with the home in the past. This provides an idea of risk and what your policy could cost.

Assess Your Credit

People often overlook that insurance companies take your credit score into account when quoting premiums. It’s important to have a good credit score.

This tells mortgage lenders you are trustworthy and will pay them back. The same goes for purchasing insurance.

A high credit score means lower premiums and mortgage rates on your first home.

For more information on home owners insurance for first time buyers, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Motorcycle Insurance in Massachusetts – Braintree, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The South Shore has some of the most scenic and exhilarating roads in Massachusetts. If you favor riding your motorcycles during nice weather over driving your car, make sure you have adequate motorcycle insurance coverage before heading out onto the open road this summer.

To legally ride a motorcycle owned or leased in Massachusetts, you must maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. Before you can ride on public ways the state requires you to be able to take financial responsibility in the event of an accident.

Those licensed in the state of Massachusetts are required by law to carry bodily and property liability insurance. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident, but it does not cover you or your motorcycle, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Guest Passenger Liability, when added to the policy, protects you for the injury to a passenger on your motorcycle.

Collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you are in an accident. Your insurance company pays for damages, not including your deductible, and typically covers the actual cash value of the motorcycle before the accident.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damages not caused by an accident, such as fire, theft or vandalism, says the Institute.  Again, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and will cover your motorcycle’s actual cash value.

If you have optional accessories on your motorcycle, such as custom paint, extra chrome or sidecars, you’ll likely need to request additional coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers injury to you and/or damage to your property caused by another driver who is at fault but either doesn't have insurance or has inadequate insurance.

The cost of your policy will be affected by your age, number of operators, driving record, garaging address, kind of motorcycle, and if you’ve taken a rider-safety course.

Always check with Lallis & Higgins Insurance about other possible discounts.

For more information on motorcycle insurance, contact us.

Modern Insurance for Your Classic Car – Weymouth, Braintree, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 07, 2016

It takes more than age to make it a classic. A collector car isn’t just a way to get around. It’s an investment that will continue to appreciate in coming years.

Not all classic or antique cars are used the same, so Lallis & Higgins Insurance will work with you to select the appropriate classic or antique car insurance policy to accommodate coverage needs, miles driven, vehicle age, and vehicle modifications to make sure you have the best policy to meet your needs. Here are some features you should look for when shopping for classic car insurance:

  • Agreed Value: This means the provider will pay you the full (agreed to) amount in the event of a covered total loss, less any applicable deductible. This type of coverage is much better than “actual cash value” or “stated value” that you may get with some companies.
  • Low Rates: Why pay full-time insurance when you driver your collector car only part-time.
  • Coverage Options: Not all collector cars are the same, so Lallis & Higgins Insurance can work with you to determine the right amount of coverage to meet your specific needs.
  • Generous Mileage: You’re proud of your collector car, so drive it. Not all insurance companies have a mileage limit, but most collector cars should be driven less than 5,000 annual miles to maintain their value.
  • Roadside Assistance: Whether you’re down the street or on a classic rally through the mountains, you’ll want to find coverage that will flatbed your car to the closest qualified repair facility.

Do you need the insurance for your prize Mustang, Camaro, Charger, Corvette, Thunderbird, or other collector car? Talk with Lallis & Higgins Insurance today to identify the best combination of coverage, value, and price for you. We can help make sure your insurance continually meets your needs.

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