Lallis and Higgins Blog

Prevent Property Crime on Halloween - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 31, 2016

Crime-related insurance claims are higher on Halloween than any other day of the year. Here's how to secure your home and belongings.

Make-believe monsters, witches and goblins vie for our attention each Halloween, but Fright Night is also the ideal time for real wrongdoers to wreak havoc undetected.

On average, crime-related insurance claims spike by 24% on Halloween, more than on any other day of the year, according to 2016 data from Travelers Insurance. This includes particularly sharp increases in theft, both inside and outside the home, and vandalism.

Property crime at a glance

Burglaries skyrocket

Among property crimes, home burglaries experience the largest increase on Halloween. Insurance claims due to theft inside the home go up by a whopping 60%.

It’s tempting to assume no one would dare break in when there are so many witnesses walking the neighborhood. As a result, people often drop their guards just when they should be most vigilant.

Thieves don’t just strike at home

Most folks hit the streets in search of candy on Halloween, but prowling thieves have their eyes on more valuable goodies, such as a smartphone left in your car. Insurance claims for theft away from home spike by 21% on Halloween, proving your house isn’t the only hot spot for opportunistic criminals.

Property damage also a concern

All Hallows’ Eve is known for pranks, and the numbers suggest the reputation is well-earned. Claims due to vandalism and malicious mischief rise by 19% on Halloween. This is a fairly broad category of crime ranging from relatively innocent home-egging to more purposely destructive acts, such as smashing car windows.

How to secure your home and belongings

Turn lights on if you leave the house

People often turn out all their lights to notify trick-or-treaters that they’re not at home. Unfortunately, a dark house is also a green light for prospective burglars and vandals.

It might confuse candy-expectant kids, leave some lights on when you’re away from home and even switching on the the TV. Also consider motion-detecting lights for your yard.

Keep your plans off social media

Leaving the house dark isn’t the only way you might accidentally attract burglars. Be mindful of other hints that your house is empty — such as announcing your evening plans on Facebook.

Make your car look empty

Most Halloween thefts that occur away from home involve belongings in a car. Avoid leaving electronic devices, wallets, sunglasses and other valuable items sitting on the seat or dashboard. Tuck away car accessories such as USB cords.

If you often leave your car in the driveway or on the street but own a garage, Halloween is a good time to park in it.

Review your insurance

Even if you can’t avoid Halloween property crime, you can make sure your home insurance will help you recover from it.

We really encourage people to take a home inventory. Having a ready list of all your belongings and what they’re worth can speed up the claims process.

If you’re turning your home into a haunted house and charging admission, you should also verify your coverage with your insurer. That might be considered a business activity meaning your homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover property crimes that occur during the event.

And keep in mind that your home insurance doesn’t pay for vandalism to your car. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, or the cost to replace the egg-eaten paint on your bumper might come out of your own pocket.

For more information on homeowners insurance and claims, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

csmonitor.com


Condo or Condon’t — Condo Insurance: Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

You’ve taken the plunge and opted for condo life. Now that the papers are signed, it seems like everything is taken care of for you—building maintenance, roof repairs, landscaping, insurance, etc. It’s time to relax because everything is covered, right?

Not quite. The insurance policy provided by the condo association covers the building structure and common areas, but what about potential structural damage to your unit and covering your belongings?  Without a personal condo insurance policy, you could be left high and dry if your unit floods, is damaged in a fire, etc.

Most condos need two insurance policies.

Master Policy: Generally provided by your condo association, this policy covers the physical structure of the building, including basement, roof, walls, elevators, lobbies, etc. Coverage usually includes both physical damage and liability. Get a copy of the policy so you know what’s covered.

Personal Condo Policy: This will cover additional structural damage to your unit, including cabinets, appliances, personal belongings, and more. This also covers living expenses if you fall victim to a fire, theft, or other covered disaster. Many insurance carriers, such as Safeco Insurance, offer enhancements that include personal property protection in your condo insurance policy. Safeco’s Full Value Contents® protection will pay the full replacement cost of your belongings, not just what they are worth today.

Other coverage to consider:

Umbrella Policy: If someone were to trip and fall inside or near your condo, they could sue both you and the condo association. Umbrella provides additional layers of liability protection and can protect against lawsuits that target both your current and future earnings.

Flood Insurance: Read the fine print on your policy. They often won’t cover damage due to these disasters. Additional coverage may be required if you live in a prone area.

For more information on condo insurance in Weymouth and Quincy, MA contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


“Full Coverage Auto Insurance” Depends on Your Individual Needs and Comfort Level - Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

You often hear the phrase “full coverage” when talking about auto insurance. But, what exactly does that mean?

For some people buying car insurance, full coverage means the whole kit and caboodle, from bodily injury liability to electronic lock and key replacement. For others, full coverage refers to the big three of: liability, comprehensive and collision. For still others, it’s whatever is required by their state.

There’s simply no exact definition. However, when people think of full coverage insurance, they may be thinking of a policy that includes these six coverages, which the Insurance Information Institute considers a “basic auto insurance policy:”

Bodily Injury Liability

This coverage helps pay for injuries you may cause others, such as the driver and/or passengers in another car. Expenses covered can include medical care, hospital bills, loss of income, pain and suffering and even funeral costs. The limits for this coverage are usually written as two dollar amounts, such as $25,000/$50,000 or 25/50. The first number expresses the maximum that can be paid to one person in an accident for which you are responsible. The second is the total that can be paid out for a single accident. Bodily injury liability is mandatory in almost every state.

Property Damage Liability

In an accident for which you are responsible, this liability coverage helps pay to repair or replace someone elses damaged property. This property is usually another car, but may also include a building or a fence. When liability insurance limits are displayed as a series of three numbers — 25/50/10 — the last number refers to property damage, given in thousands of dollars. In this case $10,000. Property damage liability is required in just about every state.

Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med Pay) may help cover your own injuries in an accident. Depending on which you select and what your coverage provides, your passengers and other members of your family living with you may also receive coverage. This coverage may extend to injuries sustained while you are a pedestrian or while riding in another car and is typically available no matter who is at fault for the accident.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Most every state requires drivers to carry auto insurance. Yet more than 12 percent of drivers ignore the mandate and have no insurance. Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM) helps you out if one of those drivers hits you. UM generally pays medical bills for you and your passengers if you are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver or a victim of a hit-and-run, according to your policy. Your policy may or may not also cover property damage from an uninsured driver. UIM insurance helps cover damages that exceed an at-fault driver’s insurance limits, again, according to the limits of your own policy. So, if a driver’s policy only offers $10,000 toward your medical bills that total $100,000, your policy may help fill in the gap.

Collision

This coverage is exactly what it sounds like: It helps to repair or replace your car following a collision, subject to your deductible. The collision may be with another automobile, or it may be with something else, such as a tree. Collision isn’t required by any state, but it might be required by a lender if you finance or lease your car.

Comprehensive

This also goes toward repairing or replacing your own car. Comprehensive covers damage caused by something other than a collision. Examples can include fires, hailstorms, hurricanes, animals, falling objects, theft and vandalism, according to the specifics of your policy. As with collision, comprehensive coverage is not required by any states but may be required by your loan or lease.

So, there you have it: one of many possible formulas for full coverage auto insurance. Of course, even these six coverages don’t cover everything. There are plenty of auto insurance options, such as roadside assistance, that can offer even more protection.

If you’re ready to figure out what full coverage insurance means to you, start with what’s required by your state laws. Then work out what makes sense for your budget and what makes you feel secure enough to get out on the road every day.

Also remember it’s oftentimes worthwhile to consider coverage limits that are greater than your state’s minimum requirement. The minimum may not be enough to help you fully recover from an accident. That means you may have to pay out of your own pocket for some of the costs, and it could be a significant amount.

Don’t worry – your independent insurance broker can help you make sense of it all so you can get your own version of full coverage car insurance! For more information on auto insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

safeco.com


Flood Insurance Facts– Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 05, 2016
  • In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.
  • Everyone lives in a flood zone.
  • Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance.
  • Just a few inches of floodwater can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
  • Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 15 feet high.
  • A car can be easily carried away by just 2 feet of rushing water.
  • Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
  • New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
  • Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
  • A Preferred Risk Policy provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate- to low-risk areas for one low price.
  • You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • In most cases, it takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it's important to buy insurance before the storm approaches and the floodwaters start to rise.
  • In a high-risk area, your home is more likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
  • Even though flood insurance isn't federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal disaster assistance for flooding.
  • From 2006 to 2015, total flood insurance claims averaged $1.9 billion per year.
  • When your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium reduction discount of up to 45 percent if you live in a high-risk area and up to 10 percent in moderate- to low-risk areas.
  • Since 1978, the NFIP has paid nearly $52 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs.
  • The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are: Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). The RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. It is reimbursable to owners of single-family, primary residences insured to at least 80% of the building's replacement cost.

For more information on flood insurance in MA contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

floodsmart.gov



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