Lallis and Higgins Blog

Lower Flood Insurance Payments by Reducing your Risk of Flood Damage - Hingham, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAThe Federal Emergency Management Agency mapped your house or the house of someone you know into a high-risk flood zone, requiring the you or your friend to pay thousands of dollars in flood insurance rates. What do you do now?

First of all, don’t panic. The U.S. government recently took steps to soften the impact of many of the most drastic proposed changes to flood insurance this year. The Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 eliminated insurance subsidies in high-risk areas and through other measures to make the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) self-sustaining.

However, if you received a letter from your mortgage lender indicating the need to purchase or pay higher premiums for flood insurance, you should take it seriously.

Here are few ways to reduce your risk of flood damage and lower your payments.

Learn the terms

Whether you already have flood insurance or are new to the coverage, it helps to know the important terms:

  • Base flood elevation (BFE): The elevation at which there is a 1 percent or greater annual chance of flooding. The higher your house’s elevation sits above the BFE for your neighborhood, the lower the flood risk. FEMA uses this elevation to determine your home’s risk.
  • Special flood hazard area: If you’re just now finding out that your house is high-risk, your lender probably sent you a notification that it’s in a special flood hazard area. This area is based on the base flood elevation and can determine your flood insurance rates.

Check the map

If you believe there’s been a mistake regarding your house’s placement in a flood zone, take a look at FEMA’s maps. Your insurance company or the online site can provide you with the basic information you need. It will tell you the base flood elevation for your house’s location. Use these maps generally, as they aren’t the official Flood Insurance Risk Maps that FEMA uses to determine risk.

Get a professional opinion

If you intend to challenge your house’s position on the flood map, you must first send a Letter of Map Amendment request to FEMA. After that, you should hire a licensed land surveyor to perform an elevation survey and determine the official risk for your property.

How to reduce the amount you pay

If the challenge fails and your house remains within the boundaries of a high-risk flood zone, purchasing flood insurance is a mandatory requirement for most mortgage holders. There are ways, however, to cut your monthly premiums:

  • Purchase a Preferred Risk Policy: Most preliminary maps take 6 to 12 months to take effect, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA recommends purchasing a Preferred Risk Policy during that time, which can provide coverage at a lower cost. The premium for a Preferred Risk Policy can reach as low as $128 per month, according to FloodSmart.gov. The NFIP recently extended eligibility for Preferred Risk Policies to apply to properties remapped on or after Oct. 8, 2008.
  • Grandfather in old rates:
    • If you buy a Preferred Risk Policy before the new maps go into effect, you may renew your lower rates for 2 years. In the third year, you potentially can qualify for low-to-moderate risk rates instead of high-risk rates.
    • If you already have a flood insurance policy and the base flood elevation has increased in your area, your premiums could increase. Grandfather rules, however, allow you to use the earlier elevation to calculate rates, as long as you’ve maintained continuous flood insurance coverage on the property.
    • You also can use grandfather rules if you can prove that your home was built in compliance with the flood map that was in effect at the time of construction, according to FloodSmart.gov.

Enjoy your protection

Your flood insurance rates might increase as a result of remapping, but at least you’ll have coverage if the worst should happen.

Even homeowners in lower-risk areas should consider purchasing protection and could qualify for Preferred Risk Policies. In fact, 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

The average flood insurance claim from 2008 to 2012 was nearly $42,000, so purchasing coverage isn’t a bad bet. Even if your lender doesn’t require you to purchase flood insurance, flood protection could save your house from high water and you from taking a financial bath.

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

zillow.com


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 19, 2016

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAMerry Christmas and Happy New Year from Lallis & Higgins Insurance.  We would like to thank all of our customers and our community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2016. We wish you a wonderful and prosperous 2017!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice in insurance companies, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service along with effective home, auto, life, and commercial insurance policies. If you are looking for an insurance company with whom you can develop a relationship in 2017, we hope that you consider Lallis & Higgins Insurance, a locally-owned insurance company.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship.From our families to yours, have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Sincere best regards to you all.

Please keep in mind we will be closed on Monday, December 26th to enjoy and relax with our families.


Do College Students Need Renters Insurance? Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAAnyone renting should consider getting renters insurance, and college students are no exception.

Students living on campus may expect their school to cover damaged or stolen items. Off-campus students may assume their landlords will cover these costs. But in most instances, this is not the case. Most college students usually have thousands of dollars’ worth of personal items, such as electronics, furniture, clothes, textbooks, and bicycles. As a renter, it is your responsibility to provide coverage for your valuable items.

LIABILITY FACTOR

College students who purchase renters insurance can also get liability insurance, which can protect them from being sued if they damage someone else’s property. Examples of this include leaving the water running in the bathtub and it floods the apartment or leaving food unattended on the stove that starts a fire in the kitchen.

Liability coverage also helps if someone is injured in the policyholder’s apartment. For example, if someone slips on a wet floor.

PREMIUMS/DEDUCTIBLES

According to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, monthly premiums for renters insurance are usually between $15 and $30 a month. The amount depends on the size of the rented space and number of insured items.

For students who may be covered under their parents’ homeowners policy homeowners policies often have higher deductibles than what you can obtain through a renters policy. For example, deductibles for renters insurance could be a low as $100, compared with a homeowners insurance deductibles, which vary but could be anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more.

TYPES OF RENTERS INSURANCE COVERAGE

College students can choose from two types of renters’ insurance coverage: actual cash value, or replacement cost coverage. So what’s the difference? For example, two years ago, a student purchased a MacBook Air for $1000. The computer has now depreciated by several hundred dollars and actual cash value would be much lower.

Replacement cost coverage would cover the cost of getting the exact same MacBook Air, regardless of how much that would be. Consequently, replacement coverage will cost more than actual cash value.

There are several factors to consider when weighing the decision to purchase renters insurance. Ultimately, students have to weigh the cost of paying for insurance they may never use versus the cost of replacing their personal property in the event of an accident or theft or the cost of paying for damage or injuries they cause.

For more information on renters insurance policies no matter where you live, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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goodcall.com


Looking to get out with the family this Winter? Here are a few good ideas! - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAWe at Lallis & Higgins Insurance love to get out with our families during this festive time of year. We have highlighted some great ideas for you and your family to enjoy this Winter.

Go for a Ride to Look at the Lights

Here are some or our favorite spots to enjoy viewing Christmas lights to get in the Christmas spirit:

Lilah Lane Pembroke Light Show. Over 30,000 lights set to go with the music plus 48 different inflatables. Located off Route 53 in Pembroke, and are open every night until 1/1 Lights on 4:30 pm / 10:00

Loganberry Drive Abington. This boasts over 100 wooden figures that are handmade and painted. They also have over 1000 musical lights. Shows play nightly from 6pm to 10pm and you can turn to the radio station 98.1

Tick Tock Lane Weymouth. The residents of Tick Tock Lane do a great job with their holiday lighting! This is just one example.

Forest Street in Norwell! Show is every night from 5-9. It plays on the hour and lasts about 25 mins so 5-525, 6-625 and so on… Tune your radio to 88.7.    Lights should be on in early December by Dec 4th

271 Vernon St Bridgewater   The lights in the middle of the yard will dance from the top of the hour to the half… then they will take a half an hour break before starting again… for example 6 to 6:30 they will dance. 6:30 to 7 they will not… that way you can enjoy the show and then see all the lights while they are not flashing.

Middleborough Festival of Lights at the KOA campground, 458 Plymouth St. (off Rte. 44), Dec 12, 13, 19 and 20th from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Admission is $1 per car! — at KOA Campground.

Hyde Park Readville. The address is 26 Norton St Hyde Park Boston. From December 4 until Christmas day the house will be lit on weekdays from 5-9

Go Sledding

To take the words out of one of our son’s mouth… “Snow means SLEDING!!!”  These spots won’t disappoint!

Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA will make anyone happy.  They have all types of hills, and a snack shop.  Also, huge bonus for having bathrooms

Make a day out of Flagstaff Hill in the Boston Common, Boston, MA.  Along with sledding, there’s an ice skating ring, and plenty of kid friendly restaurants

World’s End in Hingham. There are four hills to sled on at this Hingham Trustees of Reservations property. Planter’s is the large drumlin rising just before you cross “The Bar” to the far side of the reservation is considered the best by many

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave., North Easton offers a great experience for every level of sledding.

President’s Golf course Quincy/Milton line offers many hills and can be quite the thrill when the conditions are right.

The Park behind Tuft Library in Weymouth is a perfect spot for children under the age of ten.

Outdoor Skating Fun

Boston and the surrounding towns offer a great opportunity to ice skate outside. Check out these venues if you and your family are looking to get out and skate:

Boston Common Frog Pond, Boston. Hours: Mon 10am-3:45pm, Tue-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-9pm. Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing. Skate rentals and sharpening available. There’s a café for snacking and hot cocoa is available at the rental station.

Skating Under the Rotunda - Boston Harbor Hotel. 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston. Hours: December-March; Weekdays 3pm-8pm, Weekends 10am-8pm. Admission: Adults $10, Children $5 Skate under the arch of the Boston Harbor Hotel’s iconic Rotunda with views of the Boston harbor on one side and the city's skyscrapers on the other.  There are skate rentals on-site.

Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink at Larz Anderson Park, Brookline 23 Newton St. Brookline, MA 02476.  The season runs to February 24, 2017. Hours vary, check website for public skating schedule. Admission: nonresident adult $7, resident adult $5; nonresident child (17 & under) $5, resident child $3.

Kelly Outdoor Skating Rink, Jamaica Plain. 1 Marbury Terrace, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. The season runs to February 24, 2017. Hours: Sunday –  Friday 12:00pm - 7:30pm, Saturday 1:00pm - 7:30pm. Schedule is weather dependent There is no cost to skate and there parking is available in the lot at the end of Marbury Terrace.  Low cost skate rentals are available.

Winter Skate at Patriot Place, Foxborough. Hours: Monday - Wednesday: 4-6pm, Thursday 4-7pm Friday: 4-10pm, Saturday & School Holidays: 11am-10pm, Sunday: 11am-9pm. Admission: Adults: $8, Seniors & Children 12 and under: $6; $2 off admission price with a coat donation to Cradles to Crayons. On-site skate rentals, concessions and bathrooms are available, and parking is free.


Giving During the Holidays Without Getting Taken - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 01, 2016

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAEvery year during the holidays, people in Quincy and Weymouth, MA look for ways to give gifts, not just to family and friends but to those less fortunate. It’s the spirit of the season.

Unfortunately, some of the charities out there don’t help people as fully as they claim – or possibly not at all. As if that weren’t enough, bogus organizations take advantage of people’s goodwill by stealing credit card and bank account information, along with identities, from people who think they’re donating to a legitimate cause.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be generous this holiday season. It just means a little extra caution is in order. Here are four tips for making smart and safe holiday donations:

Verify the charity is legitimate.

Sure, the name sounds official and you think your friend mentioned what good work they do. Or does the charity simply have a name similar to another well-known organization? Before you donate, do a little digging.

Enter the charity’s name at Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator or GuideStar, and, if you feel comfortable after reading about the organization, go ahead and donate. If not, look for another charity that supports the same cause. A good rule of thumb is to look for organizations with 501(c)(3) status.

Steer clear of pop-up charities.

A pop-up charity is anything but charitable. These groups spring into action at opportune times, namely when people are feeling generous, such as during the holidays or following a disaster. The so-called charity is actually a scam designed to steal money, credit card numbers, bank account information and identities from unsuspecting donors. If, during your research, you come across an organization that seemingly appeared out of the blue, do not share any of your personal information with it.

Be careful with digital donations.

Now that you’ve researched the charity, how do you plan to donate? If it’s online, be sure to type in the website address correctly. Fraudsters put up realistic-looking sites using a URL similar to a well-known charity’s to trick people into donating. But, they’re not donating at all. They’re lining the pockets of thieves.

Once you know you’re on the correct site, check that it’s secure before submitting any credit card information. Simply look for “https” instead of “http” at the beginning of the URL.

Likewise, that email you received from a prominent charity may be a fake. Instead of clicking on a link in an email to donate, go directly to your Web browser and type in the address yourself.

Avoid phone and door-to-door solicitors.

If people call or knock on your door out of the blue asking for a contribution to this or that organization, ask them for the charity’s website or mailing address instead of donating right then and there. Even if it’s a charity you’ve heard of, the operation may be a scam. It’s always safer for you to initiate the donation by visiting the charity’s website or mailing in a check. Plus, fundraising over the phone requires a middleman – that agent calling you – who must be paid, reducing the amount of your donation that goes to the charity.

It feels good to be in a giving mood during the holidays. With a little legwork to look into the legitimacy and practices of the charity, your donation will help others feel good too.

Contact Us!

At Lallis & Higgins Insurance we can work with you to make sure you've got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 781-561-9031 or contact us. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what's important to you is protected!



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