Lallis and Higgins Blog

8 Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Home – Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 27, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAReady to give your home a top-to-bottom buffing? Lallis & Higgins Insurance suggests focusing on furnishings, appliances, and carpeting. Once you’ve covered these major tasks, you’ll have your home spring-cleaned in no time.

Make doormats welcoming

Shake 'em, wash 'em, swat 'em with a broom. Give them the toughest cleaning they can take. They’re your front line against tracked-in dirt—so keep them clean enough to function at peak efficiency.

Clean carpets and upholstery

Fabrics that have absorbed a winter’s worth of dirt, body oil, and germs will need a deep cleaning to get them ready for another year of wear. When you’re shampooing carpets or cleaning upholstery with a rented carpet cleaner, practice first in an unobtrusive area to make sure you have the knack of the machine and that the treatment won’t discolor fabrics or cause dyes to run. Move furniture just slightly—not out of the room or against the wall—and place the legs of each piece back on top of small wax paper squares after shampooing. The wax paper will protect your carpet and keep the furniture legs from getting wet as the carpet dries. Open the windows to speed the drying process, which can take a day or more. If you’re not the furniture-shifting and machine-renting type, use a professional carpet and upholstery cleaner.

Finish your floors

To protect the floors in your kitchen from another year of wear and tear, wax or apply a sealer following label directions. The simplest method: Use a combination wash-and-wax floor cleaner. No-wax floors don’t need a polishing treatment, but an occasional makeover will keep them looking fresher and add a protective buffer that could help them last longer. Use a floor cleaner that cleans, shines, or both. If you have wood floors, move furniture and rugs aside, then apply a wood cleaner and either liquid or paste polish to clean and add a new wax coating.

Wash walls, cabinets, baseboards, and woodwork

The walls may not look as if they need a bath—dust and soot fall to the floor, right? Most of it does, but just enough clings to vertical surfaces to warrant a seasonal or pre-holiday bath. Use a sponge and hand dishwashing detergent, washing the surface in sections. A sponge mop makes it easier to reach higher spots. Use two buckets: one for dishwashing detergent solution and another for wringing your sponge. Dry the walls and woodwork with a clean cloth.

Vacuum with intelligence

The old rules mandated that you go through the labor-intensive task of dragging every stick of furniture off the carpet, just so the vacuum cleaner could cover every nook and cranny. Instead, simply move those big items a little to the left or to the right. Vacuum the area previously occupied by the furniture and then move it back into place.

Clean ceiling fixtures

Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and air-conditioner vents with a cloth and a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment.

Clean your light fixtures

A few minutes with a stepladder, all-purpose cleaner, a sponge, and a polish cloth will give new light to your life. If your home has skylights or tall ceilings, consider investing in a stepladder and extended-reach dust-and-dirt-removal tools, all of which are available at your local hardware store and at home supply stores.

Check your coils

You should clean the refrigerator’s condenser coil, usually found behind the toe grille, with a long-handled bottle brush and a vacuum cleaner with an attachment hose to remove dust and lint. Built-up dust can shut down the unit by causing it to overheat. To remove dust from coils attached to the hard-to-reach back side of the fridge, carefully pull the refrigerator out several feet (newer models roll on casters) and vacuum thoroughly; finish by sweeping or vacuuming the floor area you’ve revealed. Expect to rediscover coins, bottle caps, and twist ties that you and the cat knocked over the past year.

Readers Digest


Getting the Right Homeowners Insurance - Quincy, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAHomeowners are naturally concerned about protecting their properties — but many also worry about the protection itself. Making sure you get things right with homeowner's insurance takes information, thought and perhaps a little expert help.

Insurance agents are likely to insist that it's a mistake to shop only for the lowest premium. If you listen to what they say, you'll likely be persuaded that your decision should indeed take other things into account.

When people are looking at purchasing, they should take a step back and consider what they're insuring — the home, furnishings, protection for personal liability. For most people, that global view is probably better than thinking only about premiums.

A basic difference in coverages

Buyers must be aware that some policies provide the replacement value of a home, and some only cover a similar place minus depreciation. The difference is important.

That replacement value is the first thing that comes into play. It's not what you paid for the house, not what you’d sell the house for. It's the amount to rebuild if nothing is left, how much to replace it all. It would include a number for the whole house and a number for the property inside.

You should also know that the replacement value may be different with different agents. If you're comparing apples to apples, the higher value will probably mean higher premiums.

Homeowners who choose to insure for less than replacement value could confront a situation in which they would have to accept something less than what they had before when they repair or rebuild after a major loss.

What's covered, what's not

A homeowner should never assume what is or isn't covered by a policy under consideration. In fact, it's unwise to take anything for granted as covered by a policy you already have. Have your agent spell everything out in full detail.

A good approach to consider is “insurance against all perils except those specifically excluded within the policy." That is delivered by a special form HO3 policy, which covers the dwelling, other buildings on the property, liability, guests and medical protection. Should the house become uninhabitable, it would pay for additional living expenses while repairs go forward.

Homeowner's policies don't include flood insurance, which is available separately from the National Flood Insurance Program. You can consult with your agent about this. Cost depends on the amount of coverage purchased, what it covers, and the property's flood risk.

What's inside the house

On the special form, your personal property is covered, usually a percentage of what the home's insured for.

Like the house itself, there are differences in available coverage between replacement value and actual cash value for furnishings, appliances and the like. Policy buyers should think about —– and discuss with the agent —what coverage makes sense in their cases.

Without paying extra, you'll get some coverage for theft or damage on valuables like jewelry, furs, coins, silverware or guns. This is limited, though — for jewelry, the total might be $2,500. Very often luxury items or collections are worth far more than basic homeowner's coverage will include. For such items, extra insurance purchases may be required to safeguard their value.

Certain specialty items are worth thinking about in terms of specialized coverage — a high-end professional computer might be an example.

Saving some money

Accepting higher deductibles can produce more affordable premiums.

Bundling — buying auto, and homeowners policies from the same company or insurance agency— can cut the overall cost of insurance. You should also try to limit the number of small claims you make, which can increase your costs and could also make it harder to change companies.

For more information on homeowners insurance in Quincy, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

mcall.com


Protect Your Home from Ice Dams - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 13, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MANow is the time to protect your home from ice dams

After three winter storms in less than a week, you may be noticing some pretty large snow piles on the roof of your home. With a slight warm up in temperature coming mid-week, now is the time to remove snow in order to prevent the buildup of ice dams - and potential damage to your home.

As you may recall from our winter in 2015, ice dams can be very destructive as the water from melting snow backs up behind the dam and leaks into your home underneath the shingles.

There are two basic approaches to help you prevent damage to your home from ice dams:

1. Remove snow and ice from your roof. The safest way to clear your roof is to hire a snow removal professional. However, if you plan to do it yourself, follow these recommendations from roofing experts:

  • Use a roof rake instead of a shovel
  • Try not to damage your shingles
  • Avoid standing under icicles or roofs with large amounts of snow
  • Use extreme caution when using ladders because rungs become very slippery
  • Keep tools away from electrical wires
  • Have someone nearby in case you need assistance

2. Create channels to help melt ice.

  • If you notice an ice buildup, fill a large sock with a melting agent (preferably calcium chloride) and lay it across the dam perpendicular to the gutter
  • The sock will release the melting agent gradually and create a channel in the ice for water to empty through
  • You may need several socks for an ice dam that runs the length of your roof
What if water is dripping inside my home?

If you notice leaks in your home, it's important to do what you can to mitigate the damage:

  • Collect the dripping water in buckets and pans
  • Mop up standing water
  • Move furniture, clothes and valuables out of harm's way
  • Call a professional to deal with the snow on the roof and to dry out your house

For information on home insurance contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Plymouth Rock


Homeowner’s Insurance Tips for First Time Buyers - Scituate, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, home insurance, Scituate, MAFor a first-time homebuyer, nothing is more important than properly protecting a new investment and that means purchasing a homeowner’s insurance policy. It is important to have an understanding about the importance of appropriate insurance coverage.

Here are just a few tips:

1. Factor in home insurance

When calculating monthly mortgage payments, it’s important to factor in home insurance. Just as property taxes will likely be paid out of an escrow account, so will insurance premiums.

2. Find an insurer early

Finding an insurer early can give a homebuyer peace of mind. Shop around for a policy that best suits your needs. An insurance company that works with multiple providers can assist a homebuyer in comparing policies and selecting insurance coverage.

Think of it as a one-stop comparison. The more providers a company works with, the more likely it is that you will come away with a policy tailored to specific needs.

3. Figure out your priority

You should think about what is most important in an insurance provider. Is it price, service or coverage? This can help guide you in making insurance choices.

4. Consider your future insurance needs when buying

Property features can figure into the type of coverage you need. Consider the specific aspects of the new home. Does it have a pool? A trampoline? What about a security system?

If a home is situated in a flood plain, a homeowner will need a separate policy to cover flood risk. Even owning certain types of dog breeds can affect insurance needs.

5. Don’t forget your belongings

Think about how much coverage you would need to protect all belongings and the structure itself against complete loss and total replacement and rebuilding.

Comprehensive coverage is the best way to ensure that a home and its contents are fully protected if disaster strikes. It’s also important to know which types of belongings needs separate riders — items of high value like valuable jewelry or pricy antiques.

6. Remember liability insurance

Liability insurance is an important part of a homeowner’s policy, as it protects an owner’s assets if someone should be injured on his or her property.

7. Bundle policies

Bundling policies together (auto, business and life) can save a homeowner on annual premiums.

8. Ask lots of questions

Understanding the ins and outs of insurance coverage is something a homeowner should consider along with the other aspects of homeownership.

Insurance companies that have established a network of professionals that include real estate agents, loan officers, real estate attorneys, as well as financial advisers can help homeowners manage every aspect of buying a new home.

This is particularly important for a first-time buyer who is just beginning to form relationships with industry professionals and is looking for people he or she can trust.

For an insurance company you trust, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

inman


Home Owners Insurance Can Protect You when Hosting Parties - Hingham, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MANew England is in the Big Game once again! Hosting a party this Sunday can feel like trying to dodge a blitz. With lots of guests, alcohol and charged emotions, disaster can strike from any direction. Here’s how your homeowner insurance policy can keep your wallet from taking a hit.

Intercepted belongings

Even small parties could include a few friends of a friend whom you don’t know. If you discover come super-cleanup Monday that your prized autographed football is gone, home insurance can help. Personal property coverage pays to replace stolen items, up to your policy’s limit.

Extra point: Take a personal contents inventory. Even going room to room and photographing belongings with your phone will help you provide claim details if something’s stolen.

The action heats up … at the same time as the grill

Sunday is a big cooking day — and not only in the kitchen. More than 1 in 4 grill owners brave the weather to fire up grub for the game.

Unfortunately, the festive atmosphere makes cooking fires one of the more common party accidents. If your house is damaged by fire or even destroyed, you can file a claim through your home insurance’s dwelling coverage for repairs or reconstruction.

Extra point: Ask your insurance agent to help determine the home’s current rebuilding cost. If it exceeds the dwelling insurance, increase limits on that coverage.

Guests on the injured list

It’s your job to keep your property and party safe. You could be financially responsible if that big-screen TV topples onto someone’s foot or your appetizers trigger food poisoning.

A standard home insurance policy includes medical payments coverage for injuries to visitors. It also includes liability coverage, which kicks in if you’re sued for injuries.

Extra point: It’s wise to check your medical payments insurance limit. A standard home policy provides about $1,000 in medical coverage per person, which might not be enough to pay for treatment of a guest’s injury.

Ineligible partygoer behind the wheel

Alcohol plays a part in many fans’ festivities. In 2016, BACtrack examined over 5,000 tests by users of its smartphone-enabled Breathalyzer. The average blood-alcohol content measured during game was 50% higher than on other non-holiday Sundays.

If your guests leave drunk, you could be on the hook for what happens on the road. Liability insurance with your homeowner policy might help pay for damage or injuries in these cases. But it’s not a sure thing, since coverage depends on the incident and your policy.

Extra point: Taking steps to prevent drunken driving is the surest way to avoid a lawsuit, so invite designated drivers. In some states, hosts could face criminal charges, not just civil penalties, if a drunken guest causes injuries or damage while driving.

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



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