Lallis and Higgins Blog

Secondary Home Insurance – Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAIf your secondary home or vacation home has a mortgage, your lender may require homeowners insurance just as it would for your primary residence. However, there may be additional stipulations in the policy because you only reside in the home for part of the year. Like with your primary homeowners insurance, it is important to review the policy for your secondary home every year and keep an up-to-date home inventory in case you would need to file a claim following a loss.

Even if you do not plan to spend time at your vacation home, you might consider maintaining coverage for the structure, contents and your liability in the event that someone gets injured on your property while you're not there.

When reviewing your vacation home insurance policy, remember the insurance requirements in another area may be different than where your primary home is located. Talk with an insurance agent if you think you might need flood insurance or additional coverage against wind, hurricanes or earthquakes.

"Named Perils" Coverage

Homeowners insurance for a secondary home can have significantly different terms than your primary home's insurance policy. How a secondary property is used and how often it is occupied during the year determines the type of coverage. Insurance for these properties is typically written on a "named perils" basis.

A "named perils" policy covers losses for events specifically outlined in the policy, such as lightning, explosion, theft or smoke damage.

Homeowners policies also typically provide liability coverage in case a guest is injured on your property or if you are responsible for damage to another's property. Your homeowners policy might also include medical payments coverage that would pay an injured person's medical bills to a stated limit, regardless of negligence.

Additional Options for Secondary Home Policies

There are several ways to further protect a vacation home that you may want to consider. They include:

  • General contents coverage for loss or damage to belongings permanently kept at the vacation home.
  • Sewer back-up coverage or flood insurance because water damage can be even more extensive in a home when you aren't there to either stop the flow of water or quickly remove water-damaged property. Be aware that flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period.
  • Out buildings might have a limited amount of coverage in a secondary homeowners policy. Review your insurance policy to make sure you are protected against damage to detached buildings - such as garages, sheds and boathouses - and their contents.
  • Insurance companies might require homes with swimming pools to have special safety measures. These could include the installation of fencing, a pool cover or a locked gate. An insurance company could deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy safety guidelines or do not inform the company that you have a pool.

Umbrella Policies

If you have an umbrella policy in place to provide excess liability coverage, the policy should automatically extend to any new property you purchase or rent. To be sure the umbrella meets your liability expectations and that there are no exclusions in the policy that might be triggered by the new property, read your policy before making your down payment.

Waterfront Vacation Homes

The personal property coverage of your primary or secondary homeowners policy might cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is limited. Insurers generally provide liability insurance on small sailboats (26 feet or less) and powerboats with small motors (50 hp for inboard and inboard/outboard and 25 hp for outboard motors). However, a boat of any significant size will be excluded from your homeowners policy for both property and liability coverage. Read your homeowners policy carefully before you put your boat in the water.

Personal watercraft will likely require a separate boat insurance policy. You might be able to purchase this policy from your homeowners insurer or you might choose to use an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Get quotes and compare policies from several different places to get the best deal.

Some important questions to answer before you head out on the water:

  • Are you insured if someone other than yourself is operating your boat or personal watercraft?
  • Are there legal age restrictions on who may operate the boat or personal watercraft?
  • Is towing skiers or inner tubes covered by your policy?

Renting Your Vacation Home to Others

If you hope to make a little extra cash this summer renting your vacation home when you aren't there, first review your insurance policy. It may be wise to purchase additional liability, bodily injury and medical payment insurance to cover your risk when you or your family is not in the home.

Also be aware that your homeowners coverage might not extend to damage caused by a renter and/or their guests. Read the policy closely to ensure your coverage meets your expectation.

For more information on insuring your vacation home or boat this summer, contact Lallis & Higgins.

naic.org


Boat Insurance: Things You Should Know – Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 17, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAThere's nothing quite as exhilarating as boating: the wind in your hair, the thrum of the wake against the hull, the snap of the mainsail and the buzz of an outbound fishing line.

In the U.S. 75 million people participate in recreational boating.

A wide range of property and casualty companies offer boat insurance. It's easy to feel over your head when it comes to obtaining the right insurance for your boat. That's because boats are a bit of an odd duck in the insurance world: Insuring a runabout has much in common with buying auto insurance while insuring a million-dollar yacht more closely resembles buying home insurance for a small house.

Here are the answer to six important questions about boat insurance.

Why do I need boat insurance?

If you're new to boating, you may be under the impression that your homeowners insurance will magically stretch to cover your boat. Sadly, in most cases it won't.

Many homeowners policies will have a minimal amount of coverage for really small boats with either no engine or a very small engine, like a sailboat. But if you're buying a $10,000 or $20,000 boat, your homeowners policy is not going to cover you for what you need.

Boats are unique and require their own policy.

Your boat has nothing to do with your home, any more than your car can be covered under your homeowners insurance. Your home isn't mobile. Your boat, like your car, can go anywhere, so it requires a separate policy.

That said, you may save money by bundling your boat policy with your home or auto insurance.

There's often a cross-sell discount.

How does it differ from home or auto insurance?

In some ways, boat insurance is a mash-up of home and auto insurance.

Like home insurance, a boat policy covers you for liability if someone is injured on your craft and gives you the choice between replacement cost or cash value in a total loss.

Like auto insurance, boat coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others, property damage your boat inflicts on docks and other boats, and physical damage to your boat should you hit something or run aground. You can also purchase comprehensive coverage against theft, vandalism, fire and flood, personal property coverage for your fishing gear, uninsured boater insurance and even roadside assistance in the event you need a tow.

Unlike home and auto, a boat policy may allow you to "lay up" or suspend coverage for specified periods when you're not using the boat.

Sometimes boaters aren't aware of that and (on) some nice day in November, they take the boat out for the day and have an unfortunate incident, only to find out that their boat was to be out of the water from Oct. 15 to April 1.

How do 'agreed value' and 'market value' policies differ?

A boat is a lot like a car. The moment you drive it off the lot, it starts depreciating.

To help boaters save money on insuring older vessels, insurers offer the option of "agreed value" (think sticker price) versus "market value" (think depreciation) in the case of a total loss.

With agreed value, the insured and insurer agree on the value of the boat upfront. If something happens to the boat, you're going to get paid up to the agreed value.

With market value, the boat depreciates; so if the boat is destroyed, you're going to get enough money to replace the boat's (current) value. If you bought the boat in 2005, you're not going to get enough money to buy a 2011 model; you're going to get enough to buy a 2005 model.

Most insurers, offer a steep discount (25 percent) with market value policies.

Owners of newer boats typically go with agreed value. As the boat ages and the value depreciates, and they don't have a loan on the boat, you'll see them switch to cash value.

Is my boat covered when it's out of the water?

Strangely enough, yes -- but not by your boat policy.

When the boat is attached to your car or truck, you are covered by your auto policy should you back into somebody. Anytime you're trailering something, the car policy overrides.

The bad news is it's covered solely by your auto policy, and only to the limits contained therein.

A yacht policy will not pay for loss of life, bodily injury or property damage that occurs when the insured property is being transported on land.

Your homeowners insurance may provide limited coverage if the boat is damaged while parked on your property, but it may not stretch to cover stolen contents or vandalism.

To protect your boat (and your assets) from terrestrial liability choose an umbrella policy.

If someone gets injured, the umbrella policy would come on top of your auto and homeowners and cover you to the additional limits. If you have a boat, it's not only one more asset but it's another opportunity for risk. You want to make sure you're covered.

Is my boat covered everywhere?

Novice boaters may be unaware of the navigational limits on their boat insurance policy.

Most policies contain a navigational warranty. It's usually the inland waters of the U.S. and Canada or the coastal waters of the U.S. and Canada for smaller boats up to 26 feet. For larger craft, there are 22 territories that are defined by geographical points.

Be sure your policy provides coverage where you want to roam. It may exclude certain areas for political or security reasons (think Somali pirates).

If you want to do a one-time trip, we provide the ability for the one-time trip, but you need to check in with your agent to make sure you have the coverage provided.

Some policies offer an optional endorsement that helps pay to move your boat out of harm's way when a named storm approaches. Travelers pays 50 percent of the cost to move or haul your boat up to $1,000 per occurrence and $2,000 per policy term.

How can I save money on boat insurance?

Now that you know the basics of boat insurance, let's dig for some savings.

Get specific. Don't buy a yacht policy if you own a dinghy. BoatInsurance.org lists 15 varieties of boat insurance, including powerboat, sailboat, houseboat, bass boat, wooden boat, fishing boat, pontoon boat, personal watercraft and so on, each with its own price structure and set of features. Shop around.

Go all-in on safety features. Many boat insurance underwriters offer policy discounts for gadgets that protect their investment, such as wireless auto tethers that act as an engine kill switch should the skipper or any of the passengers fall overboard.

Take a boating class. A trained boater is a safer boater. Contact your agent for discount-qualifying classes in your area. One class can save you 5 percent or more on your policy, year after boating year.

Extend your lay-up period. Insurers are willing to cut your premium during those days or months when you're not using your boat.

For more information on boat insurance, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

bankrate.com


Easter Egg Hunts, April Vacation Activities, and Can’t Miss Events this Spring - Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lallis & Higgins, Quincy, Weymouth, MAThere is still time to get the kids out and hunt for eggs - here is a list of a few Easter Egg Hunts we came across that are going on this weekend:

  • Maggie’s Farm Middleboro 1pm. Enjoy an egg hunt with their animals on the farm!! Everyone will have an opportunity to find eggs
  • The Fruth Center in Brockton 1-2pm. Suitable for kids under 12. Arts and crafts, egg and spoon race, hunt for eggs, then take a free photo with the Easter Bunny and go home with a Bunny Bag of sweet treats. Hosted by Keith Park Neighborhood Association.
  • Marshfield recreation at Coast Guard Hill Easter Egg Hunt 10am Join Marshfield Rec for their annual Easter egg hunt and meet the Easter Bunny.
  • Grace Presbyterian Church Hanover Easter Egg Hunt 10am Join Grace Presbyterian Church for their annual Easter Egg Hunt.
  • Sunday April 16th (Easter Sunday) Easter Egg Dash at Paragon Carousel Hull 12:30pm sharp

Looking to keep the kids busy April vacation? Here are a couple events that are great for all ages:

  • Weymouth April Vacation Spring Carnival. The carnival will be from Wednesday April 19 to Sunday April 23rd at Weymouth High School, 1 Wildcat Way, South Weymouth 02190. The carnival will feature rides, games and food. There will also be a petting zoo daily. The carnival will open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 2pm, Saturday and Sunday will open at 1pm.
  • Touch-A-Truck Wednesday April 19th the 9:30 – 11:30am at the Hingham Library 66 Leavitt St. Hingham. The trucks will be parked along the side of the library near the Children's entrance. Trucks to touch include a Bucket truck, a Crane, a Chipper, a Stump Grinder and a Loader.

There are a few events that are Can’t miss this Spring, and here they are:

  • Rhode Island Air Show – May 20th & 21st. GPS address is 210 Airport Street, North Kingstown, RI 02852. Get up close and personal with air crafts of all shapes and sizes. Many performances to watch. This is an event we never miss. Here is the website for the full details. https://www.rhodeislandairshow.com/
  • Tall Ships Boston June 17th – 22nd. Sail Boston® will entertain its younger audience with educational programs focusing on US and international maritime history. Cadets and crewmembers will be available to educate children of all ages of their personal experiences at sea, home countries and more. See website for details. http://www.sailboston.com/
  • Mud Fest 2017 Halifax comes June 18th. This event is fun for all ages. Our kids love to watch the modified trucks race through the mud, and ATV Crawlers climb. Event is held at139 Hemlock Ln, Halifax, MA. https://www.facebook.com/mudfesthalifaxma/

Anthony Lallis Nominated for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MAWe are excited to announce that our very own Anthony Lallis will be running for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Man of the Year. Anthony is a survivor of childhood leukemia. He has seen firsthand the toll it takes (mentally, physically and financially) on a family when a child goes through Cancer. Treatment for blood Cancer has come a long way since Anthony was diagnosed in 1980 due to programs like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Money raised through this campaign goes directly to finding a cure for leukemia, and assisting families financial that need help. Families need to adjust their life – most times it means a parent will need to stop working so they can be available for their child that is going through treatment while the other Parent works (often times picking up a second job). LLS not only provides funding towards medical studies helping cure cancer, they also help pay for transportation, parking, food, and hotel stays while their child is going through treatment.

We will be updating you all through this ten-week campaign about events that Anthony will be hosting, and hope you can donate to this great cause. Every dime helps, and no amount is too small. We thank you in advance, and let’s work together to end this awful disease!

Donations can be made directly at my personal page http://www.mwoy.org/pages/ma/ma17/alallis


Are You a Risky Home Insurance Customer? Weymouth, Quincy, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 07, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MADo you feel like you pay too much for home insurance? You might be a risky insurance customer and not even know it. Here are a few types of customers who may raise red flags for home insurance providers.

Insuring a house has as much to do with you as it does the actual building. Home insurance providers set your premium by evaluating the risks posed by you and your house. Homes in Tornado Alley, for example, cost more to insure because of the risk of wind damage. As for you, if you pose certain risks as a policyholder, your premium could shoot through the roof.

The dog lover

When it comes to risk, you may not think your cuddly pooch poses a threat, but some insurance providers believe differently. Carriers often won’t provide coverage for certain breeds because, statistically, they pose more of a liability risk. Pit bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers and Akitas are just a few breeds that could cause your insurer to elevate your risk as a policyholder.

As for dogs outside those breeds? It depends. If your canine has a history of biting, you could face higher premiums or be denied liability coverage for the animal. Sure, every dog is different, but insurers don’t mess around when it comes to dog bites. The average payout for a dog bite claim in 2013 was nearly $28,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

The pool owner

Your pool may have seemed like a big plus when you purchased your home, but chances are your insurer isn’t as enthralled with it. Swimming pools pose a big liability risk to insurers. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 5,100 pool- or spa-related injuries in children younger than 15 were treated in hospital emergency departments for 2010 through 2012. During the same time period, 390 pool- or spa-related deaths were reported.

The bottom line: Pools are dangerous, and insurance providers know they increase the odds of a lawsuit.

The procrastinator

Are you bad about getting around to repairs in your home? The longer you put off getting that new roof or fixing that leaky pipe, you could be costing yourself some serious dough. Procrastinating on home repairs not only makes you vulnerable to claims, but the more you wait, the longer you could be stuck paying a high premium.

For example, change out the supply hoses on your water heater and washing machine; you can upgrade to braided steel hoses for about $100. An appliance failure could cost you (and your insurance provider) thousands of dollars.

The unlucky homeowner

You may be the most responsible homeowner who ever lived and simply be unlucky when it comes to claims. You can’t help it if a storm caused a tree to crash through your window or if hail pummeled your roof. However, having claims on your history may cause you to look riskier to an insurance provider. To avoid more claims, do some things to boost safety on your property such as cutting dead branches off trees or checking your roof for loose/missing shingles. Prevention can go a long way in avoiding future claims.

Paying high home insurance premiums or getting denied coverage can be a frustrating experience. However, there are other ways to reduce your premium or find coverage. Comparison shopping is a surefire way to either find the lowest premium or find a provider who will offer you coverage. Each carrier has a different algorithm for determining risk — just because it doesn’t work out with one doesn’t mean you can’t find coverage elsewhere.

To compare insurance quotes, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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