Lallis and Higgins Blog

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures This Week

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAThe coldest temperatures so far this season are expected in New England over the next few days. With the mercury dipping into the teens and even single digits, you should take note of the increased risk for frozen pipes.

While there are long term measures you can take to prevent frozen pipes in your home, like having proper insulation and sealing any cracks or gaps in your siding or foundation, there are a few small, but helpful, things you should do during extreme cold spells.

In preparation for this week's freeze:

  • Keep your thermostat set to a warmer temperature than usual
  • Consider opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warm air circulate

If you suspect a frozen pipe in your home, shut off the main water supply and call a licensed plumber right away. We recommend you avoid thawing a frozen pipe yourself - improper technique could cause the pipe to burst, leading to costly damages to your home.

For more information on protecting your home, contact Lallis and Higgins Insurance.


Happy New Year from Lallis and Higgins Insurance

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAHappy New Year from Lallis and Higgins Insurance. We would like to thank our clients, friends, family, and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2017. We wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2018!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice for insurance, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service, client care, and met all of your needs. In the coming months if you find yourself in need of the services we offer, we hope you come see us again in 2018.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship and that 2018 brings you good health and prosperity. From all of us here at Lallis and Higgins Insurance we hope you have a safe and exciting New Year.

“We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better…” ~ Charles Dickens


The Ultimate Pre-Vacation Home Checklist

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 18, 2017

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAYou’re getting ready to head out of town for the holidays and you’re excited for your trip but there’s more to do than just pack your bags. To make the most of your vacation and be worry-free, there are certain things you can do to prep your home so you won’t come back to any surprises.

Here’s a pre-vacation home checklist to follow before you leave on a long vacation and enjoy your trip!

Stop the mail and hold newspapers. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, be sure to put a stop on the mail and newspapers. If you don’t have enough time to do this, ask a neighbor to take in the mail for you while you’re away.

Put your lights on a timer. Put at least one light in your house on a timer so it looks like someone is home. Look for programmable timers so you can randomize the daily on/off times.

Move your car. Move your car into your garage if you have one. That way, it’s out of harm’s way in case a storm hits while you’re gone and less vulnerable to theft.

Set your heating system. Don’t completely turn off your heating system. If you’re going away in the winter, be sure to set your heat to around 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes.

Unplug small appliances and electronic devices to save power.

Turn off the water. If you’re going to be gone for a week or more, turn off the water to your house. If you don’t want to turn off all the water, then turn off the water supply (if easily accessible) to your to washing machine, dishwasher, ice-maker and toilets to prevent potential leaks.

Empty the trash. Take out the trash before you leave so you don’t come home to ants, flies and a horrible smell.

Discard perishables. Clean out the fridge before you leave so produce doesn’t go bad or start smelling while you’re gone.

Adjust your shades. You don’t want your empty home on display, but you don’t want to shut your shades if you never do that. Partially closed is a happy medium — it helps to block the view and gives your home an “in-use” appearance.

Make sure your windows are locked. Windows can be left unlocked — it happens. Maybe you just plain forgot after you had to air out the house from burning the breakfast bacon. An unlocked window is a perfect opportunity for a burglar to sidle on in.

Are any bills due while you’re away? Sewer, electric, gas, mortgage, car payment … the list could go on and on. You don’t want to ding your credit by missing a payment.

Notify your home alarm company (if you have one). Let them know that you’ll be away and when you’ll be returning and if anyone will be going into your home. This information will be helpful if they need to respond to an alarm.

Arrange for lawn maintenance/snow removal. This is just one more thing to make it look like someone is at home. A snowy driveway or an overgrown lawn is a telltale sign you’re not home. Try contacting a local service, or enlist your neighbor’s help.

Water your plants. You don’t want them to go thirsty while you’re away! Also get rid of any fresh flowers — they might not make it while you’re gone and could start to smell.

Check your oven and stove. The whole point of vacations is to relax. You don’t want anything gnawing at you if you’re trying to decompress on a beach.

Clean up your kitchen. Get all of those dirty dishes washed, clean out your sink trap and hit your garbage disposal with some vinegar to prevent any yucky smells from brewing while you’re away.

Take care of trash day. Ask a neighbor or friend to take your cans to the curb and bring them promptly. Again, the goal is to make it look like someone’s home.

While you’re getting your house ready for vacation, don’t forget about preparing your car if you’ll be driving to your destination.

For more information on protecting your home, contact Lallis and Higgins Insurance.

Plymouth Rock


Winter Driving Tips

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAWhen the chilly temperatures of winter set in, will your vehicle be ready for the cold?

The snow and ice are here, are you prepared to drive in these conditions? Planning and preventative maintenance are important year-round—but especially when it comes to winter driving.

Before You Go

Get Your Car Serviced

No one wants their car to break down in any season, but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition.

  • Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and other routine maintenance.
  • Have your vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.

Know Your Car

Every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take time now to learn how your vehicle handles under winter weather driving conditions.

  • Before driving your vehicle, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights, backup camera and other sensors around the vehicle.
  • When your area gets snow, practice driving on snow-covered or icy roads— but not on a main road. Sharpen your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions by practicing in an empty parking lot. See your vehicle’s manual to familiarize yourself with the features on your vehicle—such as antilock brakes and electronic stability control—and how the features perform in slippery conditions. For example, your vehicle or pedals may pulsate when controlling traction.
  • For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it’s not in use. Pre-heat the passenger compartment before you unplug your vehicle in the morning.
  • When renting a car, become familiar with the vehicle before driving it off the lot. Know the location of the hazard lights switch in case of emergency, and review the owner’s manual so that you’re prepared for any driving situation that may arise.

Go Over Your Vehicle Safety Checklist

Battery

When the temperature drops, so does battery power. For gasoline and diesel engines, it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in cold weather. For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, the driving range is reduced when the battery is cold, and battery systems work better after they warm up. Make sure your battery is up to the challenges of winter.

  • Have your mechanic check your battery for sufficient voltage, amperage and reserve capacity.
  • Have the charging system and belts inspected.
  • Replace the battery or make necessary system repairs, including simple things like tightening the battery cable connections.
  • Keep gasoline in a hybrid-electric vehicle, to support the gasoline engine.

Lights

See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to also check your trailer brake lights and turn signals. Trailer light connection failure is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.

Cooling System

  • Make sure the cooling system is in proper working order.
  • Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications. See your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations on coolant.
  • Thoroughly check the cooling system for leaks or have your mechanic do it for you.
  • Have the coolant tested for proper mix, proper pH (acidity) and strength of the built-in corrosion inhibitors. Over time, the rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down and become ineffective.
  • Drain and replace the coolant in your vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer, to remove dirt and rust particles that can clog the cooling system and cause it to fail.

Windshield

Washer Reservoir

You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly in a single snowstorm, so be prepared for whatever might come your way.

  • Completely fill your vehicle’s reservoir before the first snow hits.
  • Use high-quality “winter” fluid with de-icer and keep extra in your vehicle.

Wipers and Defrosters

Safe winter driving depends on achieving and maintaining the best visibility possible.

  • Make sure your windshield wipers work; replace worn blades.
  • Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice.
  • Check to see that your front and rear window defrosters work properly.

Tires

  • If you plan to use snow tires, have them installed in the fall so you are prepared before it snows. Check out www.nhtsa.gov/tires for tire ratings before buying new ones and look for winter tires with the snowflake symbol.
  • Regardless of season, inspect your tires at least once a month and before long road trips. It only takes about five minutes. If you find yourself driving under less-than-optimal road conditions this winter, you’ll be glad you took the time. Don’t forget to check your spare tire.
  • As the outside temperature drops, so does tire inflation pressure. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver’s side door frame. The correct pressure is NOT the number listed on the tire. Be sure to check tires when they are cold, which means the car hasn’t been driven for at least three hours.
  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread. Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or greater on all tires.
  • Check the age of each tire. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use, but check your owner’s manual to find out.

Stock Your Vehicle

Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following in your vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
  • Blankets for protection from the cold.
  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).

Plan Your Travel and Route

Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.

  • Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.
  • Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

On the Road

Stay Alert

  • Keep your gas tank close to full, even with a hybrid-electric vehicle. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm.
  • If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle.
  • On longer trips, plan enough time to stop to stretch, get something to eat, return calls or text messages, and change drivers or rest if you feel drowsy.

Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
  • Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.

Navigating Around Snow Plows

  • Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.
  • The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
  • When you are driving behind a snow plow, don’t follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle.
  • Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.

In an Emergency

What to Do in a Winter Emergency

If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:

  • Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
  • Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
  • To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.

For more information on safe driving or on auto insurance, contact Lallis and Higgins Insurance.

nhtsa.gov


Business Owners Insurance Policy

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MAAs a business owner, you strive to make decisions that are right for your business, your employees and yourself. This includes decisions about business insurance. You know you need excellent coverage. You don't, however, have time to become an expert in business insurance. That’s where Lallis & Higgins Insurance can help.

A Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines property, liability and business interruption coverage for small to medium-sized businesses. This packaged coverage is generally less expensive than when purchasing coverage separately. With a BOP you have the ability to customize the policy to meet your individual business needs.

Perhaps you need general liability coverage that includes operations. Or, you need to add business auto coverage or commercial property insurance. Whether you are a home-based business, small service provider or contractor, Lallis & Higgins Insurance will work with you to find the right combination of business insurance coverage to meet your specific needs. Contact us today!

Supplemental Coverage Available

  • Extended liability for additional insureds.
  • Debris removal, personal property.
  • Tools and equipment.
  • Valuable records protection and accounts receivable.

In addition to advising you on the right coverage, we provide additional services, such as:

  • Loss Prevention Programs—with our insurance company partners, we can evaluate your business's current conditions and recommend ways to lower property, auto, workers compensation or liability losses. Lower losses will not only lower your insurance costs, but also increase your productivity by avoiding downtime.
  • Quick Claim Response—when you do have a claim and need fast and fair service, we work with you to make that happen. That's why we only represent companies with excellent records for settling claims fairly and promptly.
  • Competitive Rates—many of the insurance companies we represent specialize in insuring specific types of businesses or industries, offering special coverage and pricing.

To see if your business qualifies for one of these special programs, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance for more information.



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