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Spring Home Maintenance Tips That Also Protect Your Home

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAThe milder days of spring are a perfect time to do a thorough spring cleaning and perform home maintenance. After a long winter, it is a good idea to spend time on preventive measures to help maintain your home and property throughout the year. Tasks such as cleaning out your gutters, checking for dead trees and branches and cleaning and inspecting home mechanical systems, such as heating and air conditioning equipment, can make spring a season of safety.

Cleaning and maintenance of your home should be done inside and out. Although the tasks are different, ensuring all the elements of your home are in good working order can help keep your family safe and your maintenance expenses lower over the long run.

Inside Your Home

Here are a few things inside your home that should be inspected to ensure they are in good condition:

Electrical Outlets and Cords: Check electrical outlets and cords throughout your home for any potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords also should be checked to make sure they are not overloaded.

Fire Extinguishers: Check your fire extinguisher at least once yearly, including the hose, nozzle and other parts, to make sure they are in good condition and that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. If necessary, move your fire extinguisher to an accessible place.

Air Conditioning: Before turning it on for the season, have your air-conditioning system inspected and tuned up by a professional.

Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion.

Furnace: Clean or replace your furnace filter.

Dryers: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct. Clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Use a specialized brush to clean out the vent pipe. Lint can also build up inside the dryer enclosure and should be cleaned and serviced by a professional.

Smoke Detectors: Daylight savings time is the perfect time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Inspect each smoke detector to ensure all are in working order, and make sure to test them monthly. Ideally, there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including the hallway or area outside of each set of bedrooms, and one within each bedroom itself. If necessary, install additional smoke detectors as needed.

Light Bulbs: Check each light bulb in every fixture for the correct recommended wattage and replace any burned out bulbs. Also, consider replacing all high-intensity bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs to reduce energy and the amount of heat produced.

Outside Your Home

The cold winter months can do damage to your house as well. Here are a few things outside your home that should be inspected to ensure they are in good condition:

Roof: Check for any damage from snow or ice, including damage from ice dams, and make any necessary repairs to reduce the possibility of leaks.

Gutters: Clean leaves and other debris from gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage.

Trees: Visually inspect trees for damage or rot, and remove (either yourself or through a contractor) any dead trees that might blow over in heavy winds or during a storm. Keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.

Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using. Store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.

Walkways and Driveways: Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safe, level walking area.

A little home maintenance in the spring can go a long way to keeping your home safe and secure throughout the rest of the year.

For more information or tips on protecting your home, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance in Weymouth, MA.


Two Important Service Announcements from the Mass RMV

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 19, 2018

New Massachusetts Requirements for driver's license, ID card, or learner's permit

On March 26, 2018, to get or renew any driver's license, ID card, or learner's permit, you need documentation showing U.S. citizenship or lawful presence as required by federal and state law.

Lawful presence

Lawful presence means that a person is legally living in the United States according to federal immigration laws. All U.S. citizens and lawfully permanent residents have permanent lawful presence in the U.S. Non-U.S. citizens who are studying, working, or living temporarily in the U.S. may have temporary lawful presence that may vary in length.

For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. U.S. citizens may also provide a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate.

For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card (green card) is sufficient proof of lawful presence.

For customers who are not U.S. citizens, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months. Your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over.

Required documents

Review the document checklist below for the types of documents you will need when getting or renewing your driver’s license, learner's permit, or ID card.

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

Additional Resources:

ALERT: No RMV Services

No RMV services from Thurs. 3/22 @ 7 p.m. - Mon. 3/26 @ 8 a.m., non-public safety services are unavailable and the RMV will NOT process transactions.

The RMV is transforming its business processes and replacing its technology to deliver exceptional customer service for residents and businesses across the Commonwealth.

ATLAS, the RMV’s new computer system, will provide customers with an easier, quicker, and more convenient customer experience whether they engage with the RMV in person, on the web, by mail, or by phone.

The following will be affected by this shutdown:

  • All RMV Service Centers
    • Will be CLOSED on Friday, March 23
    • Resumes on Monday, March 26
  • All AAA offices that offer RMV services
    • Will NOT OFFER SERVICES on Friday, March 23 or Saturday, March 24
    • Resumes on Monday, March 26
  • ONLINE Services
    • There will be NO ONLINE TRANSACTIONS beginning at 7:00pm on Thursday, March 22
    • Resumes on Monday, March 26 at 8:00 am
  • All inspections stations that conduct vehicle inspections
    • There will be NO INSPECTIONS conducted on Friday, March 23, Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25
    • Resumes on Monday, March 26 at 8:00 am
  • All dealerships that register and inspect vehicles on behalf of the RMV
    • There will be NO REGISTRATIONS processed and NO INSPECTIONS conducted at dealerships across Massachusetts on Friday, March 23, Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25
    • Resumes on Monday, March 26 at 8:00 am

We are working around the clock to make sure that the transition to our new operating system; ATLAS, is as smooth and seamless as possible for all RMV customers and partners and appreciate your patience as we upgrade our technology.

For more information click Mass RMV.

Two Insurance Takeaways from the Recent Nor’Easters in Massachusetts:

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAMarch in 2018 has brought many obstacles to our Massachusetts clients and neighbors. Two of the biggest questions clients have had is if their homeowner policy provides damages from a flood, and how will my claim impact the price of my homeowner insurance going forward.

Unfortunately flood damage is not covered by your Homeowner Insurance policy. Flood damage is offered through a separate policy called a Flood Insurance Policy. If your home is not in a high-to-moderate flood zone called a X-Zone. The premium for a X-Zone flood policy will be on average between $400 and $600 a year (depending on the size of your home, and contents you would like to cover on the policy).

Many of our carriers do offer an additional coverage called water backup/sub-pump overflow that would help with costs to damages caused by a sub-pump overflowing, or failing due to loss of electricity. There is a cap to this coverage which varies per carriers that offer this additional coverage.

Lallis & Higgins Insurance had many clients call to see if their claims from the Nor’Easters will affect their homeowner insurance price at renewal. Damages caused by major storms that cause wide spread damage to a community tend to be classified as Catastrophic (Cat) claims, and are looked at by insurance carriers differently than if you filed a claim that was not caused a Catastrophic storm; often times there will be little to no penalty to your homeowner policy due to Cat claims.

Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance for more information on your homeowner policy, or if you would like one of our representatives to review your current policy that is insured with another agency or insurance company.

Is Your Home in a Flood Zone?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 05, 2018

Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MAAre you buying a house? Do you already own a home? Do you know if it is in a flood zone?

Click this link to see for more information on where you home sits, how high the water table is in your area, or if the home your are buying is in a flood zone. Your home may be above the water table, but the water table is rising. If your home is right outside the flood zone, you can buy inexpensive flood insurance now. If the water table rises putting your home into a flood zone you can still keep that low premium forever. Even better, when you sell your home, you can sign that flood insurance policy over to the new homeowner when you sell, making your home even more desirable and attractive to prospects in this tough housing market.

For more information on flood insurance or for a review of your flood insurance policy, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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