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A Few Tips for the College-Bound

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 27, 2018
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, Quincy, MA

College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft, not covered by your insurance policy. If you have a student heading away to school, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your coverage.

HOMEOWNERS (varies by state)

Items such as jewelry or expensive electronics, require special coverage and may not covered by the parents’ homeowner policy. Renter's insurance is strongly recommended for college students.

Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered.

Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.

AUTO (varies by state)

Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.

Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered.

Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.

Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.

Before your child leaves for school, call Lallis & Higgins Insurance or contact us here. We can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. We’re here to help!

Back-to-School Insurance Tips

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 20, 2018
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

College students can take simple steps to protect their belongings from theft and loss when heading to school this fall.

For a college student, experiencing the loss of a bike, laptop or mobile phone is not only an inconvenience, but can be a big hit to the pocketbook. Taking basic precautions can help prevent theft or loss and help students avoid unnecessary stress while away at school.

According to the U.S. Department of Education's campus safety and security analysis tool, burglary is a top criminal offense at colleges and universities.

If you're a victim of theft or your apartment is damaged in a fire, your landlord is likely not responsible for replacing your belongings. If you live in on- campus housing, your belongings may be covered under your parent's homeowners or renters policy but it's a best to check with your insurance representative to see what is covered.

A typical renter's insurance policy will cover personal belongings in the event of an unexpected loss such as a burglary or fire. Some policies also cover part of the expense for living in another location if the apartment were to become inhabitable due to a covered loss. In addition, liability coverage may protect a renter if a visitor were to injure themselves in the apartment or the renter accidentally damages property.

Renter's insurance on average costs $240 per year. Policies are frequently added to auto or homeowners policies. Students' parents may be able to add a renters insurance policy to their homeowners or auto policy to cover a full-time student.

Students should start by taking an inventory of their possessions to determine the value of their personal property. Take photos or video to get a record. The value of items like electronics, bikes, jewelry etc. can add up quickly. It's best to be pro-active than to look back and say "I should've done that."

5 Simple Steps to Protect Your Belongings While at College

  1. Create a list of your valuables with photos and serial numbers. Give a copy to your parents and save a copy in the cloud.
  2. Register your valuable with campus police. Many schools let you register your laptop, tablet or bicycle to deter thieves and identify your stolen property if it is recovered.
  3. Don't leave your valuables unattended in public areas. If you're studying at the library or a coffee shop bring your laptop with you if have to step away.
  4. Always lock your doors and windows and make sure your roommates do the same. Consider keeping a safe for your room for extra protection.
  5. Leave your prized possessions at home. If it can't be replaced or has sentimental value, it's best not to bring it in the first place.

To learn more about protecting your stuff, visit Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Renter’s Insurance: Don’t Risk Losing Everything

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 14, 2018

If you were at risk of losing $5,000, $10,000 or even $15,000 and could do something to stop it, would you? The answer is a no-brainer: you’d would.

Yet, more than half of adults ages 23 to 29 years old who rent apartments don’t have renters insurance, putting all their stuff at risk.

Homeowners buy homeowner’s insurance to cover their home and belongings. Those who live in dorms or college apartments should get renters insurance to do the same thing. A renter’s policy will cover your personal possessions (clothes, electronics, furniture, etc.) if they’re stolen and will pay to repair or replace them if there’s a fire, burst pipe or other unfortunate event. Renter’s policies can also pay for you to rent a new home or stay in a hotel in if you are displaced by a fire or other natural disaster — coverage that most policies refer to as “loss of use.”

Like homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance includes liability coverage – if someone is injured in your home, the cost of their care and potential legal proceedings is covered up to your policy’s liability limits, which is typically $100,000.

But unlike a homeowner’s policy that covers the home structure and its contents, renter’s insurance covers just the contents of your home. That makes it a lot cheaper. Your landlord has an insurance policy that covers the building, but that does nothing to protect your valuables.

Most people don’t have the cash sitting around to replace all their stuff. So why do so few buy renters’ insurance? One reason: while homeowner’s insurance is almost always required if you are paying for your home with a mortgage, there are no blanket laws requiring that you purchase a renter’s policy.

Another reason:

A lot of people are under the misconception that if they live in an apartment that their landlord is responsible for their belongings.

In fact, of the 59% of adults ages 23 to 29 who do not have renter’s insurance, 46% didn’t think they needed it. Another third said they thought it was too expensive and a quarter said they just hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it.

The average millennial carries $45,000 in debt, and it is thought that for that reason as well as other societal trends, they’re delaying a lot of life moments like marriage and home-buying. That means they’re going to rent longer.

Another reason younger renters don’t immediately think to insure their stuff is that they underestimate the value of their possessions. Once they do the math they’re shocked by the full value of what they own.

Think you can’t afford renter’s insurance?

You can. The average cost of renter’s insurance is $20 per month — equal to the cost of ordering takeout one night. What you pay for a renter’s insurance is largely based on the value of your belongings.

All renters policies should cover your belongings in your apartment and up to 100 feet from your apartment — to include damage or theft while you’re moving. Policies will cover your items whether or not you’re home at the time of the vandalism, fire, burst pipe or other disaster that ruined your belongings.

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

Changes to MA Driving Licenses: What You Need to Know

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

If you need to get your car inspected or renew your driver’s license soon, you need to prepare for new driver’s license rules.

Massachusetts drivers are seeing big changes—including waiting in line if they want a new type of licenses instead of renewing online.

The new software can, among other tasks, issue new types of “Real ID” driver’s licenses required by federal law as a security safeguard in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Drivers seeking to renew or get a new driver’s license will need to bring several documents to the RMV, one that shows their Social Security number, another proving US citizenship such as a passport, or that shows lawful presence in the country, like an employment authorization card. Applicants will also need two documents proving Massachusetts residency, such as utility bills or bank statements.

The new Real ID licenses will include a small mark in the upper right corner showing the license complies with federal rules, making it acceptable as a federal identification. Drivers wanting a Real ID license will have to renew in person, either at an RMV office or a branch of the AAA.

Drivers aren’t required to obtain a Real ID, but if they don’t, their license will no longer be a valid form of identification for boarding a flight within the US, or entering a federal building after October 2020. Instead, they would need to use a passport.

The state will also issue non-Real ID-compliant licenses that nonetheless will require drivers to show more documentation than previously, including proof of citizenship or lawful presence, and a single document showing proof of residency. These licenses can still be renewed online. Previously, only holders of US visas had been required to provide such documentation for license renewals.

The Registry is bracing for more traffic at its branch offices.

A significant number of the 5.3 million people with an existing Mass ID are going to want a Real ID.

The new software will help with Real ID compliance; for example, the existing software could not always print long last names in full on every licenses, which the new system can as required by the federal government.

This new software will also facilitate a number of new features, such as paying for multiple transactions at once, creating customer profiles, and allowing the RMV to communicate with drivers by email – functions that state officials admit are not exactly high-tech breakthroughs today.

To see what documents you will need for a Learner’s Permit, Driver’s License, or Mass ID Card, click here.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: Boston Globe

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