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Install Smoke Detectors in Your Home

- Monday, August 31, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Smoke Detector

More than half of all fatal home fires occur while people sleep. That's why smoke detectors are so essential. They can warn you before you smell smoke and give you time to get to safety. We recommend at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including the basement and the attic.

Here are some important things to remember when installing smoke detectors:

  • To be extra safe, install one both outside and inside all sleeping areas. Having at least two smoke detectors in your home makes it far less likely that both will be inoperative at the same time.
  • If your smoke alarms are wired into the home's electrical system (hard-wired), you will need to have a qualified electrician do the initial installation or install replacements.
  • For battery powered smoke alarms, all you will need for installation is a screw driver. Some brands are self-adhesive and will easily stick to the wall or ceiling.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer's installation instructions because there are differences between the various brands. Remember: Battery-powered smoke alarms typically require batteries to be replaced at least once per year. The whole unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
  • If your home's smoke detectors are powered by electricity, add at least one battery-powered detector in case of power outages.
  • Choose a smoke detector that's been approved by an independent laboratory.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly. Never disconnect the batteries.
  • Test your alarms while your children sleep to make sure they will wake them up. Sometimes the sound of a smoke alarm doesn't wake small children.
  • Change batteries at least once a year, whether the batteries seem weak or not. Listen for the detector's signal or beep that indicates a weak battery and change it immediately.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean your smoke detectors. Excessive dust, grease or other materials may cause them to operate improperly. Vacuum the detector's grillwork.
  • For more information on smoke alarms, please visit the USFA Web site at

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

What To Do When a Hurricane Approaches

- Monday, August 24, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Hurricane Preparation

When a hurricane approaches, keep your TV or radio on the weather channel to listen for important updates. And be prepared to evacuate with the right supplies in your emergency kit!

Remain calm and follow these steps when a hurricane approaches:

Listen to your radio for weather updates

Try to stay near a radio so you can have access to the latest weather updates. You'll need accurate information to help keep you and your family safe.

Get your home ready

Walk around the yard and pick up all loose objects, like lawn ornaments and lawn furniture. Place protection over your windows, and lower the TV and radio antennas if you can. If a flood threatens and you can't remove your belongings, elevate them; for example, place your TVs on tables.

Know the community's evacuation plan

Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts need to evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes. Evacuation plans vary. They depend on the area and the type of disaster. Check your local emergency management or civil defense office for information on what to do in your community. Notify friends or family members.

If you and your family are evacuating

If you're evacuating, carry pictures of family members with you in case you become separated. Make sure kids know family member names, addresses and phone numbers. Make sure each child has identification information, such as parent's name, address, contact name and phone number, with them. Decide on a pre-determined person to contact should you become separated.

Watch TV or listen to the radio

If your community has to evacuate, tune in to the television or radio for emergency information. You may have a day or two to evacuate, but that won't always be the case. That's why it's so important to be prepared!

Check your survival kit and emergency supplies

Make sure your survival kit is packed and ready to go. Check your emergency supplies against the list provided in our emergency checklist.

Last-minute individual items

Have each person prepare their backpack or tote bag of individual items.

Fill the gas tank in your car

Fill your car's gas tank and check the oil, water and tires. You'll need a full tank of gas in your car, but NEVER store additional gas in your home or shed. Remember, you may not be able to buy gas during an emergency. If you don't have a car, make other transportation arrangements with relatives, friends, neighbors or your local emergency management office.

When leaving the house

When you're ready to leave your home, unplug all appliances like your TV, VCR, computer, stereo and microwave. If you've been instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity. Finally, lock windows and doors.

Tips for New Drivers

- Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Becoming a new driver can make your teens feel like they’re on top of the world. Remind them to stay safe on the road by keeping their windshield clean, properly adjusting their seat and mirrors and following these other tips:

  • Follow the speed limit. I know, it's an obvious one. But when you go too fast, you have less time to stop or react. Speeding is one of the leading causes of teenage accidents. Another obvious and important reminder – always wear your seatbelt! According to the CDC, wearing a seat belt can lower the risk of death in car accidents by nearly 50%.
  • Make sure your seat is adjusted properly to your height. This is very important because if you can't see through your rear view mirror, it can affect your driving. A good way to tell if the mirror is in the right spot is if you can see the headlights of the car behind you. Also, make sure to adjust your door mirrors on the drivers and passenger side.
  • Keep that windshield clean. Keeping your car clean isn't just about style. In the morning and evening, light reflecting off a dirty windshield can temporarily blind you while you're driving.
  • Always check your blind spot. This is something I can't stress enough! Thoughtlessly changing lanes can lead to a dangerous situation, especially with smaller vehicles like motorcycles.
  • Use your turn signals. Whether you're turning or changing lanes, you need to give the car behind you enough time to react.
  • Be cautious for aggressive drivers. If you do encounter an angry driver, back off and give them space on the road. The best thing is to stay calm to avoid getting into an accident with this person, or another driver on the road.
  • Don't use cruise control in the rain or snow. Using this feature during heavy rain, snow or ice can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel, and off your cell phone! Texting and driving has become the number one distraction for teens and adults. A text isn't worth anyone's life, and each time you take your eyes off the road, you put yourself and others at risk. Another reason to keep your eyes on your phone – you will get a ticket! According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 47 states have banned text messaging for drivers. If you get caught, you may get slapped with a big fine, and get points on your driving record. A good way to avoid this is to keep your phone in a place that you can't reach while you're driving.

Thankfully, you can guide your teen to ensure their driving experience is as safe as possible with these helpful tips. From everyone here at Lallis & Higgins Insurance, good luck and safe driving!

Do College Students Need Renter's insurance?

- Monday, August 10, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Renters Insurance

When you're packing for college, you may be thinking more about clothes, gaming consoles or the perfect laptop than insurance. Whether you're heading to a campus dorm, renting a house or leasing an off-campus apartment, it's important to protect your possessions.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you're too poor to need coverage. Many students have personal items – such as electronics, furniture, sporting equipment and clothes – worth thousands of dollars. Plus, college parties are prime opportunities for trouble, including injuries to a guest or property damage to your place.

What renters insurance covers.

A common misconception about renting is that the property owner is obligated to reimburse you in the event of a catastrophe, such as a theft, fire or storm. As empathetic as your landlord may be, his or her insurance never covers you.

In other words, it's your problem if something valuable is stolen from your rental, or you return to discover your possessions destroyed by a fire. It's not a pretty picture – or an affordable one – especially for a college student.

Fortunately, renters insurance is a bargain for the protections you get in a basic policy:

  • Personal property. Protects the value of your belongings from a covered event anywhere in the world, such as damage from a natural disaster, loss or theft. Common exceptions include flooding and earthquakes.
  • Liability. Protects you against a claim or lawsuit if you accidentally hurt someone, or a visitor is injured in your rental.
  • Additional living expenses. Pays for temporary housing and meals if you can't live in your rental while covered damages are repaired.

How to know whether you need renters insurance at college.

Whether college students really need renters insurance depends on where they live and the protections extended to them under a parent's policy. If you attend college while living at home, you're generally covered by your parents' homeowners or renters insurance.

If you live in on-campus housing, such as a dorm or a school-owned property, your parents' home or renters insurance typically extends to you if you're listed as a dependent on their policy. However, both types of policies cap off-premises coverage.

However, if you're a student in an off-campus apartment or house, your parent's homeowners or renters insurance wouldn't cover the loss. You would need to have a policy in your name to cover losses or liability claims.

If a student lives off-campus with one or more roommates, they may be able to purchase renters insurance together. While sharing a policy can save money, there are downsides. One is that your roommate's claims go on your claims history record as well, which may cause you to pay more at renewal. Problems can also arise when a roommate moves out or doesn't pay her share of the premium.

How to shop for renters insurance.

You might be surprised that the average renters policy costs just $188 per year. That's a cheap financial safety net that no renter should go without.

Be sure you understand whether a policy offers cash value or replacement value for claims. The former reimburses you for the value of personal belongings at the time of a claim (the original value minus depreciation) and the latter gives you the full value.

Premiums for replacement coverage are higher than for cash value, but they may be worth it if you have a substantial claim.

To find the best policy talk to your current insurance provider. If you already have an auto, home or renters policy, find out whether your student can be covered and at what cost. An independent insurance agency will shop around for you and get quotes from several insurers. They'll also be sure to shop apples-to-apples by evaluating prices for policies that have the same benefits and coverage limits.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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