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Flood Maps

- Monday, February 28, 2022
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - FEMA Flood Maps

Floods are unpredictable. Because flood risk is always changing, communities use tools to understand their risk and take actions to protect their families, homes and businesses.

Floods occur naturally and can happen almost anywhere. They may not even be near a body of water, although river and coastal flooding are two of the most common types. Heavy rains, poor drainage, and even nearby construction projects can put you at risk for flood damage.

Flood maps are one tool that communities use to know which areas have the highest risk of flooding. FEMA maintains and updates data through flood maps and risk assessments.

Flood maps show how likely it is for an area to flood. Any place with a 1% chance or higher chance of experiencing a flood each year is considered to have a high risk. Those areas have at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

Floods don’t follow city limits or property lines. Using a flood map, you can see the relationship between your property and the areas with the highest risk of flooding. There is no such thing as a “no-risk zone,” but some areas have a lower or moderate risk.

How to View and Obtain Flood Maps

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official online location to find all flood hazard mapping products created under the National Flood Insurance Program, including your community’s flood map.

Using Flood Maps

Flood maps help mortgage lenders determine insurance requirements and help communities develop strategies for reducing their risk. The mapping process helps you and your community understand your flood risk and make more informed decisions about how to reduce or manage your risk.

For information on flood insurance, contact Lallis and Higgins Insurance.

Home Inspection

- Monday, February 21, 2022
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Home Inspection

Whether you are a buyer or a seller- Inspections can be stressful. Knowing some of the issues a qualified home inspector will look for during a home inspection can help you in knowing what to expect. As a buyer- the home inspection is your last chance to uncover defects within the home, potentially getting the seller to pay for them- before sealing the deal. As a seller, you want to know what the inspector will look for so you can be prepared for their visit and help everything go as smoothly as possible. We were able to get some professional insight from John & Sheila Barber- Owners of Barber Home Inspections Inc to help the process go as smoothly as possible and make your dream home yours!

Home inspection tips

  • Tip #1: Remember that sellers are required to disclose known defects to the buyer in advance
  • Tip #2: Keep your home clean and clear of clutter.
  • Tip #3: Sellers should not attend the inspection so the buyer, agent, and inspector can speak freely
  • Tip #4: Pre-Sale inspections: Sellers should attend the home inspection so he/she can speak freely with the inspector to get their home ready before selling.


  • Rundown roofing
    Asphalt Shingle roofs last 15-20 years. If yours is nearing its end, don’t be surprised to see it come up in the inspection report. Things that may be noted are brittle, curled, or broken shingles, and any loose flashing or leaky spots. A severely neglected roof could cost thousands to replace.
  • Drainage issues
    Surface grading around a home can cause serious drainage issues and foundation damage. Improper grading can lead to leaky basements, causing mildew and other problems. It can also create spongy soil that causes foundations to shift.
  • Faulty foundation
    Foundation problems are a costly issue to fix. Signs of foundation issues include doors and windows that stick, cracks in walls above doorways, sloping floors.
  • Plumbing
    Damaged pipes, malfunctioning water heaters, and backed-up sewage systems are expensive to fix. Some types of plumbing pipes found in older homes, like polybutylene have been discontinued and are prone to failure.
  • Pest Infestations
    There is nothing that will send some homebuyers running quite like an infestation of pests, especially termites. Termites & other wood eating insects can cause significant structural damage if left untreated. A home inspector is trained to identify signs of termites; however, your buyer might also want to perform a separate Wood destroying inspect inspection
  • Mold
    Extensive mold infestations can be costly to remediate. But if you don’t detect musty odors in your home then you probably don’t have to worry. Mold is caused by excessive moisture and is usually a sign of a leak or drainage issue.
  • Heating systems
    A near-death furnace can turn off buyers due to the costly replacement cost. Other issues include non-working controls, blocked chimneys, damaged heat exchangers, and exhaust flues that are not up to code.
  • Electrical Wiring
    Home inspectors commonly encounter problems with electrical wiring such as reverse polarity, missing junction boxes, and damaged receptacles. Homes built between 1965 and 1973 may have inferior aluminum wiring, a concern home inspectors will also identify.
  • Structural damage
    Older homes are prone to structural issues such as sagging floor joists, rafters, and door headers. It may not be immediately apparent if a structural issue is major or minor, and many home inspectors will advise buyers to have the home inspected by an engineer if that is the case.
  • Poorly maintained condition
    While cosmetic issues like peeling paint and cracked caulk aren’t major problems on their own, an accumulation of small problems could be a big turn off for some buyers. Having numerous problems can signal to an inspector, and the buyer, that the home has been poorly maintained.


What happens if issues are found during the home inspection?

After the inspection report, a buyer has the option to back out of the contract without penalty. They can also renegotiate the sale price or request that the seller make specific repairs. Follow up with the professional recommended by your home inspector to assess.

Do I have to fix everything on a home inspection?

No. Sellers are generally not required to fix anything uncovered during inspection. But they have a strong incentive to consider making reasonable repairs because the buyer can back out.

Can I back out of buying a house after inspection?

Most real estate contracts today have an option period, during which buyers have a limited window of time to back out of a contract for any reason.

Who pays?

The buyer usually pays for the home inspection. However, on making an offer, some insist the seller pays. So that’s an item for negotiation.

It is important to note that no home is perfect. Every home inspection will identify issues with the property and the inspector will communicate the severity of the issues found. The home inspector's goal is to leave their clients with a deeper understanding of their prospective home, so the client can make a sound decision as they continue their home buying process.

We would like to refer your to John & Sheila Barber- Owners of Barber Home Inspections Inc. Barber Home Inspections Inc. has over 35 years of experience in residential building and remodeling specializing in quality home inspections- They are certified through the American Home Inspectors Institute and are in Weymouth, Ma and are available for all of your home inspection needs to ensure you have a smooth and positive experience!

Preparing to Move

- Monday, February 14, 2022
Lallis and Higgins Insurance - Preparing to Move

We want to make the moving experience as pain-free as possible, which is why we have gathered a to-do list of sorts to stay organized and stay sane! Wondering where to start? This should help. Let's start off by checking these items off the list. Change over utilities you will be responsible for in your new abode as soon as possible.

  • Acquire packing supplies so you can begin to stow away the items you may not need directly before or after the move. This includes sturdy moving boxes of different sizes, packing tape, labels, permanent marker, and bubble wrap. If you're not interested in forking over a ton of money for the boxes, check out your local retailers – they might be able to give you a deal on their used shipment boxes. Remember to stop by our blog again next week so you don't struggle bus through the rest of the packing process.
  • Notify important parties like banks, credit card companies, insurance providers, and magazine and newspaper services of your impending move so you don't end up without any money, insurance, or entertainment. Foremost offers its' customers a stress-free way to navigate updating your insurance policy – just call your independent agent, let them know you're moving, and they'll take care of the rest.
  • Set up mail forwarding with your post office. Hopefully, most of the mail will be relocated to your new place, but consider contacting a close neighbor to look out for those stragglers after you've moved.
  • Sort and purge the different rooms in your house and decide what you'd like to keep and what you're willing to get rid of. While going through this process, also consider whether any items will require special packaging or extra insurance coverage – that piano isn't gonna go as easily as your placemats might.
  • Organize school records for any children if you're planning a move out of your current school district. Visit the schools and arrange for your children's records to be transferred to their new school district.
  • Take measurements of your new home so you know if that piece of furniture will fit through the door or in your living room.
  • Highly consider requesting time off from work so you can be fully involved on moving day. Having the option to supervise the move, whether it be movers or family-friends, is very important and keeps everyone accountable for what goes on.
  • Empty, clean, and defrost the freezer at least 24 hours in advance if you plan on taking your refrigerator with you. This will give your fridge the time to get rid of that moisture and prevent a waterfall when people try to move it.


6 Reasons Not to Skip Renters Insurance

- Monday, February 07, 2022
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Renters insurance covers more than just the stuff in your apartment.

Could you afford to replace your entire wardrobe if your apartment caught fire? What about your phone, your laptop and all your furniture? If the answer is no, you probably need renters insurance .

And the coverage may cost less than you expect — in fact, some tenants could pay next to nothing. Find out why you may want renters insurance and how affordable it can be.

1. Your landlord’s insurance won’t cover you

Some landlords require their tenants to have renters insurance, but if yours doesn’t, it’s not because they’ve got you covered. Many renters believe that, since their landlord has insurance, it covers damage to their property. This is not the case.

Landlord insurance covers the structure of the building but not tenants’ personal belongings. If your TV is stolen or your dishes are lost in a kitchen fire, your landlord’s insurance won’t pay to replace them — but a renters policy probably will.

A landlord’s policy is also unlikely to help if you accidentally damage a neighboring apartment. “If you [let] your bathtub or sink flood out the apartment below you, the landlord’s not going to cover that,” says Jeff Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage Co. in New York City. “You can be sued for … causing damage to the apartment below you.”

A standard renters insurance policy includes liability coverage starting at $100,000, which can pay damages and legal expenses if you’re sued for accidentally injuring someone else or damaging their property.

2. You probably own more than you think

One reason why people avoid renter's insurance is the thought, ‘I don't have anything valuable worth protecting. But you might be surprised.

Open each drawer and closet in your home to take an inventory of your belongings. Once you start tallying up the value of each item — electronics, jackets, shoes and so forth — you’ll probably find that it would cost a lot more than you expected to replace everything.

3. Renters insurance can pay for housing after a disaster

Most policies provide what’s called a ‘loss of use’ or ‘additional living expense’ benefit. It pays you if you are forced out of your apartment by a major claim — usually fire or extensive water damage — and you have to stay in a hotel.

Loss of use coverage can also pay for restaurant meals or other expenses associated with living away from home while it’s being repaired.

4. It can protect your finances

Maybe you’re saving for a down payment on a house, or you’ve worked hard to get out of debt and build an emergency fund. The last thing you need is a lawsuit wiping out everything you have.

This coverage can also come in handy if your dog bites someone at the park, your child breaks a valuable heirloom at a friend’s house or a guest slips and falls inside your apartment.

5. It covers belongings away from home

Many renters policies provide some coverage for your stuff even when it’s not at home. “If your laptop was swiped at the neighborhood cafe, or your phone stolen on the subway, your policy could cover you,” Wissner-Levy said. (Keep in mind that it would make sense to file a claim only if the lost item were worth more than your deductible.)

You may also have coverage for items in a storage unit.

6. The cost may be less than you expect

One common reason to avoid renters insurance is the cost. A lot of people are not looking for added expenses these days.

The average cost of renters insurance is $168 a year, or about $14 a month, according to NerdWallet’s rate analysis. But if you have a car, you could pay less by bundling your renters policy with your auto insurance, thanks to multipolicy discounts offered by many carriers.

For example, a 5% bundling discount on a $3,000 auto policy would be $150, which would nearly pay for the average renters policy premium.

You may also be eligible for discounts if your apartment has smoke detectors, burglar alarms or other safety and security devices.

If the worst happens, you’ll likely be glad you paid for the coverage. Renters insurance is the best defense against things in life you have no control over. Once covered, most people see the benefits.

What happens if you don’t have renters insurance?

If you’re lucky, nothing — you’ll save about $15 a month and be no worse for wear. But without renters insurance, you’ll be on the hook financially if something bad does happen. You won’t have coverage if someone breaks into your home and steals your stuff, for example, or if your apartment building burns down, or if someone sues you after your dog bites them. Some renters are willing to take this risk. For others, renters insurance provides peace of mind for a relatively small price.

How much renters insurance do I need?

Look around at everything you own — furniture, clothing, electronics, kitchen gadgets — and estimate how much it would cost to replace all of it. Then round up to the nearest $10,000: That’s the minimum amount you should have for personal property coverage. For your liability limit, we recommend having at least enough to cover your net worth.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

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