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Halloween Candy Treats: Better Safe Than Scary

- Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Halloween Candy Treats

Even though it’s not an official holiday, Halloween is much beloved by children and adults alike. What’s not fun about trick-or-treating, apple bobbing, or costume parties? Answer: foodborne illness, also called food poisoning.

To make sure treats are safe for children, follow these simple steps:

  • Snacking: Children shouldn’t snack on treats from their goody bags while they’re out trick-or-treating. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their loot before they eat any of it.
  • Safe Treats: Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
  • Food Allergies: If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow the child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received.
  • Choking Hazards: If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
  • Bobbing for Apples: This is an all-time favorite Halloween game. Here’s a way to say “boo” to bacteria that can cause food borne illness.
  • Reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.

If your idea of Halloween fun is a party at home, don’t forget these tips:

  • Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.
  • No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contains uncooked eggs.
  • Serving hot foods? Cook everything to a safe minimum internal temperature to ghost bust any foodborne illness bacteria.
  • Scare bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.
  • Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C)).


Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Snowmobile

- Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Snowmobile

So, you're ready for your first snowmobile? It's not easy watching your buddies post pictures and videos on Facebook of their latest trip out to the mountains and not develop a want to try it out yourself too. There are a lot of options out there for snowmobiles. Choosing the right one to be your first sled can be a little intimidating.

So how does one choose the right snowmobile? There are a few questions to ask yourself:

What type of riding will you be doing?

Will you be pulling your fish house out to the middle of the lake? Cruising through powder on your way up the mountain? Is your dream to become the next 509 sponsored rider like Brett Turcotte, Chris Burandt, Cody Borchers, Riley Suhan or Nadine Overwater? Or will you just be putzing around your yard (doing donuts!), pulling your kids on the sled, making trips to the corner store when you don't want to shovel out your truck? You want to find the snowmobile that will best fit the type of riding you intend to do.

For absolute beginners, there are snowmobiles called entry-level snowmobiles.

These are often called trail models. These snowmobiles come equipped with engines ranging from 60-70 horsepower, are easy to ride and relatively inexpensive. They can be equipped with electric start for easy starting, as well as electric reverse for better maneuverability. These snowmobiles are very light and easy to handle and serve as a great way to ease into snowmobiling.

Performance snowmobiles, like performance automobiles, feature slightly higher horsepower engines. The engines generate 85 horsepower and up. These vehicles are slightly heavier than the entry-level vehicles due to engine size differentiation and additional weight related to suspension systems, shock absorbers and more. These vehicles are often equipped with reverse gear and electric start, and are much more responsive and performance oriented.

Touring snowmobiles feature a seat configuration that is designed for up to two individuals, and some features a backrest for added comfort. Touring models usually include side-mounted mirrors, larger windshields, reverse gear and electric start. These vehicles are larger and heavier than both performance and entry-level snowmobiles and are designed for riding long distances in comfort. The track length of a touring vehicle is also greater. This longer track length cushions your ride, adds stability for two people and provides more comfort and weight.

Mountain snowmobiles, made specifically for mountain riding, tend to be longer and narrower. The vehicle configuration allows for riding hillside in mountainous terrain and through heavy powder. The vehicles have specially designed long lug tracks, which allow them to maneuver through heavy, deep powder conditions. These vehicles generally have high horsepower engines, since horsepower is lost at higher elevations. The riding characteristics of a mountain snowmobile generally lend it to better handling abilities in mountain riding over trail riding.

How much are you willing to spend?

This will determine if you buy new or used. Buying a new sled will ensure you have a warranty in case you run into any issues. Keep in mind that you will also need to budget for other expenses in addition to the sled itself (sled accessories, riding gear, permit, insurance, fuel, etc.).

Pre-owned Snowmobiles at Precision Boats in Idaho Falls

Newer isn’t always better. Sometimes having a sled that is broken in will make for an easier ride your first time. If you have concerns about purchasing a used snowmobile, please give us a call or stop by to ask questions. We will always make sure your sled is good to go and be here for when you run into a tree and need us to fix it! We have the best snowmobile repair mechanics in this area. All of our technicians ride their sleds on the weekend and will know the best and fastest way to get you back riding on your snowmobile.

If you're ready to take the dive and want to start fresh, Precision Boats stocks the newest and latest models by Arctic Cat. Check out the brand new 2019 editions of Arctic Cat Snowmobiles here.

Do you have your license and permit?

Every snowmobile state and province requires that your snowmobile be properly licensed or registered. Licensing information is available through your state snowmobile association and through your local state natural resource office or highway department. Licensing requirements for driving a snowmobile vary from state to state and that information is available from your state snowmobile association.

It is always recommended that first-time riders attend a safety class, and also review the Safe Riders website for snowmobile tips and instructions that highlight the importance of snowmobile training.


National School Bus Safety Week

- Monday, October 16, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - School Bus

Many students rely on school buses to get them to and from school safely.

Did You Know: School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.

If you are driving, remember these simple rules:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. You must stop your car and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving, before you can start driving again.
  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly in the morning or mid-afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal times. Be alert as you back out of a driveway, or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.

Parents - talk bus safety with your children:

Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Teach them to play it SAFE:

  • Stay at least ten feet — five giant steps — away from the curb.
  • Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals for you to board.
  • Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
  • Exit the bus after it stops and look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street.


Home Inflation

- Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Gas, food, rent- Like all else, there is no shortage of reasons your home insurance rates may have gone up, but the likely culprit in 2023 is the higher-than-average labor and construction costs due to inflation and expensive natural disasters. The same inflationary pressures that are driving up your grocery bill are now driving up your homeowner insurance rates as well. To put it simply; It is costing more and taking longer to repair your home, increasing the average cost per claim and ultimately the cost of homeowner’s insurance for everyone.

Inflation has reached its highest level in decades. Nationwide, the average cost of homeowner’s insurance has increased by 9% on top of a 12.6% increase in 2022. From worsening hurricane and wildfire seasons, the home insurance industry has experienced record-setting claim payouts and financial losses over the past few years. As a result, many insurance companies are increasing rates to pay for losses and to ensure they don’t go bankrupt after future climate disasters.

It isn't just homes at risk of hurricanes or wildfires that are paying more for insurance. As climate change continues to alter weather patterns all over the country, certain areas that insurers used to consider to be low risk are now viewed as the opposite, and homeowners in these areas may suddenly be seeing steep premium hikes as a result.

During this time especially, it’s important to know and understand the different factors that go into determining the cost of your insurance. Factors such as the age of your home, building material, square footage, coastal proximity, home security features and coverage limits, endorsements and discounts all play a contributing role.

As insurance agents, “Why did my homeowner’s insurance increase?” has been our most recently asked question. To help alleviate some of the premium increases we suggest the following:

  1. Increase your deductible.
  2. Install security devices.
  3. Take advantage of discounts you qualify for
  4. Avoid making small claims.

At Lallis & Higgins, we empathize and feel the pains of rising insurance costs - our families included. We want to help you understand the reasons behind rate increases, help you to save money whenever possible, while ensuring you are maintaining the proper coverage in the event of a claim. We are more than happy to review your homeowners’ coverage, discuss potential discounts and discuss any of your concerns. Working with Lallis & Higgins we promise to give you and your family the peace of mind that we can offer knowledgeable service, flexibility in our pricing and coverage, and are commited to helping the community.

We are honored to be your independent agent as well as maintaining your trust and support, especially during these times.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

- Wednesday, October 04, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Breast Cancer Awareness

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

If you have any signs or symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away.

What Is a Normal Breast?

No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age.

What Do Lumps in My Breast Mean?

Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. Two common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.

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