My Child Got Their Driving Permit – What Now?

 

Children grow up so fast. It seems like they just start to walk, and the next thing you know they’re getting their learners permit and ready to start driving. If you have a teenager who is just about to get their Massachusetts learner’s permit, here are a few steps that you should take to make it a smooth transition:

  • The first step that you should take when your child gets their permit is to call your insurance agent. They will help add your child to your Massachusetts auto insurance policy so that they are insured while they learn to drive.
  • It’s important to let your agent know if your child is a good student, and if they have completed a driver’s education course. Either (or both) of these criteria will help to lower your insurance premium.
  • If you want to further compensate for the cost of adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy, consider lowering your deductible. Ask your agent if this is the right choice for you.
  • While you are making changes to your insurance policies, consider adding an umbrella insurance policy to your portfolio. This coverage is very affordable, especially considering how much protection it provides. After all, teenagers are inexperienced drivers and are more likely to cause a major accident that would, without the proper umbrella insurance, potentially cause financial distress.

To talk to your Boston insurance agent about the new driver in your household, just call 617-298-0655. We can help you get them added to your auto insurance policy, and get you a free umbrella insurance quote to consider.

Is Your House Located in a Flood Plain?

It’s not always obvious that a house is in a flood plain. If you live near a river or oceanfront, you may think you’re safe based on how many buildings or hills there are between you and the water. Even if you can’t see the waterfront from your home, that doesn’t mean the water can’t get you. Agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance serving Dorchester, MA can help you find out if flood insurance is required, and if it is worth the purchase if not.

The federal government requires that homeowners who live in an area at high risk for flooding purchase flood insurance. Homes that are further away from the waterfront and lack the federal flood insurance requirement may still need flood insurance. Your mortgage lender may require that you purchase flood insurance, depending on the location of the house. Some may assume that flooding is covered by a home insurance policy, but this is not the case. It is also sometimes important to take research into your own hands to learn more about your geographical location.

For starters, you could look up how many floods have occurred in your area in a specific date range. On the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website, you can find a visualization tool that allows you to select your state and see how many times a flood has occurred in each county in recent years.

Ultimately, even if your house isn’t in a flood plain and flood insurance isn’t mandated on your home, the decision about purchasing a policy is up to you. Contact an agent at Vargas & Vargas Insurance if you live in the Dorchester, MA area, and they can offer you guidance on this important decision.

Business Auto Insurance Coverage Options

To find out if a business auto insurance policy is right for you, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance – your Boston insurance experts.

 

Does your business own or use automobiles? If you have a trailer, truck, or delivery vehicle to help you get your job done, you may need a Massachusetts commercial auto insurance policy in addition to your basic business insurance. To find out if a business auto insurance policy is right for you, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance – your Boston insurance experts. When you’re purchasing this coverage, your agent will help you determine if you need the following:

  • Collision Coverage – Pays for damage to covered automobile that is caused by a collision.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Pays for loss or damage of insured vehicle that is not caused by an accident.
  • Personal Injury Coverage – Pays medical expenses for employees and clients involved in an accident while riding in the covered vehicle. Will sometimes also cover funeral expenses, if necessary.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Helps pay costs associated with an accident with an uninsured or underinsured
  • Property Damage Liability Coverage – Pays damages for damage to the property of others, as well as court costs if you are sued.
  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – Pays damages got bodily injury to others, as well as court costs if you are sued.

In addition to these types of protection for vehicles owned by the business, we can offer Employers Non-Owned Car Liability Coverage for your business. This coverage is specifically designed for businesses whose employees drive their own vehicles for work purposes.

When you’re ready to talk about your commercial auto insurance needs, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can guide you through the process and get you a free, no-obligation quote that will satisfy the needs of you and your Massachusetts small business.

Don’t Believe These Auto Insurance Myths

 

Auto insurance policies can be confusing, and you shouldn’t believe all of the information that’s out there. Sometimes misinformation spreads, but Vargas and Vargas Insurance is here to help separate fact from fiction. Here are three common auto insurance myths, debunked:

Red cars cost more to insure – When you purchase auto coverage, insurance providers aren’t going to consider the color of your car when determining your premium. Instead, they will look at the car’s make, model, and year. Other bits of information will also be factored in, including the home location of the vehicle, and information about the driver(s) of the car.

I’m covered for theft, vandalism, fire, and flood – Just because you have a Massachusetts auto insurance policy doesn’t mean you are covered for every possible type of scenario that will damage your car. People who own their car aren’t required to have coverage for these situations, so talk to your insurance agent to make sure that you will be covered in all of these circumstances.

A friend borrowed my car and got into an accident, so he is responsible for the damage – Auto insurance covers a vehicle, not a driver. If your car is in an accident, it will be covered by your auto insurance. Also make sure that your insurance will allow others to use your vehicle before you lend it to anyone not listed on the policy.

People can say some crazy things about auto insurance. If you have any questions about your coverage, all you have to do to get answers is call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our Massachusetts insurance agents know what is true and what isn’t, and we will be happy to help you with your queries and concerns.

Going dark to recharge the batteries!

 

Summertime is quickly coming to an end.  I am going dark for a little while.

Kathy and I are headed out of town to refuel. Years ago, we started vacationing “on the shoulder” of seasons, due to the cost, less hustle, and bustle at popular vacation spots.

After many months of doing my best to encourage, inspire and serve, giving many presentations, coaching some amazing business people, and making many new friends, we are taking some time to refresh our batteries.

Doing good for others without doing good for yourself isn’t very good, is it?

This is why you will not be hearing from me for the next few weeks.

So I’m taking this time to regenerate, spend time with friends and loved ones, swim, golf, continue my quest to be better physically fit, read, reflect, and just be a human being versus a human doing. I’ve been at this for a long time (37 years) and hope to be around many, many more years. Vitality is essential for longevity, so I’m protecting mine.

I will also be using my “dark time” to reread some of my favorite books. Try to reshape my thinking, develop my philosophy, and reset my being, so I come back strong in early October so that I can serve you even better.

One of the books that I am re-reading is Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life. Here is a passage that I felt was worthy to share with you:

 

What did you enjoy reading this summer? Leave a reply below, I would LOVE to know.

Hope all this helps. After all, our world needs more heroes. Why wait for them when you have it in you to become one of them?

In my absence, please remember that Jeff Camara and the Vargas and Vargas Insurance team are always available to help you and your clients with insurance questions, quotes, and any problems you may encounter.  They can be reached by:

Telephone: 617-298-0655
Text: 617-409-0329
Quote team email: quotes@vargasinsurance.com
Service and claim team email: customerservice@vargasinsurance.com 

And know that you are loved! Now go out and have some awesome weeks!

It’s your turn (it’s always your turn)!

C

Four Tips for a Healthier Autumn

Temperatures are slowly dropping here in Massachusetts. As you prepare for the leaves to change (and eagerly await your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year) make sure that your focus stays on being at your best. One of the most important ways to stay at your peak is to stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy in the Fall months:

  1. Don’t Skip the Flu Shot: No one wants to get the flu, so prevent it with a flu shot (if you are eligible). Also do your best to avoid getting a cold by keeping your hands clean, among other preventative techniques.
  2. Embrace a Pumpkin Diet: In addition to being a great decorating item, pumpkins are a great food! They are high in vitamins A and C, and the seeds are a great healthy snack when roasted.
  3. Enjoy the Weather: Fall is the perfect time to get outside and exercise. Winter’s harsh cold will be here before you know it, so don’t squander this perfectly crisp and cool weather.
  4. Plan Ahead for Holidays: It’s never too early to start making plans for Thanksgiving. If you’re hosting friends and family, make sure that there are plenty of healthy options on the table.

For more great tips on how to be at your best, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. And remember, our agents are here to help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs – just call 617-298-0655 with your insurance questions, and let us know if you would like a quote!

Vacation Tips: Avoid Identity Theft

When a vacation is on the horizon, it’s important to make sure that you are fully prepared. This obviously means making sure that the packing is done, but don’t forget about some of the other tasks that should be on your checklist. These are specifically meant to protect you from the threat of identity theft – something you certainly don’t want to deal with… especially right after a vacation:

  • Don’t post about your vacation on social media. It’s easy to be so excited about an upcoming vacation that you want to share it with the world, but posting on Facebook or tweeting about when you will be out of town is an invitation to identity thieves.
  • Put a hold on your mail. This is much safer than letting it pile up in your mailbox or asking a neighbor to collect it for you.
  • Protect your electronics. If you don’t normally have a password or other lock on your devices, you may want to temporarily set one while you are away – this will make it harder for others to use your devices without your permission if you accidentally lose them in an unfamiliar place or leave them in a hotel room unattended.
  • Alert your bank to the fact that you’re going on vacation. If your bank knows that you’re travelling, they can reach out about potential suspicious activity. You can also choose to temporarily freeze certain accounts to prevent issues.

To further protect yourself before you go on vacation, talk to your Boston insurance agent about reevaluating your home insurance coverage. This will ensure that you are protected in case anything happens while you are away. The number for Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is 617-298-0655. Make sure that it is programmed into your phone before you leave in case of an emergency.

How to File a Life Insurance Claim

The death of a loved one is a stressful event, and the agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency want to make sure that you are able to navigate the process as easy as possible. If you are the beneficiary of the deceased’s life insurance policy, there are a few steps that you will need to take in order to submit a claim on their Massachusetts life insurance policy.

  1. Get several copies of the Death Certificate. Many financial institutions will need an official copy of the certificate in order to close accounts, and life insurance companies are no different.
  2. Call the insurance company. When you call, you will most likely need the following information: the insured person’s full name, date of birth, life insurance policy number (if known), and date and cause of death.
  3. Complete all necessary paperwork. Depending on the deceased’s insurance provider, you will probably need to fill out some paperwork in order to make a claim.
  4. Decide on the payout type. Some insurance providers only provide lump sum payouts for life insurance claims, but others will offer installments or annuities
  5. Wait for payout. Often, payouts will be sent soon after the insurance provider reviews and approves the claim. Ask your Massachusetts insurance agent the approximate timeline, and when you should expect to receive a check.

In this tough time, we hope to make the life insurance claim process as stress-free as possible. If you have any questions about your coverage, or about how much life insurance you should have as a benefit to your loved ones, just call 617-298-0655. One of our friendly and knowledgeable agents will be able to answer your questions or get you a free life insurance quote.

Everyone lives in a Flood Zone!

Hurricane season is upon us, and based on the devastation that Houston is going through (and with another hurricane on the way) this season may not turn out to be a walk in the park for homeowners and renters.

I am not sure if you are aware, but flood damage (and earthquake damage) are excluded under all homeowners, condominium, and renter’s insurance policies. If you are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are required to purchase flood insurance to satisfy your Mortgage Company or bank.  But there is a misconception that if you are not in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are not able to purchase flood insurance – that is incorrect.

Everyone who owns a home or condominium or rents an apartment is able to purchase flood insurance, and if you are NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you could receive a “preferred rate.”

As an example, the flood insurance policy that Kathy and I carry on our home costs us $1389 per year for $50K on contents and $50K on the building because we are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area. If we were NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area our rate would be around $499.00 per year for up to $250K on the building and $100K on contents, a big difference.

Here is the second misconception to flood insurance: many people think that they will purchase a flood policy when they need it or a hurricane is heading in their direction. It does not work this way, as there is a 30-day waiting period on all new flood insurance policies (unless you are purchasing the coverage for a closing or refinance).

Here are some statistics for homeowners:

1. In the past several years, 60% of all declared disasters involved flooding
2. 25% of all insurance claims paid by FEMA involved losses outside Federally Mandated Flood Hazard areas.
3. 51% of all homeowner insurance claims are related to weather or flooding

And it gets worse for business owners. Here are 3 statistics that every business owner should know:

1. Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a flood disaster.
2. Floods happen everywhere. 25% of all flood damage occurs in low to moderate flood risk areas. Business owners should not rely on a line of credit at their bank for protection.
3. Business insurance policies exclude flood damage. Only flood insurance pays qualified claims quickly so a business owner can get back to business

I strongly urge you to call Vargas & Vargas Insurance (your Lolocal independent insurance agent) and request a FREE flood insurance quote. Or click here.

If you are inclined to make a donation to help the wonderful people of Houston Texas, my mortgage friend, Richard Smith, recommends making a donation on this site, click here.

Thank you!

Carlos

Should You Stage Your “For Sale” Home?

When trying to sell your Massachusetts home, you know that it is important to do everything you can to entice buyers. One of the best things you can do to increase interest in your home is to stage it. Depending on the Boston real estate agent you work with, they may recommend staging your home right away, or waiting to see the initial interest to evaluate the need for professional staging services.

It is important to note the value in staging a home that’s for sale. In the 2017 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of Realtors, you can see facts that may convince you to stage your home from the outset of your sale, including:

  • 49% of buyers’ agents said that a staged home had an effect on their buyer’s view.
  • About one third of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered on the home. 50% of sellers’ agents said this increase was up to ten percent.
  • In addition, nearly 40% of sellers’ agents said that staging a home ‘greatly reduces’ the amount of time that the home is on the market.

If you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, contact Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a list of trusted Massachusetts real estate agents. We work with some of the best in the business, and we would be happy to help you chose the real estate agent that’s right for you. And remember to call us at 617-298-0655 for help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs.