What Is Liability Coverage, and Why Do You Need It?

When talking about insurance, there are many ‘buzzwords’ used that many people don’t know the meaning of. One example of this type of term is ‘liability’ – many policies have liability protection built in, but do you know precisely what it is that this type of coverage protects you from?

This is a quick guide on Massachusetts liability insurance, including the definition of the coverage, explanations of the liability coverage you probably already have as a part of your current insurance products, and an easy way to get added liability protection.

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is the critical coverage that offers financial protection if you are sued or held legally liable for damages to another person, such as property damage, injury or negligence.

Let’s face it; we live in a litigious society where getting sued is more a right of passage than something that will never happen to you. What’s more is that being involved in a lawsuit is expensive. No one wants to have an unexpected outlay of that much cash, thankfully that’s what insurance is for! Liability protection will ensure that being involved in a lawsuit doesn’t ruin your financial future.

Depending on the details of your policy, liability insurance will often cover legal costs, and will also cover restitution including damages and/or the injured party’s medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, or death benefits.

Home Insurance and Renter’s Insurance Liability Coverage

When thinking of the coverage offered by a renter’s or home insurance policy, most people will immediately jump to coverage offered to fix things that are broken or damaged – but that’s not all that these policies include!

Home and Renter’s insurance often also includes liability coverage to protect against injury and damage to others in your home for which you are held liable. For example, this usually includes situations where someone falls or otherwise injures themselves on your property.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance Liability Coverage

Most states (including Massachusetts) require that a driver have a certain minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. This is to ensure that you will be covered if you are involved in an accident.

In Massachusetts, there are four required types of coverage when purchasing auto insurance:

  • Bodily Injury to others: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $8,000 per person, per accident
  • Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to Someone Else’s Property: $5,000 per accident

Some of this coverage is to ensure that you are able to cover medical bills and property damage to another party if they are involved in an accident that is legally deemed to be ‘your fault.’ While we certainly never plan to be involved in an accident, it’s impossible to know when one will occur. More so, we don’t know whether our next accident will be a small fender bender or something more serious – that’s why the agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency often recommend that you carry more auto insurance protection than what is required by the state of Massachusetts.

Commercial Liability Insurance in Massachusetts

Businesses have a lot of moving parts. Whether you own a big or small business in Massachusetts, there is a potential that you will be held liable for damages by an employee, or even a customer. Thankfully, your business insurance will have built-in liability coverage for these situations as a part of your business insurance policy.

When speaking to your commercial insurance agent, make sure to ask about additional types of liability protection that your business may need, including EPLI, Product Liability Insurance, Indemnity Insurance, Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance, Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance, Cyber Liability and Data Breach, and more.

Get Umbrella Coverage for “Above and Beyond” Protection

So, how much liability protection do you need? There is no right answer, but the expert insurance agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency agree: there’s no such thing as too much liability coverage. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to get this protection without increasing the coverage on each of your policies: get an umbrella insurance policy.

As discussed above, most policies have a liability component. The truth is that these are limited by the dollar amount set in the policy. Thankfully, umbrella insurance offers extra coverage that is very affordable. It offers a liability ‘umbrella’ on top of all of your existing policies. This means that if your costs or damages go above the original insurance policy’s limit, your umbrella coverage will kick in and ensure that you have added protection. This type of policy is available for both individuals and businesses, and the added protection is well worth the cost.

To talk to an experienced Massachusetts insurance agent about your liability protection, and to find out about our great deals on umbrella insurance policies, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can get you a free umbrella insurance quote, or let you know where your liability coverage could use a little padding to ensure that your family or business is financially secure.

We Are All Here For A Reason

I like to start most posts with some positive words:

Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose; you are alive for a reason. Never give up!
-Unknown

If you met me during my school years, you would not recognize me today.

Here’s my story, our family emigrated to the US in 1968, I went to school, watched my siblings while my parents worked (sometimes two jobs each). They put food on the table, purchased a home, and kept us as comfortable as possible in order to live the American dream.

In school, English was my second language. In fact, when we arrived in the US I spoke no English and was placed in a second-grade class, despite being eight years old. As I progressed through public school, I messed up a lot. I was placed in the work-study program in High School for students who were feared that they would not graduate. I did the things that youth do thinking that they would live forever. I started working at 13 years old (I lied about my age) and have been working ever since.  I tried community college at night and failed, but, frankly, school was not for me. I came to find out many years later that I have a nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD); you may remember me sharing that with you earlier this year.

I met #TheMan  (click here to see photo) when I met him I was 20 years old and working two jobs. He recruited me into the world of Prudential Insurance, trained me, and taught me to have empathy and make a difference in the life of every person that I met.  He taught me how to prospect and connect in a deeply meaningful way with everyone that I came across who needed or may one day need my services.  He is my second father, and I am blessed to have him as my mentor to this date!

I met my wife Kathy in 1980. She worked at the same Prudential office that I did in Braintree, MA.  we got married in 1983. We (she) raised two sons, I was rarely home as we had decided that she would be an at home mom and I would hunker down and do what needed to be done to make a good living for our young family. Both of our sons are college graduates and are now married, working, and on their own. (click here to see photo)

“Someone needs to pay the price, whether the family pays the price and has a modest lifestyle or one Parent works the extended hours and pays the price to give the family the best life possible.” – #TheMan (Vasco Rodrigues)

I was the 4th child born to my parents, but the first to survive. I have a sister who owns her own insurance agency and two brothers who are co-owners of our agency.

I have always taken great pride in the Vargas and Faria (my mother’s maiden name) names but they took on a special significance recently.

I stopped by to see my oldest living aunt the other day, Aunt Rosa, (click here to see a photo) and as she always does, she brought out the photo albums and starts explaining to me our family history and where we came from (after all, someone needs to keep the mental records for the family, she does this with everyone who visits) we came from a small village on the island of Faial in the Azores.

Of course, my father never talked about his life in the Azores to me or anyone else. After we emigrated to the US, my father never had any interest in ever going back to visit the country of his birth. My mother, on the other hand, had great memories of her youth with friends and cousins. I was able to meet some of them when we visited Faial together on numerous occasions over the years.

I came to the realization while sitting with my aunt that my father and mother came from the same exact place, experienced the same schools and the same ups and downs, had the same wants, but my father never forgot the bad stuff that he experienced, while my mother tried to only remember the good in her life when living in Faial.

I know I am here for a reason. I know that you are here for a reason. We are not accidents. The fact that you are reading this is not an accident. We have a purpose and there is a plan for our lives.

As the people who came before us made our lives possible, we have the opportunity to make the best possible life for others. Let’s use this gift of life we have been given and make a positive impact on everyone we meet!

My mother always told me I was going to do something special (she told all of her children this) and somehow through all the difficult times in our lives I heard her words and believed them. She gave me the greatest gift an adult can give a child. She believed in me. She called out the best in me and I think of her all the time, and always try to look at the “good side” of things. (click here to see photo)

And in case no one has told you recently, I want you to know that you are special. You are here to do something meaningful, and I believe in you.

You are meant to make a difference. You can start today.

Carlos

How to Spend Less at the Grocery Store

Did you know that an average family of four spends between $200 and $250 at the grocery store each week? The dollars spent feeding your family are important… after all, nutrition is key to a long, healthy life. But what if you could get the same results by spending less? If you want to reduce your grocery bill, try integrating one (or all) of these tips into your next shopping foray:

  • The more you can plan ahead for your shopping trip, the less room there will be in your cart for impulse purchases. Plan your family’s meals ahead of time, and you will know exactly what you need to buy before you even leave your home. You can even search out budget-friendly recipes!
  • Learn to compare unit prices. Sometimes, you can save money in the long run buy buying a larger size product – just make sure that buying the larger product won’t increase your consumption, and that you aren’t buying more than you need just to save per ounce or per piece.
  • Clipping coupons used to be the most popular way to save money at the store. It’s still a great option, but there’s an app (actually, several) for that. If you can use a smartphone, you can use great apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 to save at the store. Again, just make sure that you don’t get lured into buying items that you don’t need.

Want to save even more? Let Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency do your insurance shopping for you! We will review your insurance needs and find the perfect policy for you, ensuring that it has both the right coverage and the right price point! Call 617-298-0655 to find out if we can save you money today.

The “Levels” of Valentine’s Day Relationships

Every February, we celebrate Valentine’s Day in a flurry of red roses and chocolates. Largely considered the holiday of romantic love, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show your love to your significant other. How you do this will depend quite a bit on how long you’ve been together. So, which level of Valentine’s Day are you in this year?

  1. Newly Dating – There is nothing quite as exciting (or nerve-wracking) as a first Valentine’s Day with someone. Focus on getting a thoughtful gift that’s not too over the top.
  2. Getting Serious – If this isn’t your first rodeo with your beau, you probably have a better idea of what they like. This makes picking out a gift (or a restaurant) much easier.
  3. Committed – If Valentine’s Day is old hat to you and your significant other, you may want to get out of the rut. Instead of dinner and roses and chocolates, try a weekend getaway (or even just a staycation while the kids visit their grandparents).

Just remember that there is no ‘right way’ to celebrate. Whether you buy lavish presents or opt for a quiet night at home, the important part is to show your partner how much you care.

And don’t forget – as your relationship evolves, so should your insurance policies. When you get engaged, you need to make sure to insure the ring, and getting married is the perfect life event to spur a life insurance investment. Through all of your stages of relationships and life, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to help. If you ever have an insurance question, just call us at 617-298-0655 – we are always here for you.

Saving for a Home Down Payment

Home ownership is the American dream. Many people know that they want to own a home one day, but don’t have a concrete strategy to one day become a homeowner. If you’re one of those people with a goal of buying a home, here are a few tips that you can use to turn your lofty goal into a reality:

  • Determine Your Needs: Calculate your savings goal by finding out the average cost of a home similar to one you would like to buy and figuring a down payment of 15-20%.
  • Consider Investing: If it’s going to be a while before you need your down payment, grow the money you have saved by investing it in a diversified portfolio.
  • Make Budgeting Decisions: The less you spend, the more you can save. Make some sacrifices now in order to put more into your down payment fund – all those little savings will add up!
  • Consider Using Your IRA: For any other expense, tapping into your traditional or Roth IRA is a no-no, but you may be able to take money out of these accounts tax-free for use as a down payment.
  • Put “Found Money” to Work: Whenever extra money comes your way (whether it’s from a weekend job or a birthday gift) put some or all of it toward your future home.

And when it’s finally time to use your down payment and buy your home, remember that Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to help you with your homeowner’s insurance policy. Just call 617-298-0655 for a free, no-obligation quote.

Tips for Meeting Your Neighbors

Whether you’re moving within the city, or are a new Boston-ite, settling into a new home can be exhausting. Getting settled in amongst half-unpacked boxes is no one’s cup of tea, but there is always the chance to unwind and be social by meeting your neighbors. If you have trouble with getting to know people, here are a few tips on how to meet your new neighbors.

  • Spend time outside. If you’re cloistered in your home, it’s hard to meet new people. Do some yardwork, take a walk, or go to a local park with your kids (or a dog park with your fur babies). Start introducing yourself!
  • Take a gift. You don’t have to wait for your neighbors to initiate a housewarming gift. Take over a plate of cookies or a bottle of wine and use it as a way to make others’ acquaintance.
  • Throw a party. You don’t have to have a fancy soiree, just invite the people on your street over for finger foods and drinks – you’re sure to make lots of new friends!

Once you know some of your new neighbors, consider swapping contact information with them. It’s always nice to have someone nearby that’s willing to keep an eye on your home while you’re on vacation or a source of help if you’re ever laid up and could use someone to pick up a prescription or a few groceries for you.

Boston is a very friendly place, so getting to know your neighbors should be easy and fun. And don’t forget to tell them about the great deal that Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency got you on home insurance for your new place! Invite them to call us at 617-298-0655 and have them mention your name!

February 2018 Newsletter


Happy February!
I thought that I would start this month’s message with a positive message:

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” 

-Hal Borland
It’s been a rough winter for many of us! With all of the really cold weather, there have been many claims around frozen pipes, check out our blog below on what to do to prevent pipe freeze-ups and Ice Dams.
Check out the story behind Saint Valentines Day, Click here to read more.
February marks the beginning of Black History Month. Each year Americans set aside this month to focus their historical hindsight on the contributions that people of African descent have made to this country.  Wmust celebrate ourselves and do it loudly.  No matter the shape, size, hue or ability, all of our stories matter and they deserve to be told through our lens. I recently read this article on the Queens of Black History Month, that I found very interesting, Click here to read it.
Life Insurance is LOVE Insurance, which makes February and Valentines Day a perfect time to remind you of the need for Life Insurance.  The majority of Americans would have trouble paying for living expenses immediately or shortly after the primary wage earner in the house dies.  Please click here to read more on how much life insurance you should carry. Have questions? Please click here and we will contact you to review your questions and your current life insurance.
I recently had the pleasure of cooking with guest chef Adelina Armas of International Food Gourmet in Brockton. Adelina shows Sharon and me how to make chicken breasts stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella and spinach., Click here check out the latest “Get Fresh” cooking show below.

Click here to watch the video.

There are lots of great things to do in and around the Boston area this month, please find some fun family things to do below.

Carlos

PPS, What I learned today, “Which zodiac signs are a love match “ Click here 

 

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Prequalification vs. Preapproval: What’s the Difference?

When you’re looking to purchase a home, there are many steps that you need to take. One of the most important is meeting with a lender to discuss how much they are willing to give you for your home. Depending on who you talk to, this will usually be called ‘prequalification’ or ‘preapproval.’

You may be wondering what the difference is between the two terms is, and thankfully the answer is easy: they are practically the same thing. There are some distinctions (for example, preapproval is typically a more involved and sometimes requires you to pay an application fee), but you can consider the terms synonymous. The important part is that your prequalification or preapproval is a letter from your lender that states how much they are willing to lend you for your mortgage, with certain stipulations. It’s also important to note that these are not guaranteed loan offers.

The amount indicated in your preapproval letter will be a key point in determining the houses that you are able to afford, so do your best to maximize your preapproval amount. There are a few things that you can do to increase the amount lenders are willing to give you. One of the most important things that you should do is to make sure that your credit score is as high as possible. Read more on the “lingo” in the home buying process here.

Once you’ve found your next home, make sure that you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to get a Massachusetts home insurance quote. We will work with you to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected with a great home insurance policy.

Super Bowl Party Hosting Tips

Well, our boys have done it again – the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl! Last year, over 110 million people tuned in to see the Patriots beat the Falcons in an exciting, down-to-the-wire match, and viewership numbers for the match on Sunday are expected to be similar. Will you be watching the game? If you’re hosting some friends for a viewing party, make sure that you consider using a few of our last-minute football party tips:

  • Food is a staple of any party. Pick out appetizers that can be eaten without utensils, and prioritize recipes that can be prepared the morning (or even the day) before the game. Make sure to find out if any of your guests have food allergies so that you can let them know what’s safe for them to eat.
  • Planning to have children at your party? If they want to be like all the ‘grown ups’ and watch the game, make it more fun by making your own Super Bowl Bingo cards. If there are going to be kids around, also ensure that you keep alcohol in a safe area, and that small children aren’t allowed in the kitchen during food preparation.
  • Make the game a little more exciting by having contests (with prizes, of course). Picking the winning team and final score are a good place to start, but you can even take it a step further and use some of these prop bets as inspiration!

Before you host any party in your home, it’s always a good idea to call your Massachusetts home insurance agent to make sure that you have the right amount of coverage to protect your property, yourself, and your guests. The call will only take a few short minutes, and it is well worth the peace of mind so that you can focus your energy on cheering during the game!

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Weather-Related Damage?

Renters’ insurance is an important protection to have, even if you feel that you don’t need it! The coverage provided by renters’ insurance can vary from policy to policy, and it is important that clients thoroughly review what is and is not covered by their renters’ insurance. Renters are often surprised to learn that their apartment and belongings are not included in the coverage provided by their landlord’s policy.

Your Landlord’s Policy

Landlords, typically, only cover the actual building from damage, and it is likely that damage to your belongings will not be covered by the building owner’s coverage that will pay to replace or repair a leaky roof. However, most renters’ policies will reimburse you for the cost of having to temporarily relocate from an uninhabitable residence that has sustained covered damage. The agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are here to help determine the coverage you need to protect yourself from damage to your rental unit in the greater Dorchester, MA area.

Weather Incidents

Weather-related damage can be caused by excessive wind, hail, lightning strikes, and other acts of nature. There are ways to protect your rental home or apartment, and your belongings, should you suffer a loss due to the weather. It may be necessary to purchase additional coverage if your renter’s policy does not provide adequate protection, and the professional agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are here to help you through the process.

If you are in need of comprehensive renter’s insurance that includes protection from weather-related damage, please call us today, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients in the greater Dorchester, MA area.