4 Winter Home Protection Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

father and son sitting in front of a fire during winter after following this winter home protection tips

With your pumpkins carved and visions of the holiday season on your mind, you know winter is right around the corner. This makes it a great time to get your home ready for the upcoming colder months. Here are a few winter home protection tips to get your home ready for the winter. 

1. Clean the Chimney

According to Bob Vila, a home improvement expert, there are more than 25,000 home fires each year that start in the chimney, costing around $125 million in property damage. Cleaning your chimney should top your list so that you’re ready to build a fire on the first cold night. 

2. HVAC Service

You want your home’s heating system to be in tip-top shape when the cold arrives. HVAC service saves you money by changing the air filter, calibrating the thermostat, and identifying small repairs before they become big problems. 

3. Replace Batteries in Fire Alarms and Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

With colder weather and shorter days, your family spends more time indoors. There is an average of 346,800 house fires each year. You want to keep your family safe, so it’s a great time to replace the batteries in fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also replace damaged ones or install them in areas that don’t have coverage. 

Pro Tip:

Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider. You might get a discount for installing additional smoke alarms. 

4. Trim Tree Limbs

Your trees grew during the spring and summer, and you might have tree limbs overhanging your roof. It’s time to trim those limbs before winter storms and ice cause them to fall on your roof or damage your home in some other way. 

Once you’ve finished with these winter home protection tips, it’s also a great time to review your homeowner’s insurance to ensure you have the best coverage and pricing. Vargas & Vargas Insurance is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies. We work for our clients and not the insurance company.  We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price, and we’re here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

Moving? Here’s What You Should Do With Your Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is an affordable and simple way to protect your personal property while you are renting. Most plans cost well under $20/month for thousands of dollars in coverage.

So, why would you let this coverage lapse when you are planning a move? Don’t do it! There is a much better way to handle your current renter’s insurance policy. Let Vargas & Vargas Insurance handle your renter’s insurance policy, and we’ll make it easy to switch your address from one location to the other, in Dorchester, MA.

Reevaluate Your Coverage

Most landlords will require their tenants to keep a renter’s insurance policy that covers $100k in property damage. Some of these policies include your personal property, some do not. Check your policy notice for more information. If your policy does not cover your personal property and you have decided you want that coverage, it is easy to reevaluate your needs and weigh them against affordability and practicality.

You can receive assistance with choosing a new, or expanded, renter’s insurance policy by giving the team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance a call. We are a trusted insurance broker in Dorchester, MA, and have been pouring our insurance solutions into clients for many years.

Switch Your Coverage from One Address to Another

If you are satisfied with your current coverage and insurance policy, an easy step as part of the moving process is to just switch addresses! It’s as simple as giving your friendly agent at Vargas & Vargas Insurance a call.

In order to allow time for the address change to go through, it is ideal to speak with your agent several weeks in advance of the move. Be prepared to give a new address and a start date for coverage on your new home. From there, you can receive a confirmation of your renter’s insurance policy to present to your new landlord!

Does My Home Insurance Cover a Flooded Basement?

Happy homeowner with coverage in the event of a flooded basement

Your home is a haven for you and your family. When floods happen, the last thing you want to hear is that your flooded basement isn’t covered. At such a time, safety and getting help are your priorities. 

What many homeowners do not know is that having a home insurance policy is crucial. On the other hand, even those with home insurance aren’t always aware if it covers flooding and to what extent they will be compensated in case of such an event.

To understand how insurance works and know if your policy covers flooding, our professionals at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are on standby to simplify the process for you. We listen, advise, and guide you in making an informed choice.

What Is Flood Insurance, and Do Insurers Provide a Flood Policy Cover?

Flood insurance is any policy that covers your home, electronics, and other important belongings from losses occasioned by flooding. Generally, it comes as a separate cover due to the high risk involved. But it may vary from company to company. 

New developments in the mortgage industry within Massachusetts require lenders to ask for flood insurance, and several insurers have developed appropriate packages for homeowners. These new developments point to a higher risk of flooding, and the lenders want to protect their investments. On the other hand, taking the cover as a homeowner puts you at ease if flooding happens.

Why Flood Insurance Is Necessary

Generally, home insurance covers you from any damage that may occur. The different policies have several aspects that detail what is covered and to what extent. Flood insurance is a specific home insurance cover that will cover you when flooding happens, including if you have a flooded basement.

To choose the ideal policy, it is a good practice to seek help. Work with a trusted agent who will help you go through the policies, terms, and conditions, among other things. This will help you determine if the insurer and their package fit you or if your home is covered in case of flooding. 

Parting Shot

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies. We work for our clients and not the insurance company.  We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price. Our team is here to answer all of your insurance questions, so contact us today.

How to Insure a Vintage Motorcycle

If you own a motorcycle that is over 20 years old, your bike may be considered vintage. These motorcycles may be incredibly valuable, but they can also be more expensive to repair. You want to make sure that you have the right insurance coverage for your most valuable items.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance, which serves Dorchester, MA, understand that vintage motorcycle insurance can be tricky to navigate. Some additional information can help you make the right decision.

You Need a Standard Policy

The first thing you need to do is ensure that you are meeting Massachusetts’s requirements for vehicle liability insurance. Even antique or vintage bikes that you use are subject to these requirements. Even if you only ride your bike on the weekends, you will need to ensure you have enough liability coverage for any damage you are responsible for.

Consider Comprehensive Coverage

If you have a vintage motorcycle, you are wise to have comprehensive coverage to provide coverage for your bike when it is not in motion. Some insurance companies offer special coverage for vintage motorcycles at shows and other events, for instance.

Ask About Collision Coverage

Whether you regularly ride your vintage bike or drive it to shows, you should consider collision coverage. This coverage is intended to provide for the costs to replace or repair your bike if you are in an accident.

Get More Information About Vintage Motorcycle Insurance

Do you want to get the most out of your vintage motorcycle? Insurance can help you protect your bike, even when you are not riding or showing it. If you live in Dorchester, MA, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance to learn more about your options.

How to Choose Your Car Insurance Deductible

Smiling couple in a new car

Your car insurance deductible plays a significant role in your price for auto insurance. But insurance is complicated, and many people don’t fully understand what a deductible is or why it matters.

Today we’ll explain car insurance deductibles with the first-time car owner in mind. Let’s get a few basic insurance concepts out of the way.

Massachusetts Car Insurance Basics

To register a car in Massachusetts, you must insure it with liability coverage. This protects other people — and their property — from damage you might cause by driving the vehicle.

But the state liability minimums don’t include any coverage for your property or your vehicle. For that protection, you will need “full coverage,” or a package that includes both comprehensive and collision coverages.

  • Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle in a crash.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays for things like vehicle theft.

When an accident does happen, your full coverage auto policy will help pay to repair the car. But you’ll be responsible for paying a deductible, too.

What Is a Car Insurance Deductible?

Deductibles are considered a type of co-insurance. They are a pre-set dollar amount that the car owner agrees to pay first, should an accident happen.

For instance, let’s imagine you have a $1,000 deductible on your auto insurance policy. During a brutal New England snowstorm, your vehicle slides on some black ice and crashes into a center divider on the highway. Thankfully, everyone is wearing a seatbelt. No one is injured, and no other cars are involved.

You take your car to the shop, and it will need about $5,000 of work. With a $1,000 deductible, it is your responsibility to pay the first $1,000. Your insurer pays the remaining $4,000. 

  • Deductible amounts can range anywhere from $50 to $5,000.
  • But $500 or $1,000 are probably the most common amounts. 

If you have a high deductible — like $5,000 — then you’ll have a lower monthly insurance payment. However, you must keep $5,000 on hand at all times to pay for repairs yourself. And don’t forget that your lienholder — the bank, if you make a car payment — might require a deductible of $1,000 or less on your insurance. 

Learn More With Us

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is proud to be your local independent insurance agency. We work for our customers, not the insurance companies. Contact us today to customize your car insurance coverage and learn more about car insurance deductibles.

It’s Time to Update Your Life Insurance Policy

woman at home updating her life insurance policy during the fall

The winter holidays are just around the corner. Autumn is a great time to check on your life insurance policy. Suppose you need to update billing or beneficiary information, or you want to increase or decrease coverage. Handle your insurance maintenance now before getting busy with holiday cheer. The professional team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. 

COVID-19 Caused Changes in Life Insurance for Massachusetts Residents

As reported by the Patriot Ledger, the pandemic led to business closures, layoffs, and furloughs for many MA residents, particularly in the service and hospitality industries. If you were forced to find new employment, you lost your company-sponsored benefits. If those perks included life insurance, it’s time to buy a new policy — especially if you’ve purchased or sold a home. 

The Massachusetts Real Estate Market Exploded in 2021

Thanks to the “white-hot” Massachusetts real estate boom of 2021, there’s a good chance you’ve bought or sold a home. You can learn more about homeowner’s insurance in another article, too.

If you bought a home in 2021, it’s time to:

  • Buy a term life policy to protect your spouse or partner and pay the mortgage if tragedy strikes.
  • Buy a whole life insurance policy that will build a cash value in a few years (you can borrow those funds later for emergency home repairs)

If you downsized in 2021, it would be a great time to put some extra funds in an annuity. Then you can safeguard it for retirement. 

Finally, even if you’re not interested in buying a life insurance policy right now, it’s always a good idea to check on your contact information and beneficiary information. Make it a fall tradition!

We’re Here to Help

Vargas & Vargas agents are proud to serve businesses and residents of Massachusetts. We work for our customers, not the insurer. So contact us today to learn about life insurance products that fit your current needs, whether that means protecting your family or saving for retirement. We’re standing by to answer all of your insurance questions. 

Do Landlords Need LLCs or Good Umbrella Coverage for Real Estate Investments?

landlord handing keys to new tenants after protecting their business with umbrella coverage

Are you a real estate investor looking to protect your assets? Chances are you have been using an LLC or an umbrella insurance policy to keep away from liabilities that may affect your property. They are both practical to use, but there are cases where either an LLC or umbrella coverage for real estate investments is the better option.

You can make the right choice by understanding how they protect your property. There are various cases where many investors don’t understand the implications of LLC and umbrella policies. Let’s break it up!

Why You Need an Umbrella Policy

An umbrella policy is an insurance cover that adds other liability coverage to an existing insurance policy. Adding more coverage to the current coverage protects landlords against personal fiscal responsibility when cases such as injury or lawsuits occur.

The umbrella coverage for real estate investments travels with you. The policies cover personal circumstances, such as when your dog bites someone at the park; the cover also helps with medical costs.

Why You Need LLCs and Corporations

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, helps protect you from any liabilities that can arise within the LLC that prevent the plaintiff from suing you personally. In the case of a lawsuit, the only thing at risk is the business’s assets, leaving the owner out of the puzzle.

The creditor may decide to collect the assets of the business. It is different from state to state, and you have to consult your agency and understand the laws behind it.

Choose What Is Best for You

The choice you make between the two depends on the real estate portfolio. For example, the umbrella insurance policy is best for making the right financial choices for landlords with small portfolios. You may also opt for both an umbrella insurance policy and creating an LLC since they work effectively.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance is among the best local independent insurance agencies in your neighborhood. We offer expert and customized services that cater to your specific needs, so contact us today.

Homeowner’s Guide to Lender-Required Flood Insurance in Massachusetts

couple looking out the window at the rain while having flood insurance in Massachusetts

Many residents in Massachusetts don’t realize that flood insurance can help protect them from financial devastation in cases of floods. Flooding can quickly cause over $100,000 worth of damage to your home. However, if you have flood insurance in Massachusetts, you can receive reimbursement for your losses minus your deductible amount.

If you’re wondering how flood insurance works or if it’s something you should consider for your home, keep reading.

How Flood Insurance Works

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and some private insurance companies issue flood insurance. Private insurance companies offer lower premiums as compared to government affiliates. These insurance policies are available for Massachusetts residents living in designated flood areas.

This insurance plan offers policies for losses sustained by floods in homes and businesses. Flood insurance policies typically have waiting periods before coverage takes effect. However, once you subscribe to their policies, you are assured compensation in cases of floods.

Why Do Lenders Require Flood Insurance?

One of the most significant risks you can take is buying a house in a flood-prone area. Because of this, many lenders require applicants to purchase a basic flood policy. They will also evaluate your property’s situation based on the history of flooding, how the structure stands, and the risks inherent in living in floodwaters.

What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance in Massachusetts

If your home is in a high-risk area, purchasing a policy could pay off. You may reduce or eliminate your premium by switching to a cheaper policy with lower premiums. In addition, insurance provides a mechanism for immediate financial help if flooding destroys your family’s home.

It prevents you from being held responsible for paying more than necessary to repair or replace your damaged property. Get the best quote on flood insurance from Vargas and Vargas Insurance. Even if you are not in a federal flood zone, you can purchase flood insurance at a better-priced premium. This will ensure that you don’t receive charges for more than what it costs to maintain the policy.

Final Thoughts on Flood Insurance in Massachusetts

The U.S. government has placed a flood zone designation on over two million homes in the country. This also applies in states like Massachusetts. If you’re looking for flood insurance, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is the right place. We will help you find the best policy for your needs and answer all your questions about the coverage. Contact us today.

What You Need to Know About Directors and Officers Insurance in Massachusetts

A board of directors deciding if their organization needs directors and officers insurance

Managing a corporation is complex and comes with various risks. Directors, officers, and condominium trustee boards are held responsible for decisions they make on behalf of their companies. This can lead to errors, mistakes, and poor choices, resulting in the company leaders getting sued. Directors and officers insurance is special professional liability insurance that covers past, present, and future leaders.

Shareholders, employees, customers, and others can also sue the directors or officers of a business. Therefore, anyone in these positions in the company requires coverage regardless of the size of the organization they lead.

How the Massachusetts Insurance Policy Works

The board of directors in any corporation represents the best interest of the shareholders in their organization. Failure in doing so may lead to lawsuits that will not be covered under a standard general liability policy.

Massachusetts state laws protect nonprofit board members who serve voluntarily for specific situations. However, such members must still work closely with a qualified attorney if such lawsuits are filed.

Policy Options and Additional Coverage

There are certain limitations and exclusions that the directors and officers face with this insurance policy. So it would help to talk to your agent, who will help you determine the most suitable policy to use in consideration of the unique needs of your corporation.

Also, try to include additional coverage that caters to cyber-attacks. Malicious attacks have been on the rise, and many businesses in Massachusetts will likely fall victim to such attacks. So buy D&O insurance to keep your board of directors safe and enhance your company’s reputation.

Protect Your Decision Makers With Directors and Officers Insurance in Massachusetts

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is a top local independent insurance agency in Massachusetts. We provide quality insurance coverage that suits your unique business needs at affordable prices, so talk to our top-rated customer care desk for all your insurance questions. Contact us here and engage experts today.

How to Decide How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

homeowner calculating the replacement cost of her home as she determines how much homeowners insurance she needs

Figuring out how much homeowners insurance you need to cover your home and belongings can be challenging. But there are steps you can take to determine what types of insurance you may need and how much you should purchase. Here are some tips for calculating how much homeowners insurance will meet your needs.

Determine Local Risks

Most homeowners insurance plans cover:

  • Basic storm damage
  • Interior water damage from burst pipes
  • Fires
  • Other types of damage that any homeowner could sporadically experience.

But most homeowners insurance policies do not automatically extend to severe flooding from hurricanes or other types of natural disasters that do not affect homeowners in all parts of the country. 

For this reason, you will need to assess what specific issues your home may be prone to based on your location. Then you can determine whether you need to purchase extra policies, such as flood insurance, on top of your regular homeowners insurance policy. 

Determine the Overall Value of Replacing Your Home

Knowing approximately how much replacing your home would cost if it were completely lost is also important. It’s another key to determining how much homeowners insurance you should have. This should include the value of your home itself and your possession. It should also include any costs associated with having your home rebuilt. 

This information can generally be determined by this formula: multiply the square footage of your home by the approximate cost to rebuild per square foot. But this formula is not always accurate. Other factors to consider that may help you come up with a better estimate include:

  • The materials used to build your home
  • Any improvement projects you may have done over the years
  • Any vintage or other unique features your property has

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we prioritize protecting you and your property. We don’t work for your insurance company. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you determine how much homeowners insurance you need to keep your home and property adequately covered without overpaying.