Recap: Room-by-Room Safety Tips

“Precaution is better than cure.”

– Edward Coke

Your home is your safe place, but there are probably dangers lurking inside that pose a threat to you and your family. Make sure that you put safety first with the tips that we posted in last week’s blog, where we went room by room identifying safety concerns and how to prevent potential incidents, including:

  • Be wary of tripping hazards in your living room, like area rugs and children’s toys.
  • Kitchens should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Never store sharp tools or knives in open drawers.
  • Beware of dryer lint buildup! Clean filters after each load and clean the harder to reach areas regularly.
  • Bedrooms should each have a smoke alarm and working window that can function as an escape route (bedrooms on the second floor should also have an escape ladder for said window).
  • Equip bathrooms with plenty of non-slip bath mats to avoid accidents when floors become slick.
  • Do your research on pool safety and grilling safety before taking part in these outdoor activities.

As much as you do to prevent incidents, you can never guarantee that nothing will happen to your home. That’s why you need a Boston home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. Call 617-298-0655 to get your free quote and find out what we can cover so that you feel protected.

What to Know About Your MA Car Insurance Policy

Auto insurance is a key piece of your insurance portfolio. Thankfully with the help of the expert agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, getting the right car insurance for your needs is easy. Call us at 617-298-0655 and ask for a free insurance quote – after you answer a few simple questions you will be on your way to the best auto insurance in Boston!

Once you have a great auto insurance policy, there are a few things that you should know about your coverage and how your lifestyle affects your payments. Here are just a few car insurance facts that you may not be familiar with.

You care about what you pay for auto insurance. This dollar amount is your premium, and how high or low it is will depend on several factors. These include:

  • How much you use your car. How many miles do you typically drive? Pricing for a car insurance policy is all about risk, and a car that only drives to run errands occasionally is a lot less likely to get into an accident than a car that makes an hour-long commute five days a week.
  • The people that will be driving the car. You will need to let your agent know if anyone else will be driving the car. As you would probably expect, your rates will increase if you are also insuring the car for use by a teenage driver.
  • How you want your car fixed if it is damaged. Ask your insurance agent about the difference between the types of coverage offered. Depending on how much of a premium you’re willing to take on, you could choose liability only, full replacement cost, or somewhere in between.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the types of coverage offered by standard Boston auto insurance policies. In an effort to help our clients be as informed as possible, the insurance experts here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency would like to clear up some of the more prevalent auto insurance myths:

  • The color of your car is not a factor in the cost of your insurance premium. Many people believe that drivers with red cars are riskier or more likely to be pulled over by the police, but when it comes to your car insurance your provider will treat a silver car the same as red (all else the same).
  • You shouldn’t believe people when they say that no matter what happens to your car, your insurance policy will cover you. Insurance policies will only go so far as they are required to go based on your coverage, so it’s important to get more than just the state required minimum coverage if you want to be fully protected. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent can make recommendations on how much coverage makes sense for you.
  • Have you ever heard that your insurance rates will rise as you get older? In fact, the opposite is often true. Insurance providers know that older drivers are likely to be more cautious behind the wheel and therefore less likely to make a claim. This is why some providers offer a discount for drivers over a certain age. If you are over 50, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance and ask if you qualify for a premium reduction!

When purchasing an auto insurance policy, also make sure to talk to your insurance agent if you use your car for business purposes more than just making a commute to the office. If you do some driving for a rideshare as a side hustle, if you deliver to customers using your personal vehicle, etc. you may need extra insurance coverage or a separate commercial insurance policy in order to be fully covered for both the personal and business aspects of your car use.

Here is one more thing that everyone should know about their Massachusetts auto insurance policy – insurance providers offer tons of discounts that could apply to you! Every provider is slightly different, but you could be earning auto insurance discounts for things like being over a certain age (as mentioned above), having completed a safe driving course (primarily for teenagers and older customers), going without an accident for a specified period of time, belonging to certain organizations (emergency roadside assistance, military, etc.), enrolling in auto-pay, and many more!

Some providers will offer discounts that are more in line with what a certain customer qualifies for, so make sure that you get the most from your insurance policy by using an independent agent to do your policy shopping!

Want to get started on that free auto insurance quote? Protect your vehicle and your loved ones with the help of Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency by calling 617-298-0655. We are a local independent insurance agency and we take pride in making sure that our Massachusetts clients are fully protected, so call today and get a taste of the customer service that people rave about!

Morning Motivation – Week of March 11, 2019

Happy Monday friends!

You know that I start each week with some positive words of wisdom, and this week’s are:

For the last few weeks, I have been talking about “the next big thing.” Now let’s talk about one of the biggest “time sucks” in your business – the clutter in your head.

Here’s how the problem works – you have all these great thoughts going on in your brain, but they are likely to be all jumbled up and mixed in with the “I have to go pick up my laundry” type of thoughts as well.   

You see, your brain doesn’t have the ability to prioritize thoughts regarding what’s most important.   

When you think, each thought is given equal weight, even though we all know that “to bind 150 new home insurance policies this month (in the insurance world) or get more listing appointments (in the real estate world) or get more of the pre-approvals into underwriting (in the mortgage world) is much more important and pressing than the “I need to get a new file folder for the office” type of stuff.  

Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t give one more weight than the other as far as occupying space in our head.  

What’s worse is that when we have all those thoughts tumbling around in our head, we keep running through the list of what we need to do, and it keeps the brain occupied doing that instead of coming up with solutions.  

Then with all these “problems” with no “solutions” going on in our head, we start feeling anxiety and overwhelmed…which leads to more clutter in our heads and less action actually being taken.  

Next week, my simple solution to dealing with my disparate thoughts.

Carlos

Recap: Plan for Summer Vacation

“Summer means happy times and good sunshine. It means going to the beach, going to Disneyland, having fun.”

– Brian Wilson

Spring is almost here, and summer is around the corner. Have you started thinking about planning a vacation for the summer? If so, you’re in the right place! Some of the expert insurance agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are also planning getaways, and we want to share the tips that we have learned. Here are just a few – make sure to read our extended blog post for more!

  • Start planning early so that you don’t feel rushed and can take your time to make your upcoming vacation the best one yet.
  • Choose your destination carefully! Consider the timing of your trip and see if there are any special events happening in the place you are going when you’ll be there.
  • Pull up a spreadsheet while you’re planning and outline a rough budget for your travels.
  • Once you know about how much you’re planning to spend, start saving right away. No one wants to go into debt for a vacation!
  • When you are on your trip, let loose and enjoy your vacation. Be spontaneous and let yourself be happy in the moment.

Before you leave on your newly planned summer vacation, talk to your Boston insurance agent about getting a free insurance check-up. You can also ask and learn more about the benefits of having a travel insurance policy in place for your trip!

Safety Tips for Every Room in Your Home

Your home insurance is meant to be financial protection in case of a mishap in your house. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are proud to provide our clients with top of the line insurance coverage, but in truth we would rather these mishaps never occur! That is why we dedicate many of our blogs to safety – in the home, in your car, in the snow, and even at work.

In this blog, we want to take a thorough look at the place where you likely spend the majority of your time: your home. Let’s break it down and go room-by-room pointing out safety hazards and how to avoid potential perils.

The Living Room

While your living room may seem pretty safe, there are still a few things that you need to keep an eye on. Entertainment systems should be hooked up using a reliable surge protector, and any tripping hazards (area rugs or children’s toys) should be monitored so that they don’t cause someone to trip and fall.

The Kitchen

Arguably the most dangerous room in the house, the kitchen is full of potential hazards. Make sure that knives and other sharp implements are properly stored (covered, never loose in a drawer). Every kitchen should have an up-to-date fire extinguisher that every family member knows where to locate and how to use in case of a kitchen fire.

There is also a lot of moisture present in the kitchen, so make sure that you keep an eye out for black mold. If you see a spot and suspect that it could be mold, call a professional – it’s not something that should be trifled with. Also be watchful for this hazard in other moist places, like in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

The Laundry Room

Dryer lint causes many house fires in the US every year, so make sure that you clean your dryer’s lint trap after every load. Also check the dryer’s vent (or have a professional clean your vent) regularly to prevent buildup. If your dryer runs on gas, also regularly check the gas hook-ups to make sure there is no leak.

The Bedrooms

You spend a large chunk of the day asleep in your bedroom, so it is critical to ensure that you have an escape route in case of an emergency (like a fire). Bedrooms on the first floor should have a window that can be opened and climbed through. Bedrooms on the second floor will each need an additional escape ladder for a quick and easy exit.

The Bathrooms

Bathrooms (especially those with tile floors) are a slipping hazard. To ensure that there is less of a chance of someone having an accident, place non-slip bathmats in key locations in each bathroom, especially around showers and tubs.

The Garage

Your car may seem safe and sound when it is parked in a closed garage, but you can never be too careful. Lock your car even when it is at home and remove any valuables from the vehicle. Remember that vehicles are a source of carbon monoxide, so make sure to never run your car in the garage when the garage door is closed.

If you store tools in your garage, make sure that they are secured – especially if you have children. Chemicals and flammable materials should also be stored safely and away from places that are exposed to extreme heat and cold.

The Backyard

We’ve posted several in-depth blogs about how to deal with safety in the backyard, so before the weather warms up do your research on pool safety, grilling safety and more.

In addition, consider adding security cameras to the outside of your home – they’re not just for the rich and famous anymore! These constantly vigilant eyes on your property can help to protect you from package thieves, monitor pets and children, and much more.

General Safety

Speaking of home security, do you have a security system in your home? You can install one yourself or have a professional installation – the important thing is that you have a system that you can arm when you are away. Nowadays, you can also connect most home monitoring systems to your internet of things, allowing you access to the information from your smartphone.

Throughout your home, you should have one specific item: smoke alarms. They are critical in ensuring that your family is protected in case of a house fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends one in every sleeping room of your home, as well as at least one on each floor of your home. Also make sure that you test or replace the batteries in your smoke alarms with every Daylight Saving Time clock change.

Now that you know these safety tips for all the rooms in your home, double down on your protection with a five-star home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance. Call 617-298-0655 to speak to an experienced Dorchester insurance agent about your options, and to find out what we can offer you with a free home insurance quote. There’s no need to hesitate, because there’s no obligation.

Can You Take out a Life Insurance Policy on a Child Before it is Born?

Life insurance is something that everyone can benefit from and that many new parents take into consideration. That being said, those looking for insurance might be wondering if you can take out a life insurance policy on a child prior to their birth. Put simply, you cannot. For those that live in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you determine what type of insurance you can have.

If you or your spouse is expecting and you want to take out a policy on your unborn child, you will have to wait until the child is born and until it has been assigned a social security number. If you are expecting and want more coverage, you may want to look into taking out more coverage on the pregnant woman that is carrying the child until such a time when the child is born. You can take out extra coverage on the pregnant woman and that may help cover any issues that could potentially take place. It is necessary for the child to be born and for a social security number so that the child can be accounted for and so that the policy can be tracked as well.

If you are a parent of a child that is not yet born, you may want to talk with an agent to see if there is another type of insurance you can take out to protect your unborn child prior to its birth. For those that live in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you find a policy that works for you and makes you feel fully protected and secure no matter what.

Morning Motivation – Week of March 4, 2019

It’s a new week, friends!

Are you ready to face what new challenges the future holds with the help of my latest motivational quote?

So, this week I want to answer the following question from my message last week: what should you do when the “next big thing” starts coming around the corner? Here are a few examples of what I have been doing to keep up (and thrive) with video-based marketing.

First, it’s okay to be baffled (I was before I started posting a video a day, click to view my Youtube channel). Second, it’s okay to feel like you want to run away and hide. Third, don’t worry that you don’t know much about it. Very few do, but it is so simple today to record and post a video.

Here’s an interesting article that my friend Ryan Hanley, the Chief Marketing Officer at Bold Penguin posted last month on the “5 ways to improve your YouTube strategy.”

Learn – I spent the last week of January in Las Vegas with some amazing cutting edge marketers of insurance (yes insurance marketers and not insurance agents or brokers). What I learned can be used in real estate, mortgage, legal, construction, really any business space.

I am putting together some TOTALLY FREE information on how to use video, lead funnels and landing pages in your business that I can share with you. If, however, you choose to go it alone, there are all kinds of options to help you: books, videos, audio, blog posts, etc.

Imagine – Start asking yourself this question: “If my current and future clients are watching video to learn all about insurance and what they need to have for coverage, how to purchase a home or what they need to know about applying for a mortgage, what will happen to my competitors that are so entrenched in the old way of marketing and do not use video (or have much of an online presence) in their business?”

The answer? Your competitors will be less relevant everyday and will be waiting on the sidelines watching you eat their lunch.

Interact – Everyone’s in the same boat when a next big thing comes along. It’s okay to ask questions. What makes EVERYTHING work better in these moments is “sharing” with others and figuring stuff out with other people.

That’s what to do. And not just for video, for everything! For life. For thriving. For moving to next levels instead of playing the old game.

Let me finish with this: “There is an expanding segment of our population and  and a shrinking segment of our population. Who are you going to base the future of your business on?”

That’s our role. All of us. Okay?

Carlos

Recap: Business Spring Cleaning

“Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a dreaded list of chores. It can be a rewarding experience that helps provide some structure and organization in your life.”

– Peter Walsh

March has arrived, and on the 20th it will officially be Spring! We know that life as a business owner can get busy, but have you put any thought into your business’s spring cleaning routine? In last week’s blog, we made a few suggestions, including:

  • Deep clean your office space, bust through clutter and organize any scattered paperwork.
  • Your virtual workspace also probably needs to be organized – clean your computer’s files and move yourself down to a zero inbox if you can.
  • When was the last time you backed up all of your business’s files? If it’s been a while, now is the perfect time for a backup (and a thorough virus scan too).
  • Most businesses nowadays have a website. When was the last time you looked at yours? Check to make sure your content is still accurate, and that all the links work properly.
  • Have you been working on your 2019 goals? Reevaluate your progress and continue to plan your business’s future.

And remember, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to help you clean up your business’s insurance portfolio! One call to 617-298-0655 and you will get a free business insurance consultation. Our agents can asses whether you have enough coverage or if there is anything we can do to help lower your premiums. Who knew that Spring Cleaning can save you money? Don’t wait – call Vargas and Vargas Insurance today!

Start Planning for Your Summer Vacation

Are you dreaming of summer yet? It’s been a long winter here in the Boston area (despite Punxsutawney Phil predicting an early spring this year) and at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we’re in vacation planning mode! Here are just a few of the tips that we are using as our agents plan their summer getaways:

Plan Early

If you’re reading this post, then you’re already ahead of the game! One of the best things that you can do to enjoy your summer vacation is to start the planning process as early as possible. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to take advantage of the following tips that we’re going to share!

Determine Your Destination

Where will you go when the world is your drawing board? There is something to be said for almost any destination that you choose:

  • Boston is a lovely city, especially in the summer. Have you seen all of the sights and ‘played tourist’ right here in your own backyard? The history in this city alone makes it one of the most visited destinations in the US, not to mention the savings associated with not paying for travel or accommodations on your vacation!
  • A road trip is a great way to see the sights. Depending on how long you’re willing to spend on the road before arriving at your destination, there are many places within reach of Boston, including anywhere in New England, some very beautiful parts of Canada, and New York City. For some great road trip tips, read our Road Trip blog!
  • If flying is the ‘how’ of your vacation, then you have a lot of options. Will you choose a family friendly destination or somewhere more relaxing or cultured? If you feel overwhelmed with choices, some online sleuthing will probably be a good place to start.

Scout Out Several Activities and Events

No matter where you go, make sure that there is something fun and enjoyable for each member of your travel party. These activities can vary greatly depending on your destination and travel dates, so make sure to consider those carefully when planning. It’s always fun to see if there is a special local event or festival going on during your trip, so don’t forget to search the area’s events calendar before you leave!

Want to do something different and fun next time you’re on vacation, while also soaking up some local color? Look for volunteer opportunities in places that you’re interested in going! This so called “Voluntourism” is a growing industry where people find joy in simultaneously travelling and doing good.

Outline a Rough Budget

Thinking ahead is important when you’re planning a vacation (whether it’s just for you or for your entire family). In addition to considering your activity schedule, sit down and make a rough outline of the costs that you will encounter during your trip. This will vary depending on many factors, but you should generally include four categories: travel, accommodations, food, and activities. Make sure to also set a little extra aside if you plan on purchasing souvenirs or gifts while you’re away. And always plan for a little bit of wiggle room – after all, what is a vacation without some unforeseen expenses?

Start Saving Now

Once you’ve figured out about how much you’re going to spend on your vacation, start setting aside some money. No one should go into debt to go on vacation and paying for whatever you can in full before you leave will help you to relax while you’re away.

There are lots of little tricks that you can use to start putting aside money for your vacation fund. Many places will advocate for skipping your morning drive-thru coffee in favor of making your ‘cuppa’ at home. Going out to eat less and cooking at home will also help you save.

Let Loose and Enjoy Your Trip!

Once all of your planning is done and it’s time to leave, there is one important thing to remember: enjoy your vacation! It’s easy to get stressed about travelling and seeing all that there is to see at your destination, but it’s important to let go and relax so that you can have a good time. Be open to adjusting plans as you go – some of the most fun you have on your getaway will be during the spontaneous activities that you do.

Before you leave on the trip you’ve planned, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about making sure that you’re protected while you’re away. We can help you make sure that your home is ready for any potential issues, your car insurance should be checked before a road trip, and we can even help you with travel insurance if you want some added protection! One call to 617-298-0655 and we will get you all set and ready for your vacation!

Morning Motivation – Week of February 25, 2019

Welcome to the new week, friends!

Are you ready for another motivational quote? This week’s words of wisdom are:

Last week I told you that you need to be ready to jump on board when people you trust start shouting about a massive shift. I’m telling you right now that the next big thing is… video!

I know that it’s not new, but it’s here and you should be using it in your business. It has changed real estate, insurance, mortgages… everything! As we advance in our businesses, people will only do business with people that they have seen on video — I believe this to my core.

Why is this? Because video eliminates all of the “reading and misreading” someone’s message. Have you ever read an email or text and thought, wow, that sounds awful, but maybe that was not the intent of the sender? Video eliminates all of that.

Here are some statistics on video:

  • 1 billion hours of video is watched each day
  • 576,000 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every day
  • 61% of US companies have a Youtube channel
  • This video has almost 6 billion views
  • 1.8 million Americans are earning $ from their Youtube videos
  • 180 million hours of video are watched on Youtube every single day
  • 85% of homebuyers and seller prefer to work with an agent that uses video
  • Homes that are listed and have a video with it have 4 times more inquiries
  • Including a video in your emails increases your open rate by 75%

Like I said, you might not directly work with video, and you might not have the appetite to learn it. But this HAS and will continue to impact you and your business. Video is changing things.

Next week I will share three things to do when the “next big thing” comes around.

Have a great week!

Carlos