Recap: Family Vacation Tips

“Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?” – Zig Ziglar

Are you and your family going to cap off the summer with a vacation? If you are, then make sure to stay safe by following these tips from the best insurance agency in Boston! We are always focused on helping you stay safe and make the most out of whatever you enjoy in life.

  • Choose a destination that will be a balance of all the things you want in a vacation. Look for a place that’s fun and relaxing. Not to mention something that has plenty of entertainment and history.
  • Pack as light as possible, but make sure that everyone in your party has plenty of entertainment for the journey. Otherwise, you will be hearing a lot of “Are we there yet?”
  • Once you’re at your vacation spot, make lots of memories! Now is the time for that extra scoop of ice cream and doing the silly dance even though there are people watching. Take pictures and have fun!

Before you head out on your vacation, take a moment to call our agency at 617-298-0655 to make sure that your insurance policies will protect you every step of the way. If you are going on a road trip, check your Boston car insurance policy, and make sure that your home insurance is going to protect you in case something happens to your property while you are away. A few minutes of your time now can help tremendously if there is an issue later!

Real Estate Agent Advice: Making First Impressions

As you have heard “There’s no second chance at a first impression.” But did you know that a large percent of home buyers and home sellers choose their real estate agent based on first impressions and gut feelings? If this is the case, then a savvy Realtor knows that making a good first impression on potential clients is one of their keys to success! Here are a few tips for how to make sure that your potential clients are impressed with you and your business from the very beginning:

First Point of Contact

How do your clients find you? You need to make sure that all of the first points of contact are going to put you and your business in the best possible light. This means making sure that all of your advertisements are of good quality, and that your website is attractive and easy to navigate. It also means making sure that a friendly voice always answers your office phone.

In addition, one of the best forms of marketing for real estate agents is word-of-mouth. This means that it’s your job to make sure that your past clients have only good things to say about you and your services. If someone hears from a friend or relative that they know of a great Boston Realtor, you’re already off to a great start!

Location, Location, Location

After a potential client finds you and schedules a meeting, the next first impression you control is when they step into your office. Make sure that your reception area is neat and welcoming, with comfortable furniture and inviting décor.

Also ensure that the conference room or office where you chat is going to make a good impression on your client. Remember – it only takes one slip-up for someone to get a ‘bad feeling’ and move on to someone else!

Dress for Success

When it comes to making a good first impression, dressing for success is the first thing on most people’s minds. It’s important to note, however, that dressing the part doesn’t necessarily mean dressing to the nines. You want to look neat and presentable, but you don’t want to be too over-the-top dressy and make clients uncomfortable. The trick is finding a wardrobe that makes you look professional but still casual and comfortable. And, as any seasoned real estate agent will tell you, find a pair (or several) of good shoes! There isn’t much worse than being stuck with bad shoes during a day of showings and open houses.

Be Welcoming

As a real estate agent, you know that clients are looking for someone that they like and trust to help them buy or sell their home. This means that when you meet a new client, you need to put on your most friendly face and be a good host. If the client comes to your office, offer them a refreshment and ask them if they were able to find your office without any trouble. If you visit them for your first meeting, offer to take off your shoes when you enter their home, and tell them that the neighborhood is lovely.

Wheels in Motion

Nothing makes an impression on a client quite like the car you drive. It’s something that both buyers and sellers will notice, so you want to make sure that you invest in a reliable car that will make heads turn. Choose something roomy for any time that you are driving around buyers, and make sure to invest in some of the trim upgrades. Bonus points will be handed out if you can get a car with heated seats and a refreshment cooler!

If you need help with a top of the line Massachusetts auto insurance policy for your mobile office, have a chat with the agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. We can create a policy that’s sure to impress!

Continuing the Practice

Once you resolve to start making sure that you make a good first impression on your clients, you need to treat it like you would a New Year’s Resolution. Making the decision to focus on impressing with your appearance is a great start, following through shows your commitment to your profession, but the real magic happens when it becomes a habit. When you are making good impressions on those around you without even having to work on it, you will be well on the way to success as a Boston real estate agent.

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are always looking to make a good impression on new clients, and this will always be the case with the people that you refer to us! We promise to give your clients a great home insurance experience, and to keep you in the loop at every step of the process. To talk more about why our agency should be your go-to home insurance referral, call us at 617-298-0655, and let us know if we make a good first impression!

Recap: Flood Insurance FAQs

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Did you know that your Massachusetts home insurance policy likely won’t cover you for certain instances of flood damage, including some of the damages caused by flooding during a hurricane? This time of year, we get a lot of questions about flood insurance, so make sure that you didn’t miss our blog post from last week where we answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding flood protection, including:

  • What constitutes a flood?
  • Will my home insurance cover me if there is flood damage to my property?
  • I don’t live near any water. Do I still need a flood insurance policy?
  • What is federal disaster assistance? Won’t that help me if there is a flood?
  • How are flood insurance premiums calculated? Are discounts available?
  • How long after I purchase flood insurance will my policy go into effect?

Want to talk to a Massachusetts insurance agent about whether you need a flood insurance policy? Call us at 617-298-0655 or fill out our online quote request form and we will get back to you right away. We will show you that flood insurance is a great way to protect your property against potential flood damage for a relatively low price, so don’t wait – call today!

Recap: Summer Tips for Small Businesses

“Business is about people. It’s about passion. It’s about bold ideas, bold small ideas or bold large ideas.” – Tom Peters

What are you doing to take your small business to the next level? The summertime may seem like a great time to take a break and enjoy the weather, but don’t let yourself stay stagnant! Instead, check out our full blog post from last week, including several ideas like these on how you can leverage the summertime to grow your business:

  • Try out a new social media platform or put some effort into an existing one with summertime photos of your customers or products.
  • Expand your customer database by consistently asking for email addresses. Make it more attractive by offering a discount to customers that are on your email list or a coupon to new sign-ups.
  • Attend or host an event – your next customer could be right around the corner! As a bonus, plan an event for your employees as a reward for working so hard throughout the year.
  • Never let yourself get lazy. Instead of relaxing, plan for the future of your business.

For more business marketing tips, general business advice, and business insurance expertise, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog! And if you ever have a question or want to review your Massachusetts business insurance options, call our agency at 617-298-0655.

Tips for Your Family Vacation

Summertime is the perfect time to plan a family vacation. Kids are out of school, and the weather is perfect for some fun in the sun. If you’re planning on taking a vacation, make sure that you first read these tips from your favorite local independent insurance agency:

Choosing a Destination

You’ve decided to go on vacation! Now, the question is… where do you go? The trick is to choose a destination that will delight the entire family (which, as you probably know, can be pretty tricky). Your best course of action may be to find the right balance of all of your ‘wants’ – somewhere that is fun, relaxing, entertaining, and maybe even educational.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places like this in our very own backyard. Of course, Boston is a city full of history, culture, and entertainment galore. If you want to travel out a bit further, though, there are plenty of other cities within driving distance worth considering – including Providence, Newport, Manchester, Portsmouth, and many more.

If you are willing to fly, then your options are practically limitless, as children and adults alike will delight in destinations both within the US and abroad. And if you want a vacation that is something slightly off the beaten path, consider a cruise! There are plenty sailing out of the Boston harbor year-round.

Packing

Just like when you’re trying to choose the perfect vacation destination, packing for your trip is also a balancing act. You want to make sure that you have enough clothing and toiletries for everyone while simultaneously not going too overboard. This is especially true when you’re flying since most airlines will charge you for extra bags and bags over a certain weight limit. Even when driving, though, be conscious about how much you pack. After all, the weight of your car is one of the factors that will determine your gas mileage on the trip.

As you pack, also make sure that you prepare your home for the trip. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery, arrange for a neighbor to water your plants, and think about putting some of your lights on timers to deter thieves.

Travelling

Is there anything worse than being bored while travelling? To avoid this feeling of ennui, make sure that every person you are travelling with has a few things that will keep them occupied during the trip. Think about books, movies, and even some games. Bring more than you think you will need – the excitement of an impending vacation will make the fun of other activities wear off more quickly.

During Your Trip

It may be tempting while you’re in a new place to try and pack in as much sightseeing and as many activities as you can. While you should definitely see and do a lot while you’re away, make sure that you and your family don’t get stressed out because you’re trying to do too much. Leave in a little time for unstructured activities, and don’t be afraid to take a nap or relax by a pool if that’s what everyone feels like doing! And sometimes it’s fun to break into teams and do things separately once in a while.

Heading Back Home

When it’s time to head ‘back to reality’ don’t let anyone fall into a post-vacation rut. Remember the quote “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Children especially may make comments about how they wish they didn’t have to go back to school and wish they could stay on vacation forever. Remind them that vacation is only special because you only get to do it once in a while. Cheer them up by starting to talk about where you will go next! After all, the anticipation of a trip is half the fun!

After the Trip

Reflection is one of the most rewarding experiences of a family vacation. Have your kids tell you their favorite parts of your trip, and have fun revisiting some of your memories by looking through pictures. And remember, many kids will have writing assignments about their summer vacation activities when they return to school, so save some of those for your vacation scrapbook!

So, where are you and your family going on vacation this summer? No matter where you go, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency before you leave. We can check your home insurance to make sure that your property and possessions will be safe while you are away and will check your car insurance if you’re taking a road trip.

Remember – vacation is supposed to be all about fun and relaxation, and it will be easier to both have fun and relax after an insurance check-up! So, don’t wait – before you get out your suitcases, call one of the best Boston insurance agents at 617-298-0655. And make sure that you stay tuned to our blog for more summertime tips and tricks from your favorite Boston insurance agents!

Recap: Key Home Insurance Facts

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov

You have a Massachusetts home insurance policy, but how much do you know about it? Most people know their premium amount but get stumped if asked about the details of their policy! Don’t wait until it’s too late – learn the following four key details about your home insurance today:

  • Deductible: Does your policy have a fixed dollar deductible or a percentage-based deductible? Is there only one, or do different claims have different deductible guidelines? Can you raise your deductible amount to save money on your premium?
  • Policy Limits: Most home insurance policies have a few different limits, including the dwelling itself, other structures on the property, personal property, loss of use, liability, and more. Do you know how much coverage you have for each of these types of claims?
  • Covered Perils: Most home insurance policies cover fire, but what about if a neighbor’s tree falls on your home? What about water damage due to a flood? Earthquakes? Sinkholes? The list of possible incidents is endless!
  • Available Discounts: There are many discounts available for Massachusetts home insurance policies. Are you getting all of the ones that you qualify for?

Do you know all of these details about your home insurance policy? If not, call your Boston home insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency today. Make one quick call to 617-298-0655 and one of our agents can review your policy with you and fill you in on all of the important details. They can even check to see if you qualify for any additional discounts – so don’t wait… call now!

Flood Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Now that hurricane season is in full swing, the agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are getting a lot of questions about coverage for their homes and other possessions. One of the biggest tips that we have for our clients is to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy, because it will cover some instances that a home insurance policy alone will not.

In an effort to help our customers understand the importance of flood insurance and to outline some of the basic information about the policy, here are answers to some of our most frequently asked flood insurance questions:

What is a Flood?

Ok, this may seem like a silly question at first, but how your insurance policies define ‘flood’ will play a huge factor in determining whether you are covered for a loss. While insurance providers may differ slightly in their definition, most agree that to be a flood, waters must cover at least two square acres of normally dry land and/or affect at least two properties. When you purchase your flood insurance policy, ask your agent the specifics on what your insurance provider considers a flood so that you can know for the future.

Does my home insurance cover flood damage?

No! Home insurance policies often have a strict set of coverage exclusions, one of which is damage due to flooding. If you want to be covered for this potential peril, you will need an additional flood insurance policy for your home. Thankfully, your home insurance will likely cover damages due to hail and wind, which is not a part of a Massachusetts flood insurance policy.

Do I need flood insurance if I don’t live near water?

Floods are the product of many different situations. It’s not just torrential rainstorms that causes flooding. Flooding can also occur because of hurricanes, water backups, and even melting snow. Did you know that your home is more likely to be affected by a flood than by a fire? In fact, it has been estimated that over $2 billion of damage is caused by flooding each year in the US.

What is a flood zone?

A flood zone is an area that has been evaluated for its flood risk, and its designation will affect your flood insurance premium. Properties in Zone A are high risk, Zone B is moderate risk, and Zone C is low risk. The higher your risk for floods, the higher your flood insurance premium will likely be.

If there is a flood, won’t I be covered by federal disaster assistance?

It is a possibility that federal disaster coverage may be available, but only if the President declares a disaster, but over 90% of disasters are not declared. Plus, even if you receive federal disaster coverage it is a loan that you would have to repay, but flood insurance will cover you without you having to repay any of the amount paid out for your claim.

How will my flood insurance premium be calculated?

There are many factors that will be considered when insurance providers determine your premium. These include (but are not limited to) the amount and type of coverage you are purchasing, the location and flood zone of the property being insured, as well as the age of the building.

How much does flood insurance cost?

A flood insurance policy will probably be more affordable than you expect! For a low premium payment, you can get a lot of coverage to protect your property from flood damage.

Are flood insurance discounts available?

It is a possibility that you could receive a discount on your flood insurance premium. For more information on whether you qualify for a flood insurance discount, speak with your Massachusetts insurance agent from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. They will be able to check to see if there are any applicable savings.

When will my policy go into effect?

For most flood insurance policies, there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect. This means that you can’t wait until the last minute to purchase a flood insurance policy if a hurricane or other big storm is heading toward Massachusetts! There are a few exceptions to this rule, including a change in the building’s flood zone, and when there is a renewed mortgage on the property.

How do I get a quote?

Getting a quote is always easy with Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency! There are several ways that you can get in touch with a Boston insurance agent to talk about your coverage – fill out our online quote form, email us, or call our office at 617-298-0655. Someone can answer all of your coverage questions and get you the policy you need with minimal hassle. And remember, our quotes are always free, and we search many different insurance providers to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal on your insurance coverage.

Recap: Insurance Awareness Day

“Insurance is the only product that both the seller and buyer hope is never actually used.” – Unknown

Did you catch our blog last week about how to celebrate Insurance Awareness Day on June 28? The day may have passed, but it is never too late to reaffirm the importance of insurance in your life. If you haven’t yet, here are some of our suggestions for making sure that your insurance portfolio is in tip-top shape, and that you are ready for anything that will come your way:

  • Check out our blog archives for more information about the importance of having the right insurance coverage.
  • Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a free insurance review – you should do this at least once a year to ensure that your policies are up to date.
  • Refer a friend or family member to our agency for a free insurance quote – they may be able to get better coverage or a lower price on their policies.

Insurance may not be glamorous, but it is a crucial part of making sure that you and your loved ones would be financially covered if something were to happen to your home, car, health, etc., and that makes it worth celebrating on this Insurance Awareness Day!

If you need a free Boston insurance policy review for your home insurance, auto insurance, business insurance, or any other product, simply call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.

Summer Tips for Small Business Owners

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we love to support the local businesses in our community. That could be by shopping small or providing them with top of the line Massachusetts business insurance and business advice!

We have a question for all of the business owners out there: Do you ever feel like there’s more that you could be doing to grow your business? It’s probably a constant state, right? Well, if you’re getting the itch to do something timely to promote your business to potential customers (or remind your past customers that you’re still around) here are a few summer tips for your small business:

Snap a Few Pictures

Summertime is the perfect time to put a new emphasis on photos – after all, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Take pictures of customers in your business (with their permission, of course), snap a photo of your employees, or frame your products in the summer sunshine. Then post these photos on your social media accounts or have a summertime feature wall with these photos on a wall of your business.

Grow Your List

How do you reach out to your customers? Social media is a great option, but you can’t guarantee that your posts will be seen by your past customers. If you invest your time in growing your email database, however, you can guarantee that your messages will be sent directly to each person that you wish to contact! Start up a list or make a push to fill out the existing one and send out a few mailers to your fans to encourage them to visit you or patronize your business (coupons are never a bad idea if you’re looking to drum up a few extra customers)!

Try Out a New Platform

Social media is a very powerful platform for any business in today’s world. Is your business a part of the Social Media realm? There is a site for almost everyone, so why not try out something new to see if you can gain a bit of traction?

Those businesses that are new to the online world can start with the basics like Facebook and Twitter, and the options are endless for businesses that are a little more advanced. Our recommendation is to consider places like Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn – or find something more suitable to your industry!

Find Local Events

There is always something going on here in the Greater Boston area. Are you taking advantage of the great events being offered? There are business building and networking events for business owners.

Have you looked into whether your business could have a booth at an event related to your industry? Make a good showing by being prepared – have examples of your product or service, as well as business cards. This is another great opportunity to run a giveaway in order to build out your email list! Just have a card to fill out and drop in a fishbowl. Customers get a chance to win, and you can market to them directly to their email address… it’s a win-win!

Host a Giveaway or Contest

Your customers are probably busy enjoying all of the wonderful summer activities in Boston – do you ever worry that they have forgotten about you? Pique their interest with a giveaway or contest! Offer your own product or service as the prize, or something that everyone would love. Advertise at your location, and online through Social Media and your email list, and customers will be talking about you in no time!

Appreciate Your Employees

Summertime is the perfect time of year to build up the people who helped build your business – your employees. Show them some appreciation with a catered meal, or even a bigger event that their friends or family can attend. See more tips in our blog post dedicated to Employee Appreciation Day!

Plan for Upcoming Holidays

Once summer is over, there is a stretch of events and holidays until the start of the new year. Now is the prefect time to get your ducks in a row and start to plan your marketing strategies! Take inspiration from the above suggestions and schedule some Social Media posts, plan out some holiday season contests or giveaways, start searching for events taking place in the Greater Boston area, and more. What are some of your favorite marketing techniques for the Fall and Winter?

So, are you ready to make the most of the summer season? Whether you choose to try one of our small business tips, or make your way through most of the list, we always want to make sure that small businesses in Boston flourish. A great way to do that is with business insurance from our agency! Call 617-298-0655 for a free quote or check out our online quote portal anytime. Happy marketing, small business owners!

Key Facts About Your Home Insurance Policy

Your home is likely one of your most valuable assets. Your home insurance policy is what ensures that you won’t have a financial crisis if your home is damaged or destroyed – that makes it very important. But here’s a question that we like to ask all of our clients: How well do you know your insurance policy? Most people know that they have a policy, and may know their premium, but for most people it stops there.

Here is some ‘food for thought’ – you shouldn’t wait until you need to make a claim to know the ins and outs of your Massachusetts home insurance policy! Make sure that you are prepared by knowing several things about your policy before you have an issue. Here are four major things that you should know:

Know Your Deductible

If you have to make a claim, you will be responsible to pay for a certain amount of the reparations before your insurance policy starts to pay out. Do you know this number? Some people choose to set aside some money to cover their home insurance and auto insurance deductibles so that they won’t have to scramble to make the payment if they need to make an insurance claim.

It is also important to realize that many home insurance policies also have a few different deductibles. There is one main number used in the event of a claim, but your policy may also have a larger deductible for losses due to earthquakes or floods. This may be a specific dollar amount, but it could also potentially be a percentage of the claim amount – which could add up fast in the event of a major disaster.

Know Your Limits

This may sound like sage life advice, but we’re talking about your insurance limits! Home insurance policies always have a maximum dollar amount for the coverage they provide for different types of claims, just like the deductibles above. Depending on your policy, you may have different limits for property damage, personal possessions, loss of use, liability, etc. Your Boston insurance agent will be able to help you determine the amount of coverage you are required and recommended to have for each of these.

Examine these limits on your current policy and ask your Boston insurance agent if they are high enough. You may want to consider additional home insurance coverage, or you can buy an umbrella insurance policy for added liability coverage. It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t necessarily insure your home based on what you paid for the property. Instead, you want to be able to rebuild your home if it is completely destroyed, so look to insure your home for the ‘rebuilding cost’ rather than the purchase price, which could be more or less. For older homes, you will also want to add in additional insurance if your home would need to be fixed in a way that adhered to newer local building codes.

Know Your Covered Perils

It should come as no surprise that your home insurance will almost definitely cover you if there’s a fire – but what about some of the other curveballs that life could throw your way? Would your home insurance cover your losses if…

  • Your house flooded?
  • You were affected by an earthquake?
  • Your neighbor’s tree fell on your home?
  • A visitor slipped and fell on your property and sued you for damages?
  • Your dog bites a visitor or guest?

There are a million possible things that could go wrong in and around your home, but your home insurance may require a little added protection to make sure that you are fully covered. Talk to your insurance agent to find out if you are prepared.

Know Your Potential Savings

When purchasing a home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, there are many potential discounts for which you may qualify. Which ones are you receiving? You can get discounts for having several insurance policies through the same carrier, as well as discounts for having a security system and/or fire alarm. You may even qualify for a new discount if you have insurance through the same carrier for more than a set number of years!

If you think there’s a chance that you could qualify for an additional discount since your last Massachusetts home insurance quote, call to speak to your insurance agent. They will be able to check and see whether you are getting the right coverage at the best possible price.

Don’t know any (or all) of the above? Find out the details of your policy by calling your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent at 617-298-0655. We can explain to you your deductible, policy limits, covered perils, and search for any new discounts that you could receive. The call will only take a few minutes, so don’t put it off any longer!