Vargas & Vargas Insurance

1133 Washington St
Dorchester, MA 02124

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Independent Insurance Broker, Why It’s To Your Advantage

An independent insurance broker is an agent who provides a wide selection of policies from many different insurers to satisfy the customer’s requirements. On the other hand, captive agents or direct writers, including companies such as Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Farmers and USAA and Amica among others, are dedicated to one particular insurer and only offer that company’s insurance products.

How much does it cost to work with an independent insurance broker?

Using an independent insurance broker does not come at any additional cost compared to dealing with a direct write or captive insurance agent or going to the insurance company directly. We can make the process simpler for you by obtaining quotes from a variety of insurers, and we may even be able to find you a better deal than if you were to shop around on your own.

Why work with an independent insurance broker?

Unlike major national insurers who need to invest huge amounts of money in advertisements instead of their communities, our drive is to offer customized service and the most competitive rates for our customers in our community. And we are involved in our community. We contribute to local companies, charities, and other groups and provide advice and assistance. We hire and spend our income in our communities.

Having more options

Having a variety of options is always beneficial. A local independent insurance broker can help you get the best-tailored coverage at an affordable rate. As opposed to being tied to one specific insurer, we will be able to partner with you to figure out the best policy for your needs.

As an independent insurance broker we are called “independent” because, unlike captive agents and direct agents who only represent one company, we have the flexibility to shop around and find the best coverage from many different insurance companies that fits your individual needs. We take the time to understand your unique situation and identify the coverage that best meets your requirements.

We’re Your Advocate

Working with an independent insurance broker has many more additional benefits, like We may be able to provide discounts and other advantages that large national companies cannot.

Working with an independent insurance broker has additional benefits.

The customer service provided by Vargas & Vargas Insurance is unparalleled. An automated chatbot may be able to provide a polite and friendly interaction, but nothing can replace the human connection and personal relationships.

Our team will stay with you through all of life’s ups and downs. You are welcome to contact us whenever you need help – whether it’s finding insurance for a new driver, buying a new home, filing an insurance claim if something unexpected happens, or anything in between. We make ourselves available via phone, email, text message or face-to-face meetings. No request is too big or small – we will review your policy details and refer you to experienced professionals such as real estate agents or mortgage lenders.

The right insurance at the right price for you

An independent agent has access to a variety of insurance carriers and coverages, which is an important distinction to note. This is because it will likely save you time, money, and frustration in the future. Gone are the days of trying to find another insurance agency to work with. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we don’t settle for good enough or one-size-fits-all. We are committed to finding you the right coverage at the right price.

We know you

And as an independent broker can serve as your insurance advocate over the course of your life. This local expertise can bring many benefits, such as getting to know you personally and understanding the changes in your life and circumstances over time. We offer advice and guidance and may have information about particular risks in the vicinity, which can aid you in preventing any gaps in your insurance protection.

And we always have time for you. You can reach Vargas & Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655 and be glad that you did.

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Tips to care for your classic car

Owning a classic car can be a great joy and an exciting hobby here in the Dorchester, MA area. However, taking care of your classic car is no small feat. Here are some tips from us at Vargas & Vargas Insurance to help you keep your classic car in excellent condition: 

1. Regularly Check Fluids – Keeping the engine fluids of your classic car at the correct level is essential to its good health. Regularly check the oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid levels and top off when needed. 

2. Protect from Rust – Rust can quickly damage the body of your classic car if not taken seriously. Treating any rust spots with a rust-inhibiting primer as soon as they appear will help protect them from further damage. Covering exposed metal parts with wax or protective paint will also help keep the rust away. 

3. Invest in Quality Parts – Using quality parts when repairing or upgrading is critical to keeping your classic car running smoothly for years. Buying cheap parts that don’t meet your vehicle’s specifications may lead to bigger problems down the road, so it’s essential to do research before deciding what parts you use for repairs or replacements. 

4. Perform Regular Maintenance – Just like any vehicle, regular maintenance is important for keeping your classic car running well over time and avoiding costly breakdowns in the future. Take the time to change spark plugs, filters, and other components as necessary, and ensure everything is working correctly before putting it back on the road again. 

For more tips, please call us at Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We are proud to serve the Dorchester, MA area.

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Do This When Selling Your Home

Selling a home can be both exciting and stressful. There are common mistakes that often result in costly outcomes, so it’s important to do your research before beginning the process of selling your home. Taking precautions will ensure a smoother sales experience with greater financial rewards.

Selling without the Use of a real estate agent

Real estate agents possess a wide range of knowledge and expertise to help you get the most out of your home sale. They are familiar with local market values, have experience selling homes and can point out flaws that need attention before listing. Agents also leverage their professional networks to spread word about new listings quickly, know what makes buyers qualified for purchase negotiations and handle all legal paperwork involved in closing the deal.

When selling your own home, you are responsible for the listing, showing and legal process. However, this can be difficult due to many buyer’s agents not wanting to show FSBO homes. This limits potential buyers significantly and could result in a financial loss of between $60-90k.

Avoiding Major Maintenance

Before selling a home, renovations like new garage doors and kitchen remodels can increase the value. However, it’s important to not replace essential repairs with these improvements as buyers will usually request an inspection post-offer; poor results could lead to delays or cancellations of the deal. Doing major repairs yourself may cost more initially but you’ll have control over who takes care of them.

Failing to understand the expense of selling

Selling a home can involve more than just paying realtor commission, which is usually 3.8-4.6% of the sale price plus 0.5-2.8% in closing costs; additional expenses may include repairs necessitated by an inspection report from lenders before they approve a loan.

If you decide not to make repairs, the buyer may offer a lower price for your home. The cost of staging will depend on how many rooms and what kind of decor is needed; buyers might also ask for concessions like keeping some appliances or having the seller cover their closing costs.

Failing to Have Adequate Insurance

Even if you have already paid off your mortgage, it is important to maintain a homeowner’s insurance policy. This form of insurance not only safeguards your home and belongings from disasters, but also provides liability coverage should an accident occur on your property that causes injury to someone. Furthermore, if you have moved away from the home before selling it, the lack of occupancy may increase its vulnerability to vandalism or theft.

Discuss the details of the sale with your real estate agent before you put your house up for sale and make sure your insurance policy will give you the necessary protection during the selling process.

Failing to Get Your Home Ready for the Sale

Your home is important to you for many reasons, but potential buyers want to imagine it as their own. By taking away unnecessary objects and adding tasteful decorations, you can make your home more attractive during viewings. Clutter can give the impression that the space is smaller than it actually is, and personal items can stop people from picturing themselves living there. Research shows that staging a house before showings decreases the amount of time it takes to sell by 31%, and increases its value by 6-10%. If you don’t prepare your house for showings, you could miss out on offers and take longer to find a buyer.

The best of the BEST

Vargas & Vargas Insurance only works with the finest real estate agents, mortgage specialists, and lawyers. Please contact us if you need a recommendation for one of these professionals.

Homeowners often don’t consider the consequences of pricing a house too high or refusing to negotiate, which can lead to a prolonged time on the market and a lower sale price. To avoid these issues and make your home sale go more smoothly, it is important to prepare beforehand.

For insurance coverage that will help protect you throughout the selling process in Massachusetts, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655, your local independent agent, today!

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Child Turning 18, What Are Your Parents Rights?

When your child reaches the age of 18, a lot of things change. They are allowed to move out and vote, may join the military, and even come home with tattoos or lottery tickets. It can be frightening to consider that once they reach this age, you no longer have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf; not even in an urgent situation.

You won’t be able to access their medical, school, or financial records in such cases. We understand how intimidating this can be for parents, as many of our staff at Vargas & Vargas Insurance have children who either have become adults or are close to it.

We assist clients from all backgrounds and ages in ensuring they get the right insurance coverage to fit their family’s situation. We have put together some tips in this article that can help ensure both you and your grown child are taken care of during a crisis.

Obtain consent to disclose protected health information according to HIPAA regulations

Once your child reaches the age of 18, it is not possible for you to have access to any of their medical records. Therefore, if your child consents, they should sign a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release form. Once this form has been signed by your child, healthcare providers will be able to share medical information with you about them. This means that if the situation arises where your child cannot communicate with you regarding a medical emergency, their doctor will be able to inform you on what is happening.

Sign a power of attorney

Apart from health considerations, parents must also consider financial security for their child once they reach 18. If the adult child is unable to take care of their own finances, what can be done? A power of attorney allows a parent to be appointed as the designated person to handle the financial matters on behalf of their son or daughter. This would include accessing bank accounts, managing credit card companies, and taking care of contracts, loans, and enrollment agreements.

Think about getting life insurance.

It can be difficult to think about the death of your child. However, if this were to occur, you would want to make sure that you had the financial means to manage their final arrangements. As soon as your child reaches 18 and starts living independently, their chances of being in danger increase. If you are not able to pay for death-related costs at this time, life insurance may be a good option. If your child gets insurance and designates you as the beneficiary, funds will be provided upon their passing for whatever expenses may arise.

Life insurance isn’t only applicable in the event of a death. If a person has the proper riders attached to their policy, they can guarantee that they will be able to get insurance in the future as their needs change.

The cost of a life insurance policy rises with age. This means that if you buy a policy when you’re younger, the cost will be lower for the length of the policy, and no one can take it away from you as long as you continue to pay the insurance premium.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to providing assistance and support to families and individuals for more than four decades. Our staff are available to answer any queries you may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out by dialing 617-298-0655.

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HUD’s New Decreased Insurance Rates Buying It’s Cheaper to Buy a House

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a reduction in Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) on FHA loans. This change is set to go into effect on March 20, 2023, and will cut premiums from 0.85% to 0.55%, for most mortgages insured by the FHA. This substantial reduction in premiums is expected to save homeowners and homebuyers an average of $800 per year, which is a significant amount of money for many households.

Making Home Ownership More Affordable

HUD’s goal is to make homeownership more affordable and accessible for all. This could be done by reducing the amount of money that is needed downpayment or closing costs. This would help stabilize the housing market and make it easier for more people to get into it.

What Does This Mean

The FHA mortgage insurance premium reduction means that borrowers will now be able to purchase homes with a down payment as small as 3.5%. This is great news for those who are looking to purchase a home, as it becomes more accessible with this reduction. Additionally, the interest rates are lower this spring, which makes it a good time to buy a home.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we understand the importance of saving money, especially when it comes to your mortgage payments. With the recent rule changes, you can expect to save money on your monthly mortgage payments, which could add up to big savings over the life of your loan.

But that’s not all. We can also review your Home, Automobile, Business and Life Insurance policies to make sure that you are properly protected at the best possible price. We are committed to helping you save money wherever we can.

Contact our team today at 617-298-0655 to learn more about how you can save money on your mortgage payments and other insurance coverage. Our knowledgeable staff is always available to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with the best advice for your individual situation. Don’t wait any longer – call us today to get started!

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Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for a Condo Master Policy Plus Pro-Tip

When you’re a condominium property manager, everyone comes to you with varying needs. You are responsible for everything from hiring personnel to maintenance work and repairs. This means you need to have a good master policy that is affordable and realistic for the needs of your HOA.

Unfortunately, a lot of property managers don’t do much shopping around or take the cheapest alternative regardless of coverage.

Today, let’s take a look at the mistakes you want to avoid when looking for the best master policy for your condo.

What is a Master Policy?

Insurance for condominiums is split into two distinct elements: the HO-6 policy and the master policy.

The HO-6 policy is used to cover various liability claims and personal belongings within a unit. This includes expenses that might occur if someone is unable to stay in the residence should something happen that is covered by the master policy.

A master policy is essentially one that blankets multiple properties or perhaps employees. In this case, we’re talking about one that covers all of the units within the condominium. This is often cheaper and easier to manage as each individual unit has the exact same coverage aside from the HO-6.

Things to Avoid When Shopping for a Condo Master Policy

1. Misunderstanding the Coverage

There are a few policies that you need to be aware of: bare walls, single entity, and all-inclusive. To choose the right one, you need to understand what each of these entails.

2. Not Properly Vetting

The last thing you want to do is rush through the insurance process. Don’t skimp on the vetting process and make sure you measure proposals against the market average.

3. Not Providing Accurate Details

It’s OK to use a general template when querying for proposals from insurers. Just make sure you don’t copy it word for word. Provide the right details about your property and don’t ask about things that are irrelevant.

4. Settling On the Cheapest

Sure, you want to save money on the master policy. But you shouldn’t only prioritize the price when looking at policies. Have an agent help by disclosing the HOA budget and what is available.

5. Too Many Agents or Insurers

Having too many agents helping with the process can slow it down or create a layer of confusion when looking for a master policy. It’s better to work with one agent who has access to many insurance providers than to have too many cooks stirring the pot.

6. Not Consulting HOA or Board of Directors

As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to contact the condominium board of directors and the HOA before requesting master policy quotes. For one thing, the HOA often has a firm grasp of what the community needs in terms of coverage.

7. Poor Management of the Proposal Process

Improper management of the proposal process can cost time and money for the HOA. Not to mention frustrating the unit owners. Take the time to ensure every element is addressed and don’t rush through the process.

Find the Best Master Policy for Your Condo

Just as you would with homeowners or auto insurance, it’s ideal to initially shop around and find the best master policy for your needs. And at Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we use our network of insurers to help you do just that. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the best master policy for your condo.

Your unit owners don’t want to just settle, so why should you?

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What Does Home Insurance Cover?

The agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance serving the Dorchester, MA area offer home insurance policies to protect and secure one of your most significant investments.

While home insurance is not required under Massachusetts law, having a good policy in place is still very important. If you owe money to a bank or mortgage lender for the purchase of your home, you will be required to carry a home insurance policy. Even if you’ve already paid off your house, you should still have homeowners insurance because you never know when disaster will hit.

What Does Home Insurance Cover?

A home insurance policy will cover the structure of your house along with the items inside of your house. These can include your personal belongings, such as toiletries, clothing, and jewelry, as well as your furniture, appliances, and so much more.

A variety of home insurance policies also cover any outbuildings on your property. These can include garages and sheds as well as decks and porches.

You never know when your house will become damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, a fire, or even an act of vandalism. You also can’t predict that your home will be burglarized, but in any of these cases, your home insurance policy will help replace the lost items and repair or rebuild your house.

Contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance

The old saying, "It’s better to be safe than sorry," applies to home insurance policies. To create the best home insurance policy for you and your situation, contact the agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance serving the Dorchester, MA area today!

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Massachusetts Auto Surcharge Appeal Plus Pro-Tip

Every location has its own practices when it comes to insurance premiums and what affects them. In this case, I’m talking about the insurance surcharge you could face after an accident in Massachusetts. Today, I break down the steps for the appeal process and why it’s important.

What is an Insurance Surcharge?

A surcharge on your insurance is a fee that is added to your premiums. This usually happens if you’re regularly involved in at-fault accidents, pay your premiums late, or have a lapse in coverage.

However, a surcharge can also affect your insurance if you’re simply adding another vehicle to the policy. In those cases, though, you can work with the insurer to see if there are discounts available for multiple-car policies.

In this article, I’m focusing on appealing the insurance surcharge that comes after an accident.

Steps to Appeal the Insurance Surcharge

The insurance surcharge will kick in if the insurer deems that you are more than 50% at fault. According to Massachusetts law, you have up to 30 days from the notice of the surcharge to file an appeal with the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.

1. Complete and submit the Appeal Form that is located on the backside of the Notice of At-Fault Accident Determination. You’ll need to enclose the $50 filing fee made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The address is located on the Appeal Form.

2. You will receive a notice in the mail acknowledging the receipt of your appeal.

3. In approximately three weeks, you’ll receive a hearing notice. At this hearing, you can attend yourself, submit a statement at least five days before the hearing, or have a representative appear on your behalf.

4. The hearing will last around 15 to 20 minutes to determine the justification of the surcharge.

5. About two to four weeks after the hearing, you’ll receive a decision from the Board of Appeals as to whether the insurance surcharge will remain.

Note: If the surcharge is added to your insurance premiums, you’ll still have to pay the additional amount. Otherwise, the insurer can cancel your policy.

How Much Will Rates Increase if You Don’t Appeal?

The increased amount of your insurance premiums will depend on a lot of factors. It’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all answer, to be honest.

For example, rate increases are subject to:

  • your previous driving record.
  • how many years you drive that are accident-free.
  • how often you file insurance claims.

Essentially, it all comes down to how much of a risk the insurer deems you for coverage. If you have a spotless driving record and make your payments on time, the increase might be nominal.

Use the Appeals Process Correctly

The appeals process is meant to help the innocent avoid paying out when accidents were clearly not their fault. As long as you explain your position to the magistrate, and are not at fault, you may avoid these extra fees.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you further understand the process and what you need after an accident. Contact us today to understand your options and what you can do to avoid issues like this in the future.

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How To Get the Best Rates for Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is not only necessary to financially protect you in the event of an accident, but it’s also the law when you’re behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a lot of us wind up paying far more than we need to for this protection. Today, let’s go over the basics of getting the best rates for your auto insurance.

There is a bit more at play than just finding a “cheap” company.

How to Get the Best Rates for Auto Insurance

In most instances, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re not a high-risk driver. The higher the risk to the insurance company, the more you’ll pay.

Keep a Clean Driving Record

Perhaps one of the most vital methods of lowering your insurance rates is by keeping a clean record behind the wheel. This goes along with most “Good Driver” discounts as it demonstrates how low of a risk you are while driving.

Group Discounts with Work or Organizations

Some organizations and places of employment offer group discounts. This is when an insurance plan is offered to members and is usually considerably cheaper than getting one of your own. The catch is that sometimes these will have “enrollment periods” of maybe once or twice per year.

Increase the Deductible of the Auto Insurance

In some cases, you’re able to increase the deductible of your insurance policy. This means you’ll need more money upfront in the event of repairs and such. The trade-off is a lower annual premium as you’re taking on more of the financial responsibility yourself.

Work on Your Credit Rating

Like most other things in life, your credit rating can affect your auto insurance premiums. The better your score, the more likely you’ll have to pay less. This is one of those things that can take some time to improve. However, the end results are often worth the effort.

Anti-Theft Device Discounts

Many insurers will have discounts available if your vehicle has anti-theft devices installed. Alarms, cut-off switches, and other technologies prevent people from stealing your vehicle. This means the auto is at a lower risk of being stolen, which then reduces the risk to insurance companies for claims.

Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Use

If you don’t use a specific service, don’t add it to your insurance policy. For example, there are a lot of people who pay for roadside assistance but have never used it. Talk with your agent and find out what you can remove that you know you’ll never really use.

Shop Around for Auto Insurance Rates

Another one of the most common methods of getting the best auto insurance rates is by shopping around. However, don’t assume cheap equates to being better. Sometimes the lower price tag comes with a vastly reduced capacity of financially protecting you.

Consider Pay-per-Mile Insurance

Some insurance companies will offer a pay-per-mile plan. This is when you need insurance but don’t really drive all that much. It goes along the lines of a “Low Mileage” policy. These are usually the most ideal for students and people who drive less than a few miles per day.

Annual Policy Updates

Lastly, don’t forget to update your auto insurance policy at least once per year. A lot of things can change in 12 months, including your credit rating and good driving record. Not to mention it gives you a chance to customize the policy further depending on your foreseeable needs.

Auto Insurance is a Necessity

A lot can happen when you’re in control of more than a ton’s worth of steel. It takes a fraction of a second for an accident to occur whether you’re paying attention or not. Having the best auto insurance for your needs will protect you from breaking the bank in most cases.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we understand just how imperative insurance is, especially in today’s world. Contact us today to find out how we can help you find the best rates possible for your situation. We’ll use our network of companies to help secure something affordable that will keep you safe.

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