Protect Your Home From Flood Damage

Therefore, it is important to protect your home from flood damage no matter where you live.  You can do so in the following ways:

Clean out your gutters in the spring and fall.  Clogged gutters can cause massive problems by concentrating roof runoff water at your home’s corners close to the foundation.  This water pooling can seep through your walls and cause flooding.

To find gutter cleaning companies near you, visit Angie’s List.

You can also check the reputation of any contractor you hire at the Better Business Bureau.

Protect your basement.  Basements are vulnerable areas.  Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.  Also, it is a good idea to elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel.  Seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

To find a trusted waterproofing contractor near you, you can Angie’s List.

Install backflow valves.  It is a good idea to install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections to prevent floodwaters from getting into your home.

Purchase flood insurance.   Your homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage.  It is a good idea to contact your insurance agent to find a flood insurance policy that fits your needs and budget.  To get a free flood insurance quote

As always, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is happy to answer any of your insurance questions and cares about keeping you safe.  Call and speak to one of their dedicated agents today at 877-550-0025 or visit our website vargasinsurance.com.

Securing your Backyard to Help Prevent Storm Damage

One of the main dangers to your home in the event of a severe storm is wind damage, not only from the wind itself but from flying debris that may be hurled against your house. With tornado season under way in many parts of the country, and hurricane season just around the corner, it is well worth taking a few steps to reduce the chance of loose debris threatening your home. Even a fairly small object can cause damage serious enough to lead to a claim on your Mass home insurance if it is thrown against a window or door with enough force.

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Take a look around your property and backyard. A few things you might want to consider removing include:

•Loose or dead tree branches
•Rocks
•Trees that could be blown over
•Lawn ornaments including gnomes and statues

When a storm is imminent make sure to secure any larger loose objects such as garden furniture, pool covers and shed doors. Bring whatever you can inside and make sure the rest is bolted down as securely as possible. By reducing the chance of flying objects becoming property damaging missiles you could help to protect your home and decrease the chance of having to make a claim on your Mass home insurance

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“FEINSTEIN FOUNDATION $l MILLION CHALLENGE.”

Have you been thinking of making a donation to the Milton Community Food Pantry but just haven’t gotten around to it?  Right now you have a terrific opportunity to help them and to make your contribution even more valuable to us.  Here is how it works:

 1)   You make a donation of food items or money to the Food Pantry in March or April.

2)      Our volunteer staff keeps track of all the contributions.

3)  We report the number of items and amount of the money donations to the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 Million “Fight Hunger” Challenge*.

4)  The Feinstein Foundation sends us back a cash award based on the donations we receive!

It’s that simple to feel good by helping us help our Milton neighbors facing financial difficulties.  We currently serve 215 families, including 238 children and 65 seniors.

Checks should be made payable to “The Milton Community Food Pantry, Inc.” and mailed to:  The Milton Community Food Pantry, Inc. c/o Parkway United Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway, Milton, MA  02186.  Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off to the Parkway United Methodist Church, the Milton Public Library or the Town Hall. The Pantry is recognized as a tax-exempt organization (tax ID number 37-1536791) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Therefore, all donations are fully tax deductible and matching grant qualified. 

If you are interested in planning a food drive or would like more information about the Milton
Community Food Pantry, please call us at 617-696-0221.

*For more information on the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 Million “Fight Hunger” Challenge, please check their website at http://www.feinsteinfoundation.org or call 401-467-5155.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance  877-550-0025

Getting Bang for your Buck for Insurance during Tough Financial Times

When times are tough, business does it tough too, as everyone tries to keep spending to a minimum and stretch what funds they have that much further. As a small business owner, you might be struggling to find ways to cut down on expenses, but don’t be tempted to lower your Massachusetts small business insurance coverage – that could be a false economy.

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There may be ways you can consolidate your policies, if you have a range of different ones for specific types of coverage. It might be possible, for instance, to change over to a business owner’s policy (BOP) as that combines a few different types of coverage within the one policy, so you only have a single premium. Then you might be able to manage with just a couple of other policies to manage any other risks your business might face.

A Massachusetts small business insurance agent may be your best source of assistance during tough times. He or she is well placed to be able to provide you with information on the latest insurance products and may be able to suggest ways that you can restructure your insurance so you get the best possible value for your money. An insurance agent may also be able to suggest things you can do with your business practice that could attract some discounts on your premiums. Before things start to feel too unmanageable, call our office and make a time to meet with one of our agents to discuss your business insurance requirements.

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Flood And Other Extreme Weather Coverage – Do You Need It?

When was the last time you checked through your Mass home insurance policy? It may have been a while, which means it’s probably time to get it out and have a look through it. It could be that you bought some fairly basic coverage initially and you may need to make some adjustments.

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Another thing to consider is extra coverage for disasters that you may not have purchased when you first bought your coverage. Are you aware that, for the most part, your home insurance policy most likely doesn’t offer you protection against some extreme weather events? You may be able to claim for some fire, storm and hail damage. However, major floods, earthquakes and hurricanes probably aren’t covered, and you may need separate policies for these. 

Flood coverage is particularly important. Read your policy – check the details in the documentation about coverage for water damage. People who live near rivers or in low lying areas know intuitively that there could be a flood if there is an unusual amount of rain – but it doesn’t always mean they think to buy special coverage. However, if you live near a river and do not have adequate coverage, you may not have the financial means to recover if you experience a major flood.

Call one of our agents to assist you in reviewing your Mass home insurance requirements. Discuss with them your options for adding the disaster coverage that is not included.

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Some spring cleaning ideas!

As winter is moving out the door and spring is moving in, every homeowner should prepare their home for the spring! If Home Insurance costs you a substantial amount of money each year, then you should love your home! Show that you care by following these easy steps to show some spring time love.

 Clean your windows – Each season your homes windows will be dirty from daily activities on the inside and the harsh environment on the inside. After cleaning your windows you will give your house a new sparkle and shine!

 Clean fans and HVAC systems – After the winter, your fans will have accumulated large amounts of dust, and your HVAC systems will no longer release clean fresh air like they should. Clean your fans and HVAC systems to live a healthier life.

 Vacuum and clean out your carpets – By vacuuming and cleaning your carpets you will eliminate any dust mites and critters that found a place to stay warm for the winter! Also, you will bring a fresh sent to your home before the stuffy allergy season begins.

 Check for interior and exterior damage – While your home withstands winter storms and harsh cold weather, it is not uncommon to have some exterior damage. Your gutters may have become loose, a shingle or two may be missing from your roof or even a piece of siding may be missing from your home. Interior damage can occur also. Some homes are not designed properly, as a result homeowners may have water and snow that worked its way underneath the shingles and has started to rot out the roof, this incident is called an ice dam. Check your ceilings after ever winter for water staining to ensure your home is safe to live in.

 Add new plants to your garden – Express how excited for the spring you are by bringing some life to the exterior of your home.  Some plants may have been damaged by the cold winter months. To express your excitement about the new spring season throw out the old and bring in the new and bring some color to your garden!

 Vargas & Vargas Insurance Agency cares about you and your home. Show your home the same love and care that we express to our clients. For all of your Home Insurance needs, call Vargas & Vargas Insurance Agency at 877-550-0025

Keeping a Vacant Home Safe

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Protecting a vacant home does not have to be a stressful task.  Here are ways to secure the home and give you peace of mind.

Make it look occupied.  Purchase timers for wall outlets and set lamps to turn on and off at various times.  You can also set the DVR to turn on while recording movies and shows, making it look like someone is home watching TV.  Additionally, it is a good idea to hire a lawn service to keep the grass from becoming overgrown and enticing burglars to enter the home.

Contact people you trust.  Ask neighbors to watch the house, and give them numbers to call in case of an emergency.  Also, make sure your local police department is aware no one will be at the house, and cancel all mail and newspaper deliveries.

Securely lock all doors and windows.  The harder it is for vandals to enter, the less likely they will succeed in doing so.  It also helps to have a security system installed.  

Cover any area exposed to the outdoors.  This includes doggy doors and chimney tops, through which birds and squirrels can enter.  Attach square plywood to the area with screws.

Shut the main water valve.  This is usually found on the front, street-facing side of the home.  You should also drain all toilets and tanks by holding down the flush lever until the water is gone. 

During winter months, pour antifreeze in toilets and sink traps to decrease their likelihood of freezing.  Also, wrap the pipes under the sink and any that are exposed to the outside.

Turn the breakers off.  Shut off all nonessential electrical circuit breakers to minimize the risk of electrical fires.  It is a good idea to label the circuits with colored dots in order to distinguish the nonessential from the essential, like the security system and outdoor lighting.

Check your insurance policy.  All policies have various limitations on vacant properties, so call your insurance agent and review your coverage today!

As always, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help keep your home safe.  If you have any questions on Home Owners Insurance policies, call and speak to a knowledgeable agent today at 877-550-0025. 

Key Person Coverage for Extra Financial Protection

Small businesses depend on each and every member of their team to maintain productivity. In some cases, there may be individuals who have particular skills that are crucial to continued operations. While your Massachusetts small business insurance package might offer you excellent general coverage, you may need to consider specific coverage to offer financial protection in the event that something happens to a person on whom your business is very reliant.

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Key person coverage is a form of life insurance that is designed to provide financial protection for this type of situation. Unlike a personal life insurance policy, it is held by your business and the business becomes the beneficiary in the event that something happens and you need to claim on the policy. 

You should discuss this with any employees you are considering for this coverage. They may or may not already have life insurance. However, if they don’t, you could suggest that they take out a personal policy to protect their family’s financial future, as your policy will not do that. 

Massachusetts small business insurance can work best for your business if you take the time to work through all the specific risks your business may face. That way, you can work with your agent to put together a collection of policies that are designed to offer back up in case you suffer any losses or damage due to those risks. 

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Support the youths of Boston!

More than 1,200 youths from the Boston area marched through town on February 23rd in support of the Youth Jobs Coalition, a Dorchester based organization. On Tremont Street, youths and parents held signs to protest the cuts from the T. Also, the march was lead through the financial district and then to the Statehouse to request jobs from companies that employ more than 100 employees. They also asked for an increase in the funding for unemployed youths.

 From 2010 to 2011 the percentage of youth jobs during the summer decreased from 62% to 39%. This significant decrease in jobs is due to the elimination of federal job funding in 2010 and the current state of the economy. Having a large number of unemployed teens is a great concern in the Boston area because youths will be more likely to be involved in crimes as a result of the lack of available  jobs. Jena Marie Figueroa a ninth grader at the O’Bryant High School who lives in Dorchester said, “Without youth jobs, kids will commit crimes, sell drugs and do all those negative things.” Members of the Action for Boston Community Development noticed that the skills youths gained through employment and their ability to help support their families has given them a sense of empowerment. Visit DotNews for more information on this area of concern.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance Agency is very proud to be actively involved with many community groups. Vargas & Vargas Insurance Agency supports Boston’s youth and would like all small and larger employers to do, also!

Simple Ways to Protect Your Electronic Devices From Theft

 

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Unfortunately, it’s true.  According to MBTA Transit Police, property crimes have shown a 17% increase in the past year alone.  The majority of these thefts?  Those electronic devices you cannot possibly live without.

So, how should you keep your laptop, smartphone and iPod safe from harm no matter where you are?  Here are some ways to protect your items.

Buy a lock.  Laptop cable locks are security cables that can be used in any location and decrease your laptop’s appeal to potential thefts.  You can browse various locks at http://bit.ly/xAc0Lq.   

Invest in LoJack.  LoJack for Laptops is a software program that offers four protection features.   It allows you to track your laptop’s location history, freeze it, delete files and alert the Theft Recovery Team, which uses advanced technology to locate the laptop and who has it.  For more information about LoJack, visit http://bit.ly/b0xtgI. 

Get iCloud.  This iphone app does more than store your music, photos and documents.  It also can track your missing phone’s location.  To learn all about iCloud’s features, check out http://bit.ly/pL6ulJ.

Use password protection.  Setting passwords on your electronic devices limits a theft’s access to the information and is an easy way to keep them safe.

Other safety tips:

Don’t have your phone or iPod out when leaving public transit areas.

Keep track of your surroundings, and be aware of people near you.

Write down the device’s serial number, color, make and model and register it.

Don’t wait!  Make sure your electronic devices are safe and protected from harm today!

If you don’t own a home, you need renters insurance, what is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance acts as a homeowners insurance policy
for those who rent their place of residence. Whether you live in a
condo, apartment, house, duplex, etc., renters insurance can protect you
and your assets. Having renter’s insurance can help devoid costs of
damages should anything happen to a rental property that you are living
in for as little as $125.00 per year.

Please call Vargas & Vargas Insurance 877-550-0025 with any questions you may have!