He Said, She Said: Auto Insurance

Auto with guy.jpgIf you are in the market for an auto insurance policy, it is important to make sure that you (or your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent) search many different insurance providers for the best value at the best price. It is very likely that each auto insurance provider will request that you pay a slightly different premium. 

When you receive a car insurance quote, it may seem like the insurance provider is pulling a number out of thin air. In fact, your quote is the compilation of an abundance of information about you, which typically can include:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your marital status
  • The area where you live
  • Your credit score
  • The make, model, and year of the vehicle you drive
  • Your cumulative driving record
  • Any previous auto insurance claims

Most of these factors are obvious factors for determining an auto insurance premium, such as your driving record and your vehicle type. Why insurance providers use some of these factors, though, may not seem quite as apparent.

For example, it is a well known fact that male drivers pay more to insure their automobiles than female drivers. Have you ever wondered why exactly this is? Most people will attribute this to men’s increased recklessness. While this may be correct overall, there have been many studies over the years that statistically show that men are more of a liability on the road.

Some of these statistics and facts include:

  • Men tend to drive more often than women. More time on the road means more chances to get into an accident!
  • Along the same lines, there are more men with a drivers  licenses than women.
  • Men receive far more speeding tickets than their female counterparts.
  • Men are cited for reckless driving 3.4 times more than women are.
  • Fatal accidents involve male drivers 2.5 times more often than they involve female drivers.
  • Men are two times more likely than women to drive with a suspended license.
  • Women have been found to wear a seatbelt 27% more often than men.
  • The ratio of men to women when DUIs where compared was over 2-to-1. 

And these are just some of the gender-based driving statistics that we were able to find! After reading all of these facts and figures, it is easy to see why insurance providers choose to make men pay more for car insurance, don’t you think?

If you’re male,  don’t fret! While you may not be able to do much about your gender, there are plenty of other factors in your auto insurance quote that you do have control over! Making sure that you are careful while driving, and own a safe car, can help lower your premium. Being married may also lower your auto insurance premium! However, we don’t recommend getting married just to save on your auto insurance – that strategy might just backfire on you!

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we want to make sure that you are receiving optimal car insurance for a great price – that’s why we will help you compare the premiums of many insurance providers! 

To learn more about what you can do to lower your insurance premiums, stay tuned to our agency’s blog posts. We post lots of insurance tips and tricks that will help you be a smart insured and could save you money in the future!

Call 877-550-0025 today and speak with a knowledgeable agent to get the coverage you deserve at the right price for you.

The Toll of Commuting on Your Wallet and Your Car


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Have you ever tried to calculate how much you spend a year going to and from work? According

to the UrbanMobility Report, the average American commuter loses 34 hours and $750 annually to their lengthy drives. While some of the traveling costs may be unavoidable, there are measures you can take to reduce the commute’s toll on your wallet and your car as much as possible.

Save money when gassing up. Gas stations are more expensive off of the highways and in the city. By making a point to find and fill up at a cheaper station, you could save a few dollars each week, which adds up over time. Find the lowest gas stations in your area with GasBuddy. Another way to save money at the pump is to apply for a gas rebate card, which will give you a discount every time you fuel up.

Look for parking discounts. If you work in the city, you probably have to pay for parking each day. Fortunately, many garages in Boston have early bird specials and monthly discounts. In addition, you can get special parking deals and coupons by visiting Central Parking.

Take advantage of public transportation. To keep your costs down, use the MBTA to get to and from work each day. The benefits of doing so will extend beyond your wallet. You can use that time to relax instead of driving in rush hour traffic. Additionally, your annual car mileage and accident risk factor will decrease, allowing you to receive potential discounts on your car insurance policy

Furthermore, the APTA details the environmental benefits from utilizing public transportation. You also can consider carpooling with co-workers who live near you. 

Change your work hours. Companies are becoming more flexible with the traditional 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. workday. If the lengthy commute is taking up too much of your time and adding unnecessary stress, suggest arriving early and leaving early. There will be fewer cars on the road, saving you time and gas.

Or, talk with your employer about telecommuting to see if it would be beneficial for you.

Check into your employer’s programs. Some employers offer their employees certain benefits that allow them to pay for parking and transit with pre-tax dollars. The National Center for Transit Research provides information on commuter tax benefits, which can save you $50-$100 each month. 

Invest in fuel efficiency. Not only will a fuel-efficient car save you more money on gas, but it also helps reduce climate change and increase energy sustainability.  Autobytel and the U.S. Department of Energy list the top cars and trucks with the best gas mileage and fuel efficiency. 

While these tips will help you save money and time during your commute, they also will aid businesses as a whole. According to NPR, driving time is taking away from a company’s productivity. Following these measures to cut costs on your commute ultimately will benefit the economy as a whole. 

In addition, if you are looking to save money on your car insurance, the dedicated staff at Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. 

Call 877-550-0025 today and speak with a knowledgeable agent to get the coverage you deserve at the right price for you.

Carbon Monoxide: The Unseen Risk

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Protecting your home is important to you. At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we want to help you do everything you can to ensure that your home is a safe place for you and your family to spend time. One of the most prevalent ways that people protect their home is through the use of specific alarms and detectors, namely for fires, smoke, and burglars. These detectors and alarms may even be able to help you decrease your home insurance premium!

There is another type of detector that all residences should have also: a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. 

According to the EPA, “Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas.” Carbon monoxide exposure can cause both moderate and severe problems, such as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Nausea and flu-like symptoms
  • Impaired vision

As you could probably guess, because carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, it is nearly impossible to detect without scientific aid. While you should make sure to protect your home with a carbon monoxide detector, there are other ways that you can help to reduce your potential carbon monoxide exposure, such as:

  • Do not let your car idle in an enclosed garage. Always make sure that the garage door is open before you start your engine, and turn off the car before you close thegarage door.
  • If you use a traditional, wood-burning fireplace, always open your flues.
  • Furnaces, flues, and chimneys should be inspected annually by a professional, and any problems or leaks need to be repaired without delay.
  • Never run a generator inside your home or garage. Generators should always be run outside for proper ventilation. Even after a generator is turned off, it can be dangerous!

If you follow these safety tips, in addition to making sure that your home is armed with a carbon monoxide alarm, you should be able to ensure that you avoid exposing yourself or your family and friends to this undetectable and harmful toxin.

Also, we have great news for those of you that have insurance through Travelers! In addition to providing an excellent resource to “Prepare and Prevent” damages, they also now have a special offer available for a First Alert® Carbon Monoxide detector! Whether this would be your first detector, or simply an upgrade for an existing detector, it is certainly worth looking into!

If you wish to investigate this offer, go to the Travelers Prepare and Prevent page, and click the offer in the lower right hand corner. From there, you can login to MyTravelers and further explore the offer.

Even if you are unable to use the Travelers promotion for the Carbon Monoxide detector, we encourage you to inquire into getting one for your home. The initial cost will pale in comparison to the peace of mind it will offer to everyone in your home. 

Do you have any more questions about carbon monoxide, or how you can help protect your family against this and other types of indoor pollutants?

If so, please call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency today. Our friendly and professional staff would be glad to help you sort out all your concerns.

Our phone number is: 877-550-0025

Do I Need a Life Insurance Policy?

As you age, there are many things that you need to start considering. Events that used toLife Insurance - Option 2.jpg seem so far off are slowly creeping up. It’s about this time that you should take getting a life insurance policy into serious consideration. 

After all, when exactly is ‘the right time’ to get a life insurance policy? Is it when you turn 18? When you graduate college, perhaps? What about when you get your first job after graduation, or when you get married?

Thankfully, there are a few guidelines that can help in determining whether now is the time to begin looking into getting a Massachusetts life insurance policy. These guidelines include:

Having a spouse (or other person) dependent upon your income.

We know that you work hard to make your money. If any of that income is used to support anyone other than yourself (whether it be a spouse, parent, or anyone else) you may wish to guarantee that those persons would not be left helpless in the event of your passing. Protect them by investing in a whole or term life insurance policy.

The money that they would receive in the event of your passing could potentially help them to cover expenses such as groceries, utility bills, and car and home payments. 

Having children in your household that are under the age of 18.

As with ensuring the protection of a spouse or other dependents, your children need financial security. If you have a life insurance policy, you can ensure that they will be able to cover their living expenses upon your passing. If you desire, this can also be earmarked to help your children cover the costs of their secondary education. 

Being unprepared for your end of life expenses.

Even if you don’t have any dependants, you still may want to consider getting yourself a life insurance policy. As you probably are aware, there are expenses associated with passing away. These can include:

  • The cost of a casket or urn
  • Embalming or cremation
  • A gravesite and burial expenses
  • A headstone
  • Fees associated with the funeral home
  • And more

As you can see, there are many things to consider when determining your end of life expenses. If you don’t currently have money put aside specifically for this purpose, your family members may be stuck carrying the burden. You can also circumvent passing on this burden with a life insurance policy!

If any of these situations apply to you or someone you know, please call and speak to one of our agents! We can help you wade through all the confusion and determine whether or not an insurance policy would be beneficial to you and your family. 

We can also help you determine whether you would be best suited by a whole or term life insurance policy (as well as explain the differences between the two), and can help you figure out exactly how much coverage you should have! So don’t hesitate – give our agency a call now!

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to helping you get the right insurance coverage for you at the best price. We have information at our site on life insurance and other insurance products to consider in your financial plan.

Call Vargas & Vargas today and speak with a knowledgeable agent. 

Our phone number is: 877-550-0025.

Be A Small Business Employee Rock Star


star-icon.pngGoing through a business interview is one activity that everyone does not enjoy. But inorder to achieve your “dream job” you must go through that interview and rock it! Read our tips in order to rock that interview and become a small business employee Rock Star!

Know the company

When searching for your “dream company”, dig through their website. Do not just look for their contact information to find out what is the best method to send your resume to them. Look at what the company specializes in, see if they have investors or sponsors, familiarize yourself with past projects they have completed and know about anything they support, such as being green. You will be able to share your knowledge at the job interview by asking questions.

Stand out from the crowd

Many job searchers create mass resumes and cover letters that are sent to multiple businesses at one time. Do not be the typical job searcher. Know the company that you are applying to and alter your cover letter specifically for them. Small businesses love attention to detail and this is your first step to distinguishing yourself!

Share what you will contribute

If the company knows what you will be able to contribute starting from day one, they may be more eager to hire you. Why? If you already have skills that they are looking for in an employee, they will spend less time training you. Less time spent training means lower costs to them. Small businesses love low costs!

Use reinforcements

Your reinforcements are reputable referrals. Choose people in your life that know you well and that will have positive feedback about your past working experience and skills. Having trouble finding those people? Check your LinkedIn account for members of your network! Anyone can go to an interview and say how great they are, but a small business loves hearing how important you are to a company from other people. 

Be assertive

Just because a company does not have a job posting does not mean they are not searching. Go to the company and “bang” on their front door! This will show the company that you have certainty; they will want to interview you. At that interview…

Be confident!

The confidence in a person is shown through their demeanor. As no one knows you better than yourself, you do not have a reason to not be confident when being interviewed. While being interviewed, the company may ask you questions about past projects you have completed. Respond to their questions like a pro and you will be on your way to another successful job!

Vargas & Vargas Insurance Agency is a small business that truly cares about supporting other small businesses and buying local. We also care about you and your family’s insurance needs. Whether it is MA Home Insurance, MA Auto Insurance, MA Life Insurance or MA Business Insurance, we have experienced employees that want to assist you. 

Call us at 877-550-0025 to schedule an appointment today!  

Regain Control of Your Financial Planning

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While financial planning is something we all know we should do, it’s often easier said than done. This year, make managing your finances easier and less stressful by following these tips.

Know exactly how much you spend. You won’t know how much you can save until you know exactly how much money you’re spending and on what. Start by keeping a list of this month’s expenses – noting the price of everything you buy, where you shop and what bills you have to pay. This will enable you to take a serious look at where your money is going and how quickly. 

Mind Your Decisions provides a detailed expense tracker and budget spreadsheet. Or, check out Computerworld’s ten smartphone apps that help you manage your expenses.

Use these three easy tips to regain control of your financial planning:

1. Reconcile your bank accounts. According to Mapping Your Future, balancing your bank accounts at least once each month is one of the best money managing habits you can form. In addition to keeping track of your money, it helps you identify any mistakes that you or your bank might have made or any fraudulent transactions. 

You can reconcile your accounts quickly and easily via Quicken, other similar finance software, or follow the instructions on eHow to ensure you do it correctly.

2. Eliminate credit card debt. According to Boston.com, the average American household carries close to $8,000 in credit card debt. Additionally, the Federal Reserve cites that 58% of Americans have a credit card balance. While these statistics are alarming, decreasing your debt may not be as overwhelming or impossible as you think. CreditCards.com and About.com explain specific steps to take to decrease – and eventually eliminate – your debt.

3. Save. Even if it’s just a small portion of your paycheck each month, setting aside money is important, whether it’s for retirement or just the upcoming year. Real Simple provides a step-by-step guide to saving money. Additionally, BusinessWeek details 25 ways to reduce expenses and boost savings.

If you would like to meet with a professional to discuss your finances, Boston Magazine lists the area’s 20 best financial advisors. Or, read and submit review of the ones near you on Yelp.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to helping you get the right insurance coverage for you at the best price. We have information at our site on life insurance and other insurance products to consider in your financial plan.

Call Vargas & Vargas today and speak with a knowledgeable agent. 

Our phone number is: 877-550-0025.

Tags: personal finance, insurance, easy tips, debt, your financial, regain control, financial planning

Importance of Understanding Impounds, aka Escrow Account.

What is it? If you make a minimum down payment when you purchase your home or condominium, you may be required to deposit funds into an impound account, which the lender can use for your homeowners insurance, property taxes and mortgage insurance. This account reassures the lender that there always will be sufficient funds to pay your bills when they are due and that the policies cannot be cancelled without the lender’s knowledge.

How can it help you? Although an impound account is designed to protect the lender, it also can be beneficial for you as the borrower. An impound account enables you to pay for large homeownership-related expenses gradually throughout the year without worrying that the money for the bills won’t be there when you need it. Furthermore, you already will have paid your premiums to the lender a few months in advance, which adds protection in case your financial situation becomes difficult over time. You will not risk having your policies cancelled; the impound account serves as a financial “cushion”. Inaddition, federal regulations require the lender to review your account annually to ensure the correct amount of money is being collected and may even offer you a better interest rate if you agree to the impound account.

What are the drawbacks? Because an impound account means you pre-pay your premiums, that money is not in your own account earning interest during those months. Additionally, the lender is the one in charge of making your payments. While this can be seen as beneficial, it also can serve as a disadvantage, especially for those who like to be in control of their own payments and ensure that they are paid on time. Furthermore, the lender determines the monthly amount by estimating the annual tax and insurance payments and dividing them by 12. This amount is added to your monthly principal and interest rate. However, the actual costs can fluctuate, and you may end up depositing more money than necessary into the account upfront. While some appreciate the security, others can view this as reason not to have an impound account.

Mass Home provides a list of lenders throughout the state. Additionally, Mass.gov is a good resource for prospective home buyers.

Because there are pros and cons to impound accounts, it is important to discuss it with your insurance agent to find out if one is right for you. Vargas & Vargas Insurance is committed to providing excellent customer service,working directly with individuals and ensuring they