Why Do We Celebrate The 4th Of July?

Independence Day isn’t just a great movie – it’s the celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence back in the year 1776. In the first few years of its existence, Independence Day was celebrated by 13 gun salutes, parades, official dinners, and fireworks. 

Why Do We Celebrate The 4th Of July?

Today, not all that much has changed in the way that Americans celebrate the 4th of July. It has been a national holiday since 1870, and at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, our employees will be taking advantage of their day off with picnics and barbecues, red white and blue themed family get-togethers, parades, and (of course) fireworks shows. The week surrounding July 4th is noted as one of the busiest travel periods in the US!

How do you and your family plan to celebrate America’s 237th birthday?

The Massachusetts Firework Law

Some states, including Massachusetts, prohibit the sale and use of fireworks. The Massachusetts Fireworks Law (MGL Chapter 148, S. 39) states: “No person shall sell, or keep or offer for sale, or have in his possession, or under his control, or use, or explode, or cause to explode, any combustible or explosive composition or substance, or any combination of such compositions or substances, or any other article, which was prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation.”

The fireworks law also states that possession or use of fireworks will be punishable with confiscation of the fireworks, and a fine of $10-$100. This includes fireworks that were purchased lawfully in states like Connecticut or New Hampshire and brought over Massachusetts state lines illegally.

Firework Displays in the Area

Don’t risk the consequences of backyard fireworks – just the potential of a home insurance claim isn’t worth the trouble. Fireworks set off at home have been known to cause fires in dry, grassy areas, and can also sometimes veer off course and start a blaze in or around nearby homes.

Even with a backyard fireworks show out of the question, there are plenty of professional displays in our area that you can attend. If you want to find a display in your area, check out this list of events courtesy of bostoncentral.com.

Also, don’t forget about the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular! This year marks the 40th of their July 4th Spectaculars, and the show promises to be fun for the whole family. If you can’t make it to the show live, it will be broadcast locally on WBZ-TV for your viewing pleasure.

Independence Day Activities for Kids

For our readers with children, there are many activities that you can do with them on July 4th. Here are five fun and creative ideas to get you started:

As you can see, there are many great options on how you can celebrate Independence Day this year in the Boston area. Whatever you and your family decide to do, remember to be safe and have fun!

Remember to give us a call at 877.550.0025 for your insurance questions and needs.

Four Steps to Financial Success

Everyone wants to be smarter with their money. It is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and (just like exercise and weight loss) is often abandoned in no time flat. 

Four Great Steps to Financial Success

While there is no true outline of exactly how you can succeed at spending less and saving more of your hard-earned money, here are four great steps that you can follow to get yourself in a financially responsible mindset:

Financial Success – 4 Steps:

1. Figure out your true goals.

Many money goals are very general. While a general goal is a good place to start, it’s important to sit down and take the time to iron out your financial desires. Instead of just saying “I want to save more of my money,” specify what it is you’re saving for, and quantify your goal with a number or percentage. For example:

  • “I should put 5% of my take-home pay into a retirement fund every month.”
  • “I want to save $3,000 for a vacation in two years.”
  • “I need to save $100 every month for my children’s college fund.”
  • “I ought to have nine months to one year’s living expenses in my emergency fund within the next five years.”

When you have a clearly defined goal, your next steps in the process will be easy. 

2. Compare your goals to your lifestyle.

Now that you have a clearly defined goal, it’s time to evaluate what sort of lifestyle changes you need to make in order to achieve it. Take, for example, the vacation goal from above. If you want to sake three thousand dollars in two years, you need to save approximately $175 a month. Take a look at your normal monthly spending and find a few places where you could cut back your spending.

3. Take baby steps toward change.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when working toward a goal is making too many changes too quickly. Instead of going cold turkey, make changes gradually. 

Instead of fully cutting out your daily premium coffee, limit yourself to a few visits a week to your local barista. As you familiarize yourself with the taste of a home brew, make your caffeine runs less and less frequent over time.

The same principal goes for all money saving habits that you want to implement, including: 

  • Eating out less
  • Quitting smoking
  • Spending less on shopping trips
  • Paring down your entertainment budget
  • Using more coupons

As you slowly develop these money saving habits, you will see yourself come closer and closer to achieving your financial goals!

4. Celebrate your progress!

As with any achievement, it is important that you give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. The sacrifices made in order to become financially responsible aren’t easy, but they will allow you to be more successful in the future.

Reinforce your good financial behavior by celebrating your accomplishments. Share your victories with friends or family, or allow yourself to splurge a bit when you attain your goal.

Also remember – these four steps will help achieve small goals. Sometimes, though, professional assistance is necessary. If you need some more help with your financial planning, please call 877-550-0025 to speak to a professional financial advisor for extra help with estate planning, annuities and stocks, and much more. 

Are You Ready to Grill this Summer?

Are You Ready to Grill this Summer?It’s that time of year again, folks! If you didn’t break out your tongs and spatulas for Memorial Day a few weeks ago, the Fourth of July is quickly approaching. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we love to spend an afternoon outdoors, and it’s a proven fact that all hot summer afternoons are made better by food served hot off the grill. Are you ready to grill this summer?

Try these Delicious Recipes!

If you’re tired of serving up the same hot dogs and hamburgers every time you grill, it might be time to look for some new recipe ideas. Allrecipes.com is a great place to find new and fresh ideas, as it has some great BBQ and grilling recipes. The Food Network website also offers a vast selection of grilling ideas, including a great article about 50 Things to Grill in Foil.

Don’t forget that you can cook your desert on the grill as well! Almost any fruit can be grilled when you follow the right directions – for starters, try out this grilled fruit recipe from NPR!

Grilling Tips and Tricks

  • Marinades help to tenderize meat. If you can, marinade your meat overnight or for a few hours prior to it hitting the grill.
  • Salt draws moisture out of meat, so don’t add salt to your meats until after it is cooked.
  • If you’re grilling up skewers, there’s a trick to getting the correct doneness. If you want well or medium-well, space out your items on your kebab. If you’re looking for a medium or medium-rare doneness, pack your items together.
  • Want to cook the perfect steak? Use this guide to learn how to test your steak’s doneness without having to slice into it!
  • For delicious, juicy meat, always allow it to rest before you serve it. It may be tempting to serve steaks as soon as they’re done grilling, but letting them sit for a few minutes before cutting into them allows their juices to redistribute.
  • Need to clean your grill? Wait until the grates are warm – it’s much easier to clean warn grates than cold ones!
  • Remember – grilling (and cooking in general) is all about trial and error. Experiment until you find flavors that you and your friends love!

Keep Your Friends and Family Safe

Grilling is a great way to bring people together. Just make sure that you are following the right safety procedures when you grill. It doesn’t matter whether you are grilling dinner for two or having a backyard bash for the whole block – safety should be your #1 priority.

  • Do your grilling in a safe location. Make sure that you keep a safe distance (preferably at least 10 feet) between your grill and your home or any trees, or you could have a home insurance claim on your horizon!
  • When you are setting up your grilling area, ensure that you have all of your tools situated before you begin grilling. Also make sure that there is a first aid kit within reach, just in case.
  • Make sure that anything that touches raw meat (hands, utensils, plates, etc.) gets thoroughly washed.
  • In case your grill flares up, always have a spray bottle of water nearby.
  • Never leave meat at room temperature for more than one hour.
  • Check yourself. No one wants to eat undercooked meat, so use a thermometer to ensure that your foods are cooked to the proper temperatures.
  • If there are children present in your cooking area, establish a zone around your grill where they are not allowed to play. If it helps, use a bit of twine or a few jump ropes to establish a physical line that they may not cross.

We hope that you have enjoyed these grilling tips and tricks, and that they will help to make your Fourth of July cookouts more special than ever, and stay tuned to our blog for a Fourth of July fireworks article coming up soon!

Photo credit: Aaron Paxson / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Carpenter Ants: America’s #1 Pest

Carpenter Ants: America's #1 PestDid you know that the third week in June is Carpenter Ant Awareness Week? These troublesome insects have been declared the number one pest in the United States – and for good reason! If your house is home to a nest of carpenter ants, they can cause huge amounts of structural damage before you even realize that they’re there!

Prevent an ant infestation:

Carpenter ants make their nests by burrowing into wood. When wood is moist, it is easier for the ants to make a home in your territory. If you want to deter ants, make sure that you use the following tips:

  • Repair roof and plumbing leaks in a timely manner.
  • Clean gutters regularly to ensure that water does not infiltrate your walls.
  • Tightly seal areas where pipes and wires enter your home, and regularly check your home’s foundation for cracks.
  • Eliminate wood to soil contact in and around your home.
  • If you use firewood, don’t store it directly on dirt (raise it with a nonorganic material like bricks), and always examine it before bringing it indoors.
  • Trim trees and bushes so that they do not touch your home’s roof or siding. Branches can easily serve as an ant’s bridge into your home.

By performing this maintenance around your home on a regular basis, you can help yourself avoid a huge headache in the future. Chores like these can be a little time consuming, but it’s only a fraction of the time that you would spend trying to get rid of a nest of ants that have burrowed into your home!

Keep an eye out for these signs:

Even if you follow all of our preventative tips, there’s a chance that a stubborn bunch of ants may make it into your home. They can hide out in your walls and ceilings for years without being noticed, so keep your eyes peeled for these warning signs:

  • Rustling or crunching sounds in your walls: These sounds are often made when carpenter ants are excavating, and can sometimes be heard through walls and ceilings.
  • Damaged wood in your home: If you find any wood in your home that looks like it has been tunneled by some pests, there’s a good chance that you have a problem.
  • Inexplicable sawdust: Carpenter ants often leave little piles of frass (a material similar to sawdust) around as they burrow into your wood. If you find any frass around, look for the tunnels they may have come from.
  • Winged carpenter ants in your home: The ant’s colonies typically live within your wooden structures, but they will sometimes send out scouts to look for new places to nest.

If you see signs of a possible infestation:

Have you seen any of the warning signs from the list above? If you have, it’s time to consult a professional. Call a local pest control company, and see what they say. They have the experience needed to evaluate your home’s pest situation, and will be able to offer you potential solutions if you do indeed have a problem.

Remember – a carpenter ant problem is not something that you should ignore. They will eat away at your home, and will cause more and more structural damage the longer you allow them to exist, so nip your dilemma in the bud!

Make sure that your home is protected:

Don’t wait until it is too late – make sure that you’re insured in case your home suffers structural damage. Make sure that your home insurance covers these (and other) vermin by calling Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 877-550-0025. We’ll review your policy and ensure that you have the right coverage for life’s potential troubles.

Photo credit: sanchom / Foter.com / CC BY

Practice Safe Sun this Summer!

Practice Safe Sun this Summer!The heat is on, and summer is shifting into gear. Now that the weather is warm and inviting, people are starting to enjoy their days out in the sun. Whether you’re going fishing, going to the beach, or just enjoying some time on your patio, make sure that you practice sun safety in the coming months. 

Practice safe sun this summer! Here are some quick and easy tips on how to best protect yourself from the potentially harmful rays of the sun: 

Choose the Right Sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, the options you have may be overwhelming. There are dozens of different brands, all with different numbers attached. Once you know what to look for, though, picking out the right protection for you and your family will be much easier. 

Get the right SPF: “SPF” stands for Sun Protection Factor – specifically protection against UVB rays. Here’s the simple calculation associated with SPF: the time it takes you to burn without any sunscreen multiplied by the SPF of the sunscreen you use is your new ‘burn time.’ For example, if you normally burn in 10 minutes without protection, wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen will allow you 150 minutes in the sun before you burn. Most professionals recommend using at least an SPF of 30.

Look for extra protection: Having the right SPF is crucial, but it’s not the only thing that you need to look out for when choosing your sunscreen. Make sure that you pick out a brand that boasts UVA (Ultraviolet A) protection as well.

Check for water resistance: No sunscreen can be totally waterproof, but purchasing one with water resistance will help to ensure that your protection doesn’t come off when you sweat or go for a swim.

If you’re still not sure about which sunscreen is right for you, check out this handy 6 question guide from WebMD. Also remember to apply your sunscreen a few minutes before you go out in the sun, and reapply often, following your product’s directions.

Know What to Wear

In addition to applying sunscreen, you need to wear the right clothing when you are exposed to the sun. if possible, don’t leave the house without:

  • A wide brimmed hat
  • A cover-up or large t-shirt
  • Sunglasses

When choosing your cover-up clothing, remember that the best sun protection comes from items that are tightly woven and dark colored. Also try to use sunglasses that cover your entire eye area. The best protection comes from those glasses that cover you from your eyebrows to your cheekbones and from temple to temple.

Examine Your Skin

Everyone needs to help ensure that their skin is healthy. Take advantage of your health insurance with a yearly trip to a primary care physician, and make sure that you also go to see a dermatologist for an annual check-up. 

In addition to seeing a dermatologist once a year, you need to perform monthly self-checks on your skin. Know your “ABCDs of moles” and see a dermatologist if you notice that a mole has any one of the following characteristics:

  • Asymmetrical: Is there a mole that is oddly shaped?
  • Border: Does a mole have an irregular or undefined border?
  • Color: Does a mole have uneven coloring, or multiple colors?
  • Diameter: Is a mole larger than a pencil’s eraser, or is it growing over time?

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are looking forward to having a little fun in the sun this summer, and we hope that these tips will help you and your loved ones practice sun safety. And remember – if you have any questions about your health insurance coverage, just call 877-550-0025 to speak to one of our insurance experts!

Photo credit: gr33n3gg / Foter.com / CC BY

Plug the Holes in Your Home Insurance Policy

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In recent years, writing home insurance policies has become a huge expense for insurance providers. In fact, the average payout for a claim nearly doubled between 2002 and 2011. Insurance providers responded in two ways – they increased the amount you pay for home insurance, while also scaling back what a policy covers.

This leaves most homeowners in a pickle. It is now your responsibility to make sure that you and your home are protected from these exclusions. In an effort to help you make sure that you are protected, here is a list of some of the most common places that insurance providers have scaled back coverage:

Water Damage Coverage

Home insurance policies used to cover all kinds of water-related damages. Now, though, you may be surprised at what’s not covered. In fact, most insurance providers will only provide a payout if you can prove that a leak is less than 14 days old. This means that if you had a pipe leaking behind a wall for more than 2 weeks, you could be footing the repair bill yourself!

There are a few ways that you can help avoid this situation. First, try to catch a leak as soon as it occurs. Place a water alarm in places that leaks arise – under sinks and next to washers and water heaters. Also, speak to an insurance agent about adding protection to your home insurance for drain and sewer backups. This will add a bit to your premium, but the added protection is worth the cost.

Flood Damages

You may know that flood coverage is no longer a part of your home insurance policy. In order to protect your home against flood damage,  you need to make sure that you have a flood insurance policy. These are supplied through the National Flood Insurance Program.

If you live in a flood zone, this protection is highly encouraged. You don’t want to foot the bill if your home is damaged by a flood, so make sure that you have the right protection before it’s too late.

Payments for Repairs

Insurance providers used to guarantee that they would completely cover damage to your home. Nowadays, there are a lot more exclusions in the process, not to mention the red tape you’ll have to work through.

If you want to ensure that you are better protected, inquire into purchasing extended replacement coverage for your home insurance. This protection will kick in and help pay unforeseen costs in case you need them. A similar policy (replacement-cost coverage) is available for your possessions.

Rebuilding Costs

Insurance policies like home insurance are built upon repairing or replacing the home that you had. Therein lies a problem, however – if your home is destroyed, you will need to rebuild your home with current building codes in mind. This is sometimes more expensive than simply replacing your old home, and you could end up paying for those added costs.

To help offset the expenses of keeping older buildings up to code, make sure that you take out a little extra coverage. The added protection will come in handy if you ever need to replace a structure according to current standards. You can sometimes also add “Ordinance and Law” coverage to help offset these types of expenses.

Do you have any more questions about what exclusions may plague your home insurance policy? If so, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 877-550-0025, and ask one of our insurance experts to review your home insurance policy. We will help uncover any holes you may have, and can help you ensure that you are fully covered.

What to Bring on Your Bike Ride

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When you’re preparing to take a bicycle ride, no matter where or how far you plan to go, you need to make sure that you have a few key items with you. A few may be common sense, but there are others that may not be as straightforward.

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we want to make sure that you are always safe, so make sure that you are prepared the next time you go out for a spin by considering this list of items:

Necessities and Must-Haves

Water – This one should be a no-brainer. You need to have water with you when you exercise, and bicycling is no exception. If your bike doesn’t have a place to keep a water bottle, there are many options that you can install yourself.

Safety Gear – You should always wear a helmet when you ride. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, especially if you’re going to be biking at night.

Identification – In case of emergency, it’s always a good idea to bring identification with you on your trips. If you don’t want to bring your driver’s license, consider investing in an identification bracelet.

Cell Phone – This is another must-have in case of an emergency. If something happens to you or your bike, you’ll need a way to contact someone for help. You may also want to bring along some cash or a credit card. Make sure that you have at least enough money to pay for a taxi ride back home.

Optional but Helpful Items

Snacks – If you’re planning on biking for more than an hour or two, you should think about bringing along a little bit of food. Make sure that you reach for something healthy and nourishing, like a protein bar or trail mix.

Bike Lock – Are you planning to stop anywhere during your ride? If so, you should bring along a bike lock. This will help to ensure that your bike will be waiting for you upon your return.

First Aid – Cuts and scrapes happen to even the most experienced of riders. You can ease the pain by bringing along a small first aid kit. Consider including some antiseptic wipes and bandages, and a couple of aspirin in case you start to get a headache. Also think about bringing a first aid kit for your bike! An air pump and a couple of hex keys may come in handy if you ever need a quick fix in the middle of a ride.

Sun Protection – For most people, it’s a reflex to grab a pair of sunglasses as they walk out the door. While this is a good practice for bike riders, it’s not enough to protect you from the sun. in addition to your sunglasses, make sure that you also put on sunscreen before you leave, and reapply according to the directions on the package. 

Bag or Basket – If you’re thinking about bringing all the necessary and optional items listed above, you may need a way to carry them all! A bike bag or basket will help you store your ID and phone, as well as your snacks, first aid kit, and extra sunscreen.

New or Coming Soon – Innovations

Barbumps – If you find your hands uncomfortable or achy after a bike ride, your handlebars may be to blame. This Kickstarter is all about making handlebars more comfy and relieving the pressure that many cyclists experience. 

Statement Bike Rack – After a successful Kickstarter campaign, this elegant and functional bike rack will soon be available to consumers. A bike rack is a great way to store your bike while it isn’t in use. It even helps to make sure that your bike stays off your garage’s floor and out of harm’s way – and this one does it in style!

Silva Cycle Atom – Have you ever wished that you could convert your energy into power? Look no further! With this device, you can charge a battery pack, light, or even your cell phone!

And remember, if you have any questions about bicycles or cycling, call our friend Ashmont Cycles at 617-282-6552, and stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency Facebook page to learn more about how you could win a “Street Cruiser” bike from Ashmont Cycles!

Getting Married?- Insure Your New Bling!

Wedding Jewelery Insurance.jpgDid you know that the month of June is named after Juno – the Roman goddess of marriage? In ancient times, June was a popular month to wed, and it is still among the most popular months for a wedding. If you’re planning on getting married this June (or anytime this summer), we know that you’ve got a lot on your plate. The agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance would like to wish you congratulations on your upcoming wedding, and we want to help ensure that you are protected on your wedding day.

Hopefully, you’ve already protected your ‘big day’ with a wedding insurance policy. This policy will help you to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and that you’re covered if anything goes wrong. If you don’t have this policy yet, there’s no need to worry – just call us to get a wedding insurance quote!

There’s one more insurance policy that you should consider as you put the finishing touches on your nuptials: jewelry insurance. Adding a jewelry policy to your insurance repertoire will ensure that both of your wedding rings and your engagement ring are fully protected. 

Let us explain the two main reasons why your jewelry needs its own separate policy:

Be Covered in More Situations

Some people may tell you that your jewelry is protected under an insurance policy that you already have. It’s true – your jewelry is probably partially covered under your renters or home insurance policy. While this protection will cover you in some cases, it by no means offers full protection. 

For example, a home insurance policy will probably only cover your jewelry in a few specific cases. If your rings are lost or damaged in a way not outlined in your home insurance policy, you’ll be out of luck (and left to replace your bands without an insurance payout).

On the other hand, a dedicated jewelry insurance policy will offer your jewelry more comprehensive protection against loss or damage. 

Insure the Full Value of your Jewelry

Your home or renters insurance policy is a great way to cover most of your possessions, but there is typically a limit on the amount of jewelry it covers. This limit can be as low as a couple hundred dollars, depending on your policy!

With engagement rings alone potentially costing thousands of dollars, you need to make sure that they are insured for their full value. This means that they need their own separate insurance coverage.

These two factors also apply to many other valuables that you may have. Collections such as coins or stamps, china and silverware, fine art, and furs are just some of the items that can be insured with separate policies. They will gain the same benefits (added coverage and additional value coverage) listed above.

So if you are getting married in the next few months, and are interested in adding jewelry coverage to your current insurance policies, all you need to do is call 877-550-0025. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative will collect some information about your rings, and provide you with a quote. And don’t wait to do this until after your ceremony – make sure that your jewelry is completely covered on your wedding day, as well as on your honeymoon!

Photo credit: Lady B2008 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Now is the Time for Home Ownership

Now is the Time for Home OwnershipThere seems to be a lot of debate nowadays about home ownership. It used to be the American Dream. Now it seems that the younger generation is content with renting, and that home ownership is out of the question for them. 

While there are solid reasons why younger people would choose to rent for the time being, there are enormous benefits to home ownership that are impossible to deny. 

Why do people put off buying their first home?

It’s easy to see why people would be skittish about buying a home nowadays. One of the biggest reasons why people are nervous to own real estate is the recent housing bubble (and its subsequent burst).

In addition to that, younger people have many considerations when deciding if home ownership is the right course. These include:

  • The rising burden of student loan debt: It’s getting harder and harder to pay off student loans. Those people that would normally consider first time home ownership are strapped for cash because they’re already struggling to pay off their school loans. This may make a down payment and monthly mortgage payments seem out of reach to some.
  • The need to be flexible and mobile when switching jobs: The job market has recently been tough, but it’s easier to find a job if you can be flexible about its location. Restricting your job search to only locations within driving distance of a home severely limits opportunities.
  • The perks that come with renting: There’s no doubt about it – there’s something to be said for the ease of renting. If something is damaged or broken, it’s typically the landlord’s duty to fix. Sure, renters still need a renter’s insurance policy to cover their belongings, but the actual structure of the home or apartment being rented is the landlord’s responsibility. 

What are the benefits of home ownership?

Despite all the reasons listed above, there are some immense benefits to owning a home. Take, for instance, these points:

  • A home is an investment for the future: When you rent, the money that you pay out every month is essentially money down the drain. This is not the case with money spent on a mortgage. If you own a home, it typically increases in value, and becomes a financial asset and a long term investment for you and your family.
  • Home ownership provides stability: If you rent, your monthly payment is at the mercy of your landlord. Once your lease is up, the rent typically rises. Then you have two choices – pay up, or move. If you own a home with a fixed rate mortgage, however, you will typically have the same payment for up to 30 years.
  • Owning a home gives you freedom: When you own a home, it’s your property. You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to paint a wall, install a light, or make any changes. For avid DIY-ers, this autonomy is priceless. 

Why is now the perfect time to buy?

If you’re thinking about looking into buying your first home, now is a great time to get in the game! There are many factors that benefit people looking to buy a home:

  • Mortgage rates are near historic lows
  • Home prices are lower than they have been in many years
  • Both home prices and mortgage rates are likely to rise in the near future

And remember, if you’re buying a home, make sure that you get it the protection that it deserves. Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency today to talk to a home insurance expert. You can reach us at 877-550-0025.

Photo credit: Images_of_Money / Foter.com / CC BY

Hurricane Season Is Here – Are You Prepared?

Hurricane Season 2013.jpgThe 2012 hurricane season set records. There were a total of 19 tropical systems recorded in the Atlantic – the third most in recorded history. Nine of the nineteen storms became full blown hurricanes. One of these storms was the second most catastrophic hurricane on record: Hurricane Sandy.

The 2013 hurricane season runs from June 1st until November 30th. Weather Services International issued their predictions for the season in April, and they are expecting 16 named storms and 9 hurricanes, with 5 intense hurricanes.

The chance that a hurricane will hit the northeastern US is typically low, but it seems like it is becoming increasingly common for a storm to come this way. Knowing that another storm may threaten this area in the coming months, here are some questions that you should consider:

What will my Home Insurance cover?

If a hurricane or tropical storm hits your home, you need to make sure that you are fully protected against the damage that it could cause. A typical Massachusetts home insurance policy will offer you partial protection, including coverage for:

  • Water Damage: Heavy rain will sometimes come through a leaky roof and cause damage in your home. This should be covered.
  • Intense Winds: Falling trees and flying debris are part of the peril associated with a hurricane. These are typically automatically covered with a home insurance policy.
  • Hail: A typical home insurance policy will often cover roof repairs due to hail stone damage.
  • Loss of Use: If your home is severely damaged and you are forced to evacuate due to the severity of the repairs needed, your home insurance will likely cover your temporary living arrangements.

Please note – this is the typical coverage associated with a home insurance policy. Your policy’s details may differ slightly. In order to make sure that you have this coverage, double check your protection with your insurance agent.

What extra protection do I need?

As noted above, a home insurance policy typically includes coverage for water damage. This does not include coverage for rising waters. This means that without a flood insurance policy, you are vulnerable to one of the most expensive types of damage caused by hurricanes.

Take this example, for instance: when hurricane Sandy flooded the east coast last year, the average losses reported were over $40,000. You could be responsible for those repairs if you don’t have adequate insurance coverage.

Why do I need to act now?

If you don’t currently have a flood insurance policy, you need to speak to your insurance agent right away about adding this protection to your insurance portfolio. Did you know that a flood insurance policy doesn’t take effect until 30 days after its date of purchase. This means that waiting until the last minute to inquire about this policy will do you no good – you need to purchase it as soon as possible to ensure that it goes into effect sooner rather than later.

So don’t wait any longer! Call 877-550-0025 now to speak to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency representative about protecting yourself in the 2013 hurricane season. We can review your home insurance coverage and give you a free, no obligation quote on a flood insurance policy.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Foter.com / CC BY