How to Survive 4 Common Emergency Situations

How to Survive Common Emergency Situations

Odds say that you will face at least one of these emergency situations in your life. If you take the time to prepare yourself now, it will make dealing with the emergency much easier – after all, Benjamin Franklin was right when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Here are four common emergencies that many people have to deal with every day, and an explanation of what you can do now to prepare yourself and your family in case they affect you in the future:

A Flat Tire or Blowout

Cars are complex machines, meaning that there are a lot of different parts in your vehicle that could potentially break and cause an issue. One of the most common issues that drivers face on the road is a flat tire (because tires are in constant contact with the road, they are more vulnerable to issues than other parts of the car).

To prevent tire problems, make sure that you check your tire pressure and rotate your tires regularly, and replace tires that begin to look worn. If you hear a tire pop or suddenly lose control while driving, get a firm grip on the steering wheel and apply the brakes slowly. Pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights so that you can change your tire or call someone for assistance.

A Severe Storm

As we’ve already mentioned here on the blog, it’s hurricane season in the Atlantic from June 1 until November 30. Don’t wait until a hurricane is heading to New England to prepare your emergency kit! It should include everything that you need for 3 days, including food, water, prescription medications, space blankets, first aid supplies, flashlights, and more. Visit ready.gov for a full list of what to include in your family’s emergency kit.

A House Fire

Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of house fires in the US. Typically, these are caused by cooking equipment, smoking, or faulty heating equipment. Reduce your risk of a house fire by following common cooking and grilling safety tips, being careful to ensure that cigarettes and cigars are fully extinguished, and following the safety tips and maintenance schedule for all of your home’s heating devices.

If there is a fire in your home, you want to make sure that the proper authorities are notified as soon as possible. Do this by checking your home’s smoke alarms regularly. Also make sure that there is a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and that all family members know where it is located and how to use it.

A Case of Frostbite

It may not seem like a threat right now, but Boston winters can get cold, so you should be prepared to deal with a case of frostbite. In fact, you can get frost bite when the wind chill is below -19°F, which happens several times a year here in New England.

The signs of frostbite include a loss of feeling and a lack of color in the affected area, typically the fingers, toes, earlobes, and tip of the nose. If you suspect that you or someone else has frostbite, seek shelter immediately and get medical attention. Do not use friction to warm up the affected area, as it could cause permanent damage to the skin.

Now that you’re ready to deal with these four emergency situations, please use the “Share” buttons below to help your friends and family prepare themselves as well. Also “Like” the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency Facebook page for updates about our agency, links to informative blog posts and articles, and insurance tips!

Influences on Boston Car Insurance Quotes

Boston car insurance quotes

When you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance for a car insurance quote, it may seem like our agents come up with a number out of thin air. The rate that they quote isn’t arbitrary, though – Boston car insurance quotes are based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors are explained below:

Your Features

The attributes of the driver are one of the factors that determines how much an insurance policy will cost. As your Boston insurance agent asks you questions to determine your car insurance quote, they will likely ask for your information including your gender and date of birth. Generally, women are safer drivers than men (and therefore pay less for their auto insurance). As you get older, your auto insurance rates will probably decrease – teenagers pay significantly more than more experienced drivers.

In some cases, insurance providers will also check your credit score when determining your car insurance rate. This is because there is often a correlation between a person’s credit score and their likelihood to file an insurance claim in the future.

Your address and the amount of time that you spend in the car will also have an effect on your insurance cost. Living in a safe area with low crime is a plus to insurance providers, as is having a short commute to work or a low average weekly mileage.

Your Car

The type of car that you drive has a significant impact on your car insurance costs for many reasons. First, the safety devices and features in your car may help you to avoid getting into an accident in the first place, or may reduce the severity of any accidents that do happen. Cars with significant safety features may qualify for significant discounts, while cars without added protection may have higher rates. Cars with special parts are often more expensive to repair, and often cost more to insure than cars with parts that are less expensive and easy to find.

Your Driving Record

It should come as no surprise that your driving record impacts your insurance costs. If you have had accidents or other driving violations in the past, insurance providers will often see you as an increased risk to insure, and will charge you more to make up for their increased potential loss. The longer you are able to go without a mark on your record, the less your insurance bill is likely to be.

Your Coverage

As the age-old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” This is true when it comes to auto insurance policies. Getting a cheap policy often means leaving off important coverage. You need to have an experienced Boston insurance agent find you a car insurance quote that gets you the most bang for your buck – great coverage at a great price.

Now that you know more about how car insurance quotes are determined, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a free quote of your own! One quick call to 617-298-0655 will put you in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Boston auto insurance agents, and they will help you get a great insurance policy at a price that’s right for you.

The Essentials of a Basic Toolkit

Basic Toolkit

There are some essentials that every person needs. One of these is a basic toolkit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a DIY expert, or you just want to be able to hang the occasional picture, a toolkit is something that you will need.  If you need to assemble a basic toolkit, make sure that you have the following essential items, and consider the list of ‘other good items’ as well.

The Essentials

A Screwdriver Set – Screwdrivers are the ultimate universal tool. They can obviously install and remove screws, but they can also act as levers in a pinch for opening paint cans and battery compartments. Make sure that you get a set of various sizes with both flat and Phillips heads.

A Solid Hammer – If you plan on hanging pictures or putting up other decorations, a hammer is a ‘must have’ addition to your toolbox. You don’t necessarily need something that’s professional grade – just get a good solid hammer with a claw on the back for nail removal.

A Set of Pliers – Two pairs of pliers will be all that the basic homeowner or renter will need. One set should be a 10 inch groove-joint plier, and the other should be an 8 inch needle-nose plier.

A Tape Measure – Another building block of the basic toolkit is a standard measuring tape. Get one that it at least 25 feet long, and about one inch wide (so that it won’t constantly collapse when measuring longer distances).

A Level – Make sure that all of your projects are even with a level. One with three built-in bubble levels will make sure that you have all that you need. A longer level can double as a straightedge, or opt for a laser level for a more hands-free approach. In a pinch, most smartphones can install an app that will make it act as a level.

Other Good Items

A Flashlight – You probably already have a flashlight in your emergency kit, but it doesn’t hurt to have more than one for your dimly lit projects. Make sure that you stock extra batteries for it as well.

Glue and Tape – If you need two things to remain attached and a nail or screw won’t do the job, you will probably need some super glue or duct tape. Keep these in your toolbox for easy access in a pinch.

Lubricant – For all of the squeaky hinges in your life, make sure that you have some WD-40 (or another comparable item) on hand at all times.

Safety Equipment – For the more complicated and dangerous DIY jobs around the house, make sure that you have the proper safety gear. This typically includes goggles, ear protection, heavy duty gloves and an apron. These items will make sure that you are less likely to get hurt while you complete projects around your home.

To round out your new toolbox, make sure that you add a renters or home insurance policy from the Massachusetts insurance experts here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to 617-298-0655 and you can get a free, no-obligation quote for financial protection.

Community Spotlight – Milton Acupuncture

Community Spotlight – Milton AcupunctureHere at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are blessed to have so many great friends in our community. Occasionally, we like to share Community Spotlight posts in our blog to highlight businesses in the area that our customers should know about. Today, our feature is about Milton Acupuncture.

Daria Casinelli is a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Vipassana Buddhist. She practices meditation as a part of her acupuncture, and has a deep understanding of Eastern philosophies and methodologies. She is able to communicate the benefits of these treatments to her clients through her consultations and treatments.

If you’re not familiar with Japanese acupuncture, it is a treatment for various physical distresses, including soft tissue injury, diabetes, insomnia, fatigue, reproductive issues, and much more. Acupuncture is practiced by placing very thin needles at specific points of the body. According to the Milton Acupuncture website, “Acupuncture works by moving the natural energy of your body through twelve channels that connect your internal organs with your body’s surface. In ancient China this energy was called “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) and was ascribed many spiritual, emotional and physical powers. If Qi is abundant and flowing smoothly, then an individual enjoys good health.” If you have questions about acupuncture, contact Daria or visit www.acupuncture.com.

At Milton Acupuncture, they offer a few different purchase plans for treatments, including three treatment and five treatment packages. They are also sometimes able to take certain health insurance plans, so call ahead and find out if your provider’s insurance can be accepted. You can purchase gift certificates for your friends and family on PayPal through their website.

If you want to learn more about how acupuncture can help you, or if you want to make an appointment at Milton Acupuncture, simply call (617) 312-7650 or email Daria Casinelli at Daria@miltonacupuncture.net. You can find the Milton Acupuncture office at 1197 Adams Street in Dorchester, and they are open Monday through Saturday by appointment only. Also make sure to like Milton Acupuncture on Facebook to receive updates from their business.

Get the Most from Your Boston Health Insurance

Boston Health InsuranceHealth insurance is a part of life. It helps cover the cost of your visits to doctors and your prescription drugs, and that’s all most people use it for. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we want to make sure that you get the most out of your Boston Health Insurance policy – that’s why we’re sharing the following eight tips!

Remember, though, that every insurance provider is different and not all will offer each of these benefits. To find out more about what you can get from your health insurance provider, speak to a Boston insurance agent at Vargas and Vargas Insurance.

Get Health Screenings and Shots – Most health insurance plans offer coverage for preventative health screenings (for cancer and other health concerns) and shots and vaccines.

Join Disease Management Groups – If you have a chronic disease or mental health issue, find out if your insurance provider offers counselling, support groups, or education.

Investigate Pregnancy and Baby Support – Mommies (and even daddies) to be can often receive classes, support, and education involving prenatal and postnatal care for mom and baby.

Attend Classes and Seminars – Are you interested in learning more about nutrition, fitness, and other health-related topics? In addition to following the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog, see if your insurance provider will cover the cost of taking a class or attending a seminar on these topics.

Look into Smoking Cessation Offers – For those of you trying to kick a smoking habit, make sure that you take advantage of any and all assistance offered by your health insurance provider. This can include coaching, support groups, and even discounts on certain smoking cessation products.

Inquire about Health Assessments or Coaches – Some Boston health insurance plans offer free health screenings which can test your blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI. In some cases, health insurance companies will also offer free or discounted health coaching to help you reach your health goals.

Take Advantage of Available Discounts – Ask your insurance agent if you qualify for discounts on health products and services through your insurance provider. This can include savings on anything from gym memberships to LASIK eye surgery and much more.

Explore Rewards Programs – Did you know that some health insurance providers will reward you for being healthy? You could get an incentive for exercising, eating well, or meeting certain health goals.

The bottom line is that most health insurance companies want you to be well, and they’re willing to offer these benefits in order to help you get and/or stay that way. Discover what incentives your provider offers, and take advantage of the deals to get the best bang for your health insurance buck.

To find out more about how to get the most from your Boston health insurance policy, speak to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent today – just call 617-298-0655. We will be more than happy to review your policy, get you a quote, and to help find the right health insurance for you and your loved ones.

Improve Your Day in Ten Minutes or Less

Improve Your Day in 10 Minutes or Less

In today’s world, everyone is busy. Would you be able to take 10 minutes out of your busy schedule in order to improve your day? That’s less than 1% of your day! Next time you’ve got a free moment (whether it’s first thing in the morning, between tasks at work, or before you go to bed) try one of the following activities and find something that works for you and your routine:

Meditate – One of the easiest ways that you can improve your day is to take a handful of minutes to just slow down and breathe. Find a quiet place within yourself, and let your thoughts flow freely. For some help, try calm.com for a timed guided meditation.

Do a Quick Workout – Whether you’re at home or at work, you always have time for a ten minute workout. Not only will they help you burn a few extra calories and stay fit, but they will also help boost your energy and improve your mood.

Get Some Fresh Air – If it’s a nice day out, spend some time outside. Take a friend or a canine companion on a walk (or go by yourself). Play catch outside with your kids. Regardless, you may notice your mood improve significantly due to the change of scenery and light activity.

Read Something – Obviously ten minutes isn’t enough time to get anywhere in a novel, but it’s the perfect opportunity to read a blog or news article (like this one!) during a break. Take the time to learn something new and take a break from focused activities.

Check in with a Loved One – It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to send an email or text message to a friend or family member. In just ten minutes, you can improve your relationship with someone that you love, and feel great about it too!

Clean Up Your Space – Cleaning and organizing your home or office may seem like a huge chore, but you may be surprised by how much of a difference you can make in just ten minutes a day. Having a tidy space will also improve your mood and could even increase your productivity.

Sort Your Thoughts – It’s important to unwind and organize your thoughts each day. Some do this through meditation, as mentioned earlier, but other people prefer methods like journaling in order to sort out their thoughts and feelings of that day’s events.

Release Stress – Take a few minutes each day and release the tension that’s been building in your body for the last 24 hours. To some, this may mean playing a video game. To other’s it’s a hot bubble bath. Find how you best relieve stress and give yourself ten uninterrupted minutes of that activity each day.

Want another way to improve your life in just a few minutes? Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for an insurance review. We can look at your home and auto insurance policies to determine if you have the right coverage at the right price. Talk to an experienced Boston insurance agent by calling 617-298-0655.

6 Reasons You’ll Need Life Insurance in Retirement

Reasons

Often, people think of life insurance as a way to protect loved ones in case of an unexpected death while they’re still working. It acts as a safeguard for income that your loved ones depend on. Because of this, life insurance has a reputation of being superfluous once you retire. In truth, there are several reasons why someone might need a Massachusetts life insurance policy in retirement – here are the top six:

To support your dependents.

Even in retirement, you may look like a bank to your children and grandchildren. If you are often the source of spending money for others, you may want to invest in a life insurance policy to ensure that their lifestyles aren’t forced to change upon your passing.

To care for special needs children.

If you have children or other dependents with special needs, a life insurance policy can help to ensure that they are taken care of when you’re no longer around. Ask an insurance expert if a special-needs trust is right for your situation – they can be useful in providing care in this unique situation.

To replace necessary income.

In some cases, people work even in retirement. If you work in retirement and depend on the income that you bring home, you may need a life insurance policy to ensure that your spouse doesn’t need to start working (or work more) to replace your income.

To replace a pension.

Pensions can be a great source of extra income, but sometimes they don’t have a survivorship option. Just as you would use a life insurance policy to replace income from a job, you may use a life insurance policy to replace pension income that you and your dependents have come to need.

To pay off residual debt.

Many retirees still have debts that need to be paid. If you retire with residual student loans, car loans, mortgages, credit card debts, or another type of debt, you should consider a life insurance policy to cover what you owe. While debts cannot be passed down to children, those that you owe can collect out of your estate until all debts are satisfied. A small insurance policy can ensure that this does not need to occur.

To leave a legacy.

If you would like to leave an inheritance to your dependents or a gift to your favorite charity upon your passing, you can do so with a life insurance policy. A small premium can help to ensure that there is money in the event of your death to give to children or grandchildren – in some cases, you can even specify that the money is to be used for educational expenses.

If you’re approaching retirement, consider these six reasons for keeping your life insurance policy. If you have any additional questions about your policy, speak to a Massachusetts life insurance expert here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to 617-298-0655 will put you in contact with someone who can answer your questions, get you a quote, and much more.

Are You Making These Laundry Mistakes?

Are You Making These Laundry Mistakes?

In your home, does it seem like there is an endless parade of dirty clothes, sheets, towels, and other laundry through your wash room? The first key to being more efficient is to make sure that your laundry room is properly organized. Get help with your household organization from our sister blog, First Time Home Buyer Tools – there you can find a blog all about how to best organize your laundry room for more efficient cleaning, even on a busy schedule.

To keep all of your things (and your washer and dryer) in great shape for years to come, make sure that you avoid these laundry mistakes:

Using the wrong detergent.

Depending on the type of washing machine that you have, you may need a specific type of detergent, like that made for High Efficiency (HE) washers. Also ensure that you’re using the right amount of detergent when you wash. It turns out that using more detergent than you need isn’t only a waste of money, you’re also probably causing your clothes to wear out more quickly – so always use the provided cup and pay attention to the fill lines, and don’t just ‘eyeball’ your detergent pours.

Overfilling the machine.

If you’re looking for efficiency in your laundry routine, overfilling your machine is actually anti-productive. It may seem like adding more to your loads means less laundry, but you’re actually reducing the cleaning power of your machine, and your clothes will suffer for it. When in doubt, make sure that your machine is loaded so that the items inside have plenty of room to move around and agitate so they can get clean.

Ignoring the care instructions.

Anything that you purchase will have instructions on how to best care for it – don’t think you can just get away with sorting by color and calling it a day. For example, many denim items need to be washed inside out, and only certain items made of wool can be machine washed and dried. You may also want to wash small items (like socks and intimates) in zippered mesh bags so that they don’t get tangled or lost in the wash.

Overlooking household cleaning solutions.

Not all laundry problems need expensive solutions. In some cases, you can overcome difficulties with items that you already have around your home. For example, vinegar is a natural deodorizer, and can be helpful in getting sweaty smells out of your gym clothes. Also, a paste of baking soda and water is as good of a stain remover as many of the products that you will find in your local supermarket.

Also remember to follow the proper safety procedures when doing laundry – clean your dryer’s lint trap after each load to avoid house fire, and have the proper home insurance just in case of an emergency. For a premier Massachusetts home insurance policy, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. After all, you never want to be stuck in a sticky situation without help, and Vargas and Vargas Insurance is a local insurance agency that’s always in your corner.

Commercial Insurance Terms and Definitions

Commercial Insurance Terms and Conditions

In today’s world, business owners have a lot on their plates. The last thing that you need to do as a Massachusetts business owner is to take the time to learn the language of business insurance – that’s why Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here! We want to help you insure your business without getting confused by insurance terms and jargon.

In an effort to aid local business owners in understanding their commercial insurance policies, we have compiled a list of common business insurance terms, along with their definitions.

Commercial Insurance – Financial protection for businesses. In the event of a covered loss, the business will be reimbursed for their loss according to their policy.

Commercial Property – The business’s property and physical belongings. Depending on the policy, this could include land, structures, and completed additions. Permanently installed fixtures and equipment are also typically considered part of the property. Furniture, equipment, and technology that is owned by the business but not permanently attached to the property are considered business personal property. In some cases, the personal property of others is also included as a part of the commercial insurance policy.

Covered Loss – Covered losses change from policy to policy, but come in two major categories: specified perils include a list of perils against which the policyholder is insured, and open perils cover all losses unless they are specifically listed as being excluded (this typically includes flood and earthquake, where a separate insurance policy must be purchased to ensure protection).

Actual Cash Value – In the event of a loss, a policy that pays actual cash value will often pay fair market value – a dollar amount that a reasonable seller would accept, and that a reasonable buyer would pay. Other ways that actual cash value are determined may vary, so ask your insurance agent for an explanation of the calculation before you purchase a policy.

Replacement Cost – The alternative to actual cash value is replacement cost. If your commercial insurance policy offers replacement cost for your business’s property, you will be reimbursed according to the amount of money it would cost to replace the lost or damages property with new property if like kind or quality in your local market.

Renewal – When your commercial insurance policy expires, you will likely be given the opportunity to continue that policy with the same insurance provider. Depending on your insurance provider, renewing your policy may qualify you for a discount on your insurance premium.

Deductible – When you report a loss, you will be reimbursed for your loss after you cover the deductible – the portion of the loss that the insured is responsible for paying before insurance benefits are payable. Lowering your deductible will often raise your insurance premium, and vice versa.

Is there a Massachusetts commercial insurance term that you don’t understand, and that isn’t listed here? If so, ask one of the Vargas and Vargas business insurance experts about the term by calling 617-298-0655. We are here to help you understand your insurance coverage, and we are always happy to answer any and all questions that you may have. Don’t wait – call us today!

How to Make Better Beverage Choices

How To Make Better Beverage Choices

Staying hydrated is so important to our bodies – in fact, water makes up more than half of your body by weight! Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water in order to function. Your body also uses water to maintain its temperature, lubricate your joints, and much more.

You need to make sure that you replace all of the water that your body loses naturally. Otherwise, you could become dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue, headache, confusion, and dizziness.

Most health care professionals say that everyone should drink between six and eight 8 ounce glasses of fluid each day. The truth is, though, that some fluids are better for you than others. Continue reading to find out if your hydration habits are correct, or if you could use a little help in making better beverage choices.

When you’re thirsty, have water

If you were to take one thing away from this post, let it be this: your beverage intake should consist of mostly water. It has zero calories, zero fat, zero sugar – water is all zeroes! It is fluid in its purest form, and will allow your body to hydrate while maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re feeling thirsty, don’t reach for a soda – instead, grab a glass of water to satisfy your thirst. It is especially important to drink plenty of water if you are active, if the weather outside is warm, or if you are an older adult.

Manage your beverage calories

It is almost too easy to intake several hundred calories each day in your beverages. Instead of reaching for soda or juice, drink water or unsweetened tea. This will lower your overall daily calorie intake (or free up a few calories so that you can have dessert). There are also lots of flavored water options available at retailers and grocery stores. If you want some flavor or carbonation in your beverages, try these instead of the typical calorie-laden beverages.

Have easy to access healthy drinks

It’s so easy to reach into a fridge or cooler to grab a soda – do your part to encourage your family to drink healthy beverages by making them the easiest to see and grab in your home. Pack water in lunch boxes and backpacks when someone leaves the house so that they have a healthy and convenient beverage at all times while they’re on-the-go.

Know how to indulge

Just like you sometimes indulge in a sweet treat, you may want to indulge in a beverage once in a while. Make sure that sugary beverages are just that – an occasional treat. Before you indulge, read the drink’s nutrition labels and make a mental note of how many servings and calories you are about to consume, and do so in moderation.

If you use this tips, you can help to ensure that your body stays hydrated and healthy – without all of the extra calories and sugar that are present in many popular beverages. And remember, you friends at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are here to help you stay healthy too! Just call 617-298-0655 to get a quote on Massachusetts health insurance today!