Resolutions for You and Your Home Insurance

It’s almost the start of a new year, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to start focusing on your goals and resolutions! If you’re looking for a resolution for the New Year, consider one of the following. They will not only improve your life but could also help you save money on your Massachusetts home insurance policy!

Get Organized – One popular resolution that people make for a new year is to get more organized. Whether you’re planning on cleaning your home from top to bottom, or even paring down some of your stuff, now would be a great time to update (or start) a home inventory! Having an up-to-date list of your valuables can be a huge help if you ever need to make a home insurance claim.

Quit Smoking – Getting healthy is a big goal for people when new year rolls around, and ‘Quit Smoking’ is on a lot of resolution lists. Did you know, though, that quitting could also save on your home insurance? Some insurance providers offer a discount if no one in the home smokes!

Go Green – If you’re aiming to do your part to help the planet this coming year, your insurance agent could help you! In some cases, eco-friendly and energy efficient appliances could reduce your home insurance premiums.

Save Money – There are lots of ways that you can save money. In addition to monitoring your spending and creating a budget, consider calling your home insurance agent or automobile insurance agent and asking what you could do to lower your insurance payment. We have several suggestions on how to make a big difference on your premium’s bottom line.

Auto Insurance Changes for Interstate Moves

Some people can go their whole lives without ever moving from one state to another. If you aren’t one of those people, though, you will need to figure out the intricacies of an inter-state move. Whether you are moving to or from our great state of Massachusetts, here are three things for you to consider when it comes to your auto insurance policy:

Minimum Coverage

If you’re moving to Massachusetts, you need to make sure that your auto insurance meets the state required minimums (which are outlined here). If you are moving out of Massachusetts, you should realize that the minimum amount of coverage that you are required to purchase may increase or decrease, depending on your destination.

Personal Injury Protection

In Massachusetts, drivers are required to carry PIP – Personal Injury Protection – as a part of their auto insurance. PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages if you are involved in an accident. Ask your new insurance agent how much PIP they recommend, especially if you are moving out of state.

No-Fault State

Did you know that Massachusetts is a “No Fault” state? There are only about a dozen states that are “No Fault” – this means that drivers and passengers recover damages from their own insurance provider, regardless of who was at fault. If you are moving, read up on how this coverage will change your claims.

And remember – you must maintain auto insurance at all times, so never cancel your old policy before you have set up something new. If you have any questions about switching your automobile insurance, home insurance or business insurance over for your big move, don’t hesitate to call Vargas & Vargas Insurance 617-298-0655!

Winter Weather Part 3: After the Storm (the storm has passed, now what?)

10-19-16-winter-weather-part-3-after-imgHave you read the blogs on what to do before and during a winter storm? If so, then you’re ready for the third and final part to this blog series – what to do after the storm passes. It’s easy to think that you’re free and clear once the storm blows over, but there are still a few things that you should check off your ‘to-do’ list:

  • If your home lost power during the storm and you need a safe place to stay warm, find a local shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).
  • Learn from the storm. Make a note of anything that you could do in the future to be more prepared, including supplies that you should add to your emergency kit, and improvements you could make to your family communication plan.
  • Make sure to restock any items in your emergency kit that you may have used during the storm, including batteries, medicines, food, water, and more.
  • If your home was damaged due to the storm, call your local independent insurance agent to find out if the damage is covered by your home insurance policy. They can get started making a claim for you right away!

If you need any help with your home insurance or want some general insurance advice, please let me know. And make sure that you stay tuned to this blog for more tips on winterizing your home and car, and on how to get the most out of your insurance policies.

Hopefully, our series of winter storms has been beneficial to understanding what to do, before, during and after a winter storm. If you need help with a Massachusetts auto, home or business insurance, we are the experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand all of your insurance needs and coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.

Driving Tips for Winter Months

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Like it or not, it’s just going to get colder from here. We know that many of our customers are seasoned New Englanders who have driven in the snow and cold year after year, but it’s never a bad idea to brush up on safety! When you have to hit the road this winter, make sure that you keep yourself (and your passengers) safe by following these suggestions:

  • Never allow your car to warm up or run in an enclosed space, like a closed garage.
  • Ensure that your tires are properly inflated according to your manufacturer’s instruction.
  • Make sure that your gas tank is always more than half full in case of an emergency.
  • If your car gets buried in snow, take the time to clear it off completely before driving.
  • Never use hot water to de-ice your windshield.
  • Never use cruise control when driving on a slick surface.
  • When roads are snowy, accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain traction.
  • Increase your follow distance when the roads are slippery.
  • If conditions get bad, don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • Make sure that your car’s emergency kit is fully stocked at all times.

For more winter survival tips, stay tuned to our blog! And remember, it only takes a few minutes to get an auto insurance quote from your favorite local insurance agency! Your agent can ensure that you are getting all of the discounts for which you qualify, as well as ensuring that you have all of the coverage that you and your vehicle require.

Hopefully, this will help you If you fins yourself in a bad situation, or if you would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand your automobile, homeowners, and business insurance coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.

 

Winter Weather Part 2: During the Storm (what to do once a storm blows in)

 

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Now that you know what to do to prepare for a winter storm, we are ready to cover what to do once a storm blows in. When you’re stuck in the middle of a blizzard, here are some tips that you and your family should follow in order to stay safe:

  • During the storm, everyone should stay indoors.
  • If anyone must go outside, make sure that they dress for the weather, and tell them to walk carefully – black ice can be very dangerous!
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary. If someone goes out on the roads, know their destination and route just in case.
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Know what to do if anyone is affected by either of these conditions.
  • Stay tuned to your local weather station for updates on the storm.
  • Have plenty of activities ready in case of a power outage, especially if there are kids in the house. In fact, you may consider adding a few new games, books, crafts, and toys to your emergency kit to keep your kids occupied during a storm.

If and when there is a storm, please be careful and try to stay as safe as possible until the weather clears up. And make sure that you don’t miss the third and final part of this blog series, which will go into what you should do after a major storm, including tips for making home insurance claims if there is major damage to your home.

Hopefully, this information will help you If you are in a bad situation, or if you would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand your automobile, homeowners, and business insurance coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.

What to Do After a Break-In

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It’s a nightmare come true for every homeowner – you come in from being away only to find that your home has been broken into. Once the initial shock wears off, what should you do? Here are four steps that you can take to start down the road to normalcy:

Immediately Call the Police

The first thing that you should do is immediately call the police. Wait outside or at a neighbor’s home for the police to arrive, and do not touch anything in your home until the police are able to investigate. File a police report, and keep a copy for insurance purposes.

Talk to Your Insurance Agent

Your insurance provider will want to know about the break in right away, and may want to send an adjuster to assess the damage. They will likely need a copy of the police report, as well as a list of the items that were stolen or damaged.

Begin the Cleaning and Repairs

It can be very emotional to have your home invaded. When you finally need to start the process of cleaning up, consider rearranging the furniture or painting the walls to make the space feel fresh and new. This could help you and your family overcome some of the bitter emotions that often come with this kind of event.

Evaluate Your Home’s Security

If your home security system could use an upgrade, now is the perfect time to do so. Your local insurance agent may be able to help you get a discount on your home insurance policy if you have certain security features installed, such as a monitored security system and video surveillance.

Must Have Apps for Real Estate Professionals

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A smartphone is a must in today’s world, especially for a Real Estate agent. You probably use yours several times a day to talk to clients and schedule showings, but are you using your phone to its fullest potential? Here are four areas where you may be able to leverage your app store to make your life easier:

  • Social Media – Social Media doesn’t rest, so you need to be prepared to post and interact with clients and followers at all times. Your phone is a key player in having your profiles at your fingertips. You obviously need Facebook, but also try apps like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, HootSuite and (my favorite) Buffer
  • Organization – Staying organized on the go is a key trait for Realtor success. Apps like Dropbox, Tempo, and (my favorite) Evernote and more will help you have all of your documents and appointments at your fingertips, no matter where you are.
  • For Showings – Did you know that there are apps that you can use to help you with your listing appointments? Route 4 Me helps you determine an optimal route to get clients around town efficiently, and Supra eKey can turn your smartphone into a lockbox key!
  • For Listings – In addition to using your social media accounts to promote your listings, you can use apps like Camera+ to take and edit pictures of your listings for your social media posts, or you can use your iphone like I do.  There is also a DocuSign app to help you send, track, and sign documents digitally to help sales go through smoothly.

What are the apps that you can’t live without? Tell us about the apps that we missed, and we may use them for another app feature in the future! And, as always, stay tuned to the blog for more technology tips.

Support Small Businesses This Holiday Season

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The end of the year is quickly approaching, and for many people that means it’s time to start shopping. Whether you need presents or hostess gifts, you’re going to have a lot of options of where to shop this holiday season. Instead of going to a big box store or ordering online, try shopping at local small businesses! There are many amazing small businesses in our area, and supporting local small businesses has lots of benefits:

  • Encourages local character by promoting individuality
  • Increases community involvement and well-being
  • Keeps wealth local and encourages local prosperity
  • Boosts the local economy with more jobs and better wages
  • Fuels entrepreneurship and innovation in the community
  • Helps sustain the environment and reduce pollution by reducing sprawl

In addition to helping the community, you may find that you benefit personally from doing your shopping at smaller establishments. You will find more unique items than at larger retailers, and you will often receive more personalized and more attentive customer service while at smaller businesses.

If you want to take your support of small businesses to the next level, shop locally for the ingredients to your holiday meals! You can find great local produce around the Greater Boston area, and it will be fresher than what you get at the grocery store.

And one more thing – if you need insurance, you can get the same benefits that are listed above by shopping locally. Ask us for more information about why getting insurance from a local independent insurance agency is the way to go.   We can help you with your Massachusetts automobile, homeowners, business and life insurance.