Home Insurance: Should You File a Claim?

Imagine this: your home is affected by a fire or a flood. No one wants this to happen, but there is always the chance that it will, and you need to be ready just in case that it happens to you. Chances are you would be in financial trouble if your home were destroyed if it wasn’t for your home insurance policy.

Thankfully, massive claims due to fires, floods, and other major disasters are few and far between. Smaller claims are much more common for Boston home insurance policies. But how do you know when it’s worth filing an insurance claim, and when to cover the damage yourself?

There are two major factors that affect whether you should file an insurance claim: your deductible and the number of previous claims on your policy. Deductibles are different for every policy, and can vary quite a bit. If the cost to fix your damage is less than your deductible amount, there is no reason to file a claim. If your deductible is less than the damages, you need to weigh the amount of money you would receive vs. the cost of filing the claim. After all, having a claim on your policy may raise your premium in the future.

Your home is a very valuable asset. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we would hate to see something happen to it without the right protection. That’s why we offer top of the line Massachusetts home insurance policies for all of our clients. For a free quote, just call 617-298-0655 and speak with one of our agents.

The one skill more important to business pros than sales.

I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom:

“The thing that people don’t realize is you want to teach people how to fix things without paying you for it because that builds up leverage, you give up a sale in the beginning, but you get all the sales in the end.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Over the next five years, there is one skill undeniably more important to the success of all business professionals than sales. Unfortunately, most are not putting in the hard work to improve this skill. That’s where the opportunity lies for us!

What is this important skill, you ask? It’s building relationships. You need to build relationships today to stand out 5, 10, and 20 years from now. Most businesspeople aren’t doing this today, and the writing’s on the wall for them.

We operate in a marketplace where attention rules all, and those who can attract (and keep) the attention win the game. If you are not doing the work today that sets you up to succeed, you will not be able to compete. There will come a day when what you do and offer in the marketplace may be better and cheaper, but it will be as if you don’t exist because you have not built the relationships to get and keep their attention.

If you look at the money being poured into ads everywhere by the big boys – Trulia, Zillow, Rocket Mortgage, and Morgan & Morgan, for example – the money they are spending doesn’t pan out.  They can’t be local like you and me.  It’s not the consumer’s fault that they think that they believe the ‘big boys’ – instead, it’s an opportunity for us to educate them.

I am a believer in content marketing, telling your story, being the local and value provider, and giving without expectation of a return. I truly believe that the organizations that will be in business in the next 5, 10, and 20 years are the ones who are laying the groundwork today.

What does that look like? It means getting your customers’ emails and cell phone numbers. I work with some business people who still do not have their customers’ information! There is no way to compete in a world where your competitors have your customers’ email addresses and cell phone numbers and you don’t.

If you want to stay relevant for the next several years, you had better change your way of doing business. You need to put the content out there in all the ways that your customers are consuming it – video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, find someone who does. If you don’t like to write, find someone who does (hit reply now and I can connect you with my copy editor, she is amazing and an asset to my business).

“There has never been a time in history to attract attention was so valuable.” –Ryan Hanley

Your story needs to be told whether you are a big huge brand or a mom and pop shop, and no one can tell your story like you can. Your ability to tell your story is as important as your ability to sell your products and service. It’s the only way that you will attract the attention to do business in the new digital marketplace.

In today’s world, ‘losing’ means taking the time to perfect the customer experience. It means thinking about the way people answer your phone. It means making less cold calls and writing blog posts or creating bitesize videos about the questions you hear every day.

The truth is that I don’t know where this is all headed, what I do know is this:

“There is a connected generation and an unconnected generation, every day that goes by the connected generation expands and the unconnected generation shrinks, who are you going to bet your future on?”

Make the conscious decision to tell your story and connect with the expanding consumer group. How will you connect? Podcasts, blogs, video? I don’t know, but taking the time today to start building your brand now is what will help you succeed in the upcoming years and even decades. Attention wins the game, and I want you to come along for this ride. Lose today so we can all win tomorrow.

I will leave you with this final quote:

“If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” –Gary Vaynerchuk
I implore you to heed this advice. You can thank me five years from now.

Have a question? Need help? Leave a message below and I will work your question into a future message.

Know that you are loved!

C

How to Be a Great Wedding Guest

When was the last time you attended a wedding? There have been a lot in the Vargas and Vargas family recently! It got us thinking – we should write a guide for how to be the perfect wedding guest! Here are just a few of the tips and tricks that we’ve learned:

  • When you receive an invitation, make sure that you respond by the RSVP date. If you accept the invitation and then need to back out, let the couple know as soon as possible.
  • If you get the newlyweds a gift from their registry, consider just letting the store ship it directly to the provided address. That will save the stress of needing to bring it to the occasion, and it will save the couple from having to transport it home themselves.
  • Abide by the dress code stated in the invitation. If no instructions are given, use your best judgement, and remember to consider the location and time of day of the event.
  • Be present. Don’t spend the whole event behind your phone camera. After all, the bride and groom probably hired a professional photographer – so you should have a good time and trust the professional to capture the memories.
  • Don’t be afraid to mingle! It’s your chance to see old friends, but don’t forget to also make some new ones! Talk to someone you’ve never met about how lovely the ceremony was, or ask how they know the newlyweds.

Do you know someone who is counting the days until their wedding? Do them a favor and give them the phone number of Vargas and Vargas Insurance617-298-0655. Make sure they know just how important it is to insure big events like weddings, and tell them that a free quote for wedding insurance is just a phone call away! While they’re at it, suggest that the beginning of a marriage is a great time to start looking into a life insurance policy.

Be with the ones you love

I’m back in “work mode” after much-needed downtime to recharge my batteries. I enjoyed my time with my family and friends and I am ready to finish out 2017.

I spent Saturday a few weeks ago playing golf with my sons, Jonathan and Matthew. There was a rainy start to the day. We arrived at the clubhouse at 10:30, and about then the skies opened up, so we hung around the Cedar Hill Golf Course for maybe an hour and a half.  It just happened that there was a golf tournament going on and many of the participants were old ‘townie’ friends of mine.  I proudly introduced my buddies to Jon and Matt and we enjoyed Chef Marty Malone’s freshly made chocolate chip cookies (on the house <3) as we waited for a lull in the rain.

Our birthday family tradition has always been that the birthday person got to choose where we went for dinner as a family on their special day. But Jon and Matt are married now, and in their own homes, with busy lives. On normal days, I try to watch what I eat and cook healthy meals at home. Kathy and I don’t spend nearly as much time as we used to with the guys and their wives… so this year when I was asked where I wanted to go for dinner on my birthday I threw everyone a curveball. I said, “I would LOVE to play a round of golf with my family!” (While Kathy and my sons’ spouses were welcome to come and see what golfing is all about, they decided not to).

I started golfing last year, and have come to love everything about the game – the outdoors, a great walk (I always walk the course) with family, friends, and/or business partners, the conversation, and most times we finish our golf game with a cold draft at the clubhouse and discuss how we played, which holes we played well at, and sometimes even the score. So this year I asked Jon and Matt to spend the morning with me on the golf course and to have a simple dinner.  We ended our day at Matthew and Cristiana’s home, they fired up their Uuni pizza oven (what an amazing invention) and we enjoyed being together.  I was in heaven… family, laughs, conversation, and the great outdoors, freshly made pizza and some cold brews (kind of like golf).

As you know, I try to start every week with some words of wisdom:

“Be with the ones you love, and love the ones that love you, ignore everyone else.” -Seth Godin

Although I was away, it was nice to see our businesses continue to run as if I had not left. Jeff Camara (my business partner, operations manager at our company, and rock star insurance professional) kept the momentum going (we are having one of our best years ever). My flexible schedule is the result of my decision that there are much better people who can do what I use to do a lot better. Do what I did – look for great people, build an amazing team around you, and get out of the way and let them take your business to new heights.

There are a few kinks to work out, the MMM stopped (so the telephones got quieter), the face to face meetings stopped, but soon, I will get start them up again, and my Monday morning FROG calls have not been done, but will resume soon (send me a message and I will let you know what FROG stands for and how they can help your business out).

And know that you are loved! As Seth Godin says, It’s your turn (it’s ALWAYS YOUR turn!)

A great big thank you to everyone who sent me the vacation and birthday well wishes! Now go out and have an amazing and awesome week! I hope to see you soon!

Carlos

Is It Time to Redecorate Your Home?

Your home should be a place you look forward to being – somewhere that makes you happy and at peace. Unfortunately, it is a part of human nature to need change, so there’s a good chance that your home will start to feel a little stale after a while. That’s a clear-cut sign that you need to do something to update your décor.

Here is a simple trick that you can use – take a good look at each piece of decoration in your home, and ask yourself, “Does this give me joy?” If the item no longer brings you happiness, it may be time to get something new. Take a look at Pinterest (while you’re there, follow me!) and find an idea that you can use to redecorate your home that will bring joy to you and your loved ones.

If you want to bring a new energy into your home without breaking the bank, there are some easy things that you can do to redecorate on a budget. Instead of splurging on wallpaper, make your own stencil and use paint. Thrift stores and estate sales can be a bargain-hunter’s best friend, and are especially great for finding shabby-chic décor. Bathrooms in need of a spruce will be brand new with a new shower curtain, and DIY artwork is always an affordable and effective project.

And remember – if you do any major redecoration (or especially if you go one step further and remodel) call your insurance agent at Vargas and Vargas Insurance to update your Massachusetts homeowner’s insurance. Doing so will ensure that your new decorations are all protected in case you need to make a claim in the future.

The Truth About Seat Belts

For most of us, there is a routine when getting in the car to go somewhere. Typically, it involves arranging your stuff, possibly getting kids settled in, putting on a seat belt, and then hitting the road. You might be surprised to find out, however, how many people skip the crucial step of putting on a seat belt. Check out these seat belt statistics:

  • According to a study from 2012, only 73% of drivers and front seat passengers wear a seat belt in Massachusetts. The reported national average is 86%.
  • Car accidents are a leading cause of death of people aged 1-54 in the US.
  • Over 21,000 people died in crashes in 2014 – over half of those aged 13-44 in those accidents were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
  • The use of seat belts reduces serious injuries and deaths by about half.

In the state of Massachusetts, drivers and all passengers aged 13 and over must be wearing a seat belt when a vehicle is in operation. There are also additional child restraint laws for children 12 and under.

If you want to prevent serious injury to yourself and your passengers when you are driving, make sure that every person is properly restrained before the vehicle begins to move. This should be done for all car trips, no matter how short. While it is unrelated to seat belt laws, it is also important to remember that texting while driving is illegal in Massachusetts.

Having a top-notch auto insurance policy is another important part of owning a car. If you want a free car insurance quote or review, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.