Super Bowl Party Hosting Tips

Well, our boys have done it again – the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl! Last year, over 110 million people tuned in to see the Patriots beat the Falcons in an exciting, down-to-the-wire match, and viewership numbers for the match on Sunday are expected to be similar. Will you be watching the game? If you’re hosting some friends for a viewing party, make sure that you consider using a few of our last-minute football party tips:

  • Food is a staple of any party. Pick out appetizers that can be eaten without utensils, and prioritize recipes that can be prepared the morning (or even the day) before the game. Make sure to find out if any of your guests have food allergies so that you can let them know what’s safe for them to eat.
  • Planning to have children at your party? If they want to be like all the ‘grown ups’ and watch the game, make it more fun by making your own Super Bowl Bingo cards. If there are going to be kids around, also ensure that you keep alcohol in a safe area, and that small children aren’t allowed in the kitchen during food preparation.
  • Make the game a little more exciting by having contests (with prizes, of course). Picking the winning team and final score are a good place to start, but you can even take it a step further and use some of these prop bets as inspiration!

Before you host any party in your home, it’s always a good idea to call your Massachusetts home insurance agent to make sure that you have the right amount of coverage to protect your property, yourself, and your guests. The call will only take a few short minutes, and it is well worth the peace of mind so that you can focus your energy on cheering during the game!

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Weather-Related Damage?

Renters’ insurance is an important protection to have, even if you feel that you don’t need it! The coverage provided by renters’ insurance can vary from policy to policy, and it is important that clients thoroughly review what is and is not covered by their renters’ insurance. Renters are often surprised to learn that their apartment and belongings are not included in the coverage provided by their landlord’s policy.

Your Landlord’s Policy

Landlords, typically, only cover the actual building from damage, and it is likely that damage to your belongings will not be covered by the building owner’s coverage that will pay to replace or repair a leaky roof. However, most renters’ policies will reimburse you for the cost of having to temporarily relocate from an uninhabitable residence that has sustained covered damage. The agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are here to help determine the coverage you need to protect yourself from damage to your rental unit in the greater Dorchester, MA area.

Weather Incidents

Weather-related damage can be caused by excessive wind, hail, lightning strikes, and other acts of nature. There are ways to protect your rental home or apartment, and your belongings, should you suffer a loss due to the weather. It may be necessary to purchase additional coverage if your renter’s policy does not provide adequate protection, and the professional agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are here to help you through the process.

If you are in need of comprehensive renter’s insurance that includes protection from weather-related damage, please call us today, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients in the greater Dorchester, MA area.

Hacks to Clean Your Car’s Interior

It’s winter in Boston, and that means your car’s exterior is probably looking pretty dingy between all of the ice and salt that’s being thrown around. While this won’t change for another few months, nothing says that you can’t do something to make the interior of your car look new again.

Often, cleaning the interior of a car means a quick vacuum and not much else. This time, though, take an extra few minutes and use some of these hacks to go above and beyond your normal cleaning routine:

  • Your car’s air vents and dash console are probably pretty dusty. Grab a brush and a vacuum with a long hose attachment, and suck up the dust as you clean to prevent it from settling elsewhere.
  • If you have a pet, there is likely stray fluff on your seats. This is easy to remove with cheap squeegee!
  • Really want to get in the nooks and crannies? Use a toothbrush for dirt embedded in vinyl or to remove crumbs from the seams of your seats.
  • Often, floor mats get dirty quickly. Shake out as much dirt as you can, then throw them in the washing machine and let it do most of the work for you. You can also clean these mats with upholstery cleaner, it just requires a bit more elbow grease.

To further protect your car, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can review your Massachusetts auto insurance policy to make sure that you will be covered if anything happens to your (newly sparkling) vehicle.

Start Budgeting for Your New Addition

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we have clients in all stages of life – from new drivers to newlyweds to retirees, and everywhere in between. This article is for those of you that are growing your family tree. Children are a blessing, and it’s so important to be well prepared for their arrival. Here is some food for thought on budgeting for children of any age:

  • Babies and Toddlers: Babies can be expensive. In addition to the recurring expenses like groceries and diapers, you will have several one-time purchases including a crib, stroller, car seat, and more – especially if this is your first child.
  • Children: Kids grow quickly, so be ready to start a consistent flow of clothing. In addition, kids need to be entertained and enriched, so be ready to pay for field trips, summer camps, sports teams, music lessons, and more. This is also the time to start thinking about a college fund, if you haven’t already.
  • Teenagers: As children grow into teenagers, their toys only become more expensive. Buying them phones, tablets, and/or laptops isn’t cheap, but thankfully Vargas and Vargas Insurance is here for you to help with car insurance once they get a learner’s permit!

And remember, adding a child to your household is an event in your life worthy of a chat with your insurance agent. You will need health insurance for the child, and should probably increase or establish life insurance policies for the child’s providers. Call 617-298-0655 to speak with a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about how to get your insurance policies ready for your new bundle of joy.

Getting Ready for a Life Insurance Medical Exam

Depending on the Massachusetts life insurance policy that you chose, you may be required to see a medical professional for an examination in order to determine your premium. This isn’t a negative thing! In fact, many people will benefit from a doctor’s evaluation and end up with lower premiums.

If you’ve been asked to see a doctor for a life insurance evaluation, here is what you can probably expect to go over with the doctor during your appointment:

  • Your family history of disease, potentially including cause of death of some of your relatives.
  • Your lifestyle, including frequency of exercise, intake of alcohol, use of drugs, etc.
  • Your body’s status, including your weight, height, BMI, and blood pressure.
  • Your doctor will also likely want to take a blood and urine sample in order to do some evaluative tests.

While these ‘tests’ aren’t ones that you can study for, there are a few things that you can do in the couple of weeks before your appointment to help slightly improve your numbers. These include eating only lean meats, and consuming foods that will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Avoid processed, sugary, and salty foods.

Not sure if your life insurance policy is the right one for your needs? Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 for a free insurance review! We can evaluate your current coverage and see if there are any new discounts that you could receive, or if you would benefit from a new type of policy. The call is free, so don’t hesitate!

Avoiding (and Treating) Frozen Pipes

You turn on the water on a frigid morning, and… nothing. You know immediately that it’s frozen, and a sense of dread overwhelms you – and for good reason. Frozen pipes may sound harmless, but they can cause a lot of damage to a home’s plumbing. Water expands and contracts as it freezes and thaws, and doing this inside your pipes can cause breakage, leading to water damage.

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

If you haven’t already, make sure that all of your outdoor pipes (over-ground sprinklers, pool lines, even garden hoses) are drained and stored. Ensure that the inside of your home is warm enough that water in the pipes stays liquid, and on especially frigid nights open cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms to let the heat circulate. Let faucets drip to ensure that water keeps moving through the pipes. Pipe insulation can also be useful for tricky exposed pipes.

Treating Frozen Pipes

Frozen water in your pipes is not something you want to ignore. Turn off your home’s main water line immediately in order to prevent additional water from flowing in and causing a flood. Once the water is off, call in a licensed plumbing professional to help with thawing the pipes safely and checking for any burst pipes.

If you are unlucky enough to be affected by frozen pipes, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency – we can help you start a claim on your homeowner’s insurance and will get you on the road to being good as new. During regular business hours, call 617-298-0655. Outside of those hours, you can call our 24/7 emergency line at 617-322-5289.

Insurance Tips for New Businesses

Starting a business is about more than just having a great product or service. So much of business ownership is about marketing and creating efficient processes. When you start a company, you need to protect all of the effort you’ve put in with a Massachusetts business insurance policy. Here are just a few basic commercial insurance tips for those of you thinking of (or in the beginning stages of) starting a new business:

Even Home-Based Businesses Need Coverage – All businesses have one thing in common; they all need insurance, no matter how big or small. When you start a new business, you may think that you don’t need insurance right away, but that simply isn’t true! You never know when something will go wrong, so get an insurance policy to protect your budding company.

Consider Your Risks – Depending on your industry, your business will have certain potential risks. All businesses will need general liability protection, some will need cyber liability protection, and others will need to EPLI protection. Your Massachusetts insurance agent will be able to assess your needs and recommend the right set of insurance policies and riders.

Reevaluate Your Needs Often – Your business is growing, and your risks and potential hazards are increasing. As you increase output and hire employees, talk to your insurance agent often to update your policy.

To speak to an agent about establishing or updating a business insurance policy, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655. We work with businesses of all sizes in the Boston area, and we can help your business through all stages if growth in the years to come.

Do You Wear a Fitness Tracker?

When we turn the page on a new year, many people set fitness goals. They want to lose weight, or just get more active. Having a goal is great, but often that’s not enough motivation to get moving. For many people that need a little extra push, a fitness tracker has been the key to getting focused and motivated. Wearing a fitness tracker has many benefits, including:

Accountability: One of the most important parts of setting a goal is to make sure that it is measurable. “Be more active” is a great place to start, but you’ll be more successful if you use your fitness tracker to set a specific step goal, such as “Get 10,000 steps three times a week” or “Get no less than 6,000 steps a day.”

Social Motivation: Fitness trackers are becoming ubiquitous. Almost everyone seems to have a wrist tracker or an app on their smartphone that’s tracking their steps. Leverage this by becoming ‘friends’ with people you know on your tracking platform. Seeing their progress may spur you to ‘step up’ your game!

Lowering Insurance Rates: Did you know that some health insurance providers will offer discounts to clients that share their fitness tracker data with the company? Ask your Massachusetts insurance agent if you’re eligible for this discount!

Are you using a fitness tracker to be more active this year? We would love to hear about the tools you’re using to meet your goals. And if one of your goals is to save money, let Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency help – with one call to 617-298-0655 we can review your Massachusetts insurance policies to find you savings!

Snow Safety: A Complete Guide

Now that the New Year has arrived, we must face the fact that the snow isn’t going away any time soon. For the next few months, you need to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe in the frigid Massachusetts temperatures. Here are links to a few blogs that we’ve posted over the years that can help make sure of that:

  • Prepare for Winter Storms – We see a few major storms every winter here in the Boston area. When one threatens, make sure that you are prepared by following these guidelines.
  • How to Shovel Snow Safely – Shoveling snow isn’t a coveted task, but if you get stuck with the chore make sure you perform it safely with these tips.
  • Tips for Driving in the Snow – You’ve probably got plenty of practice driving in the ‘white stuff,’ but there’s no harm in a little refresher. Brush up now, and forward the link along to a new driver you know!
  • The Potential Dangers of Melting Snow – It always seems like the snow will stick around forever, but one day the temperatures will warm up enough to start the yearly melt. Be ready for the risks of melting snow with a flood insurance policy.

And there’s one more bonus blog for you in this guide – Free Activities for Snow Days! There are days where snowfall and freezing temperatures make going to work (and school) impossible, so make sure that your family has a plan for the inevitable upcoming snow days.

Here’s the bottom line. Be safe in the snow, and make sure that you have the right Massachusetts insurance policies in place just in case you have to make a claim. To check on your home or renters insurance, auto insurance, and flood insurance policies, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.

A Guide to 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

At the beginning of a new year, there is a huge push for people to set resolutions – to improve themselves or their business, and to get a fresh start on their goals. If you haven’t set a goal for this year, it’s not too late. Don’t shy away from setting goals – it’s an important part of being successful!

There must be something in your life that you want to improve, and studies show that setting a SMART goal will help you achieve your goals faster. Here are just a few ideas of areas that you may want to consider making a resolution:

  • Health – You only get one shot at this crazy life. In order to make the most of it, you need to take care of your body and mind.
  • Recreation – Do something fun this year! You may want one of your 2018 goals to involve scratching something off of your proverbial ‘bucket list.’
  • Social – The connections that you make throughout your life are important. Whether you want to meet more people or bond more with the people you already know, make a social goal.
  • Family – When it comes to the people that you care about, there are many different ways to show love. Which of these could you improve upon?
  • Career – Career goals are very common. Aim high, and take small steps every day that will get you closer to achieving your resolution.
  • Finance – To better yourself financially, you can aim to earn more or to spend less. Lots of people aim to put more money into savings, or pay off debt.

If you have a goal to protect your loved ones or to save some money this year, let Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency help! Call 617-298-0655 and we can review your insurance policies to make sure that you’re getting the right protection at a low price. Our Massachusetts insurance agents are looking forward to helping you achieve your goals!