Key Facts About Your Home Insurance Policy

Your home is likely one of your most valuable assets. Your home insurance policy is what ensures that you won’t have a financial crisis if your home is damaged or destroyed – that makes it very important. But here’s a question that we like to ask all of our clients: How well do you know your insurance policy? Most people know that they have a policy, and may know their premium, but for most people it stops there.

Here is some ‘food for thought’ – you shouldn’t wait until you need to make a claim to know the ins and outs of your Massachusetts home insurance policy! Make sure that you are prepared by knowing several things about your policy before you have an issue. Here are four major things that you should know:

Know Your Deductible

If you have to make a claim, you will be responsible to pay for a certain amount of the reparations before your insurance policy starts to pay out. Do you know this number? Some people choose to set aside some money to cover their home insurance and auto insurance deductibles so that they won’t have to scramble to make the payment if they need to make an insurance claim.

It is also important to realize that many home insurance policies also have a few different deductibles. There is one main number used in the event of a claim, but your policy may also have a larger deductible for losses due to earthquakes or floods. This may be a specific dollar amount, but it could also potentially be a percentage of the claim amount – which could add up fast in the event of a major disaster.

Know Your Limits

This may sound like sage life advice, but we’re talking about your insurance limits! Home insurance policies always have a maximum dollar amount for the coverage they provide for different types of claims, just like the deductibles above. Depending on your policy, you may have different limits for property damage, personal possessions, loss of use, liability, etc. Your Boston insurance agent will be able to help you determine the amount of coverage you are required and recommended to have for each of these.

Examine these limits on your current policy and ask your Boston insurance agent if they are high enough. You may want to consider additional home insurance coverage, or you can buy an umbrella insurance policy for added liability coverage. It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t necessarily insure your home based on what you paid for the property. Instead, you want to be able to rebuild your home if it is completely destroyed, so look to insure your home for the ‘rebuilding cost’ rather than the purchase price, which could be more or less. For older homes, you will also want to add in additional insurance if your home would need to be fixed in a way that adhered to newer local building codes.

Know Your Covered Perils

It should come as no surprise that your home insurance will almost definitely cover you if there’s a fire – but what about some of the other curveballs that life could throw your way? Would your home insurance cover your losses if…

  • Your house flooded?
  • You were affected by an earthquake?
  • Your neighbor’s tree fell on your home?
  • A visitor slipped and fell on your property and sued you for damages?
  • Your dog bites a visitor or guest?

There are a million possible things that could go wrong in and around your home, but your home insurance may require a little added protection to make sure that you are fully covered. Talk to your insurance agent to find out if you are prepared.

Know Your Potential Savings

When purchasing a home insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, there are many potential discounts for which you may qualify. Which ones are you receiving? You can get discounts for having several insurance policies through the same carrier, as well as discounts for having a security system and/or fire alarm. You may even qualify for a new discount if you have insurance through the same carrier for more than a set number of years!

If you think there’s a chance that you could qualify for an additional discount since your last Massachusetts home insurance quote, call to speak to your insurance agent. They will be able to check and see whether you are getting the right coverage at the best possible price.

Don’t know any (or all) of the above? Find out the details of your policy by calling your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent at 617-298-0655. We can explain to you your deductible, policy limits, covered perils, and search for any new discounts that you could receive. The call will only take a few minutes, so don’t put it off any longer!

Recap: Avoiding July 4th Insurance Claims

“Opposites generally create intense chemistry. There are more chances of fireworks when different people are together than similar personalities.” – Sonam Kapoor

The Fourth of July is just one week away! Have you finalized your plans yet? No matter what you’ll be doing, make sure that you do it safely, and avoid having an accident that would necessitate an insurance claim. Here are a few tips from your local insurance experts:

  • Hosting a party? Prepare for guests by removing breakables and valuables from common areas.
  • If anyone is going to be enjoying the pool, make sure that they are safe. Children should be supervised, and everyone should practice safe sun while at the pool or outside during the day. And make sure that everyone stays well hydrated!
  • Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts (and it’s also illegal to buy fireworks in another state and bring them to Massachusetts), so if you want to see a display you will need to locate a professional firework show in Boston.

Before the festivities start, do your due diligence and check on your home insurance policy. Your experienced insurance agent can review your current policy to make sure that it is as ready for the fireworks as you are. Remember – for any and all of your Massachusetts insurance needs, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.

June 28 is Insurance Awareness Day!

Throughout the year, there are many holidays to celebrate. Any given day seems to host at least a few different holidays. June alone has many – National Donut Day on the first Friday, Red Rose Day on the 12th, National Kissing Day on the 19th, Take Your Dog to Work Day on the Friday after Father’s Day – and the list goes on. Our favorite here at the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office, though, is without a doubt June 28th – Insurance Awareness Day.

As an insurance agency in Greater Boston, we are always on a mission to make sure that our clients know how important it is to have proper insurance coverage for all of the valuable things in life – from your home to your car to your business, and even your health and life itself!

In honor of Insurance Awareness Day, we have a few ideas for things that our clients and their families can do to ‘celebrate’ this important holiday. If insurance is a part of your life, we encourage you to pick out one or a few of the items on this list, or even make your way through the whole thing!

Read Our Blog Archives

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency has been serving the Greater Boston area for many years, and we have been sharing a portion of our knowledge with you, our customers, through our blog posts. Take a moment and learn something about insurance by looking back onto our blog archive. We make it a point to post about our insurance expertise and about this great city that we call home. Hopefully you find something useful while perusing and visit the blog often for more updates.

Teach Your Kids About Insurance

In today’s world, many kids graduate high school without knowing how insurance policies work! This is concerning, so on this Insurance Appreciation Day take the opportunity to teach your kids what insurance is, and why it is important to have. This can be done with kids of almost any age. Here is an article from Pocket Sense about how to do this in order to take one additional step toward preparing your children for their impending independence.

Review Your Insurance Policies

Your life is always changing. You go through new challenges as you get older. If you have children, they are maturing day by day. You need to make sure that your insurance policies reflect that change. That’s why it is important to have a thorough insurance review at least once a year. Call your insurance agent and schedule a checkup for your home insurance, auto insurance, and any other insurance products that you carry. Ask about whether it’s time to think about life insurance if you don’t already have a policy.

Have a Little Insurance-Related Fun

“Insurance” and “fun” aren’t words that are usually used in the same sentence. Insurance tends to have a reputation for being tedious and boring – but it doesn’t have to be! Have some fun this year on Insurance Awareness Day and watch a movie, or at least a movie clip, with one of the world’s most loveable insurance agents – Ned Ryerson!

Plenty of other movies also have an insurance plot or sub plot, including The Rainmaker, Memento, The Truman Show, Death of a Salesman, and even The Incredibles (the second is now in theaters).

There are also a multitude of insurance comics out there that you can enjoy and share with your friends. Here are just a few examples from the very funny Randy Glasbergen.

Share an Insurance Story

Do you have a story about how insurance has helped you? Whether you have filed a home or car insurance claim, or if health insurance has ever let you focus on recovery rather than medical bills, we want to hear! Post to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Facebook page about why you love insurance, and if our agency has ever gone above and beyond to help you, we hope that you will leave a review and tell others about our great work!

Recommend Our Agency

Do you have a friend or family member who needs an insurance quote or review? It would be our pleasure to help them! Just send them a link to this blog post or give them our phone number (617-298-0655). Our Massachusetts insurance quotes are always free, and there is no obligation to buy!

So, how will you celebrate Insurance Awareness Day this year? It may not merit a label on your calendar, but you will be glad that you took a few minutes out of your day to do something in celebration, whether it is learning something or getting a review of your existing policies.

Remember, it’s quick and easy to call your insurance agent for a free policy review, and you’ll be glad you did if you end up needing to make a claim in the future!

Recap: Guide to Road Trips

“I climb behind the steering wheel… I drive off immediately without once looking back; it’s a long journey but it leads to freedom.” – Corinne Hofmann

Is the open road calling to you? Once the summertime hits, the weather is lovely, and the kids are out of school, many families choose to go on adventures by loading up the car and taking a road trip. In case you missed our full post last week, here are a few of the major tips for your family’s journey:

  • Before you go on a road trip, take a test drive – choose a place that is a few hours away to get your feet wet and decide if your family could survive long days in the car.
  • Take care in choosing a destination. You want to choose something that is a manageable distance away, and a place that the whole family can look forward to visiting.
  • Before you leave, make sure that your car is ready for the trip. If you want to be sure that your car is up for the task, visit one of the many mechanics in the area for a check-up.
  • Set rules to follow in the car and prepare plenty of healthy snacks and entertainment for the trip.

Before your family begins their road trip, make sure that you check in with your Massachusetts auto insurance agent for a free auto insurance review by calling 617-298-0655. Your agent can make sure that your car insurance is ready for a grand adventure!

Why Does the Cost of Auto Insurance go Down when You Turn 25?

We all want to save money on things like insurance because we are paying for it anyway. That being said, some drivers are what insurance companies consider high-risk drivers which leads to higher rates across the board. So what makes the magic age of 25 different? For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you answer this question in more depth.

High-risk drivers are often those that are considered either inexperienced or with less to lose in the case of an accident. High-risk drivers are also those that have statistically been placed in the category due to things like gender, age, and location. Drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be drivers with less experience and therefore drivers that are more likely to be in a traffic accident. When you turn 25, you can contact your insurance agency and let them know, and your rates will be adjusted according to your age. Though there are no other milestones so to speak according to age and rates, the older you are, the less your insurance generally costs so long as you have not had a ton of accidents.

Some other factors that may affect the overall cost of your insurance are things like your gender, males have a higher rate generally, if you are married or single, if you have multiple cars on your policy, if you have kids, have a degree, etc. These are all factors that your insurance agent will help you consider to get the best rate possible. For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you to find your perfect policy every time.  

Recap: Free Family Fun in Boston

“I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life.” – Barbara Bush

It’s summertime, and that means you’re probably on the lookout for free family fun here in the Boston area. Thankfully, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency has got you covered! In our previous blog post, we covered several ideas that will give your family hours upon hours of entertainment without burdening your bank account. Here are just a few of the suggestions:

  • Visit a local park or playground. Kids will have fun for hours – especially if they help pack a healthy picnic lunch to enjoy in the lovely weather!
  • Summer is a great time to take advantage of the many water-based activities in the area. See if there is a local pool that you can visit, or just let kids play in the sprinklers for the afternoon.
  • Volunteering is a great way to introduce children to the idea of giving back to their community. Here are some ideas of volunteer opportunities for children and families.

For more summertime tips, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog! We love to post safety tips, insurance advice, seasonal updates, and much more! And if you ever need insurance help, call our office at 617-298-0655. We offer free advice and Massachusetts insurance quotes that will help you make sure your family is protected.

How to Avoid Fourth of July Insurance Claims

What will you be doing in a few weeks to celebrate Independence Day? This Fourth of July, Americans will be celebrating the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. There will be parties and gatherings all across the country, as well as plenty of fireworks displays! The staff here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is looking forward to the holiday, and the plans being made involve plenty of grilling, swimming, and spending time with loved ones.

Throwing a Party?

Independence Day is a great opportunity to gather with your neighbors, friends, and family for some good-spirited celebration. If you’re planning on throwing a party, there are a few things that you will want to think about:

  • It’s all about the good old US of A. Make your party festive with plenty of US flags and red, white, and blue themed decorations. You don’t have to break the bank to add some flair to your get-together – check out these ideas from Good Housekeeping.
  • Food on the Fourth tends to revolve around the grill. If you want to be adventurous, offer more than just hot dogs and hamburgers! Grill up some sides and try grilled fruit for dessert! That smoky flavor is something you just can’t get with any other method of cooking.
  • Before your guests arrive, make sure that you have relocated all of your breakables and valuables that are in common areas. Close off any areas in your home where you don’t want guests to go.
  • If you will be serving alcohol, you need to keep a close eye on how much your guests are drinking. If someone overindulges, offer them a ride home or call a cab. Otherwise, you may wish to have your spare room ready in case someone would rather crash with you until it is safe for them to get behind the wheel.

If hosting or attending a party isn’t something you’re interested in, that’s ok too! There is nothing wrong with having a quiet movie night at home. And there are even several movies appropriate for the holiday – like 1776 or Independence Day!

Enjoying the Water?

The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday to enjoy at the pool or beach. We hope that you have fun enjoying the water, but make sure that you put safety first. Little ones should be coached on the rules of the pool or beach before they don their bathing suits. This includes no running and no diving. Children should be supervised at all times. Make sure that anyone that is in the sun applies (and reapplies) sunscreen, and that they stay properly hydrated.

Also make sure that you are safe if you’re going boating. For more information, read our blog all about Boating Tips!

Seeing Fireworks?

Did you know that fireworks are illegal in the state of Massachusetts? Our state adopted the Model Fireworks Law as promoted by the National Fire Protection Agency, making the sale, purchase, and use of fireworks illegal in our state. It is important to know that even though fireworks are being sold in neighboring states, it is illegal to bring these fireworks into our state, by penalty of confiscation and possible fine.

Because of the fireworks ban, those of you that want to see fireworks this Fourth of July will need to find a display that is being run by licensed professionals.

One of the most popular events in the area is the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This free event takes place on July 3rd and 4th at 8 pm at the DCR Hatch Shell. The concert on the Third is music only, but if you go on the Fourth you can see the concert at 8 and then the fireworks begin at 10:30. This year, the headliner is a Massachusetts native – Rachel Platten! For those that don’t want to brave the crowds to see the concert and fireworks on the Fourth, the concert will be broadcast on Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg.com, and more.

Remember your furry friends this Fourth of July – many animals are afraid of fireworks. If this is the case, ask your veterinarian what can be done to make them more comfortable. They may recommend medications or comfort items that will help your cat or dog remain calm during one of the more stressful days of the year.

No matter what you choose to do to celebrate this Independence Day, the unexpected is always possible, so make sure that your home and family are protected with a home insurance policy from your local Massachusetts insurance agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One call to 617-298-0655 and you can review your insurance or get a free and no-obligation quote.

And remember – this Fourth of July and every holiday – stay safe and have a great time with your loved ones. Happy Fourth!

The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping

Summer road trips are a rite of passage for most kids these days. Loading up the car and being in closed quarters with the entire family for a few days can sound like masochism, but it doesn’t have to be! A road trip done right is a fun and educational journey that will provide fun memories for kids and adults alike.

If you’re thinking about taking a family road trip, here are a few tips from your favorite local Boston insurance agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency!

Destination Ideas

Before you embark upon a long-form road trip, you may want to do a test run with your family to make sure that you’re all prepared. There are many locations that are only a few hours away from our area and would be perfect for a one or two-day trip. These locations include Newport Rhode Island, Six Flags New England, Sturbridge Village, and Portland Maine.

Once you’re ready to choose the destination for your longer trip, you have plenty of options. Will you go to a natural wonder, a big city, or an entertainment hot spot? If you’re really adventurous, you can even combine several destinations into a single trip!

Here are just a few possible destinations, along with their distance from the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office in Dorchester:

  • The Berkshires: 128 Miles.
  • New York City: 225 Miles.
  • Washington DC: 455 Miles.
  • Niagara Falls: 472 Miles.

What other places are perfect for a road trip? Has your family enjoyed a road trip to an attraction that we didn’t mention? There are a ton of fun and interesting things to see here in New England, so the road trip opportunities are endless.

Before You Leave

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is doubly true when it comes to vacations. You need to make sure that you, your family, and your vehicle, are all ready to leave the comforts of home.

First, make sure that your car is in good health. You may opt to take it to your mechanic of choice for a quick check-up. Also see if it is due for an oil change, especially considering how many miles you are about to put on the car. For safety, check your car’s emergency kit to ensure that it is ready for your trip. You can also call your favorite Dorchester insurance agency for a quick car insurance checkup.

At the very least, you should make sure that your gas tank is topped off before you leave so that you can drive for a long stretch without needing to find a gas station. Starting off on your journey with a clean car is also a good idea. And make sure that you have a trash can available during the journey!

Also make sure that your family is prepared for the trip. You will need lots of entertainment for everyone. This could include music, books, games, and other car trip activities. Remember that radio stations may not always be available, so hook up a smart phone to your car’s infotainment system or have some old-school CDs at the ready. The internet is full of ideas that will keep your family amused for hours. Planning ahead also gives you the opportunity to pack fun and healthy snacks for all of your passengers. Anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is a plus, but you could also plan on bringing a small cooler for beverages and small snacks too.

While You’re in the Car

After spending several hours in the car, people are bound to get a little stir-crazy. Make a loose plan to stop every couple of hours for a potty break and possibly to get something to eat. Stretching is important when you have been sitting for a long period of time, so have a mini yoga class with the family a few times a day to stay loose.

It never hurts to have a little extra unexpected entertainment in your proverbial back pocket for when the road seems endless, so pack a special snack or the instructions and materials for a new game that will provide a respite from at least a bit of boredom. It also helps to keep the destination in mind – have a countdown and make a fuss every time you get closer to your goal. This could be every 100 miles, every hour, etc. Seeing progress will help everyone see that you are advancing – even if the road always looks the same.

So, will you and your family be taking a road trip vacation this summer? For more summertime and vacation tips, keep checking back to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog. And if you ever need an insurance quote or review, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling 617-298-0655 or filling out our online “Compare Quotes” form for the insurance policy of your choice.

Recap: Small Business Insurance

“I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” – Walter Cronkite

As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything in your power to protect your business from the unexpected. One of the best ways to do this is with the right business insurance policies. Business insurance can seem complicated, but when it’s broken down, the question is really whether you have enough coverage. Having the proper amount of business insurance will protect you, your business, your employees, and your customers.

In our blog last week, we detailed out several types of business insurance that Boston area business owners may need, including property insurance, several types of liability insurance, business interruption and data breach insurance, worker’s compensation, commercial auto insurance, and more. We also covered the importance of having the proper insurance for a home-based business, as well as personal insurance policies.

If you are ever worried about not having enough commercial insurance coverage, or if you have a question about your Massachusetts business insurance coverage, just call the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office at 617-298-0655. One of our experienced agents can help you ensure that your business is fully protected with the right coverage, and they can help you navigate your needs to determine which types of insurance are necessary for your business.

Fun and Free Family Entertainment in Boston

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are experts on insuring homes, cars, businesses, and more in the Boston area. After having lived and worked in the Boston area for so long, we also know a few thigs about finding great entertainment in the city. If you’re looking for fun and free entertainment in the Boston area this summer, here are just a few ideas for you and your loved ones:

Playgrounds and Parks

A favorite pastime in the summer is visiting local parks and playgrounds with the family. Young children love to play, and even older children who refuse to set down their cell phones and tablets can benefit from a little bit of fresh air every so often. For more time together, bring a few toys or pack a picnic lunch to share. And remember, sun safety is very important when spending time outdoors!

Looking for something unique and goal-driven to do in your time outdoors? Try Geocaching! Deemed the “World’s Largest Treasure Hunt,” it’s an activity that the whole family will love. It’s free (all you need is a smart phone and good walking shoes) and there are tons of caches in our area that you can find.

Water Activities

Want to make even more of your family time? Boston has many opportunities for water fun. If you don’t have a free community pool, there are plenty of free public pools in the city. In addition to being a ton of fun, playing in the pool can keep the heat at bay, as well as being great cardiovascular exercise for adults and children alike. And we all know that tired kids are happy kids!

And if you don’t feel like leaving the house, a hose or sprinkler can also provide hours of fun for the family. For added fun, get some water guns or reusable water bombs and let loose! First, though, make sure to set rules and boundaries for your games so that no one gets hurt during the fun.

Check Out Your Local Library

Have you been to your local library? In addition to housing more free books than you and your family could read in a lifetime, they also probably offer audiobooks and movies that you can check out. One additional huge perk of a library membership is their activity offerings. Many host reading sessions, craft days, and more. Some even offer free passes to local attractions!

Volunteering

For those looking to get their family out of the house without breaking the bank, volunteering is a wonderful option. Giving back to the community is a great thing to do and can help children learn many important life skills (not to mention that a history of volunteer work looks great on college and job applications).

There are many volunteer opportunities here in the Greater Boston area, including helping the elderly and the homeless, working on conservation efforts, helping others maintain health and wellness, and much more. To find the opportunity that is right for you and your family, visit the website for Boston Cares – the largest volunteer agency in New England.

Boston Tourist Activities

When was the last time that you played the part of a tourist here in your own hometown? Boston is home to many historical landmarks and other attractions that the whole family can enjoy. Here are the details for just a few of the possibilities:

  • The Freedom Trail: Pick up a free map at the Visitor’s Center on Boston Common and it will help you navigate the 2.5-mile trail through 16 historical sites, including Paul Revere’s House, The Massachusetts State House, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and more.
  • If you have children, it’s never too early to start talking about their future. One great place to get them thinking about their impending coming-of-age is at a college campus. Thankfully, there are several top-notch colleges here in Boston! Most offer free tours or other public events that would be perfect for your family.
  • Want to go to a museum? Most of the time there is an admission fee, but if you know some of the secrets of Boston, you know when to go for free admission! Many museums in the area offer free admission at some point during the week – an online search will lead you in the right direction.

What is your favorite free family activity here in the Boston area? Is there anything that we should try that isn’t on our list? Let us know! We always love to hear from our clients.

And while you’re telling us about all the fun local entertainment options in the area, ask your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about whether it’s time to review your insurance policies. We recommend annual reviews for all personal and commercial insurance policies. The process is simple and free and could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.