3 Reasons You Need Condo Insurance

Whether you live in a condo year round or you own one that you vacation in from time to time, it’s important to protect it with condo insurance. Owning a condo is much different from owning your own home. Chances are, your condo is connected to other condos owned by other people. When something happens to a piece of the property that is connected to someone else’s condo, this makes things very confusing. Here at Vargas & Vargas Insurance serving the Dorchester, MA area, we’d like to share with you the top three reasons you need condo insurance.

It Might Be Mandatory

The first reason you may need to get a condo insurance policy is that it might be mandatory. If you have a mortgage on your condo, then your lender likely requires that you have condo insurance. You should check with the lender to determine the exact type of insurance policy that you need. Just like a regular home with a mortgage has to have homeowners insurance, a condo with a mortgage needs condo insurance. This protects both you and the lender.

Protect the Inside of Your Condo

Much of the time, the exterior of a condo receives protection through a condo association’s insurance policy, also known as a master insurance policy. This type of policy protects the exterior and any common areas, but it doesn’t protect the inside of your condo. You will need a condo insurance policy to protect your condo’s walls, ceiling, floors, fixtures, plumbing, and electrical wiring.

Protect Yourself From Lawsuits

If someone is injured inside of your condo, a master policy won’t provide coverage. The master policy only provides coverage if someone is injured in a common area. To protect yourself if someone is injured inside your property, you need your own condo insurance policy.

Different condo policies vary in the types of coverage they provide. It’s important to speak with an agent at Vargas & Vargas Insurance serving the Dorchester, MA area to learn about the different types of coverage you can gain through a condo insurance policy.

Summer Preparedness Part 3: Driving

Happy days driving around on a golden Summer afternoon, or touring quaint villages, maybe driving town to town on a meandering route.  School’s out and it’s vacation time! Chances are pretty good you’ll be using your car, or a rental car to enjoy your holidays. 

You’ll want to bring an extra degree of caution to your Summer vacation driving experience.  First, you’ll be in a holiday mood.  It’s natural that your usual driving vigilance might be relaxed.  So your first challenge when you’re driving on vacation is to keep your driving mindset sharp and focused.

Your extra focus is going to come in handy with the other vacation drivers on the road too.  Many of those drivers may be as fuzzy in their holiday driving modes as you…before you sharpened your focus.  

Other drivers are looking at the sights, distracted by backseat or front seat passengers, or maybe just trying to figure out how to turn left into that parking lot for the Gift Shop.  Your extra care and attention is going to come in handy to avoid mishaps that could be caused by other distracted vacation drivers.   And, be especially careful while driving through parking lots.  The distractions are probably at their highest point when a driver is quickly backing a car out of a parking spot and another driver is zipping through the parking lot.  Bang.

You’ll want to sharpen your vacation mind for the protection of your valuables in the car too.  How often do you pull your car into a beachside parking lot or a scenic overlook highway stop off, then jump out of your car and forget to lock it behind you?  Probably quite often.  After all, you’re on vacation.  

Your cares and worries were left at home.  But your valuables are still sitting on the front seat or in the trunk of your car.  And a thief only needs a quick moment or two to open an unlocked door, rummage around and grab and run away with your valuables.

Last but not least, be extra careful with your rental car while away on vacation.  When you pick up the car, temper your eagerness to zip away to enjoy the kick off of your holiday. While the Rental Car Attendant is inspecting the condition of the car before transferring possession, grab your smartphone and snap photos of the exterior of the car.

Make a note of your mileage to be sure it matches the rental paperwork, and check the gas gauge too.  Double check that doors and trunks lock properly and that any remote locking or alarm systems actually work.

This may sound like a lot of work to do while you’re on a vacation.  But a few minutes of careful attention and a sense of normal driving focus will actually help you to have an even better vacation experience. 

When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Monday Morning Motivation

As you know, I LOVE to start my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

“With hard work and effort, you can achieve anything.”
~ Antoine Griezmann

Last week I finished with creating a NUMBER ONE for you! To do this, you’ll want to clearly list your goal and your approach.

The approach is where we’ll find the ONE NUMBER.

If your goal is $120,000 a year in revenue, then your average monthly goal is $10,000 a month.

The number 10,000 the goal broken down to a more achievable number. 10,000 is not your ONE NUMBER.

Let’s break it down further.

If you sell houses or mortgages and on average, your commission is $2,500 per sale. That’s 4 houses or mortgages a month to hit your goal.

Note, 4 is not your ONE NUMBER either because this is a goal, not the approach.

  • How much effort does it take to get to the closing table?
  • What effort are you applying now to get to the closing table?

The answer to these questions is your ONE NUMBER.

If you know that face-to-face meetings will help to get to 4 sales per month, then the number of face-to-face meetings could be your ONE NUMBER.

Your Turn!

* What’s your goal?
* What’s your approach?
* What kind of effort will it take you to get there?

Write it down.

● Goal

● Approach ← this is where you derive your ONE NUMBER

● Effort Troubleshooting Your ONE NUMBER

There’s a huge likelihood that you won’t pick your ONE NUMBER correctly the first time.

Often times, we accidentally pick the goal number and mistake it for the approach number.

The Goal is the finish line. The approach is how we get there.

Goals include:

  1. Revenue is a goal
  2. The number of homes sold in a set period of time
  3. Making 150 calls to get referral partners is the goal.
  4. Getting face to face with houses or mortgages buyers is the goal.
  5. Getting to the top of the mountain
  6. Learning the best path to the top of the mountain

The ONE NUMBER is how you get there.

This may take a little work, but this is important as you set out to achieve your goal.

The secret of priority management is working on the tasks that move the goal forward.

It’s not about getting stuff done. It’s about getting the RIGHT stuff done.

Pick your ONE NUMBER, even if you change it in a week or two later. It’s important.

One Job

Let’s apply this to marketing. Next week!

Summer Preparedness Part 2: Your Household

Bags are packed; the car is loaded. And away we go!
What fun we’ll have on our vacation.

Pump the brakes!

We don’t want to be a party-pooper, but we want to remind you that while your home is unattended, if something goes wrong while you’re away, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise upon your return.

Prepare your house while preparing for vacation.  Create a checklist and check off these important items before you leave the house.

Plumbing
It’s always useful when doing a plumbing inspection to run all the faucets in your home at the same time.  Flush all the toilets and work your way from the bottom (basement) of your house up to the top floor(s) checking pipes and surrounding areas. 

Close valves and turn off water supplies to the entire house or to your least-used pipes, such as to the washing machine and water heater.

Consider also turning your water heater to “low” or “vacation” mode. 
Why burn up fuel heating water you’re not using while you’re away from home? Check drains for clear drainage to prevent any backups from unexpected water surges, especially your storm drains.

A quick inspection of all pipes and plumbing systems alerts you to any potential problems.  Do a quick check for leaks, the kind of small leaks you might be missing during your normal day-to-day living, but the kind of small leak that could become a big leak while you’re away.

Electrical
Unplug extension cords.  Unplug appliances. 

Storms can cause electrical surges that can damage your connected appliances, or worse, cause a fire.  Also, look for loose wall plates, loose plugs or any other potential hazard that could create an electrical event and maybe a fire.

Air quality 
How’s the air in your home?  Is there any chance that dampness in the air could create a mold condition while you’re away? Are all the windows closed? 

If you have a dehumidifier, set it up in strategic locations around the house in the weeks before your vacation.

Thermostat
Set the thermostat to a temperature, hot or cold depending on time of year, that doesn’t use unnecessary energy while you’re away.

Technology 
There are smart home devices including security units you can quickly and easily install to help protect your home from interior and exterior threats while you’re away.

Smart locks, home monitoring systems, and apps for your smartphones that allow you to monitor your home from the beach hundreds of miles away are all worthy investments for your holiday peace of mind.

Mail
With a quick visit to your local post office to fill out of a simple form, your mail is held by the Postal Carrier until after your return from vacation.  If you get newspaper delivery, notify your carrier of your pending holiday to hold deliveries while you’re away. Piles of mail and newspaper deliveries attracts vagrants and burglars.

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Monday Morning Motivation

You know that I LOVE to start my week with positive words of wisdom. Here we go:

“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night. -Michael Jordan

Last week, I’m sure I kept you in suspense with what I mean by “Goals vs. Effort”.

The concept of ONE NUMBER is separated into three areas:

  • Goal
  • Approach
  • Effort

Example: What is the effort necessary to (literally) climb that mountain.

We review the trail map: there are 30 paths to get us there:

  1. Some are difficult and challenging
  2. Some are manageable
  3. Others are that smooth green line AKA “a cake walk.”

The last one, more often than not, may be a likely option for some of us to take. However, we decide to plan the excursion.

We train by going to the gym for a month, and hit the stephill climber in anticipation of the mountain climb. This is the effort.

We have our provisions: we bring a liter of water and two energy bars.

Some of us worry about the goal. We may commence a level of effort we deem necessary to achieve the goal. We may not spend enough time thinking about the right approach for our goal. We may apply a lot of effort with no particular approach in mind. This could lead to us not attaining the goal to our satisfaction.

The magic is choosing and sustaining the approach. This will help to identify if there is an approach problem or an effort problem.

Let’s Create a ONE NUMBER for You!

Morning Motivation – Week of June 10

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. These words inspire me. I LOVE sharing the same words of wisdom with you for inspiration too! This week’s words of wisdom are:

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
~ Tony Robbins

Last week, I talked about setting up your “Number One” goal.  An example of a goal could be focusing your marketing and sales efforts by understanding how to leverage your “One Number.”

Wait!
You may be asking, did he say “number one” or “one number?”  
I said BOTH!

When I’m talking about a “number one” goal, it’s not the same as your top priority goal. For example, growing top line revenue is a primary goal.

What, then, is a ONE NUMBER goal?

The ONE NUMBER goal is a measurable numerical digit that you choose that relates to a desired outcome based on a list of goals that will grow your business.

Let’s get specific with using MY NUMBER ONE goal setting as an example:

The Goal:
I want to add to our list of referral partners.
Therefore, 5 is my ONE NUMBER goal. You choose the “by when” date.

Action Steps:
-I establish the number of calls I need to make to find new potential referral partners.
-I set out to make 30 calls weekly to prospective referral partners.
-I secure 1 to 3 new appointments with prospective referral partners.
In my experience, 3 appointments on average becomes 1 new referral partner.

Outcome:
I need a list of 150 referral partners to get 15 appointments to get 5 new referral partners.

The “ONE NUMBER” goal is 5 referral partners.

Next week: Goal vs Approach vs Effort!

Summer Preparedness: Part 1: Vacation

You’d think preparing to go on vacation would be as tranquil as the vacation.  Too often it’s not.  The hectic days leading up to vacation time include preparing for the departure from home and office and preparing for the vacation. 

Here’s some tips that might help you prepare more efficiently…and more calmly…for your vacation.

PACKING
The dreaded packing of the suitcase ritual can make anyone crazy!   Prepare for your packing process well in advance.  After all, many of the clothes you’ll take on vacation are not the clothes you wear everyday, are they?   Spend 20 minutes a week for the three weeks in advance of your vacation and pack small amounts at a time.  Setup your suitcase in one spot, where you won’t move it.  Then add to the suitcase in small increments. 

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Passports, credit cards, plane/train tickets, printed itineraries need to be collected well in advance and stored together.   Any office supply store has perfect sized, closeable plastic envelopes and containers that  are ideal for collecting your important travel documents into a single convenient location.  Try to use a bright color for the container so it’s easy to find in a hurry, or in the dark.   If all else fails, a resealable plastic storage bag, the kind you use in your kitchen, is a great solution too.

PHONE NUMBERS
In your address book on your Smartphone, create a new address category where you can save important phone numbers for easy access.  This way, in the event of an urgent phone call  you can pop open a single address category and access all the numbers you’ll need to call, text or email.  Remember, you’re on vacation!  If you have to make urgent contact with folks back home, you’ll want to do it quickly so you can get back to the real work of relaxing!

HOME SECURITY
Checklists are the best way to efficiently prepare your home for your absence.  Windows locked? CHECK.  Alarm company notified of vacation dates? CHECK.  Lamp timers installed and correctly set to match sunrise, sunset? CHECK.   Think like an airline pilot: create a checklist and review the checklist at least two weeks before you leave for your vacation, and then once more the night before or morning of your departure.

INSURANCE
Preparing your insurance for your vacation may be the easiest part of your holiday preparations.  One call to your Independent Insurance Agent to review your insurance policies can help you determine what you have, what you will need, what you’re covered for while you’re away on vacation.

Call us today to be prepared to vacation without a worry.

Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329.

Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Morning Motivation – Week of June 3

I LOVE to start my week with positive words of wisdom and here are this week’s:

“And what is the greatest number? Number one. ~ David Hume

We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives:
* Getting into the better shape
* Building a successful business
* Raising a wonderful family
* Writing a best-selling book
* Winning a championship

….and so on, and so on, to name just a few.

For most of us, the path to these “wins” starts by setting specific and actionable goals. This is how I approached my life, until recently. I would set goals for classes, for weight-lifting at the gym, and for the type of clients I wanted to attract to my business.

However, I realized that when it comes to actually accomplishing the tasks it takes to make progress with those specific goals, there is a better way to approach this process.

It comes down to the difference between goals and systems.  Let me explain.

Let’s talk about your goals, specifically your “Number One.”

Goal: Focus your marketing and sales efforts by understanding how to leverage your “One Number.”

Overview:
* One Number
* One Job
* One Measurement
* One Source (at a time)

What is the ONE NUMBER? Stay tuned for next week!

How Much is Your Property Worth?

Some possessions in your home are more valuable than others.  These items can be a curated collection, such as fine porcelain figurines, baseball cards or comic books.  Other valuable items can be heirloom jewelry or fine art pieces, including paintings, sketches, and sculptures.

The value of these special items is not defined only by a monetary figure.  There is also the intrinsic value, the emotional value to you.  There is a fond family memory surrounding a particular heirloom object. What about the satisfaction of assembling learning about a particular collection of items, such as sculpted glass paperweights or famous autographs. This can be appraised but cannot be monetized due to the emotional value they hold.

Your homeowners insurance likely only covers a minimal amount of these valuable items, not necessarily covering the true market value in the event of a calamity that damages or destroys these valuable possessions. 

These special items need to be appraised by a professional to create a monetary record of their worth.  The expense of such an appraisal is well worth the cost in the event of a claim against your Homeowners Insurance and your desire to obtain the proper recompense for the damage or loss to these valuables.

There are two avenues to obtain an appraisal of your valuable items.  The first, and possibly less-costly, is to obtain an appraisal through a recognized expert.  For example, a jeweler can complete an appraisal of your heirloom jewelry items.  Likewise, an expert in art, or objets d’ art can be consulted to provide an appraisal opinion for other items you may own.  

The second method is to engage a Certified and Licensed Appraiser.  Typically we think of appraisers as professionals in the real estate trade, to appraise homes.  But Appraisers are trained in specific valuation methodologies.  There is a regimen that Appraisers follow to assemble a high-grade valuation of your personal property.  This regimen is based on professionally-accepted standards necessary for an appraisal to be certified.

While the cost of the latter valuation method may be higher than that of an expert opinion, you may want to incur the higher cost to provide your insurance carrier with the best possible valuation.   If you are using an expert opinion, be sure the documentation they use is acceptable to your insurance carrier.  You don’t want to find out that your carrier will not accept valuation documents when filing a claim.

Call us today to discuss how to appraise the true value of your treasured possessions and how to understand your coverage. That’s what happens when you work with an Independent Insurance Agent! Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.