5 Ways to Reduce Your Insurance Costs. #3 Will Blow You Away!

Saving money isn’t a responsibility you should hand off to someone else, especially if that someone else is the insurance company. 

Knowledge is power.  With these 5 tips, you’ll have the power you need to negotiate lower premiums with your insurance carrier.  Take back the responsibility and own your power!

  1. Take a defensive driving class. Providing proof of your renewed defensive driving class will save money. In some states for 3 years.
  2. Shop for other carriers.  You should speak with your Independent Agent at least annually to see if your current carrier and other insurance carriers can offer lower premiums on the same (or higher) coverages when available.
  3. Reduce your coverage as your car gets older. Because you’re reviewing your policies annually, you can discuss updating your policy based on the advancing age of your vehicle. Collision can be expensive and may not be required.
  4. Increase your deductible.  Look for the perfect equilibrium between the affordability of a larger deductible and lower premiums.
  5. Bundle your auto coverage with your Homeowners and Umbrella Liability policy.  Can you say “Multi-Line Discount?” 

These five simple steps can help you save hundreds of dollars in a given period of time.  All it takes is a few minutes to own your power and make the call!

Speaking of calling…call us today to learn about saving money on your insurance portfolio. Your piggy bank will thank you and so will we!

You can reach us by calling 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 Week of July 29

I’m always eager to start each week with words of wisdom, and today’s are:

If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction. ~ Sam Walton

Have you ever heard the saying, the riches are in the niches?

I started my insurance career 40 years ago working for Prudential Insurance on their debit system.

Are you asking yourself, “what’s a debit system?” Good!

The debit system was when you purchased life insurance from Prudential (Hancock, Metropolitan and all of the other mutual insurance companies).  It used to be that the life insurance agent who sold you the policy would come by once a month to pick up your premium. Gasoline was very cheap and that’s the way the life insurance business had been done since the beginning of time.

What you should also know about me is that I was a longhaired, motorcycle driving, cigarette smoking, 20 year old working 2 full-time jobs.

My interview went like this: On the urging of #TheMan, he told me to go to the local Prudential life insurance office for the interview. He thought the manager would be impressed with my work ethic as a 20 year old.  

Spoiler Alert: The manager was not impressed. He seemed more bothered that I did not get a haircut nor did I shave. I also wore a leather jacket and carried my helmet into the interview.

I was told I would be contacted after the interview. The home phone (landline was our only form of phone communication) rang about a week later. #TheMan told me that if I was willing to shave, get a haircut and buy a suit, I had a job. He also said that if I didn’t have a car, one would be provided. My salary for the first 13 weeks would be more than what I was making working the other two jobs combined.

He asked if I wanted the position. I told him that I did.

More next week!

Please review ALL OF MY Monday Morning Motivation blogs. Visit us anytime online for tips and training on how to build your business. Click on the link: https://www.vargasinsurance.com/blog/category/monday-motivation

Does Flood Insurance Only Cover Natural Floods

Flood insurance is something that most people never need and that most people cannot benefit from. That being said, you should take the time to figure out if you need flood insurance at all or if it is a coverage that you can do without. For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you find out if you need a flood policy or not.

Flood insurance works to cover flood damage from natural flooding only. This means that it covers flooding that is caused by some outside water source. Flooding from broken pipes is covered in your normal home insurance policy. Flood insurance is something that is not required and that is not going to be beneficial for all users. Flood insurance is something that is going to work well for your home if you live in an area where you are near water, in an area where you are near flood planes or where flooding is possible.

Flood insurance does not cover flooding that is associated with things like holes in the roof from storms, burst pipes, or other things that would otherwise be covered on your normal home policy. When buying flood coverage, it is always best to take the time to really look at what the coverage is all about and see if you can truly benefit from it. For the most part, you are not going to need to use a flood policy and your home policy is going to cover some flooding to a certain extent. For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you determine if you need a flood insurance policy or if your home policy is sufficient for your needs.  

Walk Through Your House Like a Claims Adjustor

Hopefully you will never need this advice to come to fruition. 
Hopefully you’ll never have a claim. 

But this is what insurance is all about: preparation.  When you prepare for a catastrophe, an accident, a fire or a theft when you buy the right insurance coverage, you’re creating an opportunity to recover.  The money your insurance pays out in the event of a claim is paramount to that recovery. 

There’s one other step to take in your preparation. When you make a claim, often the insurance company sends out a representative to review the damage or the loss and to assess the amount of coverage that should be paid out.  This person is the claims adjustor. 

Never assume the adjustor is looking to provide you with an equitable settlement on your loss or damage.  The best way to get the best financial recovery is to prepare in advance. 

Let’s look at your homeowner’s insurance to prepare for a claim that, hopefully, will never happen.  Walk through your house like a Claims Adjustor would.  Pretend you’re the claims adjuster but with the interest in protecting YOU, the homeowner.

In the event of a theft, you want to show the adjustor the precautions you’ve taken to prevent break-ins to your home.  Is your alarm system properly installed?  Does it have independent power backup?  Are all locks, including those on windows, secure and adequate? 

For the lost valuables, did you prepare with a high-quality inventory of your precious items?  Of all your items that would need to be replaced in the event of a fire?

Do you have photographic evidence to show to a Claims Adjustor?  For very valuable items, did you get a professional appraisal and is that appraisal recent and current?

For damage to the home due to weather including flood*, can you clearly demonstrate that you, the homeowner, took all necessary precautions to protect your home? 

For example, have you diligently cleared large trees or tree limbs that could easily fall on your home?  Have you created storage solutions in the basement of your home to minimize damage to belongings in the event of a water-intrusion event?

Take an hour and do a complete walk-through of your home.  If you ever have to file a claim, you’ll dramatically improve your payout.  That will go a long way to the peace of mind you need to recover.

Call us today to learn about your homeowners insurance and how to protect yourself in the event of an unforeseen claim. Now is the time: before you need your policy to go to work for you.

Your health and financial health depend on it. Call us 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.

*Flood insurance is always specifically excluded from homeowners. Please consult with your agent if you are interested in flood insurance.

Monday Morning Motivation Week of July 22nd

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

We have to get back to the beauty of just being alive in this present moment. ~ Mary McDonnell

Last week I started talking about being present, I talked about my trip out to Phoenix and how I was not being present with my wife, Kathy.

My second thought to paying attention is to remember that our time together is limited.

If there are changes you want to make in your personal or business life, start now. There will never be a better day to begin making improvements than today.

Don’t keep putting off the things that you want to do or should be doing. For example:

  • if you want to start eating more healthy foods, go to the grocery store and buy healthy food, buy supplies to start your own garden
  • If you need to exercise more, go for a walk tonight or find a buddy and work out
  • Is your relationship with your spouse wavering? Spend alone time talking tonight
  • Do you want a new job? Start sending out resumes. Tomorrow is promised to no one

You cannot continue to waste time thinking that you’ll take care of your issues at some later date.

Your family, your career, and your whole life are happening right now. If you don’t take any action to maintain or increase your happiness, life will pass you by. It’s okay to plan for the future, and big decisions should not be taken lightly, but you have to live your life daily without creating regrets.

3 Things To Do NOW For Your Car Insurance. Number Two Will Shock You!

You’re driving around with the comfort and knowledge that you’re insured in the event of an accident that damages your car, you, or another person or their property. 

Your car needs occasional maintenance and fine tuning; so does your car insurance.  Here are 3 things you can do right now to fine tune, I mean review, with your Independent Insurance Mechanic, I mean Agent.

Improve the quality of your coverage and possibly lower your premiums NOW! 

  1. Uninsured and UNDER insured motorist coverage. 
    The two “Uns” will get you every time when involved in a motor vehicle accident. You’ll want to add this additional protection to your overall insurance policy.  The additional coverage will give you perfect peace of mind and protection against the incidents involving an uninsured motorist or a motorist with insufficient coverage to compensate you for damage to your vehicle or injury to you.

  2. Your collision deductible based on the year of the vehicle. 
    As your car gets older the value decreases.  Too often you’re carrying insurance coverage based on the original value of the car when you first insured it. When you discuss your insurance with your Independent Agent during your annual insurance review, be sure he reconfigures the  current coverage to reflect the current value of the car.

  3. Personal injury protection, also known as PIP coverage.
    This is a component of auto insurance that covers medical expenses regardless of who’s at fault, and often includes lost wages. Depending on the state in which you live, PIP is either an available option or a required policy add-on. It is often called “no-fault” coverage because its inherent comprehensiveness pays out claims regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Don’t get caught without this insurance because you didn’t know it was OPTIONAL vs. MANDATED by state.

Call us today to learn about these coverages and more. Now is the time: before you need your policy to work for you the most. Your health and financial health depend on it. Call us 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 Week of July 15th

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

The best way to learn to be present and develop presence is to have the experience of someone you respect and admire being present with and for you. ~ Mark Goulston

As I have mentioned in earlier emails, I was a speaker at IAOA in January. This gathering, our country’s youngest and brightest independent insurance agents, is one of the highlights of my year.

The trip started with our airplane ride to Phoenix. I don’t know what you do on an airplane, but I usually work writing blogs, creating  posts and/or laying out chapters ideas for the book I’m writing.  

Suddenly, I got a look from my wife, Kathy that screamed, “hey, I’m over here, why aren’t we communicating?”  

I put my laptop away, we watched a movie, fell asleep and had a great flight.

The conference is 2 ½ days of presenters and break-out sessions all day. The event is choreographed so that all of the members in attendance get maximum exposure to one another. Kathy spent this time by the pool, visiting the local things to do and working on her hobby.

When the conference was over, we hung out for a couple of days to enjoy the weather, but so did many of the other independent agency owners. And everywhere that we went at the hotel, we ran into each other and started chatting about how we’re doing, what we’re doing and our “secret sauces”. 

One of the agents asked me if I was afraid of sharing my secret sauce.  I replied, “you may already know the sauce, but you still have to cook it.” I borrowed that from a chef friend of mine!

Here are a few of the most common barriers that keep us from being present and mindful:

  • Thinking about the past and the future
  • Multitasking
  • Being in denial
  • Obsessing on thoughts or observations
  • Pushing away thoughts or observations
  • A lack of intention
  • A lack of compassion
  • Judging, analyzing, criticizing or evaluating

Judgment is one of the most common ways that keeps you from being mindful. Whether you are judging your experience as good, bad or ugly, it’s an obstacle to being fully present in the moment. We do this all the time. Everyone does. The way to do it less is to notice it and move your thoughts on and not let judging interfere with your ability to be mindful. It’s ironic isn’t it? You have to be mindful about being mindful.

Try spending a few days noticing all the judgments you make throughout the day: 

  • “What is that lady wearing?” 
  • “Yuck, this food is gross!” 
  • “I should not be the one handling this!” 

Any time you catch yourself playing Judge Judy, notice it, label it as a judgment, and resist the temptation to judge yourself for being judgmental. More irony, right?

Pay Attention!

When I came to this realization, my first thought was paying more attention to Kathy. I know how I feel when people don’t listen to me or pretend like they’re listening to me, so I have to apply the Golden Rule:
Treat her as I want to be treated.

This one is easy because I want to treat my wife better than I want to be treated. There’s an episode of the Cosby show (sorry), “The Dead End Kids Meet Dr. Lotus” when Theo is given great advice from his father. He’s told to repeat these words: “I will pay more attention to my partner.” 

Remember  “Tomorrow isn’t promised, all we have is today.'”
~ Sylvia Solomon

My second thought? Next week!

Annual Insurance Review: On the Beach?

Get crazy at the beach this Summer.  I mean really, really crazy. 
How crazy am I suggesting? Hang on to your beach hat.

You won’t believe it.

Think about how you’ll be killing two birds with one stone if you consider reviewing your insurance policies with your Independent Insurance Agent while you sift your toes through the warm sand with a cold beverage in hand.

No, I’m not kidding!

Your Agent has all your policies available to review with you. They are waiting to review with you. The majority of people do not take advantage of a FREE annual review with their agent.

You are ahead of the game especially if you consider blocking out 30 minutes to an hour while you lounge in your beach chair.  You will hear the calming sound of lapping waves while your Agent discusses money-saving, better quality insurance coverages for you.

I warned you that you may think I’m crazy for suggesting this, but we think it’s a sensible idea.  The key point to understand is this is an all around relaxing moment: your afternoon on the beach and your conversation with your Independent Agent. 

Reviewing your insurance policies to:
1. Maximize the quality of your coverage
2. Lower your overall premiums, and
3. Ensure adequate coverage for unexpected and planned changing life events shouldn’t be stressful at all. 

It is a calming, relaxing moment.  Let your Agent do all the heavy lifting while you bask in the glory of your sun-filled beach day.

Be sure to schedule your appointment with your Agent in advance of your afternoon on the beach so they’re prepared with all the information you’ll need to save money and improve coverage. If you like, take a moment before you leave for your vacation to glance over your policies to prepare any questions you may have for your Agent about specific lines of coverage and/or premium costs.

Then setup your lounge chair, apply your sunscreen, crack open that cold beverage and make the call.  You won’t feel crazy when you’re done and you know you’ve just spent a few relaxing minutes improving your insurance protections and saving money on your annual premiums. 

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance? Now is the time! Even if you’re leaving for vacation. 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 Week of July 8

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg

Last week, I talked about the responsibility of small business owners. Facebook is a good example because it’s where many people spend their day (and nights) scrolling.

There are two primary features:

● Personal Profile (Get over the fact that we, as marketers, need to share with the world ourselves and our families, warts and all! People want to do business with you and not a sanitized version of you.

● Posts 

Profile 

  • What is the One Job of your profile?
  • What is the One Measurement of your profile?

Posts

  • What is the One Job of a specific post?
  • What is the One Measurement of a specific post?

There are of course a variety of post types. You could have a picture, a video and/or a story (includes a picture or a video). You can now add polls and all sorts of things.

But isn’t it easier to think about One Post at a time? A few thoughts:

  • Gathering friends and followers is not the NUMBER ONE job of your profile.
  • Gathering followers is not the job of EVERY post.

For example: A post may have the specific job of featuring a video about the newsletter topic you are writing about tomorrow. You may want to point people to your “link in the profile” where they can sign up to your newsletter.

  1. The post points to the profile.
  2. The profile has the link that points to the page.
  3. The job of the page is to get people to engage with us and sign up for our newsletter.
  4. The job of the newsletter welcome email is to set the stage for what’s to come and on and on.

The real beauty of One Number (and One Job, One Measurement, One Source) is the simplicity. It narrows our focus and aligns our efforts, making it easier to know you’re on the right path (or not).

That’s it for this series! I would LOVE to know what you think of my messages over these last few weeks. Send me an email or connect with me on social media.

4 Reasons to Purchase Insurance on a Car Rental

If you’ve ever been on vacation and had to rent a car, you’ve been confronted with the standard protocol of the rental agent asking you if you’d like to purchase (or waive) the optional car insurance.  

Most people are caught unawares and don’t give this simple request the full consideration it needs before they leave on holiday.

You won’t be caught unawares with this simple recommendation: always purchase the additional coverage.

When you purchase that coverage you will acquire some awesome features (you’re going to love Number 4!)

  1. Protection from a collision surcharge on your existing policy.
  2. You don’t have to worry about “loss of use” or paying for the days a rental car is out of commission and unavailable for rental for repairs due to damage you caused.
  3. Your policy deductible is waived!
  4. You get to walk away.

Technically speaking, if you already have PHYSICAL DAMAGE COVERAGE on your own auto policy, then you’re actually covered for property & liability on the rental vehicle.  That doesn’t stop us from recommending the purchase of the additional insurance even to our customers who have physical damage coverage in place.

I promised the recommendation would be simple.  Now when you’re at the car rental counter at the start of your vacation, worrying about getting to your hotel on time, hungry from a long flight, and stressed from the airport commotion, you won’t be a deer in the headlights at the rental counter.  You won’t have to stop and call your agent to inquire if you should take the coverage. You won’t have to text your neighbor if they purchase the coverage or not.

Just say, “Yes, I’ll take the coverage.”

One last piece of vacation driving advice: when driving on long winding roads in the dark, take extra caution for critters who might dodge out onto the road.  Like a deer in the headlights.

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance to ENSURE you’re INSURED properly? 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.