Things to Consider When Shopping for Classic Car Insurance

When it comes to classic cars, they are in a unique category for insurance.  It needs to be protected if you want to drive it.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a vehicle that you lovingly restored yourself or if you just enjoy the nostalgia of driving a classic around.  Policies for classic cars differ from the policy you have on your primary vehicle.  The insured value listed in the policy will be an agreed upon amount.  Also, classic cars tend to increase in value whereas modern vehicles depreciate over time.  In the Dorchester, MA, our agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance can explain your policy options to get your vehicle covered.   

In order for a vehicle to qualify for classic car insurance, there are several requirements.  The owner must prove that the vehicle is not their primary car.  They also need to show that it is driven only occasionally. For instance, traveling to car shows. When it is not on display, it has to be stored in an enclosed garage or storage building.  Most consider these requirements relatively minor. 

Other than that, class car insurance has traditional auto insurance features.  You can et comprehensive and collision insurance.  Some offer roadside assistance or a flatbed towing in an emergency.  Special coverage options include auto show medical coverage and protection when the vehicle is displayed when you are not at the show. 

Our agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance in the Dorchester, MA area can help you get the coverage that you need for your classic car.  Visit the website to get started then call or come by to talk with one of our agents.  You wouldn’t trust your restored beauty to just anyone.  Trust it with the classic car insurance experts.  Come in today for the coverage of your classic car needs!

 

What Costs Are Part of Your Monthly House Payment?

If you’ve been looking at houses, you’ve probably seen real estate websites where the estimated monthly payment is shown. This is a great feature for breaking down the cost of a home that you will pay off in 15 or 30 years, and it can help you stay within your budget.

Woman smiling as she reviews her house payment at home
Monthly house payments include your mortgage payment, a portion of your property taxes, and your homeowners insurance premium.

However, it doesn’t always show the whole picture. The estimated payment only factors in the cost of the loan for a traditional 30-year mortgage at the current interest rate. It does not include the other costs that are factored into a standard monthly house payment. Two additional costs include:

  1. Property taxes
  2. Homeowners insurance

Property Taxes

Just like everything else in life, having property is also taxed. When you take out a mortgage loan, the property taxes are calculated into your monthly loan payment and put into an escrow account. When your taxes become due, your mortgage company makes the payment for you.

The percentage of taxes you owe depends on where your property is located, and this can be checked prior to purchasing a home. 

Although it may seem like a negative, having your taxes included in your monthly payment is actually a great way to stay organized. It takes away the burden of paying property taxes in one lump sum. Also, you don’t have to worry about whether you made the payment or not. (And if you love your home, you definitely don’t want to forget paying your property taxes!)

Homeowners Insurance

The other cost that goes into your monthly mortgage payment is homeowners insurance. It is standard for the insurance cost to be part of your mortgage payments, and mortgage lenders will often not loan you money if you do not have it. If anything should happen to your property, the lenders want to make sure that they can recover their costs. However, having the right home insurance policy isn’t just for them — it’s for you. You’ll want to be protected in case your home is damaged, and the right homeowners insurance policy can give you peace of mind.

You get to pick out the home insurance policy that works for you, and you should have it ready at the time of your closing. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we can guide you through the process. Contact us today for more information.

What’s the Difference Between Condo Insurance and Home Insurance?

Insurance is vital, regardless of whether you own a home or a condo. It can help offset damages to your property, so you don’t have to worry about paying for those damages out of your pocket.

happy young couple buying a condo and talking to the property manager
Protect your new condo by learning how condo insurance is different from home insurance.

However, the type of insurance you choose will dictate how any damages to your property will be handled. While both home and condo insurance might cover your property, there are some subtle differences between the two. Here is how home and condo insurance differ:

Condo Insurance

Condo insurance covers any non-communal property that you use as a property owner. Ideally, it should cover certain ‘walls-in’ losses, replacements, and repairs, as well as your personal property. For any damages that happen outside your unit walls, the condo association’s master insurance policy should offset them. But you should always verify the details before you purchase a condo or change your insurance policy.

Condo insurance also comes with loss assessment coverage. In situations where the condo association levies condo damage fees on all unit owners, this will cover the ad hoc fees. Condo associations will typically do this if the cost of offsetting damages to the communal assets is more than what their master insurance policy covers.

Home Insurance

Traditional home insurance tends to be for single-family dwellings, and it can be as simple or complex as mortgage lenders allow it to be. It should cover your entire home structure, including construction materials and other permanent elements. Most insurance policies also cover any personal property that is valued at 50% or greater of the insured home itself. The insurance can also cover other structures within the vicinity, such as detached garages and sheds.

Filing Claims

Filing claims is typically easy for home insurance, as it can be made directly with the insurers. On the flip side, there are some complexities in filing claims through condo insurance, and the specifics will depend on the situation.

For instance, the condo association insurance should take care of water damages as long as they are as a result of burst pipes outside your condo walls. Your condo insurance will, however, take care of damages arising from burst kitchen sink pipes, as they are within the unit’s walls.

Insurance policies tend to have rules that property owners have to adhere to for an easy claiming process. Regardless of the insurance policy you have, it pays to follow these rules. Be sure to read through the fine print of your insurance policy documents to choose the right coverage. If you have any questions about condo insurance or you’re looking for a new policy, we’re here to help. Contact us online or at 617-298-0655 to talk to our team.

What Should You Do If Your Car Insurance Gets Canceled?

Car insurance is something that we have to have if we legally want to be able to drive our automobile. However, we have all been in situations where we forget to pay for it. Car insurance is something we know we need, but it often falls through the cracks. We either have it or we don’t, but most people generally don’t think about it. 

man smiling and driving a sedan
Talk to your insurance company about your options instead of letting your car insurance lapse.

Did you forget it, or were you out of town and fail to see the “due by” notices? Maybe you moved, and the notice got lost in a moving box. Either way, it can be a frustrating mess. But don’t just let your coverage lapse. Here’s what you can do instead.

The Right Way to Handle Car Insurance Cancellations

In Massachusetts, a car insurance provider has the right to cancel your car insurance for lack of payment. However, they will send you a warning ahead of cancellation. Insurance providers are obligated to give you a notice 20 days in advance of the cancellation. 

This means if you fail to pay by December 1, they can send out a notice giving you until the 21st of December. Failure to pay by the 21st will mean that your policy ends and you are no longer covered. 

If you are unable to pay and wish to avoid cancellation, there are a few things you can do. They include:

  • Contacting your insurance provider
  • Asking for a negotiation to keep your policy active
  • Providing proof of why you lapsed in payment (for example, in the event of a hospital stay or a family emergency)

Often, if you talk to your insurance representative, you can get your coverage reinstated if you show good cause. Otherwise, you can appeal through the Board of Appeals

What If I Want to Just Cancel My Policy?

Once you receive a cancellation notice, it can be tempting to just let it happen and search for new coverage. But you should never allow your policy to lapse. There’s a right way and a wrong way to cancel a policy that you no longer want. 

  • The Right Way: If you want to improve your coverage by switching to a new company or policy, you are legally able to do it. There may be a penalty for canceling mid-policy, but it is still better to avoid the company canceling. Contact your insurance provider and explain to them why you want to cancel and ask about the penalty cost for doing so. You can also choose to cancel as your policy ends, especially if you are just changing companies. 
  • The Wrong Way: Simply allowing your insurance company to cancel your policy may come with some pretty nasty consequences. Your insurance providers are obligated to tell the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) if your policy lapses, which could result in you losing your license. If you are caught driving without insurance coverage, you could face fines and more. It is topped off by the fact that a lapse will impact your credit rating

Plan Before You Cancel

Canceling a policy should never be done without thought. If you are switching companies, look at your current provider’s penalties for canceling an existing policy. You may also consider having your new insurance company talk to your current provider to resolve the issue. This will prevent cancellation penalties and ensure a gap-free transition.

If you are considering changing your insurance policy, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. You can contact us or request a free quote. 

Why You Should Update Your Policy After Improving Your Home

A couple looking at their newly renovated kitchen and home improvement plans
Updating your home insurance gives you better protection and can even lower your premiums!

Home improvements can change more than your home. The truth is, even a kitchen upgrade can increase your home’s efficiency, value, and more. That means you need to consider how the increase in value can impact your home insurance policy. Not considering it can make it impossible for you to get everything you deserve if you file a claim. It can also mean you pay more than you have to for insurance coverage. Why risk it?

What Home Improvements Require Changes to Home Insurance?

Let’s say that, within the past few years, you have invested money into your home to upgrade your kitchen, home office, and your roof. You may not think about them being a total cost, but each improvement adds up. It is easy to spend over $100,000 on improvements.

This amount, whether the work was done recently or over the last ten years, means that you should reconsider your insurance policy. Some improvements may increase your policy cost, but others may lower it drastically.

Improvements That Make a Difference

To help you see how certain things can raise or lower your home’s value according to your insurance, you have to look at the premium you pay. Most home improvements will lower the cost of your premium, but it is always best to be covered. Home improvements that reduce the risk of claims, for example, can lower your premium.

Improvements That Can Lower Home Insurance Premiums

  • New Roof
  • New Security System
  • Generators
  • Reducing Fire Hazards (Replacing Old Wiring or Wood Heaters)
  • Updates to Plumbing

Improvements That Can Increase Home Insurance Premiums

  • New Pool
  • Home Additions or Decks
  • Kitchen Remodels (May Raise or Lower Premiums)

This list is not all-inclusive. Your insurance company can tell you what other updates and renovations may save you money on your home insurance premium. 

Why Risk Paying More?

Many people wonder why they should pay more for homeowners insurance if they have already paid to renovate their home. The answer to this is simple. If you upgrade your kitchen with granite countertops, all new appliances, and more, what happens if a tree falls on your roof? You risk losing your improvements because nothing is documented as it should be. 

Your insurance company will only cover the cost of what your home was valued at when you purchased insurance. If you have no record of the renovations, you lose out on being able to collect money from your investment. 

With other additions, such as a pool, you may need to add insurance coverage to ensure you are not liable for accidents. This would mean the addition of umbrella insurance, but it could save you a lot of money if something unfortunate happens. 

In life, there are no guarantees. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you decide what type of home improvements require you to make changes to your home insurance policy. No matter how long ago or how soon you plan to remodel, we’re here to help.