When should your review your home insurance

About a month before your home insurance is due for renewal you will receive a copy of your policy details in the mail or maybe in an email. The front page of that is your Homeowners Policy Declaration. It includes your policy number, the dates your policy is in effect, your agent’s name, and the address of the property being insured. It also includes your liability limits, deductibles, and any additional coverages you have. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA, our staff is focused on making sure our customers have a positive insurance experience. We put our customer’s needs first. 

When your policy renews

When you get this notice from your insurer, it is the perfect time to review all the figures. Look at the amount of coverage you have for the replacement of your home, contents, outbuildings, living expenses, and liability coverage. Do they make sense? Has the cost of your policy gone up substantially? Is there a legitimate reason for the increase? What is your deductible? After you have looked it over you may want to have a discussion with your insurance agent. 

When you add a significant amount of additional content

If you receive or purchase expensive jewelry, your policy may not cover it. Most traditional home policies have a low threshold for jewelry and other expensive items. You can add a rider to your policy to cover these items. 

You make upgrades

If you make changes to your home: finish the basement or attic, add an extension or upgrade a kitchen the value of your home may have increased. If you replace your roof or add a home security system, you may be eligible for a discount. Make sure your agent knows all the latest information about your home. 

Contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA with your home insurance needs. 

5 Reasons to Use an Independent Agent for Business Insurance

two co-owners of a small business smiling as they manage the business

Every business owner needs multiple insurance covers. From health policies to general liability business insurance, entrepreneurs must protect themselves, their employees, and customers from unforeseen accidents. Using an independent agent for business insurance comes with many benefits that direct writers cannot offer.

1. Better Premium Deals

Independent insurance agents are usually knowledgeable about business insurance policies in their states. This, combined with their networks of insurers, makes them a valuable asset to your business. They can help you get the best premium deals at discounted prices. Since they are bound by law to serve your interests, you are assured that they will give you a variety of options that offer you maximum protection at lower costs.

2. Tailored Risk Assessment

Most independent insurance agents are trained risk assessment and management experts. They can therefore assess the potential areas of liability in your business and correctly advise you on the premiums that can protect you. They are also familiar with the latest business liability regulations. As such, they can guide you on any risks that need to be covered in your business. Direct writers may not offer such tailored risk assessment services, leaving your business inadequately protected. 

3. Multiple Coverage Packages

Getting insurance policies from multiple insurers can be quite a hassle. Unfortunately, most direct writers specialize in specific policies. This is unlike independent agents, who often provide a one-stop-shop for all your business insurance needs. When you combine multiple premium coverages, you will have more room to negotiate the best rates for your entire insurance package.

4. Excellent Customer Service

Once you purchase your insurance from a direct writer online, you might never hear from them again. When you choose an independent agent for business insurance, on the other hand, your agent is just a call away. They will keep in touch and offer you after-sales customer care services by continually assessing your business whenever necessary. They will also inform you of the latest premiums that you might need, giving you room to revise your business insurance cover as you deem fit.

5. Hassle-Free Claims

Nobody likes the hassles of filing for claims because of the paperwork and long procedures involved. An independent insurance agent will save you from all these hassles by following up on your claims and handling the entire process on your behalf. They will also guide you on the correct claim estimates based on your cover.

Using an independent agent for business insurance can save you and your business a lot of money, time, and stress. They can handle all your insurance needs and give you room to focus on more productive activities.

If you are looking for licensed and experienced insurance experts who will place your interest before those of insurance companies, then contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance. Our premier local independent insurance agency has independent insurance agents who will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price and answer all your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the best insurance premiums for your business.

Should You Have an Office in a Downsized Home?

man working in his home office

Downsizing requires careful consideration of whether you need various features of your home or whether they can be eliminated. A home office is a full room that many people who are downsizing to a smaller home can eliminate. This can have a positive impact on your home insurance policy.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Deciding whether to include an office in a downsized home or not is not a one-size-fits-all situation. It can be tempting to make this decision solely based on space or insurance implications, especially when you are being intentional about downsizing. But it is also important to consider how keeping or creating a home office fits into your current career, educational, or recreational goals. 

The past year has led to a drastic shift in many employees’ interest in working from home. Other people have begun to see the benefits of taking courses from home, both for credit and for fun. Online side gigs have also gained popularity.

Suppose you are currently participating in any of these activities or are considering doing so in the future. In that case, the benefits of having a dedicated home office space for working and learning may outweigh the cost of having an extra room. However, if you have no interest in working from home or are downsizing because you are retired or your children have moved out of your home, choosing a smaller home that does not include an office space is often the best option. 

Insurance Implications of an Office in a Downsized Home

A home office is, of course, an extra room that needs to be insured. At best, it will add additional square footage to your insurance policy. In addition, your homeowners insurance may not fully cover your office in your downsized home. Why? It blurs the line between typical issues that all homeowners could experience and business-related expenses that are more complex. You will likely need to purchase an additional insurance policy if you are working from home. This is even more important if you are running your own business. Some employers may also require additional insurance coverage for remote employees that may not be fully covered by their regular workplace insurance policy.  

A home office can be beneficial under the right circumstances. But choosing a home that does not include one can benefit your insurance policy. At Vargas & Vargas, we are the premier local independent insurance agency. Contact us today with any questions you have or to learn more about customizing your insurance policy to meet your pricing needs.

Should You Insure Your Diamonds?

woman holding a diamond ring

Americans spent a record-breaking $20 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2020. This year, even in the wake of a pandemic, retail experts predict Valentine’s retail sales numbers around $27 billion! More specifically, Americans will buy anywhere from $5 to $10 billion in diamonds this year. That’s a lot of bling! At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we know our customers wonder if jewelry should be insured. Like everything else related to insurance, the answer is: it’s complicated. If you think you should insure your diamonds, we recommend speaking to an agent about your unique needs.

Homeowners Insurance and Renters Insurance Have Strict Limits on Jewelry

Before you start looking into policies, know that a property policy will usually only cover a few thousand dollars of jewelry. 

Depending on the insurer you choose, most homeowners and renters insurance policies will have a low limit for jewelry. You can add individual items — like that $10,000 bridal set — to your property policy by contacting your insurance agent. Usually, they’ll need to see some photos and an appraisal to “schedule” the jewelry onto your policy, and your premium will increase.

Your agent can schedule other expensive items on a policy, too. The Massachusetts Division of Insurance says artwork, fine silverware, and expensive furs are also good candidates for extra insurance.

On Appraisals and Valuations

The purpose of insurance is to protect a financial investment and to make you financially whole after a loss. Jewelry is sold with a very high markup. So your insurer will need to see some documents to prove the value of your gems. 

The most respected certificates and reports come from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), but a professional appraiser can provide them, too. Other certificates, reports, or receipts from the seller might not be enough to prove the value of your diamonds. 

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is proud to be your premier local independent insurance agency. We work for our clients, not the insurance company. We’re ready to customize your property insurance to fit your needs and budget. Remember, if you have deeper questions about how to insure your diamonds, then contact a licensed agent today.

Downsizing or Rightsizing: Choosing a House and More

You may want to downsize from your primary residence to a smaller home that suits your current stage in life. Choosing a house that fits your lifestyle based on where you are in life is also known as rightsizing. You can downsize or rightsize for various reasons, including reducing expenses like housing costs proportional to the size of the home you live in. Some of these costs to consider include:

• Insurance

• Utility costs

• Furniture

• Home maintenance

A smaller house can significantly reduce your expenses and impact your insurance coverage. So, if you are wondering how downsizing or rightsizing will impact your insurance coverage, read on.

1. Home Office Insurance Implications

A home office can alter your home insurance coverage and increase the cost. The insurance company may consider additional people who come to your house as an insurance risk, increasing your home insurance cost. If you plan to rightsize and cut costs, a downsized home should not have a home office.

2. Downsize Number of Cars

When downsizing the number of cars you have, you save on insurance costs. The insurance quotes for your family cars include the car model and how often you drive it. 

If you own a sports car that’s expensive, it will cost more to insure compared to an SUV or a minivan. If you have two vehicles, you can eliminate the second one if that’s possible, depending on your family transport needs. This will save you money, especially on car insurance quotes.

3. Personal Auto Insurance Policy for Your Child

If your last child moves out, it will be wise to make sure the child has personal auto insurance coverage under their name. If they don’t have this policy, you might have to pay for expenses, or they will be expected to pay directly. Most auto insurance policies’ definitions of a family member require the family member to be part of your household.

4. Consider a Smaller House Without a Pool

A pool can be a liability, especially if you want to cut costs. As a homeowner, you will be liable for anyone that uses your pool with or without your permission. You may have to incur expenses up to 100,000 dollars in case of a pool accident. You can avoid these costs by not having a pool in your smaller house.

5. Smaller House Versus a Condo

Depending on your needs, you can choose to downsize to a condo or a smaller house. Condos are typically cheaper to maintain, considering that the condo association is responsible for the exterior walls, roof, and shared spaces. You will also not be thinking about landscaping.

Vargas & Vargas insurance is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies. We work for our clients and not the insurance company. We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price when downsizing or resizing. Contact us today — we’re here to answer all your insurance questions.