Risks of Flood Damage

Floods can occur anywhere, affecting properties in Dorchester, MA. Common causes of floods include flash floods and seasonal storms, which can occur anywhere in the world at any time. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are commonly involved in 90 percent of all natural disasters in the country. 

Continue reading to learn about the risks of flooding. Then, for more information about flooding and how to protect your property, call the experts at Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. 

Flood Risk Information

When moving to a new area, learn as much as possible about flood risks in the immediate area. Your mortgage lender, local officials, and an insurance agent may have information about the area’s vulnerability to flooding. Additionally, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can provide information about local flood risks. 

Lack of Coverage

Not all homeowners insurance policies cover all types of flood damage. Therefore, additional flood insurance policies must be purchased to ensure coverage in the event of a flood associated with a natural disaster or weather event. Not having enough coverage can leave you paying for the repair and replacement costs out of pocket. 

Buying Flood Insurance

Purchasing flood insurance is easy and can be purchased directly from an insurance professional. However, there is a 30-day waiting period before the flood insurance policy takes effect. Because of the waiting period, if you live in an area prone to flooding, do not wait to purchase your policy. 

No Flood Insurance Coverage

If there is a flood, and you do not have flood insurance coverage, your assets are not fully protected against damages and loss. In addition, not having insurance coverage could lead to paying hefty bills associated with repairing and replacing property and personal items. 

Floods can strike at any time, anywhere. Those in Dorchester, MA should not hesitate to ensure they are covered in the event of a flood. Call Vargas & Vargas Insurance today to discuss flood insurance options and get yourself covered today. 

Wearing a Seat Belt in Massachusetts Saves Lives and Is Mandatory

driver putting on her seat belt
Young attractive woman sitting on car seat and fastening seat belt, car safety concept. Photo of beautiful young woman fastens a seat belt in the car – outdoors. Bown hair woman fastening seat belt in the car, safety concept. Business lady, caucasian

More than 25% of people in Massachusetts do not wear a seat belt. Massachusetts law requires you to do so, and it is common sense. Learn more about how not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts can affect your car insurance and your legal liability in certain scenarios.

Seat Belts for Safety and the Law

Wearing a seat belt lowers the risk of severe injury in an accident for the driver and a front-seat passenger by 50%, according to the Massachusetts Transportation Safety Department. It also cuts the risk of death by 45%.

According to the Center for Disease Control, car crashes are the number one cause of death in the U.S. for Americans between one and 54 years old. Even when simply driving to the store for milk, you should always fasten your seat belt. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, think of your loved ones. Then make sure they buckle up, too. 

Different states manage seat belt laws in various ways, but every state has them. Not wearing a seat belt is a driving infraction. You won’t be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts. But a driver stopped for a traffic violation and found not wearing a seat belt can be fined $25. That driver may also be fined for passengers not wearing their seat belts. 

A Seat Belt Violation Affects Your Insurance and Any Claim

Receiving a citation for not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts can increase your insurance rate by up to three percent annually. That is on top of any increase for the primary citation, such as speeding.

But being in an accident while not wearing a seat belt can affect your insurance in another way. It could harm an injury claim with your insurance company. If you are the driver in an accident and a passenger isn’t wearing their seat belt, they can file a claim. You, as an individual, may be solely responsible. If your insurance company is aware of the lack of a seat belt, it may not help you pay damages.

Having automobile coverage is the law in Massachusetts. In fact, you must have four mandatory coverages, each in a minimal amount, to register your car in the state. Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. As a premier independent and local insurance agency, we will work with you to ensure you have proper coverage to meet Massachusetts’s standards, as well as your own. Contact us today.

How to Prepare Your House for Hurricane Season

homeowner updating her house insurance as part of preparing for hurricane season

We’ve talked about preparing your business for hurricane season, but knowing how to prepare your house for hurricane season can be just as (or even more) important. There are ten to sixteen named storms in an average hurricane season, including four to eight hurricanes. When winds reach over 155 mph, you’re going to be thinking about protecting your life and family when a hurricane hits, not your home. We’ll give you some tips in this guide so when the wind starts howling, your house will be safe.

Keep Supplies Handy

When the hurricane comes, you want to be prepared, know where everything is, and have a kit of emergency supplies. Keep some flashlights, batteries, and more in the kit so you don’t have to search for them in an emergency.

Trim Your Trees and Shrubbery

Tree branches can go through your windows like missiles during a hurricane; make sure you prune your trees and remove all loose branches from your trees. 

Unplug All Electronics

Electrical surges are widespread in hurricanes. By unplugging your electronics, you minimize the risk of damage.

Seal Windows and Doors

Ensure that your windows and door stay locked and secured. If you have storm windows, ensure that they are properly installed and locked, as well.

Prepare for Long-Term Outages

It may be a good idea to purchase a backup generator. Then, if the power goes out, you still have options. Also, keep your bathtubs full of water in case you lose access for any length of time.

Review Your Insurance Policy

It’s best to do this before the storm, when things are still calm. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your home insurance policy, you may not be carrying the correct amount of coverage. The amount may not be enough to rebuild your home if the worst happens. Get peace of mind and know you have coverage as you prepare your house for hurricane season.

How We Can Help

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, and our team is here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

3 Essential Steps to Prepare Your Car for Hurricane Season

Family getting into their car before a hurricane after learning about how to prepare your car for hurricane season

Hurricane season comes around every year, and with it, the fear of damage to life and property. However, with the right strategy, you can prepare your car for hurricane season.

While many people think of preparing their home and personal property for hurricanes, it’s vital not to neglect to prepare your automobile. When a severe hurricane is on the horizon, evacuation may be the best option, and your car needs to be ready. These tips can help:

1. Auto Insurance Review

It’s important to review your insurance with your insurance agent each renewal — or annually, at the very least.  If you have, then a quick review of your coverage and deductibles may be all you need as a reminder of your coverage details for potential damage. If you haven’t, make an appointment for a phone, virtual, or in-person insurance review with your agent before hurricane season. 

Hail, wind, and flood damage are all common concerns. But many people attempting to evacuate at once can also create collision and liability exposure. Understanding your coverage in advance of a claim is much better than being surprised later, and it’s an essential step as you prepare your car for hurricane season. 

2. Maintenance

Evacuating due to an impending hurricane is not the best time to realize your vehicle is not in good working order.  Making sure these critical items have been thoroughly checked will help you avoid being stranded later:

  • Tires: The treads should have sufficient wear remaining. Also, the tires should be properly inflated. 
  • Brakes: Brake pads should have adequate friction material. 
  • Battery: Replace a weak battery. 
  • Gas: A full gas tank is essential, as it may be a long distance before you can refuel. 
  • Air: Ensure air filters are clean because you and your family may be in the car for a while. This is especially important for those with respiratory issues. 
  • Fluids: All fluid levels should be checked and topped off if needed. 

3. Load Up

You may find yourself in your vehicle for a long period of time — even days in the worst-case scenario.  Having the following items ready to load up at a moment’s notice means you won’t forget them when you’re in a rush:

  • Important documents 
  • Medications
  • Pets
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone and other chargers
  • Blankets
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Cash
  • Clothing/Shoes/Personal hygiene Items

With the right preparation, you can approach the hurricane season without fear. Here are some tips for preparing your home, as well. As a premier local independent agency, Vargas & Vargas Insurance understands your concern for your family and your property. We work for you, not the insurance company. Contact us today to make sure your coverage is ready as you prepare your car for hurricane season.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane Season

Business owner standing in her office

How do you prepare your business for hurricane season? A hurricane can happen at any time. But they mostly occur in June and November. If you operate a business along coastal regions, you may experience severe damage due to a hurricane.

Being prepared will help you get back on track faster after the hurricane. Here are steps to minimize interruptions and keep your employees safe.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane Season

1. Employee Evacuation Plan

The safety of your employees is important. So make sure you have an employee evacuation plan. Give team members emergency roles to perform during the hurricane. It is also a good idea to train your employees and even perform flood drills to ensure your employees are prepared.

2. Create a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is necessary to minimize interruptions during a hurricane. You should have an emergency communication protocol and confirm all employee contact information. 

3. Get Insurance Coverage

As a business owner, you should obtain the best insurance coverage available before a hurricane. If you don’t have insurance coverage, it’s never too late to get some. Make sure your coverage meets your business needs, including flood insurance and business interruptions. Work with the insurance agent to ensure the policy meets those business needs. 

4. Back Up Your Data

Your business has documents, records, and files that you have to secure and protect. You should regularly back up your data and store it in a safe facility. It should be possible to access your data remotely in case of an emergency. 

5. Back Up Your Power Supply

A backup generator will ensure you keep your essential systems during the storm. A backup supply will also help you run your business sooner after a storm. 

Vargas and Vargas is a premier independent insurance agency, and we put our customers first. That includes helping you prepare your business for hurricane season. We offer customized insurance coverage to meet your specific needs. We are here to answer all the questions you may have about insurance, so contact us today.