Vargas & Vargas Insurance

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Dorchester, MA 02124

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How Flood Insurance Works, How Much Does It Cost, and How It Protects the Homeowner

How Flood Insurance Works and Costs

Many homeowners in Massachusetts don’t know that their standard insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy designed to protect and compensate property owners for physical damage caused to a property’s structure and personal belongings.

In this post, we’ll share how flood insurance works and how it protects the homeowner. Using this information, you can determine if you need flood insurance and learn where to get it.

What Flood Insurance Covers

Depending on your policy, flood insurance coverage can pay up to $250,000 for structural damage and $100,000 for personal possessions. Filing a flood insurance claim is no different from filing a regular claim on your homeowners or car insurance. Following your claim application, an insurance adjuster will survey the damage, after which you’ll have to submit a “proof of loss” form, which contains every damaged item within 60 days.

Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

Structural Damage

Flood insurance provides replacement cost coverage for primary residence and actual cash value coverage for vacation homes. A standard policy pays for structural damage to a building’s foundation, cracks or bulging in walls and ceilings, damp floors, roof, etc. Some policies can also cover damage caused to plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical systems.

Personal Property Damage

Apart from structural damage, flood insurance also covers damage to furniture, window treatment (curtains, drapes), electronic appliances, art, and other valuables. However, in this case, coverage is offered on an actual cash value basis only, meaning insurers will take depreciation into account.

What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover

The following is a list of items not covered by a flood insurance policy:

  • Mold damage
  • Currency, precious metal, and documents
  • Outdoor property like gardens, decks, patios, sewage systems, pools, etc.
  • Temporary accommodation in extreme flood cases
  • Vehicles

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Massachusetts?

The cost of flood insurance premiums in Massachusetts varies according to your city and your property’s location. The rule of thumb is, the closer your property is to a high-risk flood zone, the higher the premium. On average, residents in the Bay State who are in a preferred flood zone will pay around $550 per year, but someone who is in a federal flood zone will pay an average $1,300 per year for about $250,000 in coverage.

How to Get Flood Insurance

Now that you know how flood insurance works and what it covers, the next step is to purchase a policy. The Federal Government provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, they do not sell insurance policies directly but through private insurance companies. A local insurance agent or company in Massachusetts can help you purchase a policy from the NFIP. Once approved, it takes around 30 days before the policy goes into effect unless you purchase flood insurance while taking out a mortgage.

Protect Your Property with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help you keep your property safe and protected from a flood. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs, and we offer affordable prices. Contact us today for a free quote.

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What Is Umbrella Insurance, and What Does it Cover and Cost?

Understanding Umbrella Insurance and What it Does (& Doesn’t) Cover

Sometimes, a standard homeowners or automobile insurance policy isn’t enough to get you out of financial trouble, especially in the event of a huge and potentially devastating liability claim above the liability limits of your policies. This is where Umbrella insurance coverage comes to the rescue and helps avoid or minimize the financial repercussions of major property damage or extensive bodily injuries caused by you.

In this post, we’ll briefly share what Umbrella insurance is and what an Umbrella insurance policy does (& doesn’t) cover so you can decide whether it’s time for a policy upgrade.

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Think of Umbrella insurance as a fail-safe for your financial assets in the event of a liability lawsuit that extends your homeowners’ and automobile’ policy’s limits. An Umbrella policy can help anyone, especially those found legally responsible for causing extensive property damage and/or injuries to other parties. The following are some incidents that may require an Umbrella policy:

  • Your dog runs out of your apartment or home and viciously attacks a pedestrian or neighbor. They can sue you for medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages.
  • Your teenage son or daughter throws a party on your property while you’re away. An underage guest gets arrested for driving under the influence, and you get sued for negligence.
  • A potential homebuyer visits your property on a rainy day and slips and falls down the stairs because of a roof leak.
  • You injure someone in an auto mobile accident, and they sue you above the limits that you carry on your automobile insurance policy.

What Umbrella Insurance Covers

Umbrella insurance covers damages beyond standard homeowners and automobile insurance policy limits as well as claims not covered in liability policies. Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

Bodily Injury

Regardless of the cause, an Umbrella insurance policy will help cover the medical bills and/or lawsuits that exceed your insurance limit.

Property Damage

If you accidentally damage someone’s property or personal belongings with repair costs exceeding your insurance limit, Umbrella insurance can kick in to cover the remaining cost. For instance, if you lose control while driving and crash into your rental home, this additional policy could help cover for restoration.

Legal Costs

In the event of a lawsuit, and Umbrella insurance policy will cover your lawyer fees when you have to defend yourself in court.

What Umbrella Insurance Doesn’t Cover

The following is a list of items not covered by an Umbrella insurance policy:

  • The policy holder’s personal property was damaged in an incident
  • Business losses
  • Criminal or intentional damage-causing actions (arson, theft, physical assault, etc.)
  • Written or oral third-party contracts
  • ▪       Flood and earthquake damage

How Much Does Umbrella Insurance Cost in Massachusetts?

The cost of Umbrella insurance in Massachusetts varies based on two essential factors – Your insurance limit and risk exposure. You can buy Umbrella liability policies in increments of $1 million. The higher the limits, the higher the coverage costs. Similarly, insurance companies evaluate risk exposure based on the number of properties and vehicles/watercraft, driving record, occupation, and age, among other factors. The higher your risks, the higher the coverage costs. On average, Bay Staters can expect a $1 million policy to cost around $160 to $500.

Get More Protection with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated  Umbrella insurance policies designed to offer maximum compensation in the event of extensive property damage and bodily injuries. Our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs at incredibly affordable prices. Contact us today for a free quote.

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How a Renters Insurance Policy Protects You

Living uninsured in a rental home can put you at risk of personal liability and property damage. Learn how a renters insurance policy protects the renter
What Renters Insurance Does (& Doesn’t) Cover

Are you planning to rent a residence in Massachusetts? Consider a renters policy to protect yourself against the financial impact of unexpected personal property damage, theft, and legal liability. A renters insurance policy is designed to do just that and help protect tenants, their personal belongings, and the occupied property from the financial aftermath of an unfortunate event or accident.

In this post, we’ll share how a renters insurance policy protects the renter so readers can better understand its importance and where to get the best coverage in Massachusetts.

What Renters Insurance Covers

A renters or tenant insurance policy covers renters from the financial repercussions of unexpected or unpreventable events on their rented homes or apartments. Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

Personal Property Damage

Standard renters insurance policies cover Personal Property Damage in the event of a fire, smoke, vandalism, explosion, plumbing issue, and other listed disasters. You can opt for one of the two policies – Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. Replacement Cost covers the full cost of replacing damaged possessions, whereas Actual Cash Value takes depreciation into account, meaning the compensation will depend on your possessions’ usage and age.

Personal Liability

Personal Liability covers property damage and bodily injuries caused by you, your family, and your pets. In case of a lawsuit, the liability portion of a renters insurance policy can pay for medical bills and repairs, as well as the legal costs for your defense in court. The compensation amount typically starts at $100,000 but can be raised higher depending on your needs.

Additional Living Expenses

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage pays for temporary accommodation and expenses when your rented home or apartment is undergoing restoration or renovation following damage. Typical expenses include restaurant bills, transport, hotel bills, and temporary rentals.

What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover

The following is a list of items not covered by a Renters insurance policy:

  • Pest infestation
  • Earthquake and flood damage
  • Vehicle theft or damage (Belongings inside the vehicle are covered)
  • Roommate property and personal belongings

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Massachusetts?

Renters insurance rates vary according to the state and where you’re shopping from. The average cost of renters insurance in Massachusetts is $192, or about $16 per month. Your location in the state also influences your cost. For example, if your residence is a region prone to natural disasters like severe storms, floods, wildfires, landslides, you’ll most likely have to pay more than the average. Similarly, if your neighborhood has a crime rate, this will also affect your overall cost.

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim

The following are the main steps for filing a renters insurance claim. However, keep in mind that your claims process may vary on the type and extent of the damage:

  • Contact your insurance company or agent as soon as you and your family are secure (in case of fire, theft, vandalism, etc.)
  • Seek emergency repairs to secure the property’s structural integrity. Make sure all the damage is documented in writing with photos and video footage for proof of damage.
  • Answer all the questions related to the damage asked by the agent and insurance adjuster
  • Discuss your policy’s coverage with your agent to understand what applies to your situation and the compensation limits

Secure Yourself with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help keep you and your family protected from unexpected events on your rented property. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs, and we offer affordable prices. Contact us today for a free quote.

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