Vargas & Vargas Insurance

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Dorchester, MA 02124

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New Mortgage Guidelines Could Save Money On Your Flood Insurance?

If you are purchasing (or have purchased) a home in a flood zone, you need to purchase a flood insurance policy. And if your mortgage was an FHA, VA, or USDA loan, and your property is in a flood zone, in the past, you could not purchase your flood insurance from a private flood insurance company. . However, recent changes made to HUD may save you a great deal and may help you qualify for a larger mortgage.

Flood Insurance and FHA-VA and USDA Mortgages

Most standard home insurance policies will provide coverage that will help you with flooding caused by something like a burst pipe, a furnace, or hot water heater that bursts, and the water causes damage to your home. However, this does not include the damages caused by Mother Nature herself.

For example, damages caused by heavy rains, rising rivers, the melting of snow or hurricanes, or other types of flooding caused by a natural disaster aren’t often covered. At least in a standard policy.


The upside is that HUD is expanding flood insurance choices for individuals and families with FHA-insured loans. In the past, the National Flood Insurance Program was the only option for FHA-insured mortgages. As of December 21, 2022, however, private insurers are now available as an option.

This is to help keep people protected from high costs while addressing damages caused by climate change.

New Homes and Special Flood Hazard Areas Insurance

According to HUD 4000.1, if any portion of a home is in an SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area), the home is not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance. This includes proposed or new constructs.

However, there are a few exceptions, such as the lender acquiring a FEMA Letter of Map Amendment or a Letter of Map Revision showing the property is removed from said area.

Another exception is if the lender acquires a FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Elevation Certificate. This is FEMA Form 81-31 and must be prepared by a licensed surveyor or engineer.

What About Existing Structures?

New homes are not the only properties to adhere to flood insurance requirements. Though, the terms for existing properties within an SFHA are often shorter than when building a completely new home.

A property does not qualify for the FHA-insured mortgage if:

  • it is in a Special Flood Zone Area
  • it is located in a coastal area and the National Flood Insurance Program is unavailable.
  • the home is located in SFHA Zone A.
  • it is located in Zone V.

You must maintain flood insurance coverage for the amount remaining on the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. Whichever is lower is often the amount of the coverage.

Don’t Let Flood Insurance Soak Your Wallet

Flood insurance can be very costly, especially if you’re buying a home in a high-risk zone with an FHA loan. Luckily, private flood insurance may help you get a policy that is less expensive or provide enhanced coverage and allow you to qualify for a larger mortgage.

Thanks to the changes at HUD, you have more options available when choosing a provider.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we may be able to help you save money while being in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Contact us today to see how we can help. We have access to private flood insurance markets that could save you a bundle.

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7 Reasons to Buy Your Next Home in the winter

A lot of people might think spring or summer months are an ideal time for home shopping after all, the weather is usually nice, and you’re more likely to be out and about anyway. For many reasons, buying a home in the winter is far better.

In reality, it could save you a couple of thousand dollars on average compared to other months.

1. Homes are Often Cheaper in the winter

According to data collected by, not everyone’s willing to look at homes in single-digit temperatures. The months of May, June, July, and August make up 40% of existing-home sales, while January and February account for less than 6%.

2. Sellers are Often More Motivated

In many cases, people who are listing homes in the winter are often under time constraints. This could be due to moving before the end of the year for whatever reason.

The end result is a highly motivated seller who wants to close and move on as quickly as possible.

3. Getting an Idea of Future Winters

One of the best reasons to check out a house in the winter is to get a feel for how it’ll hold up for future winters. If there are any problems, you might even be able to get the price reduced so you could repair the property after the sale.

Pay close attention to any drafts, cold spots, leaks, or other issues that are attributed to the colder months.

4. Possible Faster Closings in the winter

Usually, housing markets pick up during the warmer months. This often means that mortgage brokers could get behind in their workload. This results in waiting longer to close on the home.

During the winter, however, the market isn’t nearly as busy. So, mortgage brokers may be able to process your account quicker.

5. Less Competition for Bids

There is a reason why spring and summer months are better for the housing market. Fewer people are willing to move during the coldest months of the year. This means you’ll have less competition when putting in a bid.

The flip side to that, unfortunately, is that not everyone wants to put their home on the market during the winter. This means there are also fewer homes available to choose from.

Still, less competition could save you a bundle when bidding.

6. Possible Tax Benefits

In most areas, you can reap the tax benefits of the entire year of owning a home if you close before December 31st. This could drastically affect your tax returns come April.

Of course, you want to check with your accountant or with the IRS before you can assume to claim the property.

7. A Present to Yourself

Lastly, buying a home in December could be seen as a present to yourself during the holiday season. Moving into a new house is an exhilarating experience that can greatly enhance a positive mental state.

Not to mention throwing housewarming parties for New Year’s eve.

The Winter is Great for Home Buying

In many ways, the winter months are ideal for purchasing a home. Let Vargas & Vargas Insurance help by finding you the best deals to cover your property when it comes time to secure a policy. Contact us today to find out how we can help get you into the new home of your dreams.

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What does flood insurance consider to be a flood?

Living in, Massachusetts means that you may need to consider flood insurance. But before you decide to invest in a policy, it’s important to understand what constitutes a flood and how flood insurance can protect your home and possessions. In this post, Vargas & Vargas Insurance looks at some of the key facts about floods and flood insurance.

What is Considered a Flood? 

According to FEMA, flooding is a temporary condition where two or more acres of dry land become wholly or partially submerged in water.

In other words, if water accumulates in an area that would normally be dry, such as your lawn and driveway, it is considered flooding. It doesn’t have to be an overflowing river; even heavy rain that causes puddles on your property can count as flooding.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover? 

Flood insurance covers damage to your home caused by the rising waters associated with flooding. This includes physical damage to the structure itself (walls, floors, roofing), any items contained within the structure (furniture, electronics), and any appliances that are connected to the house (such as HVAC systems). It also covers items outside the structure, like decks and fences. Additionally, it will cover cleanup costs associated with restoring your property after it has been flooded.

Now that you know what constitutes a flood—and what is covered by flood insurance—you can make an informed decision about whether purchasing flood insurance makes sense for you and your family. To find out more information about getting coverage in Dorchester, MA, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today! We’ll help you get the right policy for your needs so you can rest easy knowing that your home is protected against floods!

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Insurance Coverage: Are Maintenance Costs Covered?

Taking care of your property is nothing short of improving your investment. And although homeowner’s insurance can help recover in some cases, it doesn’t cover a lot of maintenance costs.

This is especially true if damages are the direct result of being neglectful. These are just some of the costs that might come out of your pocket.

Termites and Other Insects

Although you may find your home tranquil, there are a lot of insects that might find it tasty. Termites and other insects can quickly turn your home into a sanctuary.

In some instances, insurance policies do not cover the damages created by these bugs, including pest control or home-cleaning services.

This often includes insects such as termites, cockroaches, ants, spiders, and a whole host of pests that tend to invade your privacy. If you see any of these bugs on your property, there’s a good chance they’re also in your home.

Bird, Rodent, and Animal Damage

Another of the most common damages from nature comes in the form of birds and rodents just looking for a place to live. Unfortunately, they will tear apart your home from the inside.

In fact, a lot of people don’t even know there is a critter problem until something like a leaky ceiling or various smells start emanating from the walls.

It’s not just the little ones that can wreak havoc, either. Raccoons are well-known for utilizing roofing materials for both houses and garages to create nests.

Rust, Rot, and Mold

A small leak in your roof created during the winter can lead to costly repairs in the summer. Rust, rot, and mold are common results of neglecting the property. And not all insurance policies will cover the repairs.

For example, let’s say that you neglected to notice that leak in the roof. Over time, the water invading your home can lead to rotting out the drywall as well as propagating mold within the walls.

In this case, your insurance coverage might not cover the maintenance costs and repairs that will accumulate.

General Wear and Tear

Perhaps one of the most obvious elements of being a homeowner is repairing the general wear and tear of the property. This can include everything from replacing an old carpet to buying a new air conditioning unit.

While insurance coverage might not reimburse you for most of these expenses, you might still qualify for discounts. That is if you upgrade the home with preventive appliances, such as fire alarms or anti-theft devices.

To find out more about what discounts you qualify for as a homeowner, be sure to contact your policyholder.

Your Insurance Policy Might Not Cover Maintenance Costs

Although every insurer is different, many won’t cover repairs and other costs related to the upkeep of your home. Instead, those expenses will come out of your pocket.

This is why it’s vital to perform routine maintenance on your property. Even the slightest leaky pipe under the sink can lead to severe and costly water damage.

Preventative maintenance is crucial for keeping your home safe and secure.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we strive to help people understand their policies while finding the best deals for their needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your home protected.

Always remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.

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Insurance Coverage: What Happens During a Flood?

Your home insurance policy doesn’t provide a blanket of protection from everything. For example, you might not have coverage if a flood causes water damage to your property. But that also depends on the type of flood and what was damaged.

Today, let’s take a quick look at flooding and what you can do to protect yourself.

What kind of Flooding Isn’t Often Covered?

Although home insurance can help with some costs caused by flooding, there are quite a few that may not be in your policy. This may include:

  • Natural disasters, such as extreme rain or snow.
  • External sewage line breaks or backups.
  • Sump pump flooding.

However, your policy might include coverage in the event of damages from broken pipes inside the home, flooding from a bad water heater, or if a fire was the result of various types of water damage.

Generally speaking, a “flood” is considered any excess water on the property that is normally dry. If a sewage backup is caused by flooding, and you have a sewer backup endorsement on your policy, that is covered by insurance.

Of course, you review your policy with your local independent insurance agent or review your policy.

What Affects Flood Coverage Policy Costs?

Like any other type of insurance, the costs of flood coverage depend on a wide range of factors. This is why people will often pay different premiums even though they live in the same city.

Some of them include:

Risk of Flooding
If your home is in a location that is prone to floods, your policy could increase.

Your Deductible
A higher deductible of the coverage will reduce your monthly premiums.

Property Location
The neighborhood of your home could affect the cost aside from the flood risk.

Age of the Property
As older homes are more prone to needing repairs, their age could increase the cost of a flood policy.

Itemized Schedules
Not everything is covered in the home through flood insurance. Valuables such as jewelry and antiques may need to be scheduled separately.

How to Get Coverage in Case of a Flood

If flooding is a concern, you need to contact your insurance agent to buy a new policy. You can also renew an existing policy to include flood coverage.

The average premium in the United States is around $750. But this can be higher or lower depending on where you live. This is especially true if you live in a location that is prone to some kind of flooding.

At its average cost, flood coverage is only an extra $62.50 per month. Considering the sheer amount of damage water can do to a home, this is not that bad of an expense to protect your family and property.

Water Damage Can Be Devastating

The important thing is to have the flooding repaired immediately. Even the slightest trickle within the walls can result in mold growth, extreme drywall damage, and compromise the framework of your home.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help ensure that your policy includes covering floods and other types of water damage. If this is a concern for you, contact us today to see how we can help.

You don’t have to face water damage and flooding on your own if you have proper coverage.

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6 Things Car Insurance Doesn’t Cover in Most Cases

Not only is car insurance a safety net in the event of certain damages, but it’s also a legal obligation. And although your insurance may cover a lot of things, there are some that are just not part of most policies.

So, what kinds of things are not covered by your automobile insurance?

1. Custom Modifications or Upgrades

Most basic policies don’t cover modifications or aftermarket upgrades and parts. And those that do offer coverage often have a cap of $1000 or so.

This means you’ll have to pay out of pocket if your expensive rims are stolen or damaged. This doesn’t include any deductibles you might have in such an instance.

2. Damages Beyond Policy Limits

A collision policy will only cover a certain amount of damages should something happen. In some cases, you might be covered for up to $50,000 in damages.

But what if you smash your car into a brand-new Bugatti? Well, you’ll be paying out of pocket for that particular automobile for years to come.

My point is that damages beyond what your car insurance can cover will be your responsibility.

3. Car Insurance Doesn’t Cover Racing

A lot of people feel the pressure of demonstrating their wheels are superior. This often results in a quick race down some street or boulevard as an exhibition of speed.

Yet, should an accident happen while you’re speeding down the road, most policy claims will be denied.

4. Rideshare and Delivery Businesses

Uber and Lyft are two of the most popular rideshare businesses nowadays. Even delivery service jobs are available from your automobile. But what happens if you accidentally run a red light and T-bone another vehicle?

Most insurance policies will not cover damages caused while running rideshare and delivery businesses from your car.

5. Theft of Property Left in the Car

You probably know a lot of people who keep their wallets in the glove box or middle console. Perhaps you have a golden locket hanging from a rearview mirror.

In the event of these items being stolen, policies will often deny claims of theft. However, your homeowners’ or renters’ policy might. Be sure to check there, first.

6. Drug Testing Your Car?

As absurd as it may sound, drug testing a vehicle is a real thing. This is when a drug kit is used to ensure dangerous substances are not present when dealerships or specialists repair damages. And the process can add a week or two to repair times.

Though, this is usually done in the event of a theft and recovery of a vehicle.

This is driven by recent events involving fentanyl exposure.

However, most insurers have no problem covering costs such as testing or cleaning after a theft or an attempted theft. If there was no evidence to raise a drug-related concern, though, some insurers may not volunteer to pay for contamination testing or clean-up.

The fact of the matter is that this instance is exceptionally rare.

Car Insurance is Still a Necessity

While there may be a few things not covered in your policy, it’s still worthwhile to protect yourself. Accidents happen all the time, whether they’re through the fault of your own or not. The last thing you want is to be on the hook for repairs or get a ticket for not having coverage.

At Vargas & Vargas insurance, we’ll help you find the best policy for your car insurance. Contact us today to see how we can help deliver coverage for your automobile.

While it may be difficult to cover any of the above, you can still rest easy knowing that you’re protected in various other life situations.

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