Vargas & Vargas Insurance

1133 Washington St
Dorchester, MA 02124

 Get Directions

Can a Condo HOA Require Proof of Condo Insurance?

If you own a condominium, you’re likely aware that your Homeowners Association enforces rules and regulations to maintain the community’s well-being. One common question that condominium owners often ask is whether a Condo HOA can require proof of condo insurance. Vargas & Vargas Insurance, which is dedicated to serving the greater Dorchester, MA area, is here to shed light on this critical matter.

HOA Regulations and Condo Insurance

Condo HOAs have a vested interest in protecting the collective investment of the condominium community. This includes ensuring that individual condo owners maintain insurance coverage for their units.

Proof of Condo Insurance

Many condo HOAs have the authority to require condo owners to provide proof of insurance coverage. They may request documentation showing that the policy meets certain minimum requirements, often stipulated in the association’s bylaws or regulations.

Reasons for Requiring Proof of Insurance

The HOA’s objective in mandating proof of condo insurance is to safeguard the community from potential financial liabilities. In the event of accidents or disasters, individual condo owners’ insurance coverage can help cover damage to their units and liabilities arising from accidents. This minimizes the risk of other condo owners being assessed special fees to cover repair or legal costs.

Condo HOAs can require proof of condo insurance as a protective measure for the community. Ensuring that each condo owner has adequate insurance coverage helps mitigate potential financial risks for the association and condo owners. If you have questions or need assistance with your condo insurance to meet your HOA’s requirements in Dorchester, MA, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We can help you navigate the insurance landscape and ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect your investment and community. Your peace of mind is our priority.

Read More

Snow Plowing And Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

Prepare your snowplow and hope for a snowy season, as snow plowing time is nearly upon us! Remember that unusual October snowstorm a few years back? If you’re a snow plow contractor in New England, chances are you’re eagerly anticipating another robust winter season.

In such anticipation, you’re likely pondering whether your insurance coverage is adequate to safeguard your snow plow operations.

Here at Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we have provided insurance solutions for countless contractors over the years and have addressed these inquiries extensively. Let’s delve into the world of snow plow insurance, explore the factors influencing its cost, and equip you with the essential knowledge before you hit the snowy roads.

Thinking About Plowing Snow As a Side Gig?

Some drivers use their own cars to make extra money by ride-sharing or delivering packages for Amazon. In New England, adding a plow to your truck to clear snow can also be a lucrative option. However, it’s not as simple as just buying a plow. You need to consider equipment, repair costs, rates, and whether it’s worth the long hours. It’s important to have sufficient insurance before starting this business venture. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help with that.

Operating a vehicle with a plow in the snow is risky and can lead to accidents and property damage. If you plan to offer snow plow services, it’s essential to have insurance coverage. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can answer your insurance questions and provide professional advice to help you plow worry-free this winter.

The First Steo In obtaining Snowplow insurance in Massachusetts.

Congratulations on starting your own snow plowing business! Before you begin, it is important to contact your insurance broker and inform them of the type of services you will be providing. This is because there are different risks associated with residential and commercial properties. For example, residential properties may have mailboxes or garages that could be damaged, while commercial properties may have freestanding light posts or carport structures that are difficult to avoid. Plowing for commercial clients also increases your exposure to risk and liability, including possible legal claims related to personal injuries from slip and falls, even if you have properly plowed and salted the premises.

Personal Insurance Versus Commercial Insurance For Your Snowplow

Having insurance is important when plowing for money or for fun during winter. The amount of insurance required depends on the type of plowing you plan to do.

Snow Plowing For Your Personal Use

You can use your own car insurance to cover plowing your driveway or walkway. Your auto policy covers the plow, but not any damage it causes. To fully protect yourself and your property, add an endorsement to your policy. Vargas & Vargas Insurance suggests listing your truck as a commercial vehicle to ensure coverage in case of an accident. This way, you’ll be covered for any damage to your property, someone else’s property, your truck or plow.

Snow Plowing For Business Use

When you plow snow to make extra money, you are exposed to high risk. It is important to have the right insurance for you and your business. Personal auto insurance policies do not cover business vehicles. Therefore, getting commercial auto insurance is necessary. This type of insurance provides higher liability limits and is required for business vehicles.

Having the right insurance is crucial for getting snow plowing jobs. People and companies will only hire you if you have a certificate of insurance. This document shows that you have purchased the necessary insurance coverages and limits. You can only get this certificate from a commercial policy.

To plow on public roads, you need commercial auto insurance. If you want to apply for a plowing contract or permit in Massachusetts, you must have a certificate of insurance. This can only be obtained through a commercial auto policy. Different locations have different requirements, so check your local town website or city hall for more information.

If you’re plowing snow for money, Vargas & vargas Insurance suggests getting commercial auto insurance.

Liability Insurance: covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage. Bodily Injury pays for medical expenses and legal fees. Property Damage pays for repairs and replacements.

Collision: covers snowplow repairs after an accident.

Comprehensive: covers repairs after a non-collision incident.

Completed Operations Coverage: protects against personal injury claims, like slip and falls. This coverage isn’t included in a standard commercial auto policy, so Vargas & Vargas Insurance recommends adding it to avoid paying for legal defense and hospital expenses.

Quick Recap:

Snowplow insurance is important in Massachusetts.

It covers damages caused by snow removal vehicles.

It includes liability and collision coverage.

Liability covers damages to other people’s property.

Collision covers damages to your own vehicle.

Snowplow insurance is required by law in Massachusetts.

t is necessary for businesses and individuals who use snowplows.

The cost of snowplow insurance varies based on factors such as location and driving history.

It is important to shop around for the best coverage and rates.

Failure to have snowplow insurance can result in fines and legal consequences

Your Local Independent Insurance Broker

Call Vargas & Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655 fand speak to one of our team members about protecting you, your loved ones, and your snow plow this winter. You can also text the team at 617-409-0329.

Read More

Vacant or Unoccupied Property Insurance: Don’t Let Your Home Go Uninsured!

Just because a property is vacant or unoccupied doesn’t mean it should go uninsured. Whether you’ve recently inherited a property, purchased an investment property for renovation, or own a vacant commercial space, securing insurance coverage is crucial to shield it from potential risks.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we have assisted numerous clients in obtaining the necessary insurance for safeguarding their vacant properties, whether personal or commercial. The most common question we receive from these clients is, ‘What type of insurance do I require?’

Well, It depends.

There is more than one-size-fits-all insurance solution for vacant properties; the coverage you need varies based on your specific circumstances.

Insuring A Property That Is Under Renovations

If you have a vacant home undergoing renovation, you’ll require a specific type of policy: a builder’s risk policy.

Builder’s risk insurance is designed explicitly for properties UNDER construction or renovation.

Also referred to as “course of construction” insurance, this policy safeguards both the property and homeowner from potential financial losses due to damage or loss of the project’s structure and materials during the construction phase.

For more in-depth information on builders risk, you can refer to this article: “Do I Need Builders Risk Coverage for my Home Project?”

Insuring a Vacant Commercial Property Under Renovation:

Insuring a vacant commercial property undergoing renovation follows a similar process to insuring a vacant home during renovations: you’ll also need a builders risk policy.

The principle is the same as for homes, though there may be some specific details to consider.

For instance, the type of policy may differ if you’re working on a single building versus multiple projects throughout the year.

Remember, even if you have a commercial building with several units, and not all of them are vacant for renovations, a builders risk policy is still necessary.

Insuring A Property That Is NOT Under Renovations

When your property is vacant and will remain unoccupied for a certain period, it’s essential to secure insurance coverage specifically tailored for vacant or unoccupied homes.

Vacant properties are more susceptible to vandalism and other risks, necessitating specialized protection.

Since no one resides in the property, vacant home policies typically offer fewer coverages compared to standard homeowners insurance policies. These policies typically cover:

  1. Dwelling: Protecting the physical structure of your property against damage from various causes.
  2. Liability: Providing coverage for injuries that may occur on your property.

Due to the elevated risks associated with vacant properties, these policies are generally about 50% more expensive than standard home insurance policies.

Insuring a Vacant Commercial Property (Not Under Renovation):

Securing insurance for a vacant commercial property that isn’t undergoing renovation follows the same process as insuring a vacant home without renovation: you’ll need a vacant property policy.

A vacant property policy offers the same coverage as a vacant home policy. If you skipped ahead to this section, please refer to the information above for more details.

Insuring a Commercial Property with Vacant Units:

Now, what if you have a commercial property with a mix of occupied and vacant units?

The answer, unfortunately, is not straightforward and depends on the specific situation.

If only a small percentage of your units are vacant, you may still be eligible for a traditional commercial property insurance policy. However, if a significant portion of your units are vacant, a vacant property policy may be required. The threshold between “small” and “large” can vary among insurance carriers, so it’s best to consult with your provider for clarification.

Securing insurance for a vacant property is a significant undertaking. When you’re not residing on the premises, you have limited control and awareness of its status, making comprehensive coverage a priority.

If you need help with insuring a vacant property in Massachusetts, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent at Vargas & Vargas Insurance 617-298-0655.

Read More

Umbrella Insurance: What It Is, And Do I Need It?

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

It offers additional liability coverage for injuries, property damages, and lawsuits that exceed your primary insurance limits. While some may decline the coverage to save money, the cost of a potential accident could be far greater. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help determine if umbrella insurance is right for you.

Who Nees To Consider An Umbrella Insurance Policy?

If you have active auto and home/renters/condo insurance policies, it’s worth considering an umbrella policy because it’s affordable and can protect you from unexpected expenses if a claim exceeds your existing insurance limits.

Those with additional exposures, such as:

Anyone with a pool

Boat owners

Anyone with a Dog

Owners of snowmibiles

Any household with youthful or inexperienced drivers,

Investment properties owners

Membership on boards or volunteer groups

If you have significant savings and assets

When Should You Consider Umbrella Coverage?

Umbrella coverage is designed to provide additional protection beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies, such as home, renters, condo, and auto insurance. While these policies provide essential coverage for most everyday risks, they may not be sufficient in more severe cases. For example, if you are involved in a car accident that results in severe injuries or fatalities, the cost of medical expenses, legal fees, and damages could quickly exceed your auto insurance limit. In cases like this, umbrella coverage can help cover the remaining costs

Similarly, if your dog bites someone, causing injury, your primary insurance may not cover the full amount of damages. Or, if someone gets injured or drowns in your pool, you may be held liable for the damages, even if you weren’t directly involved in the incident. In these cases, umbrella insurance can provide additional protection beyond your primary insurance policy limits.

Other situations that may warrant umbrella coverage include injuries sustained on your property, such as when a child is injured on your trampoline or playset, or if someone is injured while using your watercraft. Additionally, umbrella coverage can protect you from personal injury claims, such as when someone alleges that you spoke or published something false or negative about them.

Overall, umbrella coverage can provide peace of mind by providing additional protection beyond your primary insurance policy limits. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help assess your insurance needs and determine if umbrella coverage is right for you.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of personal liability umbrella policies varies depending on factors such as the number of properties, autos, watercraft/snowmobiles, and driver history. A $1 million policy typically costs between $160 and $300 per year. As policy limits increase beyond $1 million, premium costs increase in smaller increments. For example, a $2 million policy may only cost 1.8 times the cost of a $1 million policy, while a $10 million policy might cost 8.9 times the cost of a $1 million policy.

How Do You Know How Much Umbrella Insurance To Buy?

Umbrella insurance offers additional liability coverage for injuries, property damages, and lawsuits beyond primary insurance policies. It’s important to consider umbrella coverage because accidents can happen to anyone, and the cost of damages may exceed primary policy limits. Costs for a $1 million policy range from $160 to $300 per year, with premium costs increasing in smaller increments as policy limits increase. Most clients opt for a $1 million policy, but those with significant assets may want higher limits for added protection. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help assess your insurance needs and determine if umbrella coverage is right for you.

Who Can Qualify For Umbrella Insurance?

In order to be eligible for an umbrella policy you need both an auto policy and a home/renters/condo policy, and your existing limits on those policies need to meet certain minimum policy limits.

Below are the minimum requirements you need on your underlying insurance to obtain an umbrella policy with many insurance carriers in Massachusetts:

To qualify for an umbrella policy with many insurance carriers in Massachusetts, you need to meet certain minimum limits of liability on your underlying insurance policies.

These minimum limits include $300,000 for personal liability,

$500,000 for business pursuits and rental property,

$50,000 for condominium loss assessment,

$250,000/$500,000 for automotive liability,

$300,000 for watercraft under 32 feet and 50 horsepower,

$500,000 for powerboats under 32 feet with outboard motor from 51 to 150 horsepower,

$500,000 for powerboats and Sailboats.

Your Local Independent Insurance Agency

Vargas & Vargas Insurance has been helping families and businesses with their insurance needs for over 40 years. Reach out for more details on why you may need umbrella insurance coverage. Preparing for worst-case scenarios is essential. If you need help, our team is available at 617-298-0655.

Read More

Liberty Mutual Rates Are Going Up! Here’s What You Need To Know

No one wants their insurance premiums to consistently go up, especially when many other expenses are already increasing. Many Liberty Mutual policyholders have recently experienced a rise in their insurance rates that they have no control over. The leading cause for these overall increases in Liberty Mutual’s rates can be traced back to the company’s Q2 earnings, which were very disappointing.

Enormous Damages Caused by Major Calamities

During the third quarter of this year, Liberty Mutual experienced a significant financial setback, with a net loss of $353 million, as opposed to $155 million for the corresponding period in 2022.
The primary cause of this loss can be attributed to extreme weather occurrences, resulting in catastrophic losses amounting to $2.27 billion for Q2 2023 (Quarter 3 losses data unavailable).

Certainly, substantial losses are not desirable for the company, its leadership, or its investors. In response to these setbacks, the company has implemented an average premium rate increase of 12.8% for customers renewing their personal lines over the past year.
While the disasters may not have directly impacted Vermont, the vast majority of Liberty Mutual’s policyholders are experiencing the repercussions, regardless of their location.

And recently, Liberty Mutual announced that they are reducing their workforce by 850 employees in the second wave of job reductions in 2021, Click here to read more.

Rates Are Increasing Faster Than Inflation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index, auto insurance rates increased by an average of 17.8%

17.8% is a significant increase, especially for those who already spend thousands on insurance each year. For example, someone paying $1,000 annually for car insurance could now pay $1,178. Those paying $3,000 annually for a combination of car and home insurance will now pay $3,534 due to the average premium increases over the past year. Some policyholders may have seen even higher rate increases. This increase is higher than the nationwide inflation rate and comes at a time when many are facing rising costs in various areas.

Don’t Fall for the Bait-and-Switch Pricing

Liberty Mutual Homeowners Insurance is one of the nations leading providers of home insurance. With its famous motto, “Only Pay For What You Need,” the company grants its clients ample chances to personalize their coverage by utilizing various add-ons and cost reductions.

Business Insider states that on occasion, Liberty Mutual employs a tactic of luring customers in with one price, only to be surprise with significantly higher renewal premiums. Read the article by clicking here.

What Are Your Options

If you are a Liberty Mutual policyholder, it is advisable to explore alternative options. Seek the assistance of an independent insurance broker who can assist you in comparing rates from multiple companies. Bring your policy documentation to the broker, enabling them to assess your current coverage and request quotes from other insurers. This will enable you to evaluate whether more favorable rates and coverage are available elsewhere.

More Options

An independent insurance broker helps you find insurance that fits your needs. Independent insurance brokers work with may financially local and nationally strong insurance companies, offering a wide range of choices that can save you both time and money. Additionally, they provide personalized assistance, helping you comprehend your coverage, addressing your inquiries, and aiding you in making well-informed decisions. And there are many more benefits of working with an independent insurance broker, like,

Five benefits of working with a local independent insurance broker include:

  1. Personalized Service: Independent brokers take the time to understand your unique insurance needs and provide tailored recommendations to best meet your requirements.
  2. Choice and Comparison: They can offer a wide range of insurance options from various carriers, allowing you to compare policies and select the one that best suits your budget and coverage needs.
  3. Local Expertise: Local brokers have in-depth knowledge of the insurance landscape in your area, which can help you navigate specific regional requirements and nuances.
  4. Advocacy and Claims Assistance: Independent brokers can assist you in the event of a claim, acting as your advocate to ensure a smoother and fair claims process.
  5. Ongoing Support: They provide ongoing support, helping you make adjustments to your policies as your needs change, and keeping you informed about any updates or new insurance options that may be beneficial for you.

So, How Much Can you Save On Your Insurance

Insurefy compared a Liberty Mutual and Hartford automobile insurance policies. Liberty Mutual costs $247 per month, and Hartford costs $92 per month. Read the article by clicking here.

A one family residence in Hyde Park MA was insured by Liberty Mutual. The yearly premium was $2169. The coverage on the dwelling was $510,000 and the personal liability was $500,000. By reviewing the coverage, we were able to save the client $300 annual on their home insurance and $1,000 on their automobile insurance policy, this change resulted in an annual savings of $1300.

A two family residence in Dorchester was insured by Liberty Mutual. The yearly premium was $8879. The coverage on the dwelling was $519,000 and the personal liability was $100,000. By reviewing the coverage for the client, and increasing the personal liability to $500,000 and the building coverage stayed the same. This change resulted in an annual savings of $4179.

In Mattapan Massachusetts, a three-family residence that was insured with Liberty Mutual. The yearly premium was $13,135. The dwelling coverage was $727,600 and personal liability was $300,000. By reviewing the coverage for the client and increasing personal liability to $500,000, this change resulted in an annual savings of $8,035,

Get Help With Reviewing Your Insurance Policies

If you’re in Massachusetts and in need of an independent insurance broker, reach out to the dedicated team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance. Our experienced customer service agents are available to assist you in evaluating the coverage and premiums of various personal policies. Rest assured, we prioritize finding you an affordable solution that offers comprehensive protection.

Read More

Servicing States

  • Massachusetts


More Testimonials

Partner Carriers

  • Arbella Insurance
  • Commerce
  • Mass Property
  • New London County Mutual
  • Norfolk and Dedham
  • Pilgrim
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Safety
  • Travelers
  • Vermont Mutual