How Much Does Apartment Insurance Cost?

woman unpacking in her new apartment

There are two ways we could talk about apartment insurance. The first way is renter’s insurance, and that’s the angle we’ll take today. We’ll explain how much renter’s insurance costs and what it usually covers. The other insurance product that could be called apartment insurance is a landlord protector policy. Those policies are for landlords and not what we’re writing about today. So, if you’re a renter, and you’re wondering about the apartment insurance cost you might face, read on!

Apartment Insurance Basics

Renter’s insurance is designed to cover your belongings in the rented home against fire damage, storm damage, and theft. Your covered belongings usually include furniture, clothing, shoes, appliances, and most household electronics. In a nutshell, if your rented home were to burn down or be burglarized, the insurer will pay for your belongings.

Renter’s Insurance Is Affordable and Valuable

While every policy is a unique agreement between the insurance company and the insured, you can expect your apartment insurance cost to usually be very affordable. We’ve seen renters insurance premiums starting as low as $25 for $25,000 worth of belongings in some cases.

The apartment insurance cost is even more affordable for individuals who can bundle other insurance with a renter’s policy. If you’re spending $25 a month on renter’s insurance and receiving a $15 monthly discount for a multi-line bundle on your car insurance, there’s even more value.

But, there are a few items renter’s insurance doesn’t cover

Items Not Covered By Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance won’t cover large amounts of cash, high-end luxury jewelry, collectible guitars, or expensive art. As licensed insurance agents, we may add those items to a policy (it’s called scheduling) or write a separate policy for a specific item. So, if you have a $10,000 engagement ring, let your favorite insurance agent know about it!

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is proud to be your premier local independent insurance agency. We work for our customers, not the insurance company. We will customize your renter’s insurance coverage to your specific situation and budget, and we’re here to answer all of your insurance questions. So let’s talk!

Why Is Rental Insurance Important?

happy couple in an apartment

Why is rental insurance important? This may be a question you have. After all, if you live in an apartment or a condo, you don’t actually own the building. You are not responsible for the insurance on the physical building. However, you are responsible for your personal belongings that are inside the condo or apartment.  

Protect Your Personal Belongings

If you are paying rent to a landlord, their insurance covers damage to the building you are living in. If your belongings got damaged, lost, or stolen, your belongings would not be covered under the landlord’s insurance. You would not be able to replace these items. Rental insurance protects your personal belongings from loss, theft, or damage.

Consider This Example

Imagine that your neighbor is cooking dinner and leaves the stove unattended. A fire breaks out, and it causes damage to their unit and your unit. If you have renter’s insurance, then a combination of your neighbor’s insurance, the personal property coverage in your renter’s insurance, and the landlord’s property insurance would all be considered. In this scenario, if you are all covered, all three parties may be completely covered for their losses.

Prepare for Liability Claims

What about liability claims? If someone comes to your home, and you are renting it, what happens if they injure themselves? The liability portion of rental insurance provides compensation if someone is injured while at your home.

Get Coverage for Temporary Accommodations

What if your apartment building burns down? What if your condo has smoke damage? If your home is damaged and needs to be fixed, renter’s insurance can cover the cost of having to live somewhere else while your condo or apartment gets repaired or until you can find another place to live.

Establish an Insurance History

Having renter’s insurance helps establish an insurance history. This is very helpful when you go to purchase a home or a condominium. If you had no claims with your rental insurance, you will qualify for a “loss-free” or “claims free” credit on your home or condo insurance policy, which will reduce the cost of the policy.

Contact Us for Rental Insurance That Fits Your Needs

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 are here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

5 Reasons for Renters Insurance Every Renter Should Know

Happy couple talking on a coffee break after unpacking their belongings at new apartment.

Renters insurance is one of the rare breaks you’ll get from the insurance world: it’s super affordable without sacrificing coverage. Most landlords require it, but even if yours doesn’t, you still need it. Here are five reasons for renters insurance and why it’s so important:

1. It’s one of the best deals in insurance.

Your monthly premium will cost you about the price of a haircut, about $15 to $20. Sounds unbelievable, sure, but truly it’s one of the cheapest policies you can buy. 

2. It covers your stuff. 

That new laptop you just bought? Covered. That flat-pack furniture from IKEA? Covered.  Renters insurance stops you from paying out-of-pocket for new things—including furniture, jewelry, clothes, computers, and electronics—if yours are damaged. Even if you don’t think you own a lot, it adds up quickly. A standard policy will cover you for the following accidents and catastrophes: 

  • Fire or lightning
  • Riots or civil commotions
  • Smoke 
  • Theft 
  • Vandalism 
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Damage caused by aircraft, vehicles, or falling objects
  • Explosions
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Windstorms or hail
  • Water or steam damage from sources within the apartment, such as household appliances, plumbing, heating, air conditioning or fire-protective sprinkler systems

But wait, you might ask, doesn’t your landlord’s insurance cover your stuff? A lot of people make this assumption, but it’s not true. Your landlord’s insurance covers the physical structure in which you live. If a fire destroyed your apartment, the landlord’s insurance company pays out for the building, not your stuff.  

3. It covers your stuff when you’re traveling. 

Yes—incredible. Most policies will cover your belongings wherever you travel in the world, whether they’re in your car, your backpack, or your pocket. If you travel a lot, make sure you talk to an insurance agent about getting a policy that covers you internationally. 

4. It gives you liability coverage. 

Along with covering your belongings, renters insurance will give you liability coverage. So if someone sues you after getting injured in your apartment, renters insurance would help cover lawyer costs and medical bills. 

5. It can cover additional living expenses. 

If your apartment becomes uninhabitable and you’re forced to live in a hotel and eat takeout, renters insurance may foot the bill. Check with your insurance agent to see how long your policy will pay for your additional living expenses. 

Looking for Renters Insurance?

If you don’t have a renters insurance policy, we can help you. We’re independent insurance agents, meaning we work for you, not any one insurance company. We’ll customize your renters insurance coverage to match what you need at the best price, and we’re here to answer any of your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the right insurance for your apartment. 

6 Ways Downsizing Saves You Money

older couple unpacking in front of their new home while downsizing

A big house is not always the best, particularly if you want to make your life simpler and save on expenses. Most people often desire to downsize their homes and streamline their lifestyles as they age. The decision to downsize your house is motivated by several reasons, including fewer expenses, starting a new adventure, and minimizing the upkeep and effort of maintenance. If you want to know if downsizing saves you money, it is vital to consider all the different areas of savings. Below are the expenses that you can save on when you downsize your house.

1. Cost of Purchase

A smaller house comes at a cheaper cost, which is subject to less capital gains tax on profits. Therefore, you save on the cost and on capital gains tax.

2. Property Taxes

When you downsize your house, you save on property taxes. There is a big difference in property taxes between different neighborhoods based on the availability of amenities and access to roads.

3. Maintenance

Moving to a smaller house helps in reducing the amount spent on maintenance and sustenance. This relieves you from the maintenance cost of a large house that can, at times, weigh you down.

4. Mortgage

Downsizing to a smaller house ensures you fully utilize the space in your house, and you save on your mortgage payment.

5. Utilities

A smaller house means you are spending less every month to cool and heat the space. This is good for your wallet and the environment because you are consuming less energy.

6. Healthcare

In most cases, a big house is packed with clutter and stuff, and this adversely affects the quality of air. Cluttered homes are dustier and dirtier than small houses that are less cluttered. Also, the air quality in small houses is good, and this reduces your chances of falling sick. Cleaning a smaller house is less complicated and does not consume much time. There is little stress in cleaning your small house, and this does not adversely affect your health.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you when you are buying or downsizing to a small place. We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price. We are here to answer all of your questions, so contact us today.

Insurance To-Dos After Your Child Moves Out

So your child is moving out. They are either going to college and getting an off-campus apartment, going out on their own for a job, or starting some other adventure. This brings with it a whole string of emotions from happy to sad and anxious to ecstatic. After the tears, it’s time to think about some next steps for when you are starting to downsize your life. 

Adult Son Moving Out Of Parent's Home

Home Insurance

On your checklist of to-dos, you will want to check on your home policy after your child has moved. There are a few different things to check. For example, you will want to see if you can change your own policy to be lower now that there are not as many belongings in the home. You may also want to see if your homeowner’s policy will cover your child if they are still in college (which may be the case if they are in the dorms). Alternatively, you may be able to get a discount by getting a renter’s policy through the same company. 

In any case, now may be a good time to let your child know that a renter’s policy will help them with liability concerns. It will also protect the belongings that are inside their apartment.  

Car Insurance

The other thing that your child will need to take charge of will be their own car insurance policy. This is especially nice as newer drivers tend to require more expensive policies. If they are moving far away without a car, you may be able to put the car they used in your own name without listing them as a driver on the policy any longer. Alternatively, if they are moving and taking their car, they can go ahead and get their own policy. You will no longer need to be responsible for it and can see about downsizing your coverage.  

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is the premier local independent insurance agency — we work for our clients and not the insurance company. We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price as you downsize. Contact us today for answers to all of your insurance questions.

When Is the Right Time to Reassess Your Home’s Value?

There are times when you think about your home’s value and wonder whether you have the right home insurance coverage. It’s an important thing to consider, and there are definitely times when it is important to reassess your home’s value. This ensures you have the coverage that matches your home and belongings, just in case something happens. 

Young man and woman finishing their kitchen renovation

If you were to look at the market right now and think that maybe your coverage is not enough, that isn’t the whole story. Insurance companies use replacement value, not market value, to make assessments of your home’s worth. 

What Is Replacement Value?

Replacement value is the cost of replacing the home and all the belongings inside it. This does not take into account the age of the home or any depreciation that has occurred over time. This value is challenging to quantify. 

How Often You Should Reassess Your Home’s Value

It would be best if you had your insurance policy reassessed whenever you have made improvements to your home. Also, as the market changes, you will want to have the policy assessed. Why is this important? You don’t want to have something happen, only to find out that you only have half of your home’s worth covered in your insurance plan. It is best to get a new appraisal every couple of years, and a new insurance assessment annually.

In the end, it is better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to your home insurance policy. Proactive steps now give you the comfort that, if something happens, you have the coverage that you need so that you can focus on rebuilding. 

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 home insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price, and we’re here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today to get started.

How Often Should You Reassess Your Home’s Value?

There are different types of home valuations that you can choose from. The value of your home depends on your chosen type of valuation. There are different ways and reasons why homes are valued. The different types of home valuations differ based on the reason, who carries out the process, and the effect on the rates and coverage of your home insurance.

home inspector assessing a house's value

Some home valuations affect home insurance directly. It is important to critically appraise your home insurance policy if you realize there is a decrease or increase in its apparent value. Also, it is important to have enough home-dwelling insurance coverage in the event of a disaster. It is devastating to lose your house to a disaster and realize it was insured for less than its value.

Several factors affect the value of a home. They include size, age, location, condition, and building materials. You might need different types of valuations for different reasons. Therefore, home valuations fluctuate based on the situation.

Reassessing Your Home’s Value for Insurance Coverage

It would help if you had your home reassessed to ensure your coverage is a good fit. It would also help if you reassessed the value of your home every year. This will help you decide on the best coverage. This helps in avoiding payment of high premiums. It also ensures that any possibility of loss is satisfactorily covered.

Reassessing the value of your home every year helps in incorporating any recent improvements to your house into your insurance coverage. Even if there are no improvements, reassessment ensures that you have adequate coverage limits to cover the entire cost of rebuilding.

In reassessing the value of your home, you need to measure how much coverage you need. Also, inspect for perils not included in the coverage, and recheck your deductible. You need to compare your current premium to the premium you paid the previous year. Be sure you store all your documents safely.

Vargas & Vargas is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies. We work for you by customizing your insurance coverage consistent with your specific needs at the right price. Contact us today for expert responses to all your insurance questions. 

Downsizing to a Condo vs. a Smaller House

older couple downsizing to a condo

There are different financial and practical reasons to downsize to either a small house or to a condo. The reasons for downsizing are all good, provided you are ready to move to your new community and the finances work in your favor.

Before you decide to downsize to a smaller house or a condo, you need to:

  • Assess your needs
  • Decide where you would like to live
  • Price it out
  • Realize that a smaller space is not necessarily cheaper
  • Avoid underestimating your emotional considerations

Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing to either a condo or a smaller house has its considerations and potential drawbacks, and it is vital to learn more before making an offer. Moving to a condo or a smaller house is not only for singles or couples. It’s even for large families interested in changing their lifestyles.

Downsizing to both a small house and a condo means owning less, which can make you happier. Having a few things and fewer rooms reduces your chore time. This leaves you more time to take part in activities that can enrich your life.

Unique Considerations of Downsizing to a Condo

Condo living also gives you the luxury of less maintenance. You will not have to spend your time doing gardening related chores, such as mowing the lawn. While every condo community is different, most of them have an extensive list of amenities compared to small house communities.

Condo communities are characterized by the proximity of the quarters to each other. When you live in such close quarters, you enjoy a sense of community that is different from what you will find in a typical neighborhood of small houses. Taking great pride in your community makes it easier for you and your neighbors to become friends.

Downsizing to a condo can be more expensive compared to moving to a smaller house. Considerations of location and convenience might increase your payment for a condo.

If you have questions on how to start the downsizing process, Vargas & Vargas Insurance can guide you through the process and get it done for you. You can depend on our expertise for your insurance needs and referral to experts in your local area. 

How to Shop for Condo Insurance If You’ve Only Owned a House

couple shopping for condo insurance in their new home

Condo owners independently own their individual units (though there is common ownership of the common areas), and that means you need to protect it. If you are looking for coverage for your condo, it is essential to understand the different aspects of insuring a condo compared to a home.

What Do You Need to Know Before You Start Condo Insurance Shopping?

When shopping for condo insurance, it is important to be aware that the primary dwelling is protected under the condominium association’s Master Policy. Your condo community may provide all-in coverage or less inclusive insurance like single entity coverage Additional structures do not apply to a condo and are not included in the coverage. When you pay for your condo association’s fees, personal property protection is not covered by the policy. Therefore, it is crucial to consider this when looking for condo insurance.

Aspects of loss of use, medical payments, and personality liability are the same for both condos and homes. Therefore, when shopping for insurance for your condo, it is vital to ensure that you obtain a policy with high-level protection for personal property. This is because your condominium association’s primary dwelling coverage only covers the structure and does not include your belongings inside the walls.

Typical condo insurance covers:

  • Vandalism
  • Fire and smoke
  • Burst pipe
  • Theft

Factors to Consider While You Look for Condo Insurance

When shopping for condo insurance, you need to consider the cost. The cost of standard condo insurance depends on different factors, including:

  • The amount of deductible
  • Your coverage options
  • Aspects covered by your condo association’s insurance
  • Materials used in the construction of the condo
  • Location of the condo

It is essential to review the master policy of your condo association before deciding the amount of your condo insurance. This is because, in some instances, some insurance policies do not cover anything inside the walls of your condo. In such a case, you need to include more items when calculating your insurance coverage.

It is not easy to make general recommendations about condo insurance due to variations in state laws and condominium association bylaws. Consider working with local independent insurance agencies because of their business relations with financially robust insurance entities. Also, local insurance agencies can tailor your policy to meet your specific needs. 

For more assistance choosing the right condominium insurance for you and your family, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We’re here to help.

Changing Your Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Virtual Work: How to Protect Your Business

When employees shift to working from a remote location, the scope of the normal rules become complicated and confusing. Several legal nuances arise when employees work remotely, especially regarding cybersecurity and injuries to both employees and clients. Despite the notable perks of allowing employees to work from home, there are potential liabilities to consider. That’s where modifying your business’s workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work may come in.

man videoconferencing with co-workers as he works from home

There are measures that you need to take to minimize the liabilities and to ensure that your business and employees working from home are protected. These include:

  • Ensuring the employees’ homes are safe for business
  • Designating a dedicated work area
  • Ensuring their homeowner policy is updated
  • Protecting their devices from intrusion
  • Creating a telecommuting policy and informing the employees that telecommuting is a privilege
  • Reviewing your insurance

Most business owners believe that the homeowner’s insurance policy covers them, but it is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to review your insurance policy as a way of protecting your business. 

How Extra Coverage Can Help Protect Your Business

Additional business insurance policies can also help in covering potential lawsuits, workplace injuries, and office assets.

You need to obtain the right home-based business liability coverage and extra protection besides your workers’ compensation coverage. Business liability insurance is meant to protect your remote employees. The right coverage for your remote employees is vital in mitigating your business risks.

Accidents occur during work, and they can easily occur in the home. Along with ensuring your workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work is up to par, you need to ensure your employee’s work environment is safe. Employees working from home have the same compensation benefits as those working from the office.

You might need extra coverage in your business’s insurance policy to protect its assets, such as laptops. This is because your existing insurance policy may not cover losses relating to damages at the employee’s home.

Also, it’s important to verify that your employees’ home insurance adequately covers your employees who are working from home. Therefore, you need to modify the employee’s insurance policies and the coverage policies of the business.

You may be held liable for injury to anyone other than the employee in the home office. In this regard, it is important to confirm with your insurance company whether your public liability insurance covers home offices.

How You Can Get Started

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 we are here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the right protection for you and your business.