The Dorchester, MA area can be a great place to live. However, it is also a place where owning a car is a necessity. When you buy a car here, you must also ensure that you get the right insurance for it. When looking for coverage in this area, you must ensure you get the right coverage to meet your needs.
Comply with State Minimum Requirements
Similar to other states, drivers in Massachusetts need to have liability coverage in their auto plan. At a minimum, you will need to have bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per incident. You will also need $5,000 of coverage for damage that could be caused to another vehicle or other property. Drivers also need $8,000 in personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.
Meet Loan Obligations
If you have taken out a loan, you also need to meet standards set by your lender. In many cases, this will include comprehensive and collision coverage support. Lenders will require this insurance as it helps to protect their loan collateral. This will be helpful if you are ever a victim of theft or your vehicle is involved in an accident or otherwise damaged.
When you are looking for auto insurance in the Dorchester, MA area, it will be essential that you select the right plan to meet your needs. As there are always a lot of choices and complexities to consider, you can call our team with Vargas & Vargas Insurance to learn more. Our professionals with Vargas & Vargas Insurance know how important this coverage is, and they can offer any help you need to build a new plan.
Every location has its own practices when it comes to insurance premiums and what affects them. In this case, I’m talking about the insurance surcharge you could face after an accident in Massachusetts. Today, I break down the steps for the appeal process and why it’s important.
What is an Insurance Surcharge?
A surcharge on your insurance is a fee that is added to your premiums. This usually happens if you’re regularly involved in at-fault accidents, pay your premiums late, or have a lapse in coverage.
However, a surcharge can also affect your insurance if you’re simply adding another vehicle to the policy. In those cases, though, you can work with the insurer to see if there are discounts available for multiple-car policies.
In this article, I’m focusing on appealing the insurance surcharge that comes after an accident.
Steps to Appeal the Insurance Surcharge
The insurance surcharge will kick in if the insurer deems that you are more than 50% at fault. According to Massachusetts law, you have up to 30 days from the notice of the surcharge to file an appeal with the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.
1. Complete and submit the Appeal Form that is located on the backside of the Notice of At-Fault Accident Determination. You’ll need to enclose the $50 filing fee made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The address is located on the Appeal Form.
2. You will receive a notice in the mail acknowledging the receipt of your appeal.
3. In approximately three weeks, you’ll receive a hearing notice. At this hearing, you can attend yourself, submit a statement at least five days before the hearing, or have a representative appear on your behalf.
4. The hearing will last around 15 to 20 minutes to determine the justification of the surcharge.
5. About two to four weeks after the hearing, you’ll receive a decision from the Board of Appeals as to whether the insurance surcharge will remain.
Note: If the surcharge is added to your insurance premiums, you’ll still have to pay the additional amount. Otherwise, the insurer can cancel your policy.
How Much Will Rates Increase if You Don’t Appeal?
The increased amount of your insurance premiums will depend on a lot of factors. It’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all answer, to be honest.
For example, rate increases are subject to:
your previous driving record.
how many years you drive that are accident-free.
how often you file insurance claims.
Essentially, it all comes down to how much of a risk the insurer deems you for coverage. If you have a spotless driving record and make your payments on time, the increase might be nominal.
Use the Appeals Process Correctly
The appeals process is meant to help the innocent avoid paying out when accidents were clearly not their fault. As long as you explain your position to the magistrate, and are not at fault, you may avoid these extra fees.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you further understand the process and what you need after an accident. Contact us today to understand your options and what you can do to avoid issues like this in the future.
Auto insurance is not only necessary to financially protect you in the event of an accident, but it’s also the law when you’re behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a lot of us wind up paying far more than we need to for this protection. Today, let’s go over the basics of getting the best rates for your auto insurance.
There is a bit more at play than just finding a “cheap” company.
How to Get the Best Rates for Auto Insurance
In most instances, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re not a high-risk driver. The higher the risk to the insurance company, the more you’ll pay.
Keep a Clean Driving Record
Perhaps one of the most vital methods of lowering your insurance rates is by keeping a clean record behind the wheel. This goes along with most “Good Driver” discounts as it demonstrates how low of a risk you are while driving.
Group Discounts with Work or Organizations
Some organizations and places of employment offer group discounts. This is when an insurance plan is offered to members and is usually considerably cheaper than getting one of your own. The catch is that sometimes these will have “enrollment periods” of maybe once or twice per year.
Increase the Deductible of the Auto Insurance
In some cases, you’re able to increase the deductible of your insurance policy. This means you’ll need more money upfront in the event of repairs and such. The trade-off is a lower annual premium as you’re taking on more of the financial responsibility yourself.
Work on Your Credit Rating
Like most other things in life, your credit rating can affect your auto insurance premiums. The better your score, the more likely you’ll have to pay less. This is one of those things that can take some time to improve. However, the end results are often worth the effort.
Anti-Theft Device Discounts
Many insurers will have discounts available if your vehicle has anti-theft devices installed. Alarms, cut-off switches, and other technologies prevent people from stealing your vehicle. This means the auto is at a lower risk of being stolen, which then reduces the risk to insurance companies for claims.
Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Use
If you don’t use a specific service, don’t add it to your insurance policy. For example, there are a lot of people who pay for roadside assistance but have never used it. Talk with your agent and find out what you can remove that you know you’ll never really use.
Shop Around for Auto Insurance Rates
Another one of the most common methods of getting the best auto insurance rates is by shopping around. However, don’t assume cheap equates to being better. Sometimes the lower price tag comes with a vastly reduced capacity of financially protecting you.
Consider Pay-per-Mile Insurance
Some insurance companies will offer a pay-per-mile plan. This is when you need insurance but don’t really drive all that much. It goes along the lines of a “Low Mileage” policy. These are usually the most ideal for students and people who drive less than a few miles per day.
Annual Policy Updates
Lastly, don’t forget to update your auto insurance policy at least once per year. A lot of things can change in 12 months, including your credit rating and good driving record. Not to mention it gives you a chance to customize the policy further depending on your foreseeable needs.
Auto Insurance is a Necessity
A lot can happen when you’re in control of more than a ton’s worth of steel. It takes a fraction of a second for an accident to occur whether you’re paying attention or not. Having the best auto insurance for your needs will protect you from breaking the bank in most cases.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we understand just how imperative insurance is, especially in today’s world. Contact us today to find out how we can help you find the best rates possible for your situation. We’ll use our network of companies to help secure something affordable that will keep you safe.
For motorcycle owners in Dorchester, MA, the off-season can be a great time to keep your ride in top condition. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your motorcycle runs smoothly when the spring arrives.
Cleaning and Waxing
Before putting your motorcycle into storage, you must give it a thorough cleaning and waxing. Use a mild detergent and soft cloth to clean your bike, then apply a wax coating to protect against the elements. This will help to protect your bike’s paint job from any dust or dirt that may accumulate while it’s in storage. It will also help prevent rust or corrosion from taking hold when exposed to moisture.
Another critical step is lubricating your bike’s moving parts before storing it away for winter. This includes everything from chains and cables to brakes and bearings, so pay special attention to these areas during the lubrication process. You should also check all nuts and bolts to ensure they are tight, as loose parts can cause significant damage down the road if not taken care of now.
Insurance Coverage Review
Finally, reviewing your insurance coverage when preparing for the off-season months is always a good idea. Ensure that you have adequate coverage for any potential losses or damages that could occur while your bike is in storage. If you’re looking for a reliable motorcycle insurance policy, look no further than Vargas & Vargas Insurance. We offer competitive rates throughout Dorchester, MA, and beyond—so don’t hesitate to contact us today if we can assist you with finding the proper coverage.
To learn more about our insurance policies or get started with a free quote, don’t hesitate to contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today! We look forward to helping you get ready for the off-season!
The replacement cost includes materials needed to “replace” the property, the cost of labor, and other elements to make it whole. If the cost of wood goes up, so will the replacement cost.
If your policy was frozen at the replacement costs from 20 years ago, it would be short. The end result is the costs coming out of your pocket.
As you can see, this kind of increase is good as it reduces how much you’ll have to pay in the event of an emergency, I recorded talking about replacement cost versus purchase or market value on your home, click here to watch the video.
Home and Auto Rates are Similar
Houses are not the only types of property that may have an increase. Insurance rates for automobiles go up as well.
In order for an auto to become “whole,” you’ll need the cost of materials and labor. Nowadays, this can also include a variety of technological advancements, such as rear cameras, sensors, and the wiring to make it all work.
In some cases, insurers will also consider things like the cost of medical bills when making adjustments. So, if the cost of medical care goes up, so do insurance rates.
Like ripples in a pond, anything affecting specific industries will take a toll on many. For example, the cost of computer chips will impact the cost of replacing the cameras I mentioned earlier.
What Can You Do to Lower Insurance Rates?
Depending on the type of property, there are quite a few methods at your disposal to reduce rates. The first thing you should do is ensure your policy is correct. If you’re paying for something you don’t need or have scheduled, it’s a waste of money.
A few other ways to decrease insurance rates include:
Preventative measures. Fire alarms, anti-theft devices, safety features, and other preventative add-ons often work to reduce home and auto insurance premiums.
Keeping claims to a minimum. The more often you have to file a claim, whether it’s for the home or auto, the more you’ll pay. This is because insurance providers will see you as a high-risk factor.
Shopping around. You can always look around for a lower-cost insurer. However, keep in mind that low cost doesn’t mean superior service.
Insurance Rates Are Part of the Cost of Living
Sure, insurance companies need to make money. Otherwise, they would be out of business. However, not all increases in insurance are the result of greedy CEOs or banks.
Sometimes, increases are simply the result of an increase in the cost of wood or other materials.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you find affordable rates and plans throughout our network. Contact us today to see how we can help you save money on home and auto coverage.
After all, we may help you keep more money in your pocket to cover the other cost-of-living expenses.
It’s quite common for some pieces of personal property to diminish in value almost immediately. For example, a computer could lose a great deal of its replacement value within days because of the ever-changing nature of technology and its use. But how does Inherent Diminished Value work for a car?
This depends on the state in which you live. But in Massachusetts, IDV is an established precedent.
What is Inherent Diminished Value?
Inherent Diminished Value, or IDV, is when a vehicle loses value due to damages caused by a no-fault accident. This is when there is a collision through no fault of your own.
As some damage is prevalent even after repairs, courts have ruled that IDV claims can help the owner be “made whole.”
These are usually filed as third-party claims. That’s because you’ll contact the at-fault party’s insurance company.
An example of this is when an accident occurs through no fault of your own that causes structural damage to the vehicle’s framework. Although repairs can be made to allow the vehicle continued use on the road, the frame itself could be altered in a way that disrupts usage as intended.
If the vehicle has less than 20,000 miles on the odometer after suffering severe structural damage, this could result in an IDV claim of roughly 10% of the vehicle’s value.
Is There a Difference in Depreciation vs Inherent Diminished Value?
Depreciation is when the value of the vehicle decreases over time due to normal wear and tear. In fact, most pieces of property will depreciate over time except for housing.
A well-maintained home will actually appreciate over the years, which is why homeownership is a great investment.
So, a vehicle with 200,000 miles will depreciate quite a bit because it has been extensively used. Even after installing a new motor, the vehicle will never be at its original MSRP.
Inherent Diminished Value, on the other hand, happens immediately upon an accident. This is why the IDV claim is much more for a new vehicle vs an older one. It hasn’t had nearly as much wear and tear.
How to Calculate Inherent Diminished Value
Let’s take a look at the calculations to establish IDV. For this example, let’s say I have a 1990 Dodge Daytona ES with 82,399 miles.
In my example, the value of a 1990 Dodge Daytona ES is $11,000.
2. Calculate the Value’s Base Loss
In many instances, the insurance company will calculate the base loss at a maximum of 10%. This means my Daytona’s base loss is $1,100 (11,000 x .10)
3. Use the Multiplier for Damages
Use the multiplier from the numbers below:
1.00 = Severe structural damage
0.75 = Major damage to structure and panels
0.50 = Moderate damage to structure and panels
0.25 = Minor damage to structure and panels
0.00 = No structural damage or replaced panels
Let’s say my car was in an accident that severely altered the frame of the vehicle. I would use the “1.00” multiplier. So, my IDV is still at $1,100 (1100 x 1.00).
4. Use the Multiplier for Mileage
Remember when I told you about the “depreciation” of an automobile? It’ll actually play a role in the Inherent Diminished Value of your car.
Use the mileage multipliers below:
1.00 = 0 < 20,000 miles
0.80 = 20,000 – 39,999 miles
0.60 = 40,000 – 59,999 miles
0.40 = 60,000 – 79,999 miles
0.20 = 80,000 – 99,999 miles
0.00 = 100,000+ miles
For example, let’s now say that my vehicle had only 82,399 miles on the odometer at the time of the accident. I would use the “0.20” multiplier. As a result, my IDV would decrease further to $220 because of the mileage (1100 x 0.20).
Any vehicle that has over 100,000 miles may not qualify for an IDV claim.
When Should You File a Diminished Value Claim?
For the most part, the Inherent Diminished Value triggers when you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own. This means you’re most likely to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run, or if the at-fault driver is uninsured, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance company. This is because there is no other insurer involved.
File your IDV claim as soon as possible. Some areas may have a statute of limitations or your vehicle could further decrease in value as time marches on. In any case, make sure you have supporting documentation.
What Kind of Coverage Do You Have?
Although your insurance may cover a great deal of damage, you may also receive additional restitution due to Inherent Diminished Value.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we help our clients get what they need and deserve. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help keep your automobile covered.
Not all repairs can completely restore a vehicle back to its original functionality. Can compensation help you in such a situation?
Among the best ways to save money on auto policies is to make sure you don’t have a lapse in car insurance coverage. This is when, for whatever reason, you stop payments on your policy for your automobile.
While it may save you a few dollars this month, it’ll come back to haunt you later on, especially in the event of an accident.
In reality, the only lapse in auto coverage you should ever have is when you have no vehicle to drive. You can’t really put insurance on something that doesn’t exist. Though, it’s probably a good idea to get non-owner car insurance if you plan on borrowing or driving someone else’s vehicle.
How a Lapse in Car Insurance Affects Your Rates
Typically, the effects on your rates depend on the amount of time that has lapsed. In many cases, there is an 8% increase if you haven’t had insurance within 30 days. Afterward, it could get much higher ranging up to 35% for a lapse of 31 days or more.
For an annual policy, this could result in paying hundreds of dollars more than what you would have paid. This is why it’s important to get back onto an insurance policy as soon as your old plan expires.
And that’s if you’re not a high-risk driver. The amount you pay could be significantly higher.
Now, this is an estimation as every insurer will have its own policies and penalties. But you can bet that any lapse will result in some sort of higher premium.
What to Do if You Have a Lapse in Car Insurance
Not all lapses in coverage are on purpose. Sometimes people forget to pay their premiums. Or, maybe something else caused the insurer to drop your plan.
In any case, it’s a necessity to get coverage as soon as possible if you continue to drive.
A few things you can do include:
Have your local independent insurance agent ask your insurer for a reinstatement. In some cases, your agent may be able to work with you to reinstate your policy with minimal penalties if done quickly enough.
Have your insurance agent shop around to see how much of a penalty you’ll have to pay for coverage. Perhaps they can find an insurance comoany that is cheaper overall.
Refrain from driving until you’re properly covered. Even if you don’t get into an accident, you can still get a ticket or a potential court appearance should you get pulled over by an office for any other reason.
License, registration, and proof of insurance…
Don’t Forget to Seek Discounts
Some insurers will still allow you to qualify for certain discounts to offset penalties from a lapse of car insurance. This could include things like a good driver’s discount, low mileage use, combining policies such as including homeowner’s insurance, anti-theft devices, defensive driving courses, and more.
Ask your provider what discounts you qualify for even with the lapse in coverage. It could help reduce your monthly payments after a lapse.
It’s Best to ALWAYS Have the Auto Covered
A lapse in car insurance can happen for a myriad of reasons. And many of them might not even be your fault. However, you’ll still feel the brunt of a lapse if you take too long to rectify the situation.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we work with many national insurance companies and may be able to help you find car insurance policies that are affordable even after an extended lapse. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get back on the road.
After all, the sooner your car is covered, the cheaper it’ll be in the long run.
Most insurance companies have formulas for how much they will charge for premiums every month. One such calculation involves gender. That’s because men drivers are more likely to be involved in an automobile accident than women.
In 2020, 72% of men drivers were involved in fatal car accidents as drivers. For those who ride motorcycles, the death rate climbed sharply to 92% mortality.
Because men are nearly three times more likely to be in an accident, they are often classified as a “high risk.”
It’s this high-risk factor that gives a lot of insurers pause for concern. It’s similar to why someone who is frequently in car accidents pays more in premiums.
When a provider pays more from claims than is coming in, it’s not good business.
Ways Men Drivers Can Reduce Premiums
While men often pay more for auto insurance, there are plenty of ways drivers can keep the costs as low as possible. Some of them may seem more like second nature to you as a driver.
So, what can you do to reduce coverage costs?
Have a Good Driving Record: One of the easiest methods is to simply have a good record behind the wheel of your car. This discount can kick in between three and five years, depending on the insurer.
Take Defensive Driving Courses: Some providers will provide a discount if you complete intensive driving courses. Not only will it help you save money, but it can also keep you safer while on the road.
Choosing Safer Vehicles to Drive: I know, you’d probably love a sports car. However, they are usually far more expensive with full coverage than an economy car. In some instances, the difference could be in excess of $300 per year.
Increase the Deductible: By increasing deductibles, you’ll often decrease monthly premiums. This is because you’ll have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident.
Work on Your Credit Rating: Credit isn’t just used for buying a house or a new car. Your credit score can help you decrease monthly auto insurance rates.
It’s Not All Grim, Though
Luckily, safety measures have greatly made a difference over the last 40 years. Back in 1978, men drivers made up 22.6 deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States. This has decreased to 9.9 in 2020.
Automobile safety legislation, improved protective devices such as airbags, defensive driving courses, and much more have made a massive impact in curbing auto fatalities.
In fact, when you compare the population of 1978 to that of 2020 and the decline in deaths, there is a stark improvement in safety behind the wheel.
However, this only reflects the death rate. Accidents will still happen, and this is why insurance coverage is so vital.
Always Make Sure You Have Coverage
You can’t argue with certain traffic statistics. And while some people might think it’s unfair, it’s not an anomaly. Men are simply more prone to accidents overall than women drivers.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we work to help you save as much as you can while making sure you have adequate coverage should something happen. Contact us today and find out what we can do to keep your insurance needs from breaking the bank.
With the kids returning to school, the holidays on the horizon, and the talk about and worry about recession and inflation, many of us look at lowering our bills each month. Today, let’s review a few ways to help lower your auto insurance premiums to keep more cash in your pocket.
1. Compare Rates Among Insurers
One of the quickest ways to find the best rates is to shop around. And we can help with shopping around, as Vargas & Vargas Insurance represents many of the region’s top insurance companies, and we do this regularly for our insureds. Some insurers may have lower prices depending on your needs. However, low rates don’t always guarantee quality service.
In many cases, you can opt to increase deductibles to reduce your monthly rates. This means you pay less every month but will have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident.
Many people choose this type of plan simply because it’s cheaper to maintain. And if you don’t need to file a claim, the higher deductible is rarely a consideration.
3. Bundle Home and Auto Insurance Together
Bundling home and auto insurance together can greatly impact how much you pay for each one. This is an exceptionally common practice and helps you keep all of your insurance needs under one roof, so to speak.
In other words, it’s convenient to have all of your insurance needs through one company while providing monthly discounts.
4. Lower Auto Insurance with Good Credit
Some insurers will provide a discount if you have good credit. This is because good credit often signifies financial responsibility, which puts just about any company at ease.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still get affordable premiums without an 800 credit rating. However, improving your score can help lower the auto insurance premiums from certain providers.
5. Ask About Low-Mileage Discounts
When talking with an agent, ask them if there is a possible “low-mileage” discount. In some instances, the amount of driving you actually do throughout a month can impact how much you pay for insurance.
An example of this is how someone who drives less than 20 miles per month will pay less than someone who drives 2,000. Fewer miles means there is less of a chance of an accident.
6. Group Policies Can Lower Auto Insurance Premiums
Home and auto isn’t the only thing you can bundle with some insurers. You may also qualify for group policies. These are exceptionally useful for families as everyone has coverage while reducing the per-person rate.
However, buyer beware here; many group plans may become more expensive over time than if you were not part of a group. So, review your group policies regularly with a local independent insurance agent to make sure that you are still receiving the best rates for your insurance.
This is why a lot of parents will add children to insurance plans as it affects the rate a child would have to pay by him or herself.
7. Ask About Good Driver Discounts
Having a spotless driving record can have a lot of benefits, especially when it comes to a lower auto insurance premium. If you can demonstrate near perfection behind the wheel, it could reduce your rates.
In fact, some insurers will offer a discount if you take defensive driving courses. That’s because these courses can result in dramatically reducing the chances you’ll be in an accident.
Reduce Your Monthly Spending in These Trying Times
You shouldn’t have to put yourself or your family at risk to simply cut costs. Today, every penny counts, and what you can save by lowering your auto insurance might help you afford other necessities.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we work to help you afford coverage for your automobile without breaking the bank. Contact us today and find out how we can help you keep your vehicles covered in this uncertain world.
Inflation will affect a wide scope of products and services. Unfortunately, this also includes home and auto insurance. The reason for this is that insurers examine several factors when determining rates. One of these factors is the cost to repair or replace.
How Inflation Can Affect Insurance Rates
If the cost of raw materials goes up, this will have an impact on how much an insurer will need to cover predetermined expenses.
For example, a lot of automobiles require microchips in order to function properly. Thanks to the global chip shortage, the costs to replace them are much higher than they were five years ago.
This means insurers must pass on the more expensive auto repairs to clients.
Some expenses for home repair recently increased in 2020 and 2021. However, lumber prices have come down as inventories continue to pile up due to things like mortgage rates increasing, which decreases demand for new home sales.
However, shortages can come in a variety of forms for housing. For example, a current lack of labor and certain electrical equipment can ultimately affect new construction and repairs.
This all culminates in how an insurer adjusts your premiums. In other words, it’s common for inflation to directly affect how much you’ll pay for home and auto insurance.
It all comes down to the cost of repairs should something happen.
Ways to Lower Your Monthly Premiums
Although inflation will directly impact insurance rates, there are several things you can do to reduce the costs on your end.
A few ways you can lower monthly insurance premiums include:
Bundling auto and home insurance packages – many insurers will offer discounts by combining policies.
Pay for a year in advance – depending on your insurer, you may be offered a discount if you pay for a year or more ahead of time.
Increase your deductibles – Although this means you’ll need to have more money out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in, a higher deductible often results in lower monthly premiums.
Check your insurer for any home and auto insurance discount programs – for instance, many auto insurers will have “good driver” discounts for those who have never filed a claim.
Demonstrate being a safe homeowner – it’s possible that you may qualify for discounts if you show a history of not filing insurance claims or have equipment installed to prevent damage to the home.
Make home improvements – it doesn’t take a massive investment to improve the home. Something as simple as improved lighting, CO2 sensors, or installing a doorbell camera may help reduce insurance premiums.
Of course, this also depends greatly on your insurance agent. But for the most part, insurers have a variety of discounts available if you ask for them.
Let Us Help You Weather Inflation Issues
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’ll help you customize your plan to help you adjust during times of inflation. We are here to offer you solutions that will fit your budget. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.
From auto insurance to home protection, don’t let rising costs scare you away from protecting your property.