Spring Maintenance for Your Car (To Help Avoid Auto Insurance Claims!)

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance can be a hassle…but we’ve got exciting news for you! By prioritizing the maintenance schedule for your car you can avoid some potential insurance claims!

Does keeping up with my car’s maintenance really make a difference?

We know, it’s draining to try to stay up to date on car maintenance. It seems like there’s always something to fix! Unfortunately, a lot of people avoid taking care of their cars until it is too late. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported by Fox13, the average amount of car accidents due to poor maintenance tallies in at a whopping 45,000. You definitely don’t want to be a part of that statistic. Read on for some helpful tips to avoid insurance claims and enjoy safe travels!

What should be on my maintenance checklist?

One item you’ll definitely want to include on your checklist is to inspect your tires! Make sure they still have good traction and check to be sure the tire pressure has an ideal PSI. This is something you’ll want to do routinely – not only during springtime!

Other items to include on your auto maintenance checklist:

A few other important things to stay on top of:

  1. Schedule an oil filter change. Oil reduces the friction between moving parts in a running engine. If you don’t have your oil changed you could do serious damage to your engine.
  2. Replace windshield wipers. You don’t want to be caught in rain (or snow) with inadequate wipers! You won’t be able to see what’s in front of you which could result in an accident.
  3. Check your battery. Be proactive about checking your car’s battery! Even if it seems to be working fine, it is always a good idea to have the battery inspected to prevent an unexpected failure.
  4. Check your lights. Even in normal driving conditions, using your headlights anytime you’re driving has been proven to reduce accidents by 5-10%. Why not take it a step further and make sure every light on your car is in good, working condition?

Don’t forget the finishing touch!

As part of your spring auto maintenance schedule, consider having your car detailed. Chances are high that your car looks a little worse for the wear after all of the snow and dirt from this winter. Give your car a spring cleaning that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident in your car. We recommend Neponset Circle Car Wash for all your detailing needs!

Stay up to date and stay safe!

All of the preparation in the world can’t prevent every accident, so make sure your auto coverage is sufficient by referencing this guide.  Now, no matter where you’re headed, you can travel confidently and safely knowing that you’ve stayed up to date on your maintenance! 

Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you customize your auto insurance so that it works best for you. We are one of the premier local independent insurance agencies, and we truly work for our clients, not ourselves. Our team of friendly experts would be happy to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

Captive Versus Independent Insurance Agents For Your Automobile and Home Insurance; An Honest Comparison

When you’re shopping for insurance, knowing the different types of insurance agents is important as part of understanding whom you should work with.
 
There are two kinds of insurance agents — captive (who represents one insurance company) and independent (also known as an insurance broker).
 
Many online insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual depend exclusively on captive agents, but some like GEICO and Progressive rely on a mixture of captives and independents.
 
Both types of agents can provide the kind of quality expertise you need to make one of life’s important financial decisions. But there are some big differences between the two.
 
Captive agents
 
Captive agents work directly for a single insurance provider and are limited to the products of that company. For example, if you call a captive agent who works for State Farm, he or she will market and try to sell you only State Farm products. How they get paid is set by their insurance company, and they are paid by that one company.
 
On the plus side, these agents are experts in what their insurance companies have to offer. But they cannot help a client who doesn’t need or qualify for their company’s products. And captive agents usually have quotas to hit to keep their job and earn bonuses. Although that’s not terribly different from independent agents, you might feel a bit more pressure to buy car insurance from a captive agent when all you really want is term life.
 
Independent agents 
 
Independent agents, meanwhile, work for themselves and not any one insurance company. They sell policies from a variety of insurance companies, not just one, there is no increase in the premium to work with an independent insurance agent, and make most of their money through sales commissions and bonuses from the carriers.
 
Independent agents can save you some time by getting insurance quotes from a few different insurers, we have 11 insurance carriers that we can provide you with an insurance quote.
 
Which is best?
 
The type of insurance coverage you choose depends on your needs and your budget.
 
If you’re looking for multiple quotes from different companies, an independent insurance agent probably is the way to go. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can save you time and money, reach our agents at 617-298-0655.

A Brief Guide to Classic Car Insurance

If you have been thinking about buying a classic car in Dorchester, MA, you will want to ensure you are familiar with classic car insurance requirements and differences when compared to standard insurance. Vargas & Vargas Insurance shares some information you need to know.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

Most auto insurance companies will have a set of eligibility requirements for a classic car insurance policy. It is not generally required for your classic car to meet a minimum value, but it is usually required for your classic car to be of higher value now than when it first came out on the market. Further, your car should be at least 10 years old in order to qualify for classic car insurance.

The condition of your antique car will also be taken into consideration. It needs to be currently running (or close to it) and be in good condition overall. You will also be required to keep your vehicle stored in a secured indoor environment. Mileage will also need to stay low with a possible maximum number of miles being permitted.

How Is a Classic Car Insurance Policy Different Than the Standard Policy?

With both forms of auto coverage, you are protected while on the road with collision, comprehensive, and liability offerings. With classic car insurance, though, the policy is focused more on the particular needs of an antique vehicle. As the value amount of your classic car increases, you can make adjustments to your insurance policy. A classic insurance policy will also take into consideration the fact that it will cost more to repair or replace your vehicle if involved in an accident.  

If you are interested in classic car insurance in Dorchester, MA, contact the team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance for a quote.

Insurance Check-Up

Insurance Check-Up

Life Changes and it’s Time for an Insurance Checkup

Having insurance policies is vital to gain great security and protection from unexpected problems. Ensuring everything in your life at an early stage is also a great idea.

While getting yourself and your house, vehicle, and assets insured is vital, you also need an insurance checkup to review your policies yearly. This allows you to ensure that the insurance coverage will be of help to you when your circumstances and lifestyle change. But if your insurance doesn’t cover you as it should, you need to make some changes to the policies or, even purchase new policies to cover your changing needs.

Here are some reasons why you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Change in Family Status

Are you planning to get married or expect a baby? It would help protect your growing family by purchasing the right insurance plan. Insurance checkups will allow you to ensure whether the coverage is enough to support your entire family when you are not around. The loss of a family member through disability and death is also the right time for an insurance plan review.

Remodeling or Moving Your House

If you plan to remodel your house, your house value will surely increase. Similarly, if you move from the house, you might own a property with a higher value than the one you have before. Since your assets have increased, you need an insurance plan that covers these assets.

Retirement Time

When you decide to retire, you need something to rely on for your future expenses, especially final expenses, it’s vital to choose the right insurance plans to protect you properly. It would also be helpful if you had the proper insurance that will pay for your funeral, medical care, and debts.

Chance in Assets Value

Many people insure their jewelry and other assets to get the money if they get damaged or lost. But they forget the fact that these valuable assets increase over time. By keeping the coverage updated regularly for these valuable assets, you are protected in the event you lose them or they are stolen.

Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts on different insurance plans. This way, you can purchase the right insurance plans at much lower prices. So, if you have not received your discounts, it’s time to have an insurance checkup.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s life, house, vehicle, or assets insurance, insurance is not something that you purchase and forget. You need to always look for ways to lower your premiums and avail optimal benefits from your policy. For this purpose, you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Missing Coverage

If you have any assets at all, an umbrella policy is a valuable protection. Home insurance and car insurance policies have liability limits that are often not high enough to protect you adequately. If you are found to be at fault beyond your liability limits, you may be required to pay the remainder of the money out of pocket. It could take all of your savings and assets and even your future assets to make that payment.

This will help you look for flaws in your insurance and allow you to get the features that you don’t have. Not only this but practicing this method can help you lower your premiums and get interesting discounts and offer. So, if you currently have any insurance, consider reviewing it.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs at incredibly affordable prices. Contact us today for a free insurance review or quote.

Winter Driving And Car Accidents

Winter is a good and delightful time of the year. It brings snow to make a cute snowman and enjoy a snowball fight with our friends and family. However, these attractive aspects can make winters dangerous for drivers. As the days get colder, the risk of road accidents increases. Therefore, taking precautionary measures and driving with complete focus is important to save your life. The NHTSA mentions many tips on their website, and here are some tips and tricks to drive your vehicle during cold weather safely.

Winter Driving Tips

Drive Slowly and Super Smoothly

The trick to safe winter driving in snow is being smooth with your accelerator, steering wheel, and brakes. Every push of the brakes, turn off the wheels, or throttle movement needs to be gentle, deliberate, and gradual. It would help if you tried to be as slow as you could while driving the car.

Avoid Involving in Distractions

Most accidents happen when the driver is distracted doing other things while driving. Therefore, avoid talking to the passengers when driving in extremely cold weather, never use your phone, eat food, or listen to music at high volume. You need to avoid every type of distraction if you want to avoid an accident.

Turn On Your Lights

Turning your lights on will help other drivers on the road to see you from far. Headlights can also make your vehicle visible on extreme fog days. This way, whenever other drivers notice you on the road, they will drive carefully around you.

Avoid Driving in Harsh Weather

This is another very important winter driving tip. Driving in winters can be extremely challenging. So, if you find yourself not having to drive in dangerous weather conditions, don’t push yourself to drive in these circumstances. Cancel your journey as soon as possible and head back to your house. If the weather is too harsh to get back to the house, go to the nearest place to relax until the condition becomes appropriate for driving.

Do You Need to Report Accidents?

Many people don’t report accidents if they are not serious. But this is a wrong approach. Not only do you reduce your chances of getting insurance coverage, but you can also save others. Wondering how? Well, report accidents to the authorities in your area to find ways to solve the problem. They first try to find the cause of your accident and then opt for different ways to resolve the issue. So, even if you had a bad experience, you can save others from going through the same trauma.

Wrapping Up

Besides the mentioned winter driving tips, you also need to install high-quality tires in your vehicle. It’s also vital to check the weather conditions before stepping out of your house. If you can, keep some important things on you while traveling long distances at night. This includes extra batteries, a torch, water bottles, and snacks. So, if you have to spend the night in your car on the roadside, you will have all the essentials to pass the night. Click here to read more.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance understands that sometimes you may not be able to stay off the roads and things happen. That’s why, as a premier local independent insurance agency, we strive to build the relationships necessary to customize your insurance coverage to your needs at the right price. Contact us today.

Wearing a Seat Belt in Massachusetts Saves Lives and Is Mandatory

driver putting on her seat belt
Young attractive woman sitting on car seat and fastening seat belt, car safety concept. Photo of beautiful young woman fastens a seat belt in the car – outdoors. Bown hair woman fastening seat belt in the car, safety concept. Business lady, caucasian

More than 25% of people in Massachusetts do not wear a seat belt. Massachusetts law requires you to do so, and it is common sense. Learn more about how not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts can affect your car insurance and your legal liability in certain scenarios.

Seat Belts for Safety and the Law

Wearing a seat belt lowers the risk of severe injury in an accident for the driver and a front-seat passenger by 50%, according to the Massachusetts Transportation Safety Department. It also cuts the risk of death by 45%.

According to the Center for Disease Control, car crashes are the number one cause of death in the U.S. for Americans between one and 54 years old. Even when simply driving to the store for milk, you should always fasten your seat belt. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, think of your loved ones. Then make sure they buckle up, too. 

Different states manage seat belt laws in various ways, but every state has them. Not wearing a seat belt is a driving infraction. You won’t be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts. But a driver stopped for a traffic violation and found not wearing a seat belt can be fined $25. That driver may also be fined for passengers not wearing their seat belts. 

A Seat Belt Violation Affects Your Insurance and Any Claim

Receiving a citation for not wearing a seat belt in Massachusetts can increase your insurance rate by up to three percent annually. That is on top of any increase for the primary citation, such as speeding.

But being in an accident while not wearing a seat belt can affect your insurance in another way. It could harm an injury claim with your insurance company. If you are the driver in an accident and a passenger isn’t wearing their seat belt, they can file a claim. You, as an individual, may be solely responsible. If your insurance company is aware of the lack of a seat belt, it may not help you pay damages.

Having automobile coverage is the law in Massachusetts. In fact, you must have four mandatory coverages, each in a minimal amount, to register your car in the state. Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. As a premier independent and local insurance agency, we will work with you to ensure you have proper coverage to meet Massachusetts’s standards, as well as your own. Contact us today.

3 Essential Steps to Prepare Your Car for Hurricane Season

Family getting into their car before a hurricane after learning about how to prepare your car for hurricane season

Hurricane season comes around every year, and with it, the fear of damage to life and property. However, with the right strategy, you can prepare your car for hurricane season.

While many people think of preparing their home and personal property for hurricanes, it’s vital not to neglect to prepare your automobile. When a severe hurricane is on the horizon, evacuation may be the best option, and your car needs to be ready. These tips can help:

1. Auto Insurance Review

It’s important to review your insurance with your insurance agent each renewal — or annually, at the very least.  If you have, then a quick review of your coverage and deductibles may be all you need as a reminder of your coverage details for potential damage. If you haven’t, make an appointment for a phone, virtual, or in-person insurance review with your agent before hurricane season. 

Hail, wind, and flood damage are all common concerns. But many people attempting to evacuate at once can also create collision and liability exposure. Understanding your coverage in advance of a claim is much better than being surprised later, and it’s an essential step as you prepare your car for hurricane season. 

2. Maintenance

Evacuating due to an impending hurricane is not the best time to realize your vehicle is not in good working order.  Making sure these critical items have been thoroughly checked will help you avoid being stranded later:

  • Tires: The treads should have sufficient wear remaining. Also, the tires should be properly inflated. 
  • Brakes: Brake pads should have adequate friction material. 
  • Battery: Replace a weak battery. 
  • Gas: A full gas tank is essential, as it may be a long distance before you can refuel. 
  • Air: Ensure air filters are clean because you and your family may be in the car for a while. This is especially important for those with respiratory issues. 
  • Fluids: All fluid levels should be checked and topped off if needed. 

3. Load Up

You may find yourself in your vehicle for a long period of time — even days in the worst-case scenario.  Having the following items ready to load up at a moment’s notice means you won’t forget them when you’re in a rush:

  • Important documents 
  • Medications
  • Pets
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone and other chargers
  • Blankets
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Cash
  • Clothing/Shoes/Personal hygiene Items

With the right preparation, you can approach the hurricane season without fear. Here are some tips for preparing your home, as well. As a premier local independent agency, Vargas & Vargas Insurance understands your concern for your family and your property. We work for you, not the insurance company. Contact us today to make sure your coverage is ready as you prepare your car for hurricane season.

4 Add-ons to Consider For Your Auto Insurance

If you own a vehicle in Dorchester, MA, you understand that auto insurance is as critical as car maintenance. Unfortunately, many car owners purchase the minimum auto insurance coverage just to comply. While this may seem like a way to save funds, it can bite you hard when the unthinkable strikes. That said, Vargas & Vargas Insurance shares add-ons you can consider to boost your auto insurance for maximum protection. 

Emergency roadside assistance coverage

Have you ever thought about what you may go through when your car breaks down away from home? You might have seen it in movies, but it can happen in real life. While you can’t predict how your car behaves, you can cover yourself with a roadside assistance add-on to ensure that you get services like gas delivery, puncture repair, towing, and other roadside repairs in case your car breaks down.

Engine protection cover

If you reside in a location prone to waterlogging, this coverage is a must for you. Your engine is, perhaps, the most expensive component of your vehicle. As such, insuring it against damage is a smart move to avoid you forking cash from your pocket when a disaster occurs.

Zero depreciation cover

If you have a new or luxurious car, this add-on cushions you against wear and tear when replacing expensive parts. Instead of removing the depreciation factor when replacing parts, the insurance company covers the entire cost of replacement when you have this cover. 

Consumable coverage

When your claim is being processed, consumables like nuts, bolts, and oil aren’t covered in the typical insurance coverage. However, as small as they might be, consumable costs can stack up to significant figures when involved in an accident. Thankfully, with consumable coverage, you don’t have to worry about consumable expenses.

Buy auto insurance today!

Would you like to buy auto insurance in Dorchester, MA? Please contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance for a competitive quote. 

4 Tips on Preparing Your Car for Spring

driver looking at the spring weather in a parked car

Preparing your car for spring helps to ensure it functions properly in the warmer weather. Spring cleaning not only allows you to remove all the dirt and snow debris, but the simple maintenance and checks that you do in the process can save your car from potential damage and save you money through your auto coverage. You can choose to clean your vehicle yourself or take it a professional. Here are tips for preparing your car for spring:

1. Wash Inside and Outside Your Car

Wash your car thoroughly and remove all the salt buildup and snow debris accumulated in the undercarriage. Removing the salt and buildup prevents rust and keeps your vehicle in good condition. Also clean the interior of the car, including the floor and mat.

2. Check Your Wipers

During winter, windshield wipers do a lot of work. Check and see if they are in good condition, then replace the blades if they are worn out. New wiper blades will give you better functionality and improved visibility as spring begins. Good visibility when driving is essential to reduce accidents.

3. Inspect Your Tires

Align and rotate each of your tires. Check the alignment and make sure the car is driving straight. Check the treads, as well. If you changed your tires to winter tires, you should switch back to all-season tires for better functionality in the spring.

4. Confirm Your Insurance 

Check your insurance policy and make sure it sufficiently covers claims that are common in the season. For example, you can look at the comprehensive coverage and familiarize yourself with what it entails.  You can also check with your insurance agent in case of any auto insurance benefits or discounts now available.

Transitioning from winter to spring requires proper preparation to ensure the safety and proper functionality of your vehicle. Whether preparing your car for spring is a DIY project or you choose to seek professional services, these tips will help your vehicle serve you better in spring. Vargas and Vargas is a premier local independent insurance company. We are here to answer all your insurance questions, so contact us today

Winterize Your Auto and Auto Insurance With These Tips

mom and child smiling in a car while it's snowing

As winter continues, it’s important to prepare your car for the harsher conditions. At the same time, you want to make sure that your auto insurance policy provides you with sufficient coverage for the season. Here are some tips on how to winterize your auto — and your auto insurance.

Winterizing Your Automobile

  • Make sure your 4-wheel drive works if you have it.
  • Check your vehicle’s belts and hoses. Cold weather can cause them to weaken and even break, so you may want to take your car in for a tune-up ahead of time.
  • Change your windshield wipers.
  • Always keep your fuel tank full. A near-empty tank in extremely cold weather can result in severe damage to your car.
  • Top off your fluids (coolant, wiper fluid, and so forth).
  • Check your oil. If you need to give your car an oil change, make sure you use a product with the right viscosity (or thickness).
  • Check your car’s battery. The last thing you want is a dead battery in freezing temperatures.
  • Check your air filters, and replace them as needed.
  • Make sure your tires have enough air pressure. You’ll likely have to periodically check on this throughout the winter. Also, consider putting on snow tires if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice during the cold season.

Winterizing Your Auto Insurance

It’s true that you can never foresee an auto accident or other winter-related damage. However, you can prepare. You may want to add collision coverage to your automobile insurance policy in the event that you slip or slide into something and damage your car that way. Also, comprehensive coverage will cover just about any other accident that causes damage to your car, such as a branch falling on your hood or damage from a snowbank.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you winterize your auto insurance so that it works best for you. We are one of the premier local independent insurance agencies, and we truly work for our clients, not ourselves. Our team of friendly experts would be happy to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.