Recap: Car Insurance Facts

“Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”

– E. B. White

As the famous writer E. B. White indicates, cars are a pivotal part of life. You likely rely on your car to get nearly everywhere you go, but answer this: is your car properly protected? With a five-star insurance policy, you can be confident that you will be taken care of if something ever happens to you or your vehicle.

How much do you know about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy? Here are just a few of the interesting and informative facts that we shared in our longer blog post last week:

  • What you pay for auto insurance depends on many factors, including how much you will drive, who will be behind the wheel, and more.
  • Don’t listen to car insurance myths! For example, the color of your car is not one of the factors that determines your premium amount, and your insurance will not cover you anytime anything happens to your vehicle.
  • Getting great coverage doesn’t have to break the bank. Insurance providers offer many discounts – you just need to work with the right agent to get a great price!

Want to see what Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency can offer? Call our office at 617-298-0655 and speak to one of our auto insurance representatives about getting your free quote. We will search many insurance providers to make sure that you get a great deal at a fantastic price, and there’s no obligation to see what we can offer – so call today!

What to Know About Your MA Car Insurance Policy

Auto insurance is a key piece of your insurance portfolio. Thankfully with the help of the expert agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, getting the right car insurance for your needs is easy. Call us at 617-298-0655 and ask for a free insurance quote – after you answer a few simple questions you will be on your way to the best auto insurance in Boston!

Once you have a great auto insurance policy, there are a few things that you should know about your coverage and how your lifestyle affects your payments. Here are just a few car insurance facts that you may not be familiar with.

You care about what you pay for auto insurance. This dollar amount is your premium, and how high or low it is will depend on several factors. These include:

  • How much you use your car. How many miles do you typically drive? Pricing for a car insurance policy is all about risk, and a car that only drives to run errands occasionally is a lot less likely to get into an accident than a car that makes an hour-long commute five days a week.
  • The people that will be driving the car. You will need to let your agent know if anyone else will be driving the car. As you would probably expect, your rates will increase if you are also insuring the car for use by a teenage driver.
  • How you want your car fixed if it is damaged. Ask your insurance agent about the difference between the types of coverage offered. Depending on how much of a premium you’re willing to take on, you could choose liability only, full replacement cost, or somewhere in between.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the types of coverage offered by standard Boston auto insurance policies. In an effort to help our clients be as informed as possible, the insurance experts here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency would like to clear up some of the more prevalent auto insurance myths:

  • The color of your car is not a factor in the cost of your insurance premium. Many people believe that drivers with red cars are riskier or more likely to be pulled over by the police, but when it comes to your car insurance your provider will treat a silver car the same as red (all else the same).
  • You shouldn’t believe people when they say that no matter what happens to your car, your insurance policy will cover you. Insurance policies will only go so far as they are required to go based on your coverage, so it’s important to get more than just the state required minimum coverage if you want to be fully protected. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent can make recommendations on how much coverage makes sense for you.
  • Have you ever heard that your insurance rates will rise as you get older? In fact, the opposite is often true. Insurance providers know that older drivers are likely to be more cautious behind the wheel and therefore less likely to make a claim. This is why some providers offer a discount for drivers over a certain age. If you are over 50, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance and ask if you qualify for a premium reduction!

When purchasing an auto insurance policy, also make sure to talk to your insurance agent if you use your car for business purposes more than just making a commute to the office. If you do some driving for a rideshare as a side hustle, if you deliver to customers using your personal vehicle, etc. you may need extra insurance coverage or a separate commercial insurance policy in order to be fully covered for both the personal and business aspects of your car use.

Here is one more thing that everyone should know about their Massachusetts auto insurance policy – insurance providers offer tons of discounts that could apply to you! Every provider is slightly different, but you could be earning auto insurance discounts for things like being over a certain age (as mentioned above), having completed a safe driving course (primarily for teenagers and older customers), going without an accident for a specified period of time, belonging to certain organizations (emergency roadside assistance, military, etc.), enrolling in auto-pay, and many more!

Some providers will offer discounts that are more in line with what a certain customer qualifies for, so make sure that you get the most from your insurance policy by using an independent agent to do your policy shopping!

Want to get started on that free auto insurance quote? Protect your vehicle and your loved ones with the help of Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency by calling 617-298-0655. We are a local independent insurance agency and we take pride in making sure that our Massachusetts clients are fully protected, so call today and get a taste of the customer service that people rave about!

Recap: Buying a New Car

“There’s a lot of stress… but once you get in the car, all that goes out the window.”

– Dan Brown

Have you been thinking about buying a new car? If you’re like most Boston residents, you spend several hours a week driving from place to place and deserve to have a nice car. If that is the case, don’t miss our latest blog all about the process of car buying! In the blog, we covered questions like:

  • When is the right time to look for a new vehicle?
  • What new vehicle is right for my family?
  • What features should I be looking for when I choose a new ride?
  • How can I ensure that I get a great deal on a car?
  • What should I make sure to do after I buy a new car?

In addition to answering these popular questions, we gave lots of advice and information about the car-buying process. Whether this will be your first time buying a car or you’re a pro at negotiation, check out our tips – a little refresher can never hurt when you’re making such an important decision.

And remember, if you need a top-notch Massachusetts car insurance policy for your new ride, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can compare policies from several insurance providers in Massachusetts to find the best policy for your unique needs.

The 2019 Complete Car Buying Guide

A car, in its most simple form, is an object that is designed and built to get you from point A to point B. However, there is much more to a car than that. AAA reported that in 2016, people spent an average of just over 50 minutes driving daily – that’s about 300 hours a year!

The next time you commute to work, make a run to the grocery store, or go on a road trip with your family, consider how much time you spend in your car and what would make that time more productive, relaxing, or otherwise efficient.

When to Start Looking for a New Vehicle

Every person has slightly different standards that will dictate when it is time to purchase a new car. For most people, though, it will come down to one of three factors: money, safety, and features.

The money aspect is simple to explain, but difficult to calculate. The question to answer is this: will you spend less on a new car than you do maintaining your current vehicle? To do the math, you will need to consider the cost of your new vehicle, including potential savings from getting better mpg, eliminating repair costs on the current car, the profits from selling your current car, and more.

Safety is a relatively easy thing to judge. As technology progresses, so too do the safety options available on new vehicles. For example, ask yourself: Does your car have advanced airbags, blind-spot monitoring, a back-up camera, and forward-collision warning? If not, it may be time to think about getting a new car for your own safety, as well as that of your passengers – especially if you transport small children.

If you’re a techie, you may be ready to look for a new car whenever there is a new feature available that you don’t have. Many people upgraded their vehicles when infotainment systems became prevalent, now consumers are looking for built-in navigation, as well as voice control and integrated apps for more personalized music. Just be careful with all of this technology – it may lead to more distractions while on the road.

What Vehicle Is Right for You?

Depending on what category you fell into in the previous section, you may be looking for a car that is a good value, has plenty of safety features, or the latest technology. Most consumers will be looking for a mix of all three of these criteria when searching for a new vehicle.

When choosing a new vehicle, make sure that you consult services like Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book to get started, and always test drive several makes and models to get an idea of what will work for you and your family.

Getting the Best Deal

The key to getting a great deal on a vehicle is to do your research. The car’s sticker price and what the seller is willing to let you pay may be different numbers, and there are several websites that will give you an idea of what others are actually paying for the car that you want. Also make sure that you know what upgrades you want to the vehicle’s trim if you are buying from a dealership – that way you can ask for extra features if the salesperson won’t lower the price.

When you’re negotiating the price of the car, make sure that you are cognizant of both the bottom line and the monthly payment. Some salespeople will have you focus on the monthly payment while trying to hide the fact that they’re spreading out the payments over a longer period in order to make it seem like a great deal.

After Purchasing Your Car

There are a few tasks that you should put on your ‘to-do’ list once you do purchase a car. If you purchase from a dealership, they can provide you with resources to get your new car registered (at least temporarily) so that you may drive it off the lot legally. Purchasing a used car? You should make sure to have the car thoroughly checked by a professional for safety (though you probably did this before you signed the purchase papers).

No matter in what condition you bought your vehicle, make sure that you keep all of the important paperwork in a safe place so that it is available when you need it in the future.

If you haven’t already, look into getting a great Boston car insurance policy for the vehicle. Having great protection for your new vehicle is critical, and auto insurance can also provide liability coverage for accidents in which you are involved.

Want to speak with a professional Massachusetts auto insurance agent about your car insurance needs? Call 617-298-0655 – that’s the number for our agency, where we will put you in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents so that you can get your questions answered, and even get a free and no-obligation quote on insurance for your next car.

Recap: Cancelling Auto Insurance

“My mom sent me money for a car, but the cops impounded it because I had no insurance.” – Martin Henderson

Have you been considering cancelling your Massachusetts auto insurance policy? There are many reasons why this may seem like a good idea, including if you are getting rid of the car, taking the car off the road for extended maintenance, or if you are going through a major life event like marriage or divorce.

The issue arises when you apply for your next insurance policy. When deciding on your premium amount, insurance providers consider many factors – one of which is sometimes whether you have cancelled a policy in the past. This means that cancelling a current policy could affect your rates in the future!

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we also want to make sure that you also never drive without auto insurance. Even a seemingly simple fender bender can result in a lot of money in repairs, let alone a multi-car accident with serious injuries.

So, if you’re thinking about cancelling your auto insurance for any reason, first call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you analyze your situation and tell you how your decision will affect your future insurance premiums. We may even be able to help you come up with an alternate solution that will be better for your situation.

Cancelling Auto Coverage Can Affect Future Rates

Most of the time, car insurance is a ‘set it and forget it’ purchase. Once you have a policy, you can schedule the payments and rest easier knowing that you will be covered for all the perils listed on your policy. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to consider cancelling your policy.

The reasons that people cancel their auto insurance are plentiful. Some cancellations are due to the covered car being sold or pulled off the road for extended maintenance, others are due to major life events such as moving, marriage, or divorce. Some people will cancel their current auto insurance policy because they are dissatisfied with their current insurance provider and want to make a change. No matter what the reason is that you are considering cancelling a current insurance policy, you shouldn’t make the decision lightly – what some people don’t realize is that cancelling your current policy could have repercussions on your future insurance premiums!

Why would it affect your future insurance payments, you ask? Well, that is simple. When you sign up for an insurance policy, you agree to pay a certain amount depending on how long you will receive coverage. The price for a six-month policy is usually more expensive per month than a twelve-month policy because you get a discount based on the extra commitment of a longer contract. This is like saving per ounce or pound at the grocery store when buying larger sizes of food items – the bigger your commitment, the less you pay per unit.

Because of this, insurance providers will sometimes look at your insurance history when deciding on your next premium amount. If they see that you have prematurely cancelled a policy in the past, they may be more likely to increase your cost – since your history reveals that you could need another early cancellation, making you a payments risk for their bottom line.

It is also worth noting that you should never drive a vehicle that is uninsured. Not only are you required to have auto insurance when driving in the state of Massachusetts, driving without insurance is a huge financial risk. Could you imagine the financial impact of causing a car accident without any kind of coverage? The costs to repair your vehicle could be very expensive, let alone fixing damage to the object you ran into (whether it is another car, a mailbox, etc). The cost of an accident also skyrockets when someone is injured, if they miss work, or if there is a lawsuit. Think about these potential costs before you get behind the wheel without any insurance!

Remember – you never think when you’re heading to work or going to run a quick errand that you will get in a major car accident, but it can happen to anyone at any time. There are estimated to be an average of 6 million car accidents in the US every year, and more than 90 people are killed in car accidents every day. In 2016 alone there were 359 fatal crashes in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to letting Vargas and Vargas Insurance make sure that you have the proper auto insurance policy to be protected on the road, make sure that you know the potential perils of driving while distracted, and don’t speed or drive while intoxicated. Driving is a privilege, and you are responsible for the safety of yourself and other drivers while you operate a vehicle.

If you are considering cancelling your auto insurance (or any of your Massachusetts insurance policies) for any reason, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency and talk to an agent. They will be able to explain any and all repercussions that may arise because of a cancelled policy and can advise you on your decision, and potentially come up with an action plan that will fit your needs. Remember – one quick call to 617-298-0655 can get all your insurance questions answered, so don’t stress… talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent today.

Already cancelled an auto insurance policy and looking for a new one? Vargas and Vargas Insurance is an independent insurance agency – that means that we can search several insurance providers to find you a great policy, even if you have cancelled a policy in the past. No matter your insurance needs, we will find some way to help you and ensure that you are protected, so call 617-298-0655 today.

Recap: Driving for the Elderly

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

Everyone is getting older every day – it’s just one of the facts of life. At some point, most people will get old enough that they should reevaluate their ability to drive safety. Last week, we posted a blog detailing many of the concerns that elderly drivers (and their loved ones) should have about being on the open road, such as:

  • Gradual loss of hearing and vision with age.
  • The dangers of medications that impact the ability to drive.
  • Decreased reaction time and worsening driving habits.

For more information on the warning signs that an elderly driver will begin to show, as well as some of the gradual limitations that can be set on driving to help keep drivers safe, check out the full blog post here. There, you will also find information about how to surrender a Massachusetts driver’s license and alternate forms of transportation for elderly Bostonites who are no longer safe behind the wheel.

For those of you that are still driving, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about your Massachusetts auto insurance needs. Call 617-298-0655 to get a free quote and ask our knowledgeable agents all your insurance questions.

Recap: Money Talks for College Students

“Many kids come out of college, they have a credit card and a diploma. They don’t know how to buy a house or a car or health insurance or life insurance. They do not know basic microeconomics.” – Jesse Jackson

If you have teenagers that are finishing up high school, or your kids are in the early stages of college, it may be time to sit down and talk to them about money. It’s a necessary evil in life, and the more your kids understand about it the better off they will be to handle life on their own – which is coming up sooner rather than later!

  • Tell them about how important it is to both have a budget and monitor their spending.
  • Encourage them to apply for additional scholarships, and only take out student loans if necessary.
  • Warn them about the dangers of credit cards, and tell them about how credit companies will try to lure them into signing up for cards promising free t-shirts and pizza.
  • Ensure that they see a college education as an investment into their future and that they put their education above all else (it’s easy for students to get diverted away from what’s important!)

If your student needs help with their Boston insurance policies, have them call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can walk them through the importance of having the right insurance protection and get them a quote on a policy that will protect their valuables without emptying their wallets.

Driving Advice for Elderly Adults

Are you worried about being a safe driver as you age, or do you know someone in Massachusetts that should consider reevaluating their ability to drive? It’s hard for elderly people to lose freedoms, but there is a point at which everyone should really hang up their car keys in the name of safety. If this is a topic that’s been on your mind recently, here are a few things you should consider:

Health Concerns

As a person ages, changes in their mental or physical state could make driving more difficult. Pain or stiffness in the joints can increase reaction time, as well as make it hard to turn the wheel or shift. The stress involved in driving could also aggravate health conditions.

Older drivers also often don’t possess the stamina to take longer trips. This will likely mean shrinking the area in which you or your loved one drives.

Hearing and Vision

As the body ages, many people find it harder to see and hear as well as they once were able. Elderly drivers need to be aware of the safety issues that come with decreased awareness of their surroundings.

Vision conditions that may affect the ability to drive include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, among others. Those that feel like their vision is worsening should consult with their optometrist. And (as for any driver) if you wear glasses or contact lenses, always have them on while driving.

Older drivers (especially those with hearing problems) should keep noise in the vehicle at a minimum. This means turning off the radio and discouraging in-car conversations.

Medication Composition

If a senior in your life is still occasionally behind the wheel, make sure that none of the medications that they are taking are inhibiting their ability to drive. Talk to a pharmacist about the ability to drive when prescribed a new medication and avoid driving if a drug’s label warns against operating heavy machinery. Elderly persons should also avoid driving if they feel lightheaded or dizzy, whether the cause is medication or any other reason.

Driving Habits

There are a few things that may start to happen when a person ages that indicate a need for a reevaluation of their ability to drive. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Having an increasing number of “close calls” or “near misses” with other drivers
  • Multiple instances of hitting objects such as curbs, fences, mailboxes, etc.
  • Missing stop signs or running through traffic signals
  • A growing number of traffic violations
  • Various incidents of being lost in familiar areas or having difficulty navigating

If you see these red flags in your own driving or in the driving habits of a family member, it’s time to have a tough conversation about whether driving is a feasible activity for that person.

Set Limitations

Often, there is a gradual transition between being a safe driver and deciding that driving is no longer safe for a person. Because of this, it is often easiest to gradually restrict a person’s driving. This could mean shortening the radius in which the person in question drives, or limiting the times of day behind the wheel, including eliminating night driving, driving during bad weather or road conditions, and rush hour driving.

If you need to talk to a senior citizen about the need to restrict or give up their ability to drive, make the conversation as easy as possible. Make sure to keep the focus on the safety of the person and other drivers. Be supportive of the person’s willingness to lose some independence and promise to help them navigate the transitional period.

Surrendering a License

At the point when a person can no longer safely operate a vehicle, their driver’s license should be suspended. Visit the Massachusetts RMV website for more information, as well as to learn about how to get a state ID card as an alternative form of identification.

Alternative Transportation

Many people view the inability to drive as a loss of freedom. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of transportation options available for non-drivers nowadays. Boston has a first-class public transportation system, including busses, trains, and the T, among other options. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are perfect for anyone that can use cell phone apps. The elderly can also investigate the availability of volunteer transportation programs in their neighborhood. The City of Boston’s Elderly Commission may be a good place to start for researching these options.

Elderly Bostonites who are still behind the wheel may wish to inquire about the need for increased car insurance coverage. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a young driver or an elderly driver – you need a top-notch Massachusetts auto insurance plan for your vehicle. If you think you’re paying too much for your current policy, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency 617-298-0655 for a free quote. Our insurance experts can help get you a quote with great coverage and a great price.

Money Conversations with Your College Student

Are you the parent to a teenager? If your child in their last few years of high school or already in college, it can be difficult to have them sit down to give important life advice. Some teens want to believe that they know everything that they will need to know, but that is almost never the case.

As a parent, you need to make sure that your child is as prepared as possible for the financial challenges that they may face as an adult. Start this financial education journey by discussing one or more of the following topics with your teen:

The Need for a Budget

When teenagers go to college, they will be tempted to buy a lot of things, especially if it will be their first time living on their own. Remind your kids to always keep an eye on their bank account and tell them about how quickly small purchases can add up. They may be more likely to pay attention to their spending habits if their money is broken into monthly or weekly payouts, which is also good practice for when they start working and depend on paychecks.

Ask them to come up with a rudimentary budget before leaving for college. You can explain to them that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and that it can be adjusted in the future as they learn their own spending habits. A good budget is simply a tool for monitoring where money goes and being aware of increased spending in any given period.

The Impact of Student Loans

If your child needs to apply for student loans, they should understand the impact these loans could have later in their life. While in the short term it seems like a windfall, it is critical that college students understand the consequences of taking out such a large loan. Help your student realize the future impact of these loans by explaining the payoff schedule and showing them the additional interest payments that they will owe to the loan provider above the loan’s principle amount.

The Benefit of Scholarships

Unlike a student loan, a scholarship is a gift to students. Students, however, sometimes resist applying for scholarships because of the lengthy application process – especially if the scholarship requires an essay. Encourage your child to look at the benefits of a scholarship as opposed to a student loan, though, and they may be a little more willing to work for the “free” money available to them. Help them search for applicable scholarship using one of the many aggregators available, such as Fastweb and Scholarships.com.

The Danger of Credit Cards

When walking around a college campus, students are bombarded with credit card offers. These would typically be easy to ignore, but these dealers know what college students like, and will offer free pizza, t-shirts, and other gifts to those who are willing to sign up. They will say “You don’t even have to use it!” to lure in unsuspecting SWAG-hunters. Thankfully, your child will know better than to sign up for unnecessary credit cards once you explain to them the effect it could have on their credit score, and the future impact of present bad decisions.

The Significance of Personal Finance Knowledge

Nowadays, it seems that students get a high school diploma without learning any relevant life skills. Ask your student about the importance of auto insurance, or the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA – odds are they will have no idea what to say.

Every person that is coming of age deserves to have a basic knowledge of personal finance to increase their chances of success in the ‘real world.’ If you feel that your child is lacking in this area of their education, advise them to take a personal finance class either at college or even online.

The Thought of College as an Investment

Your student should know that going to college is an investment in their education. They shouldn’t make this commitment lightly and need to realize that their classes ought to come first. Also make sure that they know how to optimize their activities in relation to their resume upon graduation – many jobs nowadays are looking for more than a high GPA. They will look for membership to professional organizations, as well as internships and more. Most college students have access to advisors if they wish to discuss the best path toward employability in their future field.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is also here for all your teenager’s insurance needs as they go to college. This may include updating your home insurance to cover their belongings, or getting them their own renter’s insurance. Also talk to your agent about the best option for your student’s car insurance, as well as if they are eligible for any ‘good student’ discounts.