How to Read Your Declarations Page(s)

Have you ever read an insurance contract? Not many have.

However, this voluminous document has everything you need to know about your insurance coverage and is essential in the event of a claim.

There is a short cut: The Declarations Page.

This document outlines and summarizes your insurance coverage. And it’s easy to read and only a few pages. It’s also key to determining if you have adequate coverage at an affordable price.

Policy Number and Policy Period  This is the top of your policy.  If you need to speak to your Independent Insurance Agent about your policy, you should direct your attention to this section at the outset of your conversation.

The policy period also helps for you to mark your calendar so you can be reminded of your annual review.

Maybe your credit score is improved or maybe your kids are grown. These are just a couple examples of life events that can occur that warrant an annual insurance review.

In addition to lifestyle changes, there is the likely possibility that insurance carriers have revamped their policies. You may be eligible for new discounts or more competitive pricing.

Coverages and Premiums.  The different coverages of your policy are presented line-by-line with the attendant premium in the right column, or in some cases, the discount in a line item, such as a security device.

The coverages are accompanied by the coverage limit. For your homeowner’s policy for example, the dwelling limit will show what your house would cost to be replaced. Notice your liability limit. This coverage limit should never be lower than the value of your home.

Total Annual Premium.  Down at the bottom of the page is the TOTAL PREMIUM for your Insurance Policy.  Usually this will show as an annual number, although that may be different depending on your payment plan for the policy.  You can also see different payment options for your premium; some insurance plans give you discounts depending on the frequency of payments. 

These declaration pages will help when it’s time to review with your independent agent. Know your coverage, know your renewal date so you can discuss with your agent if your coverage is maximized and your premiums are competitive.

Please read our other blogs related to annual insurance review suggestions.

You can reach us by calling 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

3 Things To Do NOW For Your Car Insurance. Number Two Will Shock You!

You’re driving around with the comfort and knowledge that you’re insured in the event of an accident that damages your car, you, or another person or their property. 

Your car needs occasional maintenance and fine tuning; so does your car insurance.  Here are 3 things you can do right now to fine tune, I mean review, with your Independent Insurance Mechanic, I mean Agent.

Improve the quality of your coverage and possibly lower your premiums NOW! 

  1. Uninsured and UNDER insured motorist coverage. 
    The two “Uns” will get you every time when involved in a motor vehicle accident. You’ll want to add this additional protection to your overall insurance policy.  The additional coverage will give you perfect peace of mind and protection against the incidents involving an uninsured motorist or a motorist with insufficient coverage to compensate you for damage to your vehicle or injury to you.

  2. Your collision deductible based on the year of the vehicle. 
    As your car gets older the value decreases.  Too often you’re carrying insurance coverage based on the original value of the car when you first insured it. When you discuss your insurance with your Independent Agent during your annual insurance review, be sure he reconfigures the  current coverage to reflect the current value of the car.

  3. Personal injury protection, also known as PIP coverage.
    This is a component of auto insurance that covers medical expenses regardless of who’s at fault, and often includes lost wages. Depending on the state in which you live, PIP is either an available option or a required policy add-on. It is often called “no-fault” coverage because its inherent comprehensiveness pays out claims regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Don’t get caught without this insurance because you didn’t know it was OPTIONAL vs. MANDATED by state.

Call us today to learn about these coverages and more. Now is the time: before you need your policy to work for you the most. Your health and financial health depend on it. Call us at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review.

Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

4 Reasons to Purchase Insurance on a Car Rental

If you’ve ever been on vacation and had to rent a car, you’ve been confronted with the standard protocol of the rental agent asking you if you’d like to purchase (or waive) the optional car insurance.  

Most people are caught unawares and don’t give this simple request the full consideration it needs before they leave on holiday.

You won’t be caught unawares with this simple recommendation: always purchase the additional coverage.

When you purchase that coverage you will acquire some awesome features (you’re going to love Number 4!)

  1. Protection from a collision surcharge on your existing policy.
  2. You don’t have to worry about “loss of use” or paying for the days a rental car is out of commission and unavailable for rental for repairs due to damage you caused.
  3. Your policy deductible is waived!
  4. You get to walk away.

Technically speaking, if you already have PHYSICAL DAMAGE COVERAGE on your own auto policy, then you’re actually covered for property & liability on the rental vehicle.  That doesn’t stop us from recommending the purchase of the additional insurance even to our customers who have physical damage coverage in place.

I promised the recommendation would be simple.  Now when you’re at the car rental counter at the start of your vacation, worrying about getting to your hotel on time, hungry from a long flight, and stressed from the airport commotion, you won’t be a deer in the headlights at the rental counter.  You won’t have to stop and call your agent to inquire if you should take the coverage. You won’t have to text your neighbor if they purchase the coverage or not.

Just say, “Yes, I’ll take the coverage.”

One last piece of vacation driving advice: when driving on long winding roads in the dark, take extra caution for critters who might dodge out onto the road.  Like a deer in the headlights.

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance to ENSURE you’re INSURED properly? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Summer Preparedness Part 3: Driving

Happy days driving around on a golden Summer afternoon, or touring quaint villages, maybe driving town to town on a meandering route.  School’s out and it’s vacation time! Chances are pretty good you’ll be using your car, or a rental car to enjoy your holidays. 

You’ll want to bring an extra degree of caution to your Summer vacation driving experience.  First, you’ll be in a holiday mood.  It’s natural that your usual driving vigilance might be relaxed.  So your first challenge when you’re driving on vacation is to keep your driving mindset sharp and focused.

Your extra focus is going to come in handy with the other vacation drivers on the road too.  Many of those drivers may be as fuzzy in their holiday driving modes as you…before you sharpened your focus.  

Other drivers are looking at the sights, distracted by backseat or front seat passengers, or maybe just trying to figure out how to turn left into that parking lot for the Gift Shop.  Your extra care and attention is going to come in handy to avoid mishaps that could be caused by other distracted vacation drivers.   And, be especially careful while driving through parking lots.  The distractions are probably at their highest point when a driver is quickly backing a car out of a parking spot and another driver is zipping through the parking lot.  Bang.

You’ll want to sharpen your vacation mind for the protection of your valuables in the car too.  How often do you pull your car into a beachside parking lot or a scenic overlook highway stop off, then jump out of your car and forget to lock it behind you?  Probably quite often.  After all, you’re on vacation.  

Your cares and worries were left at home.  But your valuables are still sitting on the front seat or in the trunk of your car.  And a thief only needs a quick moment or two to open an unlocked door, rummage around and grab and run away with your valuables.

Last but not least, be extra careful with your rental car while away on vacation.  When you pick up the car, temper your eagerness to zip away to enjoy the kick off of your holiday. While the Rental Car Attendant is inspecting the condition of the car before transferring possession, grab your smartphone and snap photos of the exterior of the car.

Make a note of your mileage to be sure it matches the rental paperwork, and check the gas gauge too.  Double check that doors and trunks lock properly and that any remote locking or alarm systems actually work.

This may sound like a lot of work to do while you’re on a vacation.  But a few minutes of careful attention and a sense of normal driving focus will actually help you to have an even better vacation experience. 

When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

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.