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 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.
In these times, most of us have experienced extreme upheaval when it comes to our routines. That may include working from home. You may be ordering groceries or take-out to be delivered instead of going out. This means that our cars remained parked. As a result, many car owners are starting to wonder if they should even have car insurance during these times.
The short answer is, yes! Let’s explore why.
It’s Better to Maintain Coverage Than Have On-and-Off Coverage
Unless your car is completely out of commission — as in, it’s been totaled and is no longer drivable — you should keep insurance on it. The reason why is relatively simple: if you can still drive it, at some time, you probably will. That means there is always that chance that something could happen.
Another reason is that if you cancel your car insurance, and then you end up needing it again, you will be labeled as high-risk to the underwriters. This means you may have a hard time obtaining car insurance, or you will end up paying more. So, it’s cheaper and safer to maintain insurance.
Options for Stored Cars
If your car is locked away in a storage facility and you are definitely not going to be driving it anytime soon, meaning it will not be anywhere near any public road, you may be able to drop the coverage to comprehensive insurance only. This type of insurance protects the car from anything except a collision with another vehicle. For this reason, comprehensive insurance is sometimes referred to as “car storage insurance.”
How to Save on Car Insurance
Essentially, you do need to have insurance on your car (even if you aren’t driving that much). However, if you are concerned about the cost of premiums, it is always worth looking into different kinds of insurance and ways that you can save. Liability insurance is something that you have to have if your car is registered. But you may be able to take other kinds of coverage off of your car if you feel that you are not driving it enough to warrant having full coverage.
At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’re here to help answer your insurance questions and make sure you have the coverage you need. Contact us today to get in touch with a local representative.
Auto insurance is not just one type of insurance. In most cases, you will need to have liability insurance coverage to protect other drivers from you and any mishap you may have. This is mandated by each state and differs from place to place. When you have a car loan, the lender will make you carry certain other types of insurance to protect them. But after your loan is paid, you can decide what other parts of auto insurance you want to carry. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA we pride ourselves on our ability to help you solve your insurance problems at the most competitive rates available.
When it comes to the question do I need comprehensive coverage if I have collision coverage it is important to understand the type of coverage both of these types of insurance providers. In some ways, it is like comparing apples and oranges, the things that are covered by both types are really quite different.
Collision insurance pays for repair or replacement of your vehicle in an accident where you are deemed to be the responsible party or at least partially responsible. This is coverage that usually involves another vehicle but it can also be an inanimate object like a pole or a tree. Comprehensive is often referred to as non-collision coverage. It covers things that are beyond the driver’s control like a large animal running into the road in front of your vehicle. Glass coverage is usually also included. Comprehensive insurance includes weather events that impact your vehicle. If your vehicle is stolen or vandalized comprehensive insurance coverage will kick in.
As you see, these are both very important types of coverage and there is no overlap in the coverage. For more information about both of these types of auto insurance give the office of Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA a call.
The biggest benefit of working with a local independent insurance agent like Vargas & Vargas is that our licensed local agents work with many insurance companies. We will customize your insurance policy to your own specific needs, then we can move forward getting quotes from the best companies for your unique situation.
Need some Massachusetts insurance quotes? Let’s talk!
All insurers are not created equal, nor are all insurance policies. We’re not here to sling mud or speak badly about any insurance provider! But we are going to explain how every insurance company has an ideal customer in mind, and show you some specific differences between Progressive and Geico insurance policies as examples. Our duty at Vargas & Vargas Insurance is to connect every customer with the right insurance policy. We work with many major insurance companies, and we can help take the guesswork out of any of your Massachusetts insurance policies. As always, if you have questions beyond the scope of this article, reach out to us today.
Progressive is a well-respected insurer with an excellent reputation. Their ideal client is a multi-line household — in case you hadn’t noticed “Flo’s” focus on insurance “bundling” in their advertising campaigns. Progressive will insure your home and autos, and the company offers life insurance choices, too. They provide great coverages for adults with multiple insurance needs.
Progressive provides homeowners insurance in-house; they don’t farm it out.
Geico began as an insurance provider for government employees and gradually broadened their scope. Geico’s focus is providing economical pricing on auto insurance, though they also insure recreational vehicles like motorcycles and RVs. They usually have somewhat better rates for some riskier drivers, like those who have had many at-fault accidents, those with many speeding tickets, and young inexperienced drivers.
Geico does not write their homeowners insurance policies. They can provide you a quote, but they “farm out” the policy to a partner.
At Vargas & Vargas, we work hard to match the right type of insurance policy to our customers. Both Progressive and Geico homeowners policies, for instance, will provide replacement cost coverage. Still, they offer different bells and whistles, as well as different rates.
Both Progressive and Geico homeowner’s policies provide medical payments to others in case of injury, liability coverage, and coverage for water or sewer damages. However, Geico and Progressive recommend lower limits of liability and deductibles on glass coverage, where most insurance professionals do not. And both companies offer varying discounts (like paid-in-full discounts, paperless billing discounts, multi-line discounts, and so on).
The biggest benefit of working with an independent insurance agent like Vargas & Vargas is that our licensed, independent insurance agency works with many insurance companies. We know their underwriting criteria and know their ideal customer. Our goal is to spend time with each prospective client to get a feel for your insurance needs. Then we can move forward getting quotes from the best companies for your unique situation.
Need some Massachusetts insurance quotes? Let’s talk!
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 global pandemic has caused immense strain — physically, mentally, and financially. While the uncertainty of the coming months continues to weigh heavily on everyone’s minds, more and more stories are coming to light every day about individuals and corporations trying to do what they can to help. The insurance industry is among them. Several companies have implemented plans in recent days that will attempt to lessen the monetary burden their customers are facing for car insurance and other policies. Wondering if your company is one of them? Check out the list below.
Customers with Farmers or 21st Century-branded policies will see a 25% reduction on their premium for the month of April. The discount will be applied as a credit to next month’s billing statement. If you paid your premium in full, it will be issued as a check or direct deposit to the account on file. The reduction is being applied automatically and requires no action on your part.
State Farm policyholders will be apportioned part of a $2 billion dividend from the company. While exact percentages for individual customers will vary by state, policyholders will be credited a percentage of their premium from March 20 through May 1. The company estimates that the average will be about 25% of the premium for that time frame, and customers don’t need to take action to receive the credit.
Policies active with Progressive at the end of April or May will receive a 20% premium credit. The company will notify its policyholders when the credit will appear, and it will be automatically credited toward the balance of their next bill. If you’ve paid your policy in full, then either a check will be issued, or the amount will be deposited into the payment account on file.
Allstate and Esurance
Through the months of April and May, Allstate and their family company Esurance are offering customers a 15% refund based on their premiums for those months. The money will be directly deposited into whatever account their latest payment was made (or credited to their account) – so no action is required by customers to receive the money. The company is also offering payment relief plans upon request, extended coverage for personal vehicles in certain commercial capacities, and the ability to sign up for free identity theft coverage through 2020.
For policies active as of March 31, 2020, Nationwide will be offering policyholders a one-time premium refund of $50. When you’ll see the money will vary by state regulatory approval. The company is also offering the ability to suspend some cancellations, defer payments for certain policies, and waive some late fees in certain circumstances due to COVID-19 related hardships. While no action is required for the premium refund, you’ll need to reach out to a representative for additional considerations.
Every member with USAA who has an auto policy in effect as of March 31, 2020, will receive a 20% credit on two months of premiums without needing to contact the company. Extended coverage, policy leniency, and special payment arrangements are also available upon request.
A 15% renewal discount is being offered by Geico for auto, motorcycle, and RV policies set to renew between April 8 and October 7, 2020, for 6-month policies and between April 8 and April 7, 2021, for 12-month policies. The credit is also being extended to new business policies written between April 8 and October 7, 2020.
No action is required on the customer’s end; the discount will be credited automatically upon renewal. Cancellations due to nonpayment have also been paused through at least April 30, 2020, for all states, while some states may get longer windows. You can see if your state has a longer grace period here.
Liberty Mutual customers with personal auto insurance policies will receive a 15% refund on two months of premiums, based on the premium amount as of April 7, 2020. The refund will be automatically deposited into the account used to make your last payment or by check. When the funds will arrive is subject to individual state regulations, but customers do not have to take any action to receive their money.
Vargas and Vargas Insurance is here to help you. As local independent insurance agents, we represent many local insurance companies that are also offering to lessen the burden when it comes to your automobile insurance premiums. Contact us with your insurance questions or to get a quote. We’re available during business hours at 617-298-0655, or you can reach out through text and online. We take pride in helping you with all of your coverage needs and look forward to taking care of you today.
Car insurance is something that we have to have if we legally want to be able to drive our automobile. However, we have all been in situations where we forget to pay for it. Car insurance is something we know we need, but it often falls through the cracks. We either have it or we don’t, but most people generally don’t think about it.
Did you forget it, or were you out of town and fail to see the “due by” notices? Maybe you moved, and the notice got lost in a moving box. Either way, it can be a frustrating mess. But don’t just let your coverage lapse. Here’s what you can do instead.
The Right Way to Handle Car Insurance Cancellations
In Massachusetts, a car insurance provider has the right to cancel your car insurance for lack of payment. However, they will send you a warning ahead of cancellation. Insurance providers are obligated to give you a notice 20 days in advance of the cancellation.
This means if you fail to pay by December 1, they can send out a notice giving you until the 21st of December. Failure to pay by the 21st will mean that your policy ends and you are no longer covered.
If you are unable to pay and wish to avoid cancellation, there are a few things you can do. They include:
Contacting your insurance provider
Asking for a negotiation to keep your policy active
Providing proof of why you lapsed in payment (for example, in the event of a hospital stay or a family emergency)
Often, if you talk to your insurance representative, you can get your coverage reinstated if you show good cause. Otherwise, you can appeal through the Board of Appeals.
What If I Want to Just Cancel My Policy?
Once you receive a cancellation notice, it can be tempting to just let it happen and search for new coverage. But you should never allow your policy to lapse. There’s a right way and a wrong way to cancel a policy that you no longer want.
The Right Way: If you want to improve your coverage by switching to a new company or policy, you are legally able to do it. There may be a penalty for canceling mid-policy, but it is still better to avoid the company canceling. Contact your insurance provider and explain to them why you want to cancel and ask about the penalty cost for doing so. You can also choose to cancel as your policy ends, especially if you are just changing companies.
The Wrong Way: Simply allowing your insurance company to cancel your policy may come with some pretty nasty consequences. Your insurance providers are obligated to tell the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) if your policy lapses, which could result in you losing your license. If you are caught driving without insurance coverage, you could face fines and more. It is topped off by the fact that a lapse will impact your credit rating.
Plan Before You Cancel
Canceling a policy should never be done without thought. If you are switching companies, look at your current provider’s penalties for canceling an existing policy. You may also consider having your new insurance company talk to your current provider to resolve the issue. This will prevent cancellation penalties and ensure a gap-free transition.
If you are considering changing your insurance policy, Vargas & Vargas Insurance is here to help. You can contact us or request a free quote.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!)
Protection from a collision surcharge on your existing policy.
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.
Your policy deductible is waived!
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.
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.