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.

Recap: Guide to Road Trips

“I climb behind the steering wheel… I drive off immediately without once looking back; it’s a long journey but it leads to freedom.” – Corinne Hofmann

Is the open road calling to you? Once the summertime hits, the weather is lovely, and the kids are out of school, many families choose to go on adventures by loading up the car and taking a road trip. In case you missed our full post last week, here are a few of the major tips for your family’s journey:

  • Before you go on a road trip, take a test drive – choose a place that is a few hours away to get your feet wet and decide if your family could survive long days in the car.
  • Take care in choosing a destination. You want to choose something that is a manageable distance away, and a place that the whole family can look forward to visiting.
  • Before you leave, make sure that your car is ready for the trip. If you want to be sure that your car is up for the task, visit one of the many mechanics in the area for a check-up.
  • Set rules to follow in the car and prepare plenty of healthy snacks and entertainment for the trip.

Before your family begins their road trip, make sure that you check in with your Massachusetts auto insurance agent for a free auto insurance review by calling 617-298-0655. Your agent can make sure that your car insurance is ready for a grand adventure!

Why Does the Cost of Auto Insurance go Down when You Turn 25?

We all want to save money on things like insurance because we are paying for it anyway. That being said, some drivers are what insurance companies consider high-risk drivers which leads to higher rates across the board. So what makes the magic age of 25 different? For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you answer this question in more depth.

High-risk drivers are often those that are considered either inexperienced or with less to lose in the case of an accident. High-risk drivers are also those that have statistically been placed in the category due to things like gender, age, and location. Drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be drivers with less experience and therefore drivers that are more likely to be in a traffic accident. When you turn 25, you can contact your insurance agency and let them know, and your rates will be adjusted according to your age. Though there are no other milestones so to speak according to age and rates, the older you are, the less your insurance generally costs so long as you have not had a ton of accidents.

Some other factors that may affect the overall cost of your insurance are things like your gender, males have a higher rate generally, if you are married or single, if you have multiple cars on your policy, if you have kids, have a degree, etc. These are all factors that your insurance agent will help you consider to get the best rate possible. For those in the Dorchester, MA area, the agents with Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you to find your perfect policy every time.  

The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping

Summer road trips are a rite of passage for most kids these days. Loading up the car and being in closed quarters with the entire family for a few days can sound like masochism, but it doesn’t have to be! A road trip done right is a fun and educational journey that will provide fun memories for kids and adults alike.

If you’re thinking about taking a family road trip, here are a few tips from your favorite local Boston insurance agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency!

Destination Ideas

Before you embark upon a long-form road trip, you may want to do a test run with your family to make sure that you’re all prepared. There are many locations that are only a few hours away from our area and would be perfect for a one or two-day trip. These locations include Newport Rhode Island, Six Flags New England, Sturbridge Village, and Portland Maine.

Once you’re ready to choose the destination for your longer trip, you have plenty of options. Will you go to a natural wonder, a big city, or an entertainment hot spot? If you’re really adventurous, you can even combine several destinations into a single trip!

Here are just a few possible destinations, along with their distance from the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office in Dorchester:

  • The Berkshires: 128 Miles.
  • New York City: 225 Miles.
  • Washington DC: 455 Miles.
  • Niagara Falls: 472 Miles.

What other places are perfect for a road trip? Has your family enjoyed a road trip to an attraction that we didn’t mention? There are a ton of fun and interesting things to see here in New England, so the road trip opportunities are endless.

Before You Leave

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is doubly true when it comes to vacations. You need to make sure that you, your family, and your vehicle, are all ready to leave the comforts of home.

First, make sure that your car is in good health. You may opt to take it to your mechanic of choice for a quick check-up. Also see if it is due for an oil change, especially considering how many miles you are about to put on the car. For safety, check your car’s emergency kit to ensure that it is ready for your trip. You can also call your favorite Dorchester insurance agency for a quick car insurance checkup.

At the very least, you should make sure that your gas tank is topped off before you leave so that you can drive for a long stretch without needing to find a gas station. Starting off on your journey with a clean car is also a good idea. And make sure that you have a trash can available during the journey!

Also make sure that your family is prepared for the trip. You will need lots of entertainment for everyone. This could include music, books, games, and other car trip activities. Remember that radio stations may not always be available, so hook up a smart phone to your car’s infotainment system or have some old-school CDs at the ready. The internet is full of ideas that will keep your family amused for hours. Planning ahead also gives you the opportunity to pack fun and healthy snacks for all of your passengers. Anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is a plus, but you could also plan on bringing a small cooler for beverages and small snacks too.

While You’re in the Car

After spending several hours in the car, people are bound to get a little stir-crazy. Make a loose plan to stop every couple of hours for a potty break and possibly to get something to eat. Stretching is important when you have been sitting for a long period of time, so have a mini yoga class with the family a few times a day to stay loose.

It never hurts to have a little extra unexpected entertainment in your proverbial back pocket for when the road seems endless, so pack a special snack or the instructions and materials for a new game that will provide a respite from at least a bit of boredom. It also helps to keep the destination in mind – have a countdown and make a fuss every time you get closer to your goal. This could be every 100 miles, every hour, etc. Seeing progress will help everyone see that you are advancing – even if the road always looks the same.

So, will you and your family be taking a road trip vacation this summer? For more summertime and vacation tips, keep checking back to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog. And if you ever need an insurance quote or review, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling 617-298-0655 or filling out our online “Compare Quotes” form for the insurance policy of your choice.

Recap: After Your Wedding, Update Your Insurance

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” -Franklin P. Jones

Summer is a popular time for weddings here in New England. If you are getting married this summer, make sure to follow these simple tips to update and combine your insurance policies with your new spouse:

  • Combine your renter’s insurance or home insurance policies to cover your singular residence. Remember to update your home inventory to include your wedding rings and gifts that you received!
  • Bundling your home or renter’s insurance with your car insurance (for one or multiple vehicles) will probably save you money on your insurance premiums.
  • Now that you’re married, you should consider getting a life insurance policy, or change your existing policy to have your new spouse as the beneficiary.
  • More responsibility can mean more potential risks. Consider guarding yourself and your new family with an umbrella insurance policy – you can get a lot of additional coverage for pennies on the dollar.
  • For more tips on how to update your insurance policies after marriage, talk to your Boston insurance agent!

And if you’re not tying the know anytime soon, pass our blog post along to a bride-to-be or groom-to-be that you know! Anyone who needs a Massachusetts insurance review can call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 for a free consultation with a local insurance expert.