Insurance To-Dos After Your Child Moves Out

So your child is moving out. They are either going to college and getting an off-campus apartment, going out on their own for a job, or starting some other adventure. This brings with it a whole string of emotions from happy to sad and anxious to ecstatic. After the tears, it’s time to think about some next steps for when you are starting to downsize your life. 

Adult Son Moving Out Of Parent's Home

Home Insurance

On your checklist of to-dos, you will want to check on your home policy after your child has moved. There are a few different things to check. For example, you will want to see if you can change your own policy to be lower now that there are not as many belongings in the home. You may also want to see if your homeowner’s policy will cover your child if they are still in college (which may be the case if they are in the dorms). Alternatively, you may be able to get a discount by getting a renter’s policy through the same company. 

In any case, now may be a good time to let your child know that a renter’s policy will help them with liability concerns. It will also protect the belongings that are inside their apartment.  

Car Insurance

The other thing that your child will need to take charge of will be their own car insurance policy. This is especially nice as newer drivers tend to require more expensive policies. If they are moving far away without a car, you may be able to put the car they used in your own name without listing them as a driver on the policy any longer. Alternatively, if they are moving and taking their car, they can go ahead and get their own policy. You will no longer need to be responsible for it and can see about downsizing your coverage.  

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is the premier local independent insurance agency — we work for our clients and not the insurance company. We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price as you downsize. Contact us today for answers to all of your insurance questions.

Do You Need Car Insurance If You Aren’t Driving Your Car?

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.

man next to his car on his driveway

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.

Stay Current on Massachusetts RMV Extensions and Reduced Insurance Rates

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every industry, and new changes continue to roll out. Drivers and car-related industries have experienced some unique challenges. What should you do if your vehicle registration is due? In Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) renewal deadlines are extended. Also, many car insurance companies are giving back money to their customers.

women standing by her car at home

Registration and Renewal Extensions

The shutdown, phased reopening, and social distancing measures are necessary to ensure public safety and health during the COVID-19 crisis. But because of the changes and importance of staying home, the Massachusetts RMV has posted COVID-19 changes and updates regarding important registration and renewal dates. Driver’s license and permit renewals, which were due in March and April, were initially allotted a 60-day extension. However, the RMV has updated the timeline, with March-June renewal dates now extended until July 30, 2020. Plate registration and inspection sticker renewals that were initially due by May 31, 2020, are extended until July 31, 2020.

Customers are encouraged to use the RMV online services whenever possible. Residents who require in-person assistance at an RMV service center must reserve an appointment ahead of time. Reservations can be scheduled by phone or online.

Reduced Car Insurance Rates

The various social distancing measures have caused many people to spend more time at home. As people are commuting less, many auto insurance companies have stepped forward to offer reduced rates for customers. Many national and local insurance providers — including Allstate, Progressive, Geico, Plymouth Rock, Arbella Insurance, Vermont Mutual, MAPFRE, and many others — are participating in relief options for premiums during the current pandemic. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the auto and insurance industries continue to provide customers with valuable updates and changes to accommodate customer needs during this challenging time. Contact us today to stay on top of your coverage needs and adapt to ongoing changes. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you stay informed on how COVID-19 is impacting vehicle registrations and auto insurance policies.

These Auto Insurance Companies Are Giving Money Back During COVID-19

couple looking at reduced insurance premiums during shelter-in-place orders

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. 

Farmers

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

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. 

Progressive

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. 

Nationwide

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.

USAA

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. 

Geico

 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

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.

What Should You Do If Your Car Insurance Gets Canceled?

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. 

man smiling and driving a sedan
Talk to your insurance company about your options instead of letting your car insurance lapse.

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. 

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.

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