Storm Damage Tips From Vargas & Vargas Insurance

This weekend’s Nor’easter, which is not a storm named by the National Weather Service, produced widespread damage including downed trees, sump pump failures, and power outages. The Vargas & Vargas Insurance team handled dozens of calls throughout the entire weekend and remains available at this time to assist you.

We understand there is great difficulty locating tree removal services and roofers to patch or tarp roof openings. We also note that finding generators and or sump pumps to remove water from basements is a challenge at this time.

Below are some tips should you have suffered any damage:

Tree damage: If there is tree damage to a building or home the first order of business is to ensure everyone’s physical safety. Once that has been completed, contact a licensed tree removal company. Currently, tree removal companies are focusing on calls involving severe damage. We suggest a number of companies be contacted to secure competitive quotes and, if necessary, to get on waiting lists for assistance.

Sump pump failure: Be extremely mindful of entering a flooded basement as water that has risen to certain levels may have caused an electrical short creating a dangerous situation. Elevating personal belongings and removing the water as soon as possible is important. Pumps and generators are in high demand currently and most local hardware and big box home improvement stores are out of stock. Contacting stores within a reasonable driving distance may be good option.

Roof damage: Much like tree removal services, licensed roofers are in high demand after a storm of this size. While likely well-meaning, this will cause individuals without the necessary level of expertise to offer assistance. As we have suggested in the past, please do not let anyone on your roof that you did not contact directly, and please be sure those that do provide help are appropriately licensed and insured.While these are the most common types of losses after a storm of this nature, we recognize these are not the only issues currently being experienced. Please contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance with any questions or concerns you may have.

To report a loss, you can contact us by telephone (617-298-0655), email(customerservice@vargasinsurance.com)
or text (617-409-0329).

If you suffer an emergency that cannot wait until we are open for business, please contact our after-hours claim telephone number  617-322-5289. 

Also, you may find our blog titled, “Home insurance, should you file a claim”, interesting to read, can read it by clicking here.

Sincerely,Carlos

Tips for Filing a Condo Insurance Claim

Condominiums are a great alternative for homeowners. With a Massachusetts condominium, you get perks of homeownership and perks of apartment living in one place.

When there is an issue, however, you need to know which policy covers the damage. This will tell you who must file the claim – you, the unit owner, or the condo association. Here is a quick breakdown of what each policy typically covers.

Master Insurance Policy – Often considered “walls-out” coverage, a condo association’s master policy often covers the walls of their buildings, as well as common areas. They may have liability insurance in case an accident occurs in a common area. There is often additional Directors and Officers Liability coverage built in to the policy.

Unit Owner’s Coverage – Insurance for condo unit owners often covers everything inside the walls. This includes personal property, fixtures, appliances, and more. Sometimes unit owners will also need to insure carpeting and cabinets as well. In addition, it is always advisable to have liability insurance – just in case an accident occurs inside the unit.

While this is typically how the coverage falls, each condominium association will have their own unique policy, and the verbiage in that policy will affect your Unit Owner’s policy. To know for sure who is responsible for damages, call your insurance provider.

And if you need a Massachusetts condo insurance policy, just call our agency at 617-298-0655. We are experienced at writing both master insurance policies and unit owner’s coverage, so we are ready to take care of your needs, no matter how big or small they may be. Call today!

Home Insurance: Should You File a Claim?

Imagine this: your home is affected by a fire or a flood. No one wants this to happen, but there is always the chance that it will, and you need to be ready just in case that it happens to you. Chances are you would be in financial trouble if your home were destroyed if it wasn’t for your home insurance policy.

Thankfully, massive claims due to fires, floods, and other major disasters are few and far between. Smaller claims are much more common for Boston home insurance policies. But how do you know when it’s worth filing an insurance claim, and when to cover the damage yourself?

There are two major factors that affect whether you should file an insurance claim: your deductible and the number of previous claims on your policy. Deductibles are different for every policy, and can vary quite a bit. If the cost to fix your damage is less than your deductible amount, there is no reason to file a claim. If your deductible is less than the damages, you need to weigh the amount of money you would receive vs. the cost of filing the claim. After all, having a claim on your policy may raise your premium in the future.

Your home is a very valuable asset. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we would hate to see something happen to it without the right protection. That’s why we offer top of the line Massachusetts home insurance policies for all of our clients. For a free quote, just call 617-298-0655 and speak with one of our agents.

Vacation Tips: Avoid Identity Theft

When a vacation is on the horizon, it’s important to make sure that you are fully prepared. This obviously means making sure that the packing is done, but don’t forget about some of the other tasks that should be on your checklist. These are specifically meant to protect you from the threat of identity theft – something you certainly don’t want to deal with… especially right after a vacation:

  • Don’t post about your vacation on social media. It’s easy to be so excited about an upcoming vacation that you want to share it with the world, but posting on Facebook or tweeting about when you will be out of town is an invitation to identity thieves.
  • Put a hold on your mail. This is much safer than letting it pile up in your mailbox or asking a neighbor to collect it for you.
  • Protect your electronics. If you don’t normally have a password or other lock on your devices, you may want to temporarily set one while you are away – this will make it harder for others to use your devices without your permission if you accidentally lose them in an unfamiliar place or leave them in a hotel room unattended.
  • Alert your bank to the fact that you’re going on vacation. If your bank knows that you’re travelling, they can reach out about potential suspicious activity. You can also choose to temporarily freeze certain accounts to prevent issues.

To further protect yourself before you go on vacation, talk to your Boston insurance agent about reevaluating your home insurance coverage. This will ensure that you are protected in case anything happens while you are away. The number for Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is 617-298-0655. Make sure that it is programmed into your phone before you leave in case of an emergency.

Everyone lives in a Flood Zone!

Hurricane season is upon us, and based on the devastation that Houston is going through (and with another hurricane on the way) this season may not turn out to be a walk in the park for homeowners and renters.

I am not sure if you are aware, but flood damage (and earthquake damage) are excluded under all homeowners, condominium, and renter’s insurance policies. If you are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are required to purchase flood insurance to satisfy your Mortgage Company or bank.  But there is a misconception that if you are not in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are not able to purchase flood insurance – that is incorrect.

Everyone who owns a home or condominium or rents an apartment is able to purchase flood insurance, and if you are NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you could receive a “preferred rate.”

As an example, the flood insurance policy that Kathy and I carry on our home costs us $1389 per year for $50K on contents and $50K on the building because we are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area. If we were NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area our rate would be around $499.00 per year for up to $250K on the building and $100K on contents, a big difference.

Here is the second misconception to flood insurance: many people think that they will purchase a flood policy when they need it or a hurricane is heading in their direction. It does not work this way, as there is a 30-day waiting period on all new flood insurance policies (unless you are purchasing the coverage for a closing or refinance).

Here are some statistics for homeowners:

1. In the past several years, 60% of all declared disasters involved flooding
2. 25% of all insurance claims paid by FEMA involved losses outside Federally Mandated Flood Hazard areas.
3. 51% of all homeowner insurance claims are related to weather or flooding

And it gets worse for business owners. Here are 3 statistics that every business owner should know:

1. Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a flood disaster.
2. Floods happen everywhere. 25% of all flood damage occurs in low to moderate flood risk areas. Business owners should not rely on a line of credit at their bank for protection.
3. Business insurance policies exclude flood damage. Only flood insurance pays qualified claims quickly so a business owner can get back to business

I strongly urge you to call Vargas & Vargas Insurance (your Lolocal independent insurance agent) and request a FREE flood insurance quote. Or click here.

If you are inclined to make a donation to help the wonderful people of Houston Texas, my mortgage friend, Richard Smith, recommends making a donation on this site, click here.

Thank you!

Carlos

Do I Have to File a Claim?

FAQ: Do I Have to File a Claim?

We’ve all been there – you have a very minor issue with your home or car, and you think “I can handle this on my own… Do I have to tell my insurance company?” While it’s true that the answer depends on many factors (including your insurance provider and the terms of your coverage) here are some thoughts that can help you navigate this confusing situation:

Check your policy conditions –  there may be language within that requires you to submit a claim. If you fail to notify your insurance provider about any occurrence that may result in a claim, you could be in violation of your policy condition, which could result in forfeiture of coverage for the incident in the future. This means that if the situation turns into more of a mess at some point, you may be up a creek without a paddle!

Most people would agree that it’s better to submit a claim from the onset rather than risk the potential of having no help from your insurance provider if the problem gets more complicated.

As you know, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is always available if you need to make a claim on one of your Massachusetts insurance policies. There are many ways to contact us – call 617-298-0655 during office hours, call our 24/7 line at 617-322-5289, text 617-409-0329, or email us. We will always do everything in our power to ensure that you are satisfied with your insurance experience, so let us know if there is anything that we can do for you!