Recap: Free Family Fun in Boston

“I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life.” – Barbara Bush

It’s summertime, and that means you’re probably on the lookout for free family fun here in the Boston area. Thankfully, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency has got you covered! In our previous blog post, we covered several ideas that will give your family hours upon hours of entertainment without burdening your bank account. Here are just a few of the suggestions:

  • Visit a local park or playground. Kids will have fun for hours – especially if they help pack a healthy picnic lunch to enjoy in the lovely weather!
  • Summer is a great time to take advantage of the many water-based activities in the area. See if there is a local pool that you can visit, or just let kids play in the sprinklers for the afternoon.
  • Volunteering is a great way to introduce children to the idea of giving back to their community. Here are some ideas of volunteer opportunities for children and families.

For more summertime tips, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog! We love to post safety tips, insurance advice, seasonal updates, and much more! And if you ever need insurance help, call our office at 617-298-0655. We offer free advice and Massachusetts insurance quotes that will help you make sure your family is protected.

Fun and Free Family Entertainment in Boston

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are experts on insuring homes, cars, businesses, and more in the Boston area. After having lived and worked in the Boston area for so long, we also know a few thigs about finding great entertainment in the city. If you’re looking for fun and free entertainment in the Boston area this summer, here are just a few ideas for you and your loved ones:

Playgrounds and Parks

A favorite pastime in the summer is visiting local parks and playgrounds with the family. Young children love to play, and even older children who refuse to set down their cell phones and tablets can benefit from a little bit of fresh air every so often. For more time together, bring a few toys or pack a picnic lunch to share. And remember, sun safety is very important when spending time outdoors!

Looking for something unique and goal-driven to do in your time outdoors? Try Geocaching! Deemed the “World’s Largest Treasure Hunt,” it’s an activity that the whole family will love. It’s free (all you need is a smart phone and good walking shoes) and there are tons of caches in our area that you can find.

Water Activities

Want to make even more of your family time? Boston has many opportunities for water fun. If you don’t have a free community pool, there are plenty of free public pools in the city. In addition to being a ton of fun, playing in the pool can keep the heat at bay, as well as being great cardiovascular exercise for adults and children alike. And we all know that tired kids are happy kids!

And if you don’t feel like leaving the house, a hose or sprinkler can also provide hours of fun for the family. For added fun, get some water guns or reusable water bombs and let loose! First, though, make sure to set rules and boundaries for your games so that no one gets hurt during the fun.

Check Out Your Local Library

Have you been to your local library? In addition to housing more free books than you and your family could read in a lifetime, they also probably offer audiobooks and movies that you can check out. One additional huge perk of a library membership is their activity offerings. Many host reading sessions, craft days, and more. Some even offer free passes to local attractions!

Volunteering

For those looking to get their family out of the house without breaking the bank, volunteering is a wonderful option. Giving back to the community is a great thing to do and can help children learn many important life skills (not to mention that a history of volunteer work looks great on college and job applications).

There are many volunteer opportunities here in the Greater Boston area, including helping the elderly and the homeless, working on conservation efforts, helping others maintain health and wellness, and much more. To find the opportunity that is right for you and your family, visit the website for Boston Cares – the largest volunteer agency in New England.

Boston Tourist Activities

When was the last time that you played the part of a tourist here in your own hometown? Boston is home to many historical landmarks and other attractions that the whole family can enjoy. Here are the details for just a few of the possibilities:

  • The Freedom Trail: Pick up a free map at the Visitor’s Center on Boston Common and it will help you navigate the 2.5-mile trail through 16 historical sites, including Paul Revere’s House, The Massachusetts State House, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and more.
  • If you have children, it’s never too early to start talking about their future. One great place to get them thinking about their impending coming-of-age is at a college campus. Thankfully, there are several top-notch colleges here in Boston! Most offer free tours or other public events that would be perfect for your family.
  • Want to go to a museum? Most of the time there is an admission fee, but if you know some of the secrets of Boston, you know when to go for free admission! Many museums in the area offer free admission at some point during the week – an online search will lead you in the right direction.

What is your favorite free family activity here in the Boston area? Is there anything that we should try that isn’t on our list? Let us know! We always love to hear from our clients.

And while you’re telling us about all the fun local entertainment options in the area, ask your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about whether it’s time to review your insurance policies. We recommend annual reviews for all personal and commercial insurance policies. The process is simple and free and could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.

Were You Affected by the Equifax Breach?

By now, I’m sure that you have heard about the data breach that happened at Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the US. It turns out that my wife Kathy and I were affected, and I have since signed up for the free credit monitoring offered by Equifax. This got me thinking about what other precautions I should be taking to protect my identity. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Shred everything that has personal information on it. Get a cross-cutting shredder and put it in a central location in your home – it will easily pay for itself in peace of mind.
  • When paying for something, try to always use either cash or a credit card. Debit cards don’t offer liability protection, and checks are easy to duplicate.
  • Consider hiring a service to monitor your credit. There are plenty out there, both paid and free – just make sure that you are familiar with the level of service offered before you pick one.

If you were affected, it’s important to remember that the hackers are likely to keep your information for several years before they attempt to use it, so it’s crucial that you stay diligent and always be on the lookout for suspicious activity in your financial accounts as well as on your credit reports.

Now there are rumors that Equifax may have been hacked a second time. This just goes to show how important it is to protect your personal information in this digital age. Make sure that you stay safe, and that you take your safety seriously. Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance if you have any questions that we can answer for you. Our office number is 617-298-0655.

Prepare for Fall and Winter Storms

In the Fall and Winter, New England can get hit with some nasty hurricanes and blizzards. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your family – do a little bit of prep now and you will be ready when a storm threatens the area. Here is a list of some of the things that you should have to get you started:

  • Food and Water – You should always have enough nonperishable foods and water for each member of your household to last one week or more. This typically means one gallon of water per day, plus foods like canned goods, and dry foods like cereal, nuts, crackers, and protein bars. And don’t forget to keep an emergency food supply for pets also!
  • Clothing – Each person in your household should have access to plenty of warm clothing, including hats and gloves.
  • General Supplies – If a storm is coming your way, make sure you have essential supplies handy. These will include flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, paper dishware and plastic cutlery, paper towels, toilet paper, medications, and more.
  • Tools – You will need a few tools to weather a storm. Scissors and a manual can opener are a must. In addition, it would help if you had access to a pocket knife, multi-function tool, and a fire extinguisher.

While you’re preparing for potential storms, you should gather digital items as well as physical. There are certain phone numbers you should have stored in your cell phone. These include your local fire and police lines, the power company, the nearest hospital, and your insurance providers. To find out if your insurance is ready for a fall or winter storm, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.

Four Tips for a Healthier Autumn

Temperatures are slowly dropping here in Massachusetts. As you prepare for the leaves to change (and eagerly await your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year) make sure that your focus stays on being at your best. One of the most important ways to stay at your peak is to stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy in the Fall months:

  1. Don’t Skip the Flu Shot: No one wants to get the flu, so prevent it with a flu shot (if you are eligible). Also do your best to avoid getting a cold by keeping your hands clean, among other preventative techniques.
  2. Embrace a Pumpkin Diet: In addition to being a great decorating item, pumpkins are a great food! They are high in vitamins A and C, and the seeds are a great healthy snack when roasted.
  3. Enjoy the Weather: Fall is the perfect time to get outside and exercise. Winter’s harsh cold will be here before you know it, so don’t squander this perfectly crisp and cool weather.
  4. Plan Ahead for Holidays: It’s never too early to start making plans for Thanksgiving. If you’re hosting friends and family, make sure that there are plenty of healthy options on the table.

For more great tips on how to be at your best, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. And remember, our agents are here to help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs – just call 617-298-0655 with your insurance questions, and let us know if you would like a quote!

Should You Stage Your “For Sale” Home?

When trying to sell your Massachusetts home, you know that it is important to do everything you can to entice buyers. One of the best things you can do to increase interest in your home is to stage it. Depending on the Boston real estate agent you work with, they may recommend staging your home right away, or waiting to see the initial interest to evaluate the need for professional staging services.

It is important to note the value in staging a home that’s for sale. In the 2017 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of Realtors, you can see facts that may convince you to stage your home from the outset of your sale, including:

  • 49% of buyers’ agents said that a staged home had an effect on their buyer’s view.
  • About one third of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered on the home. 50% of sellers’ agents said this increase was up to ten percent.
  • In addition, nearly 40% of sellers’ agents said that staging a home ‘greatly reduces’ the amount of time that the home is on the market.

If you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, contact Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a list of trusted Massachusetts real estate agents. We work with some of the best in the business, and we would be happy to help you chose the real estate agent that’s right for you. And remember to call us at 617-298-0655 for help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs.

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!