Why You Should Avoid Private Mortgage Insurance

couple moving to a new home and researching how to avoid private mortgage insurance

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is an extra type of insurance your mortgage company may require you to pay for if you are unable to provide the full down payment the mortgage company requires. That minimum is typically around 20 percent of the total value of the home. Unlike a good home insurance policy, private mortgage insurance is not an ideal option for many new homeowners. It results in significant wasted money and includes few benefits. 

Private Mortgage Insurance Is Expensive

Suppose your reason for considering private mortgage insurance is being unable to afford a 20 percent down payment on your new home. In that case, the last thing you want to deal with is an extra type of costly insurance. This will significantly increase the overall cost of your home over time. Most private mortgage insurance costs between 0.5% and 1% of the total value of your home. This can average $1,000 or more per year. 

Depending on where you live, this average can rise well over $3,000 per year. This is in addition to your regular homeowners insurance. 

It’s Difficult to Cancel

Private mortgage insurance also tends to be more difficult to get out of than other types of insurance. You are technically only supposed to need to pay for private mortgage insurance until your total equity reaches the 20 percent that you might have otherwise paid as a full down payment on your new home. But  some contracts require payment for a specified period of time. This can happen even if that time is longer than you need to meet your 20 percent obligation. 

Contracts may also require a formal letter, appraisal of your home, or other documentation to have your cancellation approved. This can take months to complete. It might also require you to pay for your private mortgage insurance for longer than you would otherwise need to. 

Private Mortgage Insurance Is Not Deductible

As of 2017, private mortgage insurance is no longer tax-deductible, which means you will lose more money to taxes. 

At Vargas and Vargas, we work for you and not your insurance company. So contact us today to learn more about how we can help you avoid purchasing private mortgage insurance and explore options you may have for handling your homeowners insurance needs at the best possible cost. Also, visit our blog to learn more about getting the most out of your homeowners insurance

10 Things to Do Before Moving: Your Moving Checklist

family moving into a new home

Moving is stressful, and you may end up forgetting something in the process of moving. So here is a quick moving checklist to ensure that you take care of everything in your home as you move.

1. Prepare for Your Move Early

The first thing you have to do is prepare early for your move.  No matter the time of the year, getting a reputable mover can be hard. Early preparation will help you get through the weeks with less stress. 

2. Choose a Mover

Unless you want to self-move, you should look for a professional mover.  Look for reliable and experienced movers. If any of your friends and family have used a mover before, you can ask if they can recommend one. 

3. Pack All Your Items Boxes

Start putting the items you use less often in a box. This can include books, Christmas decorations, croquet sets, and seasonal articles.

4. Clean the Rugs and Draperies

Make sure you clean your rugs and draperies before moving to your new home. They will be returned wrapped. Don’t take them out of the wrap until you reach your new location.

5. Get a Written Appraisal of Your Antique Items

Make sure you note the prices of all your appraised items, such as antiques. These items need additional insurance from the moving company.

6. Book the Moving Elevator

If you’re moving to an upper floor, make sure you book an elevator. By doing so, you’ll reduce the hassle for the people living in that apartment. It’s also advisable to confirm the parking for a moving truck and get permission early.

7. Switch Utilities

Have the utilities in your old home disconnected the day after you move. You should also make sure that you cancel your home internet, phone, newspaper service, and even local club memberships.

8. Contact Your Insurance Company

You’ll also have to change your insurance when moving. So get in touch with your insurance company to transfer your policies.

9. Request for Time Off of Work

If you are moving out on a weekday, then you need to take time off work. If you can’t get time off, you can arrange with your friends or family to meet with the moving company.

10. Address Minor Home Repairs

Once you find time, you should do minor home repairs before you move out. This is especially important if you’re selling your home.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’re here to help as you move to your next home. We provide customized insurance coverage to meet your specific needs and budget, and we are also always available to answer all your questions about insurance. Our team will work for you and not the insurance company. Contact us today as part of your moving checklist.

The First-Time Homebuyer’s Quick Guide to Finding Insurance

If you are purchasing your first home through a home loan, you will need to show proof of home insurance to your lenders before they can finalize the loan.

First-time homebuyers moving into their home

Since lenders do hold a lien on your property until you finish paying off your loan, having clients under home insurance is in their best interest. This can help protect the equity they have in your home in case of damages, such as electrical hazards.

While you might not always need to have insurance if you are paying your home through an unsecured line of credit or with cash, it pays to invest in it. Home insurance helps keep your home protected. When shopping for insurance, comparing prices and policies makes it easy to pick an insurance policy that covers your home optimally and is affordable enough.

Here are some insights on finding home insurance:

1. Pay Attention to the Limits

Home insurance coverage is divided into categories. Typically, any personal belongings you own will be covered under Coverage C of your insurance (personal property), and it pays to ensure that the limit will be enough to cater for what you own. However, some items, such as jewelry, will fall under a category containing a sub-limit, which tends to be set by your insurance company. If the sub-limit isn’t enough for such valuables, you have to add a rider for protection.

On the other hand, coverage E (liability) will protect your liability in case someone gets injured by accident in your property. When picking insurance, ensure that the liability limit awarded is enough to cover all your assets. Since most insurance policies set their liability limits at half a million dollars, you should consider buying umbrella insurance for extra coverage if this limit will not be enough for your property.

2. Understand Your Deductibles

Deductibles in insurance are the amount of cash you will pay out of pocket to cover any damages. When setting your deductible, choose a figure that is right into your budget. Unlike car insurance that fixes the deductible to a specific amount, home insurance deductibles might vary.

Some policies wills set your deductible at a percentage of your dwelling coverage. Others tend to have a split deductible system, whereby most claims will work under a set dollar deductible amount, while some claims (such as wind damage and other perils) may work under a percentage.

Also, some carriers might include a wind and storm deductible — or a named storm deductible — as a percentage of your dwelling coverage. To save on insurance costs, you can always increase your deductible. But it might be wise to save an amount equal to the deductible in a savings account for a rainy day.

3. Beware Of Exclusions

In some states, insurance agencies might exclude certain things from your policy. Under most policies, landslides, mudflows, and even earthquakes might be excluded. Flooding, in particular, isn’t always covered. For instance, in Massachusetts, earthquakes and floods are excluded. Even though you do not live in an earthquake or flood-prone area, it might be wise to purchase the extra coverage to eliminate the financial risks.  If you think you need coverage for an excluded peril, talk to your agency about purchasing the ad hoc coverage.

The future is not set in stone. It can be very easy for a disaster to destroy your most prized investment: your home. Home insurance ensures that you can protect your investments. If you want to buy home insurance or get insights on how to save on insurance, feel free to contact us.

Invite Your Neighbors to The Party

Do you know the old advice about throwing a party when you’re the new kid in town?  Yes, it’s housewarming time and you’re so happy and you invite all your friends over to celebrate.  But you don’t want to annoy your new neighbors, do you?  It’s no good getting on the bad side of your neighbors when you’re the newbie on the street/floor.

The old advice about just such a moment is to invite those very same neighbors! That’s right, don’t just invite your friends, invite the neighbors, the people who aren’t your friends.  (Hopefully some day they will be, but that’s another story altogether)

The idea behind this wisdom is that, if your party gets a little loud, your neighbors can’t possibly complain to you by banging on your door, or, worse, by calling the police.  How can they complain about your party when you invited them in the first place?  They could easily have accepted your invitation, and could just as easily be enjoying themselves with all the other revelers and getting to know you, their new neighbor too.

Take that advice a step further when you’re going to get some serious construction or landscaping work done on your home. Invite the neighbors, in a manner of speaking.  

Let’s say you hired a tree company to come in and remove several large trees.  You know the crew is going to arrive early in the morning.  And you know it’s going to get loud out there very quickly, between chainsaws, falling trees, workers yelling, and, oh, the wood chipper blasting!

Why leave it to chance that your neighbors are going to be annoyed by this early morning noise?  Let them know in advance about the work, either with a notecard you leave on their door, or a nice letter in the mail, or by knocking on the door, and introducing yourself.  You might even invite them to stop by for a cup of coffee to watch the trees come down!

There’s a lot to be said about tranquility in your neighborhood, and this is a great way to promote that, and make some new friends in the process.  So, when you’re getting major repair work or landscaping work done at your house, invite the neighbors!

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance portfolio. Please schedule a call with us to discuss your policies.

Back to School: Finance 101 – Your Children Money

It’s never too early to talk to your children about money and finances.

Specifically, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance? 
Life insurance is the safest and most secure way to protect your family and dependents against financial ruin should the family breadwinners die.

Helping Your Children Reach Their Dreams

When was the last time you spoke to your children about money?
About financial planning?

Many families believe that talking about money is taboo. However, if children are raised to fear certain discussions, they may not have the confidence to think and focus clearly on fundamentals to achieve their dreams when the time comes for them to make responsible financial decisions.

Whole life insurance can help give your children a financial head start.
It provides a guaranteed amount of life insurance that also accumulates cash value.

Securing life insurance on your children is a sound strategy to kick start the financial planning your children will appreciate as they enter adulthood. Entering adulthood means having to make tough financial decisions. It’s a right of passage in its own right.

As adults, your children could have the benefit of accessing their policy’s cash value for any reason, including but not limited to:

  • College tuition and expenses
  • Funding a wedding
  • A down payment on a house
  • Starting a business

Never Too Young to Start

Life insurance premiums are based on a number of factors, including a person’s age and health. Premiums are generally lower for children because they are young and healthy. This is one of the basic reasons why this makes sense to help your children structure their own life insurance portfolio.

A Gift They Can’t Outgrow

Children outgrow clothes, toys and other gifts. A whole life policy is different. You can give your children a fully-funded life insurance policy that will provide:

  • Permanent life insurance to one day protect their families.
  • Cash value that can be used to help fund life’s big events.
  • The option to increase their protection as their families grow.

Remember, if you are afraid to discuss money, that will transcend to your children’s belief system too. Give them the gift of financial freedom by way of planning and knowledge.

If you would like to discuss a comprehensive insurance review and any advice that pertains to your kids financial future, please call Jack Carrigg at 617-298-0655 ext 104 or email Jack at jcarrigg@vargasinsurance.com.