Is the FAIR Plan Home Insurance the Best Choice for Your Insurance Needs?

Not everyone lives in the most serene locations or moves into the most perfect of homes. And sometimes, issues can arise that make finding quality insurance quite difficult. That’s when a FAIR Plan insurance policy might be the best course of action.

Whether it’s from outdated wiring, roof damages, owning a high-risk dog breed, or filing too many claims, you could find yourself losing coverage of your home. However, there are options available when facing these high-risk elements.

What is the FAIR Plan?

Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, or FAIR, are plans that offer protection to homeowners, Condominiums, and nonowner-occupied properties, also known as Dwelling policies who usually cannot otherwise get coverage elsewhere. These types of policies focus on the home itself rather than the owner.

For instance, if your home is in a location prone to various severe weather conditions or crime, you may qualify for FAIR Plan coverage. This also includes residences that have old plumbing or electrical systems, as they are more likely to have been flooded or fire damaged.

Essentially, the Fair Plan offers insurance for people who are sometimes unable to qualify for a regular type of insurance plan due to the high-risk nature of the home or high insurance premium communities.

How Do You Qualify for FAIR Plan Insurance?

The qualifications for FAIR home insurance vary from state to state. Nonetheless, a lot of plans follow several eligibility requirements across the board.

Still, you may want to look into the specific requirements for your area or call us to help you.

In any case, having a “high-risk” home doesn’t automatically qualify you for FAIR Plan coverage. And in most cases, you may need to make improvements to your property before coverage is allowed.

For example, repairing prior damage or making sure that your home has no safety hazards.

What is Covered By FAIR Plan Insurance?

FAIR Plan home insurance policies provide the same coverage that traditional plans do. The FAIR Plan provides you coverage when you most need it.

The FAIR Plan will cover damages from fires, vandalism, windstorms, and other severe weather. This includes the contents of the home in some instances.

When it comes to liability, some FAIR Plan home insurance plans provide a cushion of up to $500,000 for personal protection. This includes up to $5,000 if your property injures a third party.

What are the Best Home Insurance Plans in Massachusetts?

FAIR Plan home insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you have a policy that can cover you. Regardless of your situation, there are coverage options available.

At Vargas & Vargas insurance, we specialize in all forms of insurance, including high-risk properties, homes that have outdated wiring, and various dog breeds I mentioned earlier. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get home insurance for your house or condo or investment property.

How to Protect Your Home from Rising Housing Costs

In many areas, the housing market is skyrocketing. In fact, many homes in the United States have doubled and even tripled in price. And while these rising housing costs may give you pause, it’s important to keep yourself protected.

While you may be tempted to find a way to reduce Coverage A your new home to save money, the alternative could put you in financial dire straights.

Today, let’s go over some of the ways you can keep your home protected even as the housing market continues to inflate.

Understanding Market Price vs Build Cost

There is a big difference between the market price of your home and its build cost. The materials that go into building or repairing your home could greatly vary.

For example, during the pandemic, the cost of wood skyrocketed. This meant the repair costs of certain types of damages would have been much greater. Not having enough Coverage A would have resulted in additional costs for you.

This is true regardless of where your home was located or its appraisal value.

Running a Replacement Costs Estimate

A replacement cost is when you calculate how much it would cost to rebuild a residence that is virtually similar to your previous home. Now, this estimate takes into consideration the quality of the materials used as well as various amenities and sizes.

However, it doesn’t include things like land value or other improvements made aside from the basic structure. This estimate could help you get an idea of how much Coverage A you will need in the event of a catastrophe.

Adding EDC to Your Home

Extended Dwelling Coverage, or EDC, is the additional amount of insurance from your provider to compensate in the event of a “total loss” going beyond your current coverage. In other words, it fills in the gaps when rising costs affect the amount covered when repairing or rebuilding housing.

Having an adequate EDC in your policy is always a good call. It can mean the difference between having full coverage or having to pay some of the expenses yourself.

Communicate with Your Agent

Perhaps one of the most effective ways of protecting your home when rising housing costs run rampant is by staying in communication with your agent. They are a wealth of information and will do everything they can to help within your budget.

Whether it’s finding discounts or making tweaks to your policy to provide enough coverage, your agent is on your side.

Rising Housing Costs Shouldn’t Detract from Coverage Decisions

Home insurance is one thing you do not want to skimp on. In the event of an emergency, having too little Coverage A could wind up costing you a lot of money out-of-pocket. Don’t let rising housing costs dissuade you from shielding your wallet from damages.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’ll go the extra mile to ensure that your home remains protected. This is regardless of how the housing market performs. It’s our job to make sure that you have coverage without breaking the bank.

Contact us today and let us help you get peace of mind when it comes to insuring your home.

Does Inflation Cause Insurance Rates to Go Up?

Inflation will affect a wide scope of products and services. Unfortunately, this also includes home and auto insurance. The reason for this is that insurers examine several factors when determining rates. One of these factors is the cost to repair or replace.

How Inflation Can Affect Insurance Rates

If the cost of raw materials goes up, this will have an impact on how much an insurer will need to cover predetermined expenses.

For example, a lot of automobiles require microchips in order to function properly. Thanks to the global chip shortage, the costs to replace them are much higher than they were five years ago.

This means insurers must pass on the more expensive auto repairs to clients.

Some expenses for home repair recently increased in 2020 and 2021. However, lumber prices have come down as inventories continue to pile up due to things like mortgage rates increasing, which decreases demand for new home sales.

However, shortages can come in a variety of forms for housing. For example, a current lack of labor and certain electrical equipment can ultimately affect new construction and repairs.

This all culminates in how an insurer adjusts your premiums. In other words, it’s common for inflation to directly affect how much you’ll pay for home and auto insurance.

It all comes down to the cost of repairs should something happen.

Ways to Lower Your Monthly Premiums

Although inflation will directly impact insurance rates, there are several things you can do to reduce the costs on your end.

A few ways you can lower monthly insurance premiums include:

  • Bundling auto and home insurance packages – many insurers will offer discounts by combining policies.
  • Pay for a year in advance – depending on your insurer, you may be offered a discount if you pay for a year or more ahead of time.
  • Increase your deductibles – Although this means you’ll need to have more money out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in, a higher deductible often results in lower monthly premiums.
  • Check your insurer for any home and auto insurance discount programs – for instance, many auto insurers will have “good driver” discounts for those who have never filed a claim.
  • Demonstrate being a safe homeowner – it’s possible that you may qualify for discounts if you show a history of not filing insurance claims or have equipment installed to prevent damage to the home.
  • Make home improvements – it doesn’t take a massive investment to improve the home. Something as simple as improved lighting, CO2 sensors, or installing a doorbell camera may help reduce insurance premiums.

Of course, this also depends greatly on your insurance agent. But for the most part, insurers have a variety of discounts available if you ask for them.

Let Us Help You Weather Inflation Issues

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’ll help you customize your plan to help you adjust during times of inflation. We are here to offer you solutions that will fit your budget. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

From auto insurance to home protection, don’t let rising costs scare you away from protecting your property.

How Extreme Heat Waves Can Easily Damage Your Home

Heat waves are becoming more commonplace in many areas of the globe. By July of 2022, three heat waves have swept through the United States. And this doesn’t include the excessive temperatures in places like Europe and Great Britain.

Heat waves can be exceptionally dangerous to human life, which is why you need to keep yourself and your family safe. Yet, they are also exceptionally dangerous to the home.

Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature.

Wear and Tear to Structures

A large portion of homes are made with a wooden structure. From support beams to floors and roofs, there is a lot of lumber in many houses and businesses.

The problem is that wood contracts and expands due to varying temperatures. This fluctuation becomes more rapid and extreme depending on the ambient heat and cold fronts.

The end result is the wood begins to crack and split in various locations throughout the residence. This can compromise the structural integrity of the building and could result in causing far more damage down the line.

For example, a split support beam is less likely to hold the weight of walls or ceilings.

Leaky Roofs

Speaking of splitting wood, the roof is perhaps your first defense against the elements. Due to its construction materials and ability to absorb sunlight and heat, it’s constantly exposed to extreme weather.

As I mentioned earlier, wood begins to crack as it constricts and expands. This includes the materials your shingles are nailed to. Once the smallest crack forms, moisture can easily enter and begin wreaking havoc on the roof.

This doesn’t include how heat waves can cause shingles and other roof types to warp, exposing the underbelly of the roof to even more potential damage.

Wildfire Hazards

An inevitable outcome of heat waves is the onset of wildfires. You’ve probably seen a lot of news coverage in 2022 regarding the damage these fires have caused just in the first half of the year alone.

If a strong wind picks up, wildfires can quickly consume large swaths of land in a very short period of time.

Even if the fire doesn’t consume the entire home, everything from electrical to plumbing damage can be part of the end result. The smallest fires have the potential to cost hundreds if not thousands to repair.

Foundation and Cement Damage

Wood isn’t the only building material that will be affected by heat waves. In fact, the very foundation of your home can be subject to extensive damage during extreme temperatures and drought.

For instance, when the moisture in the soil evaporates, the foundation is less likely to keep a firm grip on the ground. You’ll often see these kinds of effects on sidewalks and roads as cracks begin to form.

However, the actual foundation of your house can also experience the same fate. And just like the roof, cracks in the foundation can lead to a variety of leaks and other weather-based damage.

Protect Yourself During Heat Waves

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’ll help you stay protected against a variety of weather issues. From heat waves to floods, contact us today to find out what we can do to customize your policies for the future.

The last thing you want to experience is a leak in the middle of winter after a heat wave compromised your roof.

6 Ways Insurance Agents Can Help When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. However, it can also be stressful as you want the best deal possible while finding that “perfect” house. Have you thought about how an insurance agent can help you find the home of your dreams?

Being a Local Expert

Whether you’re a local yourself or moving into a new city, insurance agents are experts in their geographic location. This means they can help by making recommendations while knowing the ins and outs of the locale.

These insights can include everything from school districts to lifestyle happenings and safety. Being part of the local community gives agents a great perspective of the area including specific neighborhoods.

Accurate Cost of Home Insurance Coverages

A local insurance agent will have the ability to provide an accurate estimation of homeowner’s coverage. Thanks to their familiarity with the locale and market values, you’ll get a better idea of how much you’ll spend in addition to your mortgage.

Things like safety features, square footage, and neighborhood can affect your monthly premiums. Contacting a local insurance agent when buying a home takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation.

Better Understanding of Coverage Types

Working in the local area, insurance agents have a better grasp of the types of coverage you might need. For instance, does the location of your prospective new home have an issue with flooding?

This can also benefit you in the other direction as an agent can help save you money by not requiring coverage types. For example, it’s unlikely you’ll need earthquake coverage if the area hasn’t experienced one in a century or two.

Understanding Previous Claims

One of the more profound aspects to using a local insurance agent is his or her understanding of previous claims. What are the most prominent issues for the area in which you’re looking?

This can help you spot all kinds of warning signs before you decide to put a bid on that new home. What if the neighborhood has a long history of flood damage?

Home Inspection Reviews

Home inspections are a crucial step when it comes to buying a home. These determine the safety of the structure and what may need to be addressed soon.

Your local insurance agent can take a look at this inspection and use it as a guide into what issues might impact your rates. Things like electrical wiring, foundation cracks, mold detection, or roof damage can cost you quite a bit. In fact, depending on the extent of the damage, the seller might not be able to sell the home until those issues are fixed.

Capacity to Save Money when Buying a Home

Not only can a local insurance agent help you save money by avoiding certain homes, but you might also get discounts on premiums. Some insurers will discount rates if the home has:

  • smoke alarms
  • sprinkler systems
  • security systems
  • carbon monoxide sensors
  • energy-efficient appliances
  • or other disaster-prevention elements

Local Insurance Agents are a Treasure Trove of Information

Never underestimate the value of your local insurance agent. He or she will have a deeper understanding of many aspects you might not consider.

Let Vargas & Vargas Insurance assist in making one of the biggest decisions of your life. Contact us today and we’ll do what we can to make sure you find that perfect home with the affordable coverage you’ll need.

Captive Versus Independent Insurance Agents For Your Automobile and Home Insurance; An Honest Comparison

When you’re shopping for insurance, knowing the different types of insurance agents is important as part of understanding whom you should work with.
 
There are two kinds of insurance agents — captive (who represents one insurance company) and independent (also known as an insurance broker).
 
Many online insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual depend exclusively on captive agents, but some like GEICO and Progressive rely on a mixture of captives and independents.
 
Both types of agents can provide the kind of quality expertise you need to make one of life’s important financial decisions. But there are some big differences between the two.
 
Captive agents
 
Captive agents work directly for a single insurance provider and are limited to the products of that company. For example, if you call a captive agent who works for State Farm, he or she will market and try to sell you only State Farm products. How they get paid is set by their insurance company, and they are paid by that one company.
 
On the plus side, these agents are experts in what their insurance companies have to offer. But they cannot help a client who doesn’t need or qualify for their company’s products. And captive agents usually have quotas to hit to keep their job and earn bonuses. Although that’s not terribly different from independent agents, you might feel a bit more pressure to buy car insurance from a captive agent when all you really want is term life.
 
Independent agents 
 
Independent agents, meanwhile, work for themselves and not any one insurance company. They sell policies from a variety of insurance companies, not just one, there is no increase in the premium to work with an independent insurance agent, and make most of their money through sales commissions and bonuses from the carriers.
 
Independent agents can save you some time by getting insurance quotes from a few different insurers, we have 11 insurance carriers that we can provide you with an insurance quote.
 
Which is best?
 
The type of insurance coverage you choose depends on your needs and your budget.
 
If you’re looking for multiple quotes from different companies, an independent insurance agent probably is the way to go. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can save you time and money, reach our agents at 617-298-0655.

Spring Cleaning & Maintenance Checklist to Prevent Home Insurance Claims

Want to maximize your spring cleaning schedule to include maintenance items that can help prevent home insurance claims? Read on for some helpful tips!

Organize and declutter

Go through each room in your home and remove any objects that are not useful or needed anymore. Organize your storage space so that useful items are contained neatly. By preventing clutter from accumulating, you are reducing your fire hazards.

Store chemicals and other dangerous items out of the reach of children and pets

While you are going through your home, keep an eye out for any items that could be a potential source of danger for your children or pets. Look for medicine or cleaning chemicals that need to be stored in safe places. Consider adding child locks to certain cabinets to minimize the danger for children. 

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Come up with a plan to help you prepare your home for general maintenance to help prevent serious issues down the road. Having a maintenance schedule helps you feel less overwhelmed by scheduling different services throughout the year, while also giving you peace of mind that your home will be up to date and as safe as possible.

Some must-include items for your maintenance schedule

  1. Check your carbon monoxide and fire alarms. According to staysafe.org, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires are two of the leading safety hazards for homeowners. Make sure your alarms have fresh batteries and are in working order.
  2. Change the air conditioning filter. Air conditioning filters are meant to sort out harmful particles such as dust and mold. By preventing the spread of mold you are keeping your house safer and your family healthier!
  3. Inspect your roof. Check for missing shingles and clogged gutters. This helps prevent water damage to your home and its foundation.
  4. Check Your Oil Tank. Unwanted oil tank leaks can cause a huge headache, especially because oil tank leaks are rarely covered with home insurance plans

Stay one step ahead of your maintenance needs!

By keeping your house clean and up-to-date on maintenance, you minimize your risks of safety hazards and damages in the future. It’s worth it! Click here to read one of our earlier posts on Spring cleaning.

When you finish cleaning your house, give Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency a call and we’ll help you clean up your insurance portfolio! One of our friendly and knowledgeable agents can review your home insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and other insurance policies to make sure that you have all the coverage that you need, and at the right price. Don’t hesitate, call now – 617-298-0655.

What A Home Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover

Is your home insurance policy covering you when you need it most? If you’re like most people on a “standard” home insurance plan, there are several things that aren’t actually covered with your policy!

Don’t worry – you’re about to find out what a home insurance policy doesn’t cover, and how you can quickly make a few updates to your plan to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need.

Before we get into that, take a quick inventory of what you’re hoping is covered in the case an unfortunate event presents itself to you. As we take a deeper dive into what isn’t covered, you’ll be able to quickly identify whether you’ll need extra coverage or if you’re in the clear!

What Doesn’t A Home Insurance Policy Cover?

Most home insurance policies don’t cover the following:

  • In-Home Businesses
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Vehicles used for business
  • High-value Jewelry.

Take a quick look at each in more detail, and how you can protect yourself.

In-Home Businesses Are Not Covered By Your Homeowners Insurance

Did you join the recent surge of people deciding to jump into at-home work, including freelancing, or even starting a business that’s based in their home? Whether you’ve just started or you’ve been at it for years, many people are unprepared for a sudden loss to their business equipment.

Don’t let that be you!

There are several ways to get your business property covered if you’ve got a home-based business.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), you can:

  1. Add a Policy Endorsement to your existing homeowners insurance. This simple endorsement is a simple way to increase your coverage to include business property. If your policy has minimal coverage for business property already (as some policies do), this can be a low-cost way to get the coverage you need.
  2. Add an In-Home Business Policy. This policy is for you if you need more comprehensive coverage for business equipment and have a need for liability coverage for your business. It can be a life-saver if you need to recoup costs beyond simple business property, such as loss of important papers, records, income, etc.
  3. Add a Businessowners Policy (BOP). If you’re a small/mid sized business that operates out of more than one location (including your home), you’ll want to consider the broader coverage offered by a BOP. 

Be Careful: Floods Are Not Covered In Most Home Insurance Policies

This one is slightly tricky, as most people don’t think they live in an area susceptible to flooding.

However, “flooding” can mean many things in your insurance policy. For example, a failed sump pump or water damage due to a clogged drain are generally not covered in a standard home insurance policy.

Many people have been saved by adding a separate flood insurance policy, as there is some gray area in standard policies, and they chose to be safe rather than sorry!

Earthquakes Aren’t Covered

Earthquakes are on the rise, according to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration branch of the US Government (and shown in this chart). Despite this, earthquakes are not covered by most home insurance policies.

If the thought of an earthquake hitting your area makes you tremble a little, you may want to consider specific earthquake coverage to be on the safe side.

Vehicles used for business

Not surprisingly, vehicles used for business are not covered in a homeowners policy, even if the damage to the vehicle happens on your property.

High-Value Jewelry

Jewelry-lovers take note! If you’ve got jewelry valued at over $2,000, there’s a good chance your homeowners insurance will not cover these pieces.

To make sure you’re covered, you can easily add on additional coverage into your policy to account for the loss if something should happen to your valuables. 

We’d recommend learning about coverage for commercial auto insurance if you own vehicles used for business, or check with your employer to ensure they have the correct coverage.

We’re Here To Help Find The Right Coverage For Your Situation

Don’t be alarmed if you’re in any of the categories above. Everyone’s situation is unique, and you deserve to be informed about what is – and what isn’t – included in your coverage. 

Let’s talk over your current policy and make sure you’ve got everything you need for your situation. 
Contact us today to get a customized plan, or to just get the peace of mind that you desire!

Homeowners Insurance Facts

If you own and home or condominium with an outstanding mortgage, you are required to carry homeowner insurance.  But, if you are thinking of purchasing one, you should know what insurance policies cover and don’t cover you for.

Some Loses are not a Part of Home Insurance

If you plan to purchase home insurance, you need to know that standard policies don’t cover earthquakes or floods. In these cases, you may need to add the coverage to your home or condominium policy or purchase separate policies that offer you coverage for these perils.

Some Dog breeds can make it Challenging to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance

All homeowner’s policies give you coverage if your dog bites someone. This way, the liability portion of your insurance saves you from financial ruin. But some insurance providers refuse to offer coverage to homeowners who have dogs with different breeds like Rottweiler and bulls. Therefore, you may have to dig a bit deeper to find the right insurance policy that will also cover you for dog bites.

Polices Can Cover Plane Crashes

Of course, there are chances of a plane falling from the sky onto your house, but some insurance companies still offer you coverage for this. They even offer you a plan for several things that can fall from the sky, including the tree.

Food Spoilage Coverage

A power outage can occur due to several problems. When your fridge is not working, your stored food may get spoiled in a few hours. Some insurance policies offer food spoilage coverage, this kind of coverage will pay you for your spoiled food.

Volcano Damage Plans

It might surprise you, but there are home insurances that cover volcanic damage. If you live near volcanic mountains, this plan is beneficial for you. Even if the volcanoes have been dormant for centuries, it still has some risks. Well, it’s better to save yourself than feel sorry.

Birds Damages and Vermin

Any damages caused by birds, Racoons, or squirrels making their way into your attic are not part of standard homeowner’s insurance plans. Whether wild birds have made a nest on your roof or have damaged your windows, you have to make repairs and replacements all by yourself. The best way to prevent further damage is to call animals experts like Clancy Bros Pest Control who can help you get rid of these creatures.

The Bottom Line

These homeowners insurance facts may have encouraged you to read the policies and plans carefully to get the coverage you are looking for. You can also read our blog on Home insurance terms you need to know..

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help you keep your business safe during the winter season. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs as we offer affordable prices. So contact us today for a free quote.

Insurance Check-Up

Insurance Check-Up

Life Changes and it’s Time for an Insurance Checkup

Having insurance policies is vital to gain great security and protection from unexpected problems. Ensuring everything in your life at an early stage is also a great idea.

While getting yourself and your house, vehicle, and assets insured is vital, you also need an insurance checkup to review your policies yearly. This allows you to ensure that the insurance coverage will be of help to you when your circumstances and lifestyle change. But if your insurance doesn’t cover you as it should, you need to make some changes to the policies or, even purchase new policies to cover your changing needs.

Here are some reasons why you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Change in Family Status

Are you planning to get married or expect a baby? It would help protect your growing family by purchasing the right insurance plan. Insurance checkups will allow you to ensure whether the coverage is enough to support your entire family when you are not around. The loss of a family member through disability and death is also the right time for an insurance plan review.

Remodeling or Moving Your House

If you plan to remodel your house, your house value will surely increase. Similarly, if you move from the house, you might own a property with a higher value than the one you have before. Since your assets have increased, you need an insurance plan that covers these assets.

Retirement Time

When you decide to retire, you need something to rely on for your future expenses, especially final expenses, it’s vital to choose the right insurance plans to protect you properly. It would also be helpful if you had the proper insurance that will pay for your funeral, medical care, and debts.

Chance in Assets Value

Many people insure their jewelry and other assets to get the money if they get damaged or lost. But they forget the fact that these valuable assets increase over time. By keeping the coverage updated regularly for these valuable assets, you are protected in the event you lose them or they are stolen.

Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts on different insurance plans. This way, you can purchase the right insurance plans at much lower prices. So, if you have not received your discounts, it’s time to have an insurance checkup.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s life, house, vehicle, or assets insurance, insurance is not something that you purchase and forget. You need to always look for ways to lower your premiums and avail optimal benefits from your policy. For this purpose, you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Missing Coverage

If you have any assets at all, an umbrella policy is a valuable protection. Home insurance and car insurance policies have liability limits that are often not high enough to protect you adequately. If you are found to be at fault beyond your liability limits, you may be required to pay the remainder of the money out of pocket. It could take all of your savings and assets and even your future assets to make that payment.

This will help you look for flaws in your insurance and allow you to get the features that you don’t have. Not only this but practicing this method can help you lower your premiums and get interesting discounts and offer. So, if you currently have any insurance, consider reviewing it.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs at incredibly affordable prices. Contact us today for a free insurance review or quote.