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.

Recap: Boston Spring Events

Last week was the official beginning of Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. As we prepare to feel the higher temperatures (not to mention firing up the grill and preparing to dive in to a swimming pool) we are marking our calendars for some of the great events going on in Boston over the next few months. Are you attending any of these?

  • Easter EggStravaganza! on March 31
  • Taste of Dorchester on April 26
  • Neponset River Cleanup on April 28
  • The Sound of Music from May 1-13
  • Dorchester Day on June 3

These are just a few of the events we covered in our full blog last week. Go to that post for the full details, as well as links to the events.

As the weather improves, we are starting that time of year when we leave our homes more and enjoy all that our wonderful city has to offer. Whether you’re taking a vacation or a day trip, make sure that you brush up on the following safety tips.

When you go out, make sure that someone knows where you are and has a way to contact you. If you’re taking children out with you, make sure they know what to do if they get lost, including how to contact a responsible adult.

So what types of events are you looking forward to attending this Spring? If we missed one, let us know on Facebook. And remember – Vargas and Vargas Insurance is here to help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs!

Bridging the Gap Between Captive and Independent Insurance Agents

In the insurance world, there are two types of agents: captive agents and independent agents. Years ago, you could ask either type, and they would have told you that it’s their way or the highway, and that the other type of agent isn’t as customer friendly for various reasons.

Thankfully, here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we know better. Having worked as both a captive and an independent agent, I can say with confidence that both have their ups and downs, but we can fulfill our ultimate goal of helping our customers by working together.

That’s right – formerly sworn enemies working together. It may sound like the plot of a B-movie at first, but it’s true. Like I mentioned earlier, captive and independent agents both have their strengths and weaknesses:

  • Captive Agents wrote the book on branding consistency. While they may not all wear ‘khakis’ like Jake from State Farm, they know how to unvaryingly sell a product and have an image of uniformity that independent agents could learn from.
  • Independent Agents, because they aren’t beholden to one insurance provider, are all about flexibility. They can cover anyone in almost any situation with something from their proverbial ‘bag of tricks,’ something that captive agents sometimes need.
  • All insurance agents know one thing for certain: it’s important that we continue to evangelize for ourselves as an insurance community. In today’s digital age, an ever-increasing amount of people don’t have a dedicated insurance agent because they’re buying online. It’s our job to show them the downfall of shopping online for insurance, and the benefits of having a dedicated agent to get quotes, file claims, and more.

In the end, both captive and independent insurance agents share one common goal: help their customer get the insurance policies that they need. As a captive agent, it is sometimes hard to find the perfect product for your client within the parameters of the products that you’re allowed to sell.

You can show your customer that you’re willing to be flexible in order to get them the insurance products that they require with a referral to an independent insurance agent just for that product. You will look like an insurance expert, and this gesture will show them that, without question, you have the client’s best interest at heart. And don’t worry – we won’t try to steal your client. We’ll just get them the one policy that they need and send them back to you happy and fully covered.

So, for example, you can send a client to our agency if they need a specialized home insurance policy, but keep their auto insurance and other policies with your company.

If you’re a captive insurance agent and you want to find out more about how you can team up with Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for the benefit of your clients, all you have to do is reach out! Call our agency at 617-298-0655 and we can have coffee and figure out how to start a mutually beneficial relationship right away.

I will finish this blog with this quote:

“Price is what you pay value is what you get.”

-Warren Buffet

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Resolutions for You and Your Home Insurance

It’s almost the start of a new year, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to start focusing on your goals and resolutions! If you’re looking for a resolution for the New Year, consider one of the following. They will not only improve your life but could also help you save money on your Massachusetts home insurance policy!

Get Organized – One popular resolution that people make for a new year is to get more organized. Whether you’re planning on cleaning your home from top to bottom, or even paring down some of your stuff, now would be a great time to update (or start) a home inventory! Having an up-to-date list of your valuables can be a huge help if you ever need to make a home insurance claim.

Quit Smoking – Getting healthy is a big goal for people when new year rolls around, and ‘Quit Smoking’ is on a lot of resolution lists. Did you know, though, that quitting could also save on your home insurance? Some insurance providers offer a discount if no one in the home smokes!

Go Green – If you’re aiming to do your part to help the planet this coming year, your insurance agent could help you! In some cases, eco-friendly and energy efficient appliances could reduce your home insurance premiums.

Save Money – There are lots of ways that you can save money. In addition to monitoring your spending and creating a budget, consider calling your home insurance agent or automobile insurance agent and asking what you could do to lower your insurance payment. We have several suggestions on how to make a big difference on your premium’s bottom line.

Eight Essential Car Care Tips

car care tips

You know how to take care of your body with good nutrition and regular exercise, but do you know these eight car care tips that will keep your vehicle healthy? Some of these maintenance tasks can even be done a home with some inexpensive materials and a little bit of training! If you make your car’s well-being a priority, it will continue to serve you for many years to come.

Regular Oil Changes – One of the best things that you can do for your vehicle is to ensure that it gets fresh oil on a regular basis. If you neglect your oil, it will begin to take a toll on your engine – something that no one wants to replace prematurely, especially when the preventative care is so cheap comparatively!

The Cooling System – Ensure that your coolant is changed annually. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions to do so, but a good rule of thumb is a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water. This will prevent corrosion and deposits from forming in your cooling system.

Transmission and Other Fluids – Your car requires several different types of fluids to run. Make sure that you are following your manufacturer’s recommendations for the types of fluids to use when it comes to things like the transmission fluids, and have them replaced regularly to keep your car healthy.

Lubrication is Key – Parts of your car need to move in sync in order to function. This is made possible with lubrication. Making sure that your engine is properly lubricated will help ensure that everything continues to move smoothly.

Wheel Bearing ServiceMaintaining your wheel bearings is cheap and simple for most vehicles. What’s not cheap and easy is replacing your spindle and hub, or fixing your vehicle when a wheel detaches.

Brake Fluid Maintenance – Brake fluid is a peculiar substance because it’s attracted to water. Water is an enemy to metal, the main component of your vehicle. Replacing your brake fluid annually will keep moisture away from other parts of your car and prevent corrosion.

Wash Inside and Out – Your car deserves a good deep cleaning once in a while. Give everything a good vacuum and wipe down, and remember to rinse off the undercarriage (especially in the winter if there’s salt and debris under there).

Apply Wax Regularly – Keep your car looking shiny and new (and protect your paint) with a fresh coat of wax every six months. You can do this yourself at home, or opt for a car wash that includes wax the next time you go to a local car wash for a scrub!

The one main point to take away from these eight tips is that preventative maintenance is cheap and easy, but fixing the issues that could otherwise arise is a huge (and typically expensive) task. Learn how to do some car maintenance yourself, or make regular appointments with your service provider to keep your vehicle healthy for years to come.

And here’s a bonus tip for keeping your car in tip-top shape: get a car insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency! With a policy from our agency, you can rest assured knowing that you will be protected in case you get into an accident. Financial protection like that is hard to find, so call us at 617-298-0655 now to speak to a Massachusetts auto insurance expert about getting a free quote.

Choosing Between Insurance Companies

When you look for a new insurance policy, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the endless number of insurance companies that exist. Each offers a wide array of coverage options, and each and every one will claim to be the best for you and your family.

Choosing Between Right Insurance Companies

How do you know which provider to use?

Here are a few considerations that you should take into account when you are looking for a new insurance policy:

Consider the Coverage

Every person has a unique set of needs when it comes to an insurance policy, whether it’s home insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, or another type of insurance. In the same vein, each insurance provider offers products that are slightly different. Your goal should be to find an insurance provider that sells a product that is in line with your needs.

Differentiate between Discounts

Just like the coverage varies between providers, so too do the discounts offered. While there may be a few similar discounts between providers, there will no doubt be one sole provider that can offer you the lowest price based on your distinctive situation.

Read the Reviews

Another important piece of the ‘insurance provider’ puzzle is customer service – you can have great coverage at a great price, but that doesn’t help you if you need to make a claim and can’t get a hold of anyone to help you. Before you decide which of the many insurance companies is right for you, make sure to do your research and find out about the quality of customer service at each one you are considering.

When in doubt, talk to a local independent insurance agent!

All of this may seem a bit overwhelming… thankfully, there is an easy solution to choosing the right insurance provider! Instead of wading through an unending number of insurance companies by yourself, get help from an agent at your local independent insurance agency – Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency!

When you talk to an independent insurance agent, they will gather all the necessary information from you, and then go on a hunt for the policy that best fits your needs. This means that you will only have to give your information once (instead of filling it out for each and every quote that you want) and your agent will do all of the work for you! They will search through several insurance providers to find the one with the right coverage, and discounts for which you are eligible.

If you would like to find out how much money you could save on your insurance premiums by going through an independent insurance agency, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. One of our experienced and friendly agents will be happy to get you several insurance quotes for your product of choice, and can even help you pick the policy that is best for you. And remember – you can save even more on your insurance premiums if you bundle your policies through the same insurance companies!