Recap: Update Your Home Insurance

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You have a home insurance policy to make sure that your home and your possessions are protected, but an insurance policy isn’t a passive investment! There are times when you need to call your Massachusetts insurance agent to update your insurance policy. Make sure to read the full post to find out more about when to talk to your agent, for example:

  • If you make changes or updates to your property, like putting on an addition, adding a pool, or doing any other type of construction.
  • If the housing market adjusts and the value of your home changes.
  • If you purchase something of value and want to ensure that it is covered by your insurance policy.
  • If you decide to rent out a room, whether on a short-term or long-term basis.
  • If you adopt a pet.
  • If you add an alarm or monitoring system to your home.

Do you think it may be time to talk to your insurance agent about updating your Boston home insurance policy? Don’t hesitate to call your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent at 617-298-0655. They can review your current policy to see if you have the right amount of coverage and will also make sure that you are getting all the discounts for which you qualify.

Is It Time to Update Your Home Insurance?

Owning a home can be a lot of work. The home maintenance tasks alone will keep you busy, but thankfully keeping your home insurance up to date is simple! Your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent is always available to help you ensure that your home is covered against all types of perils.

Sometimes, though, you will need to let your insurance agent know that there has been a change in your home or in your life that requires a change to your Massachusetts home insurance policy. Here are just a few examples of times that you should pick up the phone and call your agent:

When you make changes to the property

This should come as no surprise, but you will need to update your home insurance if you make any structural changes to your property. This could mean putting on an addition or any sort of remodeling work. Talk to your insurance agent to tell them about the changing value of your home, and make sure that your insurance is adjusted accordingly.

Putting in a swimming pool also requires a call to your Dorchester insurance agent, both to account for the increasing value of your property and also to add some liability coverage in case of a pool-related accident.

When you purchase something valuable

Home insurance typically provides coverage for all of your possessions, but sometimes it is worth calling your insurance agent to make sure that a new purchase will be properly covered. This is especially true for big ticket items, like artwork, jewelry, and expensive electronics. Talking to your insurance agent will help you guarantee that these items are covered for their replacement value, so that you will be made whole again if they are ever part of a Massachusetts home insurance claim.

When you rent out a room

You have a spare room, so why not put it to work for you? If you have a long-term renter or even if you just rent out your room to vacationers for a few nights at a time through a site like Airbnb, you need to inform your insurance agent. They will be able to help you figure out if you need a landlord’s insurance policy, or just a little extra liability coverage due to your increased exposure to risk.

When you adopt a pet

Adding a furry member to your family is a reason to celebrate! It’s also a reason to call your insurance agent for a home insurance update. Often, especially with dogs, it’s a good idea to have a little extra liability coverage in case of an incident. Remember – you never expect to have an issue, but it’s better to be safe than sorry with these sorts of things!

When you add a security system

Have you considered boosting your home security? Adding a security system can be a great idea for your home, and in addition to keeping you and your loved ones safe, letting your home insurance agent know that you have installed a security system can help you earn a discount on your premium! This is also the case with adding fire and smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors.

When your lifestyle changes

Did you know that you should talk to your insurance agent when you make certain changes to your lifestyle? For example, when you retire you will likely spend a lot more time at home, making you more likely to catch a potential issue. This may mean that your insurance rates are decreased! The same is true for those of you that may quit smoking since the disappearance of cigarettes will make your home safer (and make you healthier).

When you want to protect against disasters

Your home insurance will protect your property and your possessions against many types of perils, but some disasters are not inherently covered. If you want to make sure that you are totally covered, talk to your insurance agent about adding Boston flood insurance and earthquake insurance to your home insurance policy. You can also protect against financial disasters – namely lawsuits – with the proper umbrella insurance policy. These types of coverage are very affordable, especially considering how much protection you will be getting from them!

When you want to change your deductible amount

As the owner of an insurance policy, you know that the deductible and the premium are related. This means that a quick call to your insurance agent to raise your deductible will lower your premium payments, and vice versa. Updating your deductible amount is a great way to either save some out-of-pocket money each month, or to ensure that you pay less if you ever make a home insurance claim.

Updating your home insurance policy couldn’t be easier! All you need to do is talk to an agent at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to our office at 617-298-0655 can get you on the road to making sure that your home has all of the protection that it needs to weather any storm (whether literal or figurative). Don’t wait until it’s too late – check your policy for free today!

Recap: Key Home Insurance Facts

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov

You have a Massachusetts home insurance policy, but how much do you know about it? Most people know their premium amount but get stumped if asked about the details of their policy! Don’t wait until it’s too late – learn the following four key details about your home insurance today:

  • Deductible: Does your policy have a fixed dollar deductible or a percentage-based deductible? Is there only one, or do different claims have different deductible guidelines? Can you raise your deductible amount to save money on your premium?
  • Policy Limits: Most home insurance policies have a few different limits, including the dwelling itself, other structures on the property, personal property, loss of use, liability, and more. Do you know how much coverage you have for each of these types of claims?
  • Covered Perils: Most home insurance policies cover fire, but what about if a neighbor’s tree falls on your home? What about water damage due to a flood? Earthquakes? Sinkholes? The list of possible incidents is endless!
  • Available Discounts: There are many discounts available for Massachusetts home insurance policies. Are you getting all of the ones that you qualify for?

Do you know all of these details about your home insurance policy? If not, call your Boston home insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency today. Make one quick call to 617-298-0655 and one of our agents can review your policy with you and fill you in on all of the important details. They can even check to see if you qualify for any additional discounts – so don’t wait… call now!

Recap: Backyard Improvements

“I feel a responsibility to my backyard. I want it to be taken care of and protected.” – Annie Leibovitz

In our blog post from last week, we shared several ways that you can make your backyard summer-ready. Have you started on any of the projects that we suggested? If you need to refresh your memory, here is a quick recap of a few of the backyard improvement suggestions we made:

  • Make the grill the centerpiece of your backyard.
  • Prepare your pool for Summer use or think about adding one to your yard.
  • Turn a corner of your yard into a relaxation place where you can enjoy peace and quiet and a cold drink.
  • Throwing a cookout? Take inspiration from a cookout and add some fun yard games to entertain your guests.
  • Build a fire pit to fend off the evening chills of Spring, Summer, and Fall.
  • A deck or porch is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while minimizing the effect of the elements.

If you make any improvements to your home that change its value or your liability risk, make sure that you speak with your Massachusetts home insurance agent about whether you need a home insurance update. One quick call to Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 and we will answer all of your insurance questions!

It’s Time to Improve Your Backyard for the Summer!

Summer will be in full swing before you know it – is your backyard ready? As we prepare to enjoy the warm weather here in the Greater Boston area, we have some great ideas for ways that you can improve your home’s backyard so that you can make the summer of 2018 the best one yet!

The Grill is Paramount

Grilling is one of the most anticipated events of any summer. We can’t wait to get outside and make our first hamburger. Remember this when you’re making improvements to your backyard – find a place for your grill (away from low hanging tree branches and a safe distance from your home) and make it a great place to hang out. Also make sure that your grill rests on a solid foundation so that it won’t tip over. And when the hot dogs and hamburgers are tucked away, grill up some fruit or s’mores for dessert!

Prepare the Pool

Do you have a pool? If so, it’s time to get it ready for summertime with the necessary treatments. It’s also important to review the ‘pool rules’ with children. If you don’t have a pool, don’t stress – there are plenty of other options for cooling off without spending a fortune. An above-ground pool has many of the benefits without the expense of an in-ground pool. If you just want to relax to the sound of running water, consider adding a water feature to your landscaping.

Relaxation Zones

Many people will choose to take a good book out into their backyard to enjoy the weather. Is there a space in your backyard that calls to you? If not, maybe it’s time to make one! A hammock is always a welcome addition, but any comfortable chair will do! A side table is also essential – after all, you will need a place to set your cold drink!

Cookout Inspiration

Throwing a cookout? To make it stand out, take inspiration from a tailgate. There doesn’t have to be a game afterwards – what’s important is that a tailgate is a great place for food and fun, which is exactly what you want at a backyard party. They cornerstone to a good tailgate (and cookout) is, of course, the food. Have a variety of main fare and snacks available, along with plenty of beverages. If you are serving alcohol, do so conscientiously, and make sure there are plenty of nonalcoholic options as well.

Another important thing you should consider for your cookout is the entertainment that you find at a tailgate. Sure, some simple setups include a radio, but your cookout guests will love to have some yard games set up. Cornhole, Horseshoes, and Bocce are classic, but there are many other options available nowadays, including games like Lawn Jenga – doesn’t that sound like fun?

Tackle a Big Project

If you have some time and money to invest in your yard, consider taking on a bigger improvement project. There are plenty of ways to upgrade… here are just a few examples:

  • As we mentioned earlier, an above-ground pool is a great way to incorporate swimming in your backyard without as much construction (or cost) as an in-ground pool. You might also want to consider a hot tub if you want to extend your backyard time to include the Spring and Fall.
  • Adding a fire pit is a fun project to add some flair to your yard. Perfect for chilly Summer and Fall nights, a fire pit is a great place to gather as a family without electronics and spend quality time – especially if there is food involved! Check out these great fire pit recipes for inspiration.
  • For those that spend a lot of time tending their garden, a tool shed might be a welcome addition to your backyard. If you haven’t tried gardening yet, consider it as a new hobby – creating something beautiful or even edible from a seed can be gratifying.
  • If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, consider adding a deck or porch to your home. They’re the perfect place to enjoy the weather without being exposed to the outside completely. Something covered and screened in will even keep the sun off your back and will keep the majority of the bugs away, which is always a plus.

As always, make sure that you consult a professional and have the proper paperwork completed before you start a big project on your property. If you need a referral for a professional to help with a project you’re considering, ask us! At Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we work with many Massachusetts professionals, and we would be happy to give you a referral!

Update Your Home Insurance

Last, but certainly not least, take this opportunity to have a Massachusetts home insurance professional review and update your home insurance policy. Some of these improvements (like the patio and pool) will add value to your home, so your insurance will need to be updated to reflect that. A review doesn’t take long – just call 617-298-0655 to speak to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative.

Recap: Preparing for April Showers

“You have to accept the storms and the rainy days and the things in life that you sometimes don’t want to face.” – Bai Ling

April is not in full swing, and we’re starting to see why the saying is “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” Did you see our blog from last week with advice on how to handle these Spring rainstorms? In case you missed it, here are just a few of the tips that we gave:

  • Prepare for April showers by making sure that your emergency kit is stocked.
  • Perform home maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters and trimming trees to ensure that you are storm ready.
  • If you are a gardener, April is a great time to plan your layout and plant seeds so that you can harness the rain!
  • Remove standing water around your home to eliminate breeding grounds for pests.
  • Check your sump pump to ensure it is working as intended during storms and snow melts.
  • Review tips for driving in the rain, especially how to handle your vehicle if it hydroplanes.
  • Buy rain gear before you need it.

If you’re ready to start your Spring Cleaning for the year, remember that Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to help dust off your insurance policies. Call and speak to your Massachusetts insurance agent about reviewing your home insurance, auto insurance, etc. to check for thorough coverage and opportunities for savings. One quick call to 617-298-0655 will check this item off your to-do list!

Recap: Update Your Insurance After These Life Events

There are many family, friends, and loved ones that you would call after a major life event. Have you ever considered adding your insurance agent to that list? It may seem silly at first, but it turns out that you should talk to your insurance agent about many types of life events, including:

  • Buying a Home or Renting an Apartment
  • Getting Married or Divorced
  • Having Your Home Renovated
  • Acquiring New Valuables like Furniture, Antiques, and Electronics
  • Having or Adopting a Child
  • Letting Your Child Get Their Driver’s License
  • Achieving Retirement

Wondering why some of these may require a chat with your favorite independent insurance agent? It turns out that these events may cause a change in your insurance needs. Check out our full blog post from last week to see why you may need to update your home, auto, and life insurance policies!

If any of these have happened to you recently (or even if it has just been a while since you last called) talk to your insurance agent today! One quick call to 617-298-0655 can update all of your policies in order to make sure that you are fully covered by your insurance policies.

Consider a Strategic Business Alliance to Expand Client Base

 

A business alliance with a company that provides products or services that complement those of your company may help you grow your business.

One reason to consider a business alliance is that it does not have to be a legal partnership requiring contracts and lawyers. You may team up in an informal arrangement with another business, to share customer contacts and marketing strategies. This type of group effort may save both businesses money.

When pooling your resources with that of another company, this may enable both of you to diversify your product and service offerings. This may have the potential of expanding your clientele considerably. You may pool your resources with advertising, internet marketing, participating in local festivals or trade shows, and effectively cut back on expenses.

Before you make a decision on a business alliance, you should do some research on how much business you potential business partner does, what kind of market presence they have. After all, you do not want to partner up with a business that is only waiting for you to send them business and not be reciprocating.

Should you not want to have such a structured framework for your business alliance, you may consider an arrangement in which your company and another company simply refer each other to customers for certain kinds of jobs. Any business expansion may bring with it a need for additional Massachusetts business insurance coverage. You may want to contact your agent to determine any extra policies you may need.*

If you have decided to start such an alliance, it’s important to move slowly and see if in fact you and your partner are really compatible in the “real world”. And many such alliances may make both partners look better.

When you experience business growth, you may want to consider reviewing your Massachusetts business insurance policies in case you need additional financial protection.

Should you have additional questions or wish to learn more about setting up an alliance, please call me at 617-298-0655 ext 101 or leave a message below.

Carlos

Life Events That Require an Insurance Update

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

These words are so true – it seems sometimes that life flies by. It’s easy to make changes in your life and forget to tell someone: your insurance agent. When the ‘big stuff’ happens, you will probably be excited to tell friends and family, but putting in a call to your favorite Boston insurance agency should also be on your list, since many of life’s changes will affect your need for insurance coverage.

Each of the following events represents a change in your insurance needs. If you experience any of these, call your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent to update your insurance policies so that you remain fully covered.

Buying a Home or Renting an Apartment: For every change in your housing situation, there should be an equal change in your insurance policies. Every home or apartment is different – that’s why it is so important to have a customized insurance policy for your dwelling. Your insurance agent will be able to explain the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value for your policy. And remember, we can also offer you rental property insurance if you purchase a second home and rent it out.

Getting Married or Divorced: Getting married calls for many insurance changes. You may get a discount on your auto insurance for having a two-car family, and it’s also important to reconsider your life insurance needs. Your renters or home insurance may need to be updated to account for new joint possessions (not to mention the new rings and wedding gifts!)

Likewise, divorce requires insurance policies to be updated if your car and home situation changes. You may also want to reduce life insurance coverage or change your beneficiary.

Having Your Home Renovated: Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we want to make sure that our clients are never under-insured. That’s why it is so important to update your home insurance policy after you renovate. Whether you add or just update a room, your home insurance policy needs to be updated in order to reflect the new value of your house in case of a loss. We should also know about any improvements made outside your home, including the addition of a shed, gazebo, swimming pool, etc.

Acquiring New Valuables: You don’t have to call your insurance agent every time you purchase a knick-knack for your home, but every once in a while, you will purchase (or receive) a valuable item that might need a floater or endorsement for full coverage. These items are typically jewelry, collectibles, furniture, antiques, and electronics. Every policy will define ‘valuable’ differently, thankfully your agent is just a phone call away and can tell you whether your home insurance will cover the item as-is, or if an addendum is necessary.

Having a Child: Whether it’s a birth or an adoption, having a new baby in the family requires updates to your policies. Typically, having a baby will necessitate an increase in your life insurance coverage. Also, don’t forget to update your home insurance policy to include all of your baby’s furniture, toys, and clothing – as a new parent, these small items will add up fast!

Letting Your Child Get Their Driver’s License: Whenever a new driver starts to use the family vehicles, your auto insurance policy will need to be updated. You may fear making the call because insuring a teenager is notoriously expensive, but you can rest assured knowing that your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent will ensure that you get all possible discounts on your auto insurance.

Achieving Retirement: When you are lucky enough to reach retirement, you will have a lot to cover with your Massachusetts insurance agent. Not only are you likely to qualify for senior discounts on your policies, you will need to update the average mileage use on your car, which will likely decrease significantly when you no longer commute during the week. You may also want to speak with your insurance agent about whether or not you should keep your life insurance. While it is often considered a replacement for lost wages, it can be a handy thing to have even after you’ve got no paycheck to replace.

Do you know anyone who has experienced any of these events recently? Forward them the link to this post and tell them how Vargas and Vargas Insurance can help them with their insurance needs and will get them the best price on a new or updated insurance policy.

If it’s been a while since you spoke to your insurance agent, just call us at 617-298-0655. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative will be happy to walk you through your current insurance portfolio in order to ensure that your coverage is at the right level for your needs. We offer free, no-obligation insurance quotes and updates, so there is no reason to delay – call now, and make a point to talk to your Massachusetts insurance agent at least once a year to give your policies a thorough check-up.

What’s on Your “Must Have” Insurance List?

It’s the season of giving, but winter also seems to be the season of list-making! Just like your tots are probably putting the finishing touches on their Christmas “Wish List,” and you’re letting the ink dry on your list of goals and plans to make 2018 the Best Year Ever (stay tuned for our blog post Monday!) we’ve compiled a list of all of the insurance policies that everyone should have as a part of their portfolio. The protection offered by these policies is something you can’t afford to miss!

Home Insurance, Condo Insurance, or Renters Insurance – Protect the place that you live. Depending on whether you own or rent, your insurance may cover your property and your possessions. Ask for extra protection if you have valuables to cover. In addition, some liability protection may be included.

Auto Insurance – It’s almost impossible to be without a car in this day and age. That’s why everyone needs a reliable car insurance policy. It will cover you and your vehicle if and when you get into an accident.

Health Insurance and Life Insurance – If you get sick, your focus should be on recovery – not on medical bills. Health insurance will alleviate the stress of expensive treatments. And with a Massachusetts life insurance policy, you can make sure that your family is taken care of if you pass unexpectedly.

Start 2018 off on the right foot with a free insurance review from a Vargas and Vargas Insurance professional. Our agents can ensure that your policies have you completely covered with the proper protection for yourself and your loved ones. Start the process with one simple call to our agency at 617-298-0655.