Summer Preparedness Part 3: Driving

Happy days driving around on a golden Summer afternoon, or touring quaint villages, maybe driving town to town on a meandering route.  School’s out and it’s vacation time! Chances are pretty good you’ll be using your car, or a rental car to enjoy your holidays. 

You’ll want to bring an extra degree of caution to your Summer vacation driving experience.  First, you’ll be in a holiday mood.  It’s natural that your usual driving vigilance might be relaxed.  So your first challenge when you’re driving on vacation is to keep your driving mindset sharp and focused.

Your extra focus is going to come in handy with the other vacation drivers on the road too.  Many of those drivers may be as fuzzy in their holiday driving modes as you…before you sharpened your focus.  

Other drivers are looking at the sights, distracted by backseat or front seat passengers, or maybe just trying to figure out how to turn left into that parking lot for the Gift Shop.  Your extra care and attention is going to come in handy to avoid mishaps that could be caused by other distracted vacation drivers.   And, be especially careful while driving through parking lots.  The distractions are probably at their highest point when a driver is quickly backing a car out of a parking spot and another driver is zipping through the parking lot.  Bang.

You’ll want to sharpen your vacation mind for the protection of your valuables in the car too.  How often do you pull your car into a beachside parking lot or a scenic overlook highway stop off, then jump out of your car and forget to lock it behind you?  Probably quite often.  After all, you’re on vacation.  

Your cares and worries were left at home.  But your valuables are still sitting on the front seat or in the trunk of your car.  And a thief only needs a quick moment or two to open an unlocked door, rummage around and grab and run away with your valuables.

Last but not least, be extra careful with your rental car while away on vacation.  When you pick up the car, temper your eagerness to zip away to enjoy the kick off of your holiday. While the Rental Car Attendant is inspecting the condition of the car before transferring possession, grab your smartphone and snap photos of the exterior of the car.

Make a note of your mileage to be sure it matches the rental paperwork, and check the gas gauge too.  Double check that doors and trunks lock properly and that any remote locking or alarm systems actually work.

This may sound like a lot of work to do while you’re on a vacation.  But a few minutes of careful attention and a sense of normal driving focus will actually help you to have an even better vacation experience. 

When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Agency vs. Online

“You get what you pay for.”  

Everyone loves to shop for a bargain, a discount, a reduced price, more features for less money.  One might also say, “You don’t get what you don’t pay for.”

When you’re buying insurance, the “don’t get” part and the “don’t pay for” part can lead to you paying a lot more money than you bargained for later on when you need the insurance the most. 

Your insurance is supposed to be there to anticipate risks to your life, your livelihood, your wealth and your health.  If you pay for less coverage because you need to get that bargain price, you’re putting all of the above at serious risk.

Time is money.  Spend your time with an independent insurance agent.  The independent agent is working for your best interest, both in today’s premium pricing and in tomorrows unforeseen costs. 

For me, it’s difficult to be objective on this topic. I’m an independent agent in business for several decades. I can’t be objective when it comes to protecting my clients and providing them with the best insurance their money can buy.  

If your sole objective is the lowest premium price, we can certainly help you with that goal. If your objective is the best premium price with comprehensive coverage that prepares you for worst case scenarios, we can help you with that as well.

If your objective is all of the above with the added value of a trusted, local, experienced insurance professional, the one who thinks of you as a real person and not an unknown internet shopper, then the Independent Insurance Agent is the only way to go.

So, what is your objective: solely price, or price combined with quality service, local experience and good old-fashioned “looking out for my reputation by looking out for the customer” business sense?

That’s not to say you can’t get lucky and find a direct connection online with an Insurance Carrier who can provide such experience, accessibility, superior service and price.  It’s easy enough to spend your time searching. 

In our experience as Independent Agents, we’ve heard the stories, lots and lots and lots of stories about consumer experiences when working with online quotes and purchasing from an unknown representative on the internet.  Pretty much every time, these horror stories result because the consumer focused solely on lowest price.

Too often the lowest price online quote comes with no explanation of what exactly it is the consumer is buying.  The coverage can be horribly mismatched with the customer’s needs. Many times, the online quote fails to consider local conditions that must definitely be taken into account to provide an accurate insurance policy for real risks unique to a locality.

Your local Independent Agent knows about those risks that may be unique to where you live.  And your Independent Agent wants to work for your best interest, not the interests of the quick “low-price” sale.

Compare next time you need to purchase or renew insurance.  Consider the time spent by your Independent Agent just on the initial interview questions.  Those questions, and your answers to them, affect the advice you’ll receive on the best coverage for your unique situation.  

Now match that to the experience of filling in some boxes on a webpage and receiving the instant gratification of the lowest premium price in seconds!  Price: great!  Coverage: unknown because it relies on the consumer knowing, in advance, the eventualities that come into play when assessing your needs of future risks.

We’d love to be on one side of your comparison shopping! 

Call us today to experience the true value of your money when you work with an Independent Insurance Agent! Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

4 Things Your Homeowner Policy Should Include

Shopping for Homeowners Insurance is often rushed and daunting.  And exhausting.  In the flurry of activity leading up to a Home purchase closing, the harried home buyer may speed through the insurance process with the goal of quick and cheap. Let’s slow down ever so slightly! 

Take your time and ask your insurance agent if the quoted policy includes the following 4 vital coverage parts. Your standard Homeowners Insurance Policy covers you in the event of damage from fire, lightning, hail, and explosions.   However, these 4 items are not automatically included.

#1: Higher Liability Coverage.  The dollar value of an insurance payout in the event of a claim is often the number one most overlooked and undervalued part of a quickly-quoted insurance policy.  We like to explain liability coverage to our customers like this: imagine if someone fell on the pathway leading up to your front door.  Imagine that person suffered a serious injury, such as broken bones.  Now imagine that person, whether friend, family, or otherwise, hires an aggressive Personal Injury Attorney to receive compensation for pain, suffering, and medical bills.   Do you think that $300,000 liability coverage is sufficient payout in such a dire event to protect your other cash assets (your bank accounts, your retirement accounts, your children’s college fund)?   Whether it is or is not sufficient, do you want to gamble your wealth away with insufficient liability coverage?   Consider increasing your Liability Coverage to at least $1,000,000.

#2: Storm Damage.  Severe weather over the past dozen years or so has cost Homeowners considerable sums of money.  These Homeowners lived in contentment with their homeowners insurance policies thinking they were covered for all kinds of occurrences.  When the severe weather hit—storm surges from oceans, rivers, and creeks; high-wind conditions; flooding inside basements from ground water saturation due to heavier than normal rains—too many Homeowners discovered to their dismay the lack of coverage for damage sustained due to severe weather.   Discuss flood insurance with your insurance agent.

#3: Power Outages.  Should your home lose power for a sustained period of time you could experience loss of foodstuffs due to your refrigerator not functioning.  Adding this extra coverage to your policy protects your money…and your food.

#4: Additional Coverage for “earth-movement”.  Have an in-ground pool in your backyard? If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, landslides, or sinkholes, you’ll want to add additional coverage to your standard policy to protect your assets and your home against these risks.

We’re happy to spend the time necessary to educate you on the best comprehensive insurance for your Home.  Call us today!

Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Recap: What is Liability Coverage?

Did you see our blog last week about liability coverage? In case you missed it, here is a quick recap on what liability insurance is, and why it is such an important part of your insurance portfolio:

Liability insurance is protection to ensure that you are financially protected if you are held liable for damage or injury to someone else, most commonly due to a lawsuit. Liability insurance is almost always a part of insurance that you probably already hold, including home insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance, business insurance, and more.

And since you can truly never have too much protection, consider an umbrella insurance policy. One umbrella policy goes above and beyond all of your current liability coverage – meaning that if your costs and damages in a lawsuit exceed the liability limits on your home, renter’s, or auto policy, your umbrella insurance will kick in to extend your coverage. There is even commercial umbrella insurance available for businesses. These types of policies are very inexpensive, especially considering how much protection they offer.

So, have you talked to your Massachusetts insurance agency about how to mitigate liability risks? Call 617-298-0655 to talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about your current liability coverage, and whether you should consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy.

What Is Liability Coverage, and Why Do You Need It?

When talking about insurance, there are many ‘buzzwords’ used that many people don’t know the meaning of. One example of this type of term is ‘liability’ – many policies have liability protection built in, but do you know precisely what it is that this type of coverage protects you from?

This is a quick guide on Massachusetts liability insurance, including the definition of the coverage, explanations of the liability coverage you probably already have as a part of your current insurance products, and an easy way to get added liability protection.

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is the critical coverage that offers financial protection if you are sued or held legally liable for damages to another person, such as property damage, injury or negligence.

Let’s face it; we live in a litigious society where getting sued is more a right of passage than something that will never happen to you. What’s more is that being involved in a lawsuit is expensive. No one wants to have an unexpected outlay of that much cash, thankfully that’s what insurance is for! Liability protection will ensure that being involved in a lawsuit doesn’t ruin your financial future.

Depending on the details of your policy, liability insurance will often cover legal costs, and will also cover restitution including damages and/or the injured party’s medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, or death benefits.

Home Insurance and Renter’s Insurance Liability Coverage

When thinking of the coverage offered by a renter’s or home insurance policy, most people will immediately jump to coverage offered to fix things that are broken or damaged – but that’s not all that these policies include!

Home and Renter’s insurance often also includes liability coverage to protect against injury and damage to others in your home for which you are held liable. For example, this usually includes situations where someone falls or otherwise injures themselves on your property.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance Liability Coverage

Most states (including Massachusetts) require that a driver have a certain minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. This is to ensure that you will be covered if you are involved in an accident.

In Massachusetts, there are four required types of coverage when purchasing auto insurance:

  • Bodily Injury to others: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $8,000 per person, per accident
  • Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to Someone Else’s Property: $5,000 per accident

Some of this coverage is to ensure that you are able to cover medical bills and property damage to another party if they are involved in an accident that is legally deemed to be ‘your fault.’ While we certainly never plan to be involved in an accident, it’s impossible to know when one will occur. More so, we don’t know whether our next accident will be a small fender bender or something more serious – that’s why the agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency often recommend that you carry more auto insurance protection than what is required by the state of Massachusetts.

Commercial Liability Insurance in Massachusetts

Businesses have a lot of moving parts. Whether you own a big or small business in Massachusetts, there is a potential that you will be held liable for damages by an employee, or even a customer. Thankfully, your business insurance will have built-in liability coverage for these situations as a part of your business insurance policy.

When speaking to your commercial insurance agent, make sure to ask about additional types of liability protection that your business may need, including EPLI, Product Liability Insurance, Indemnity Insurance, Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance, Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance, Cyber Liability and Data Breach, and more.

Get Umbrella Coverage for “Above and Beyond” Protection

So, how much liability protection do you need? There is no right answer, but the expert insurance agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency agree: there’s no such thing as too much liability coverage. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to get this protection without increasing the coverage on each of your policies: get an umbrella insurance policy.

As discussed above, most policies have a liability component. The truth is that these are limited by the dollar amount set in the policy. Thankfully, umbrella insurance offers extra coverage that is very affordable. It offers a liability ‘umbrella’ on top of all of your existing policies. This means that if your costs or damages go above the original insurance policy’s limit, your umbrella coverage will kick in and ensure that you have added protection. This type of policy is available for both individuals and businesses, and the added protection is well worth the cost.

To talk to an experienced Massachusetts insurance agent about your liability protection, and to find out about our great deals on umbrella insurance policies, just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can get you a free umbrella insurance quote, or let you know where your liability coverage could use a little padding to ensure that your family or business is financially secure.