Spring Maintenance for Your Car (To Help Avoid Auto Insurance Claims!)

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance can be a hassle…but we’ve got exciting news for you! By prioritizing the maintenance schedule for your car you can avoid some potential insurance claims!

Does keeping up with my car’s maintenance really make a difference?

We know, it’s draining to try to stay up to date on car maintenance. It seems like there’s always something to fix! Unfortunately, a lot of people avoid taking care of their cars until it is too late. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported by Fox13, the average amount of car accidents due to poor maintenance tallies in at a whopping 45,000. You definitely don’t want to be a part of that statistic. Read on for some helpful tips to avoid insurance claims and enjoy safe travels!

What should be on my maintenance checklist?

One item you’ll definitely want to include on your checklist is to inspect your tires! Make sure they still have good traction and check to be sure the tire pressure has an ideal PSI. This is something you’ll want to do routinely – not only during springtime!

Other items to include on your auto maintenance checklist:

A few other important things to stay on top of:

  1. Schedule an oil filter change. Oil reduces the friction between moving parts in a running engine. If you don’t have your oil changed you could do serious damage to your engine.
  2. Replace windshield wipers. You don’t want to be caught in rain (or snow) with inadequate wipers! You won’t be able to see what’s in front of you which could result in an accident.
  3. Check your battery. Be proactive about checking your car’s battery! Even if it seems to be working fine, it is always a good idea to have the battery inspected to prevent an unexpected failure.
  4. Check your lights. Even in normal driving conditions, using your headlights anytime you’re driving has been proven to reduce accidents by 5-10%. Why not take it a step further and make sure every light on your car is in good, working condition?

Don’t forget the finishing touch!

As part of your spring auto maintenance schedule, consider having your car detailed. Chances are high that your car looks a little worse for the wear after all of the snow and dirt from this winter. Give your car a spring cleaning that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident in your car. We recommend Neponset Circle Car Wash for all your detailing needs!

Stay up to date and stay safe!

All of the preparation in the world can’t prevent every accident, so make sure your auto coverage is sufficient by referencing this guide.  Now, no matter where you’re headed, you can travel confidently and safely knowing that you’ve stayed up to date on your maintenance! 

Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you customize your auto insurance so that it works best for you. We are one of the premier local independent insurance agencies, and we truly work for our clients, not ourselves. Our team of friendly experts would be happy to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

Winter Driving And Car Accidents

Winter is a good and delightful time of the year. It brings snow to make a cute snowman and enjoy a snowball fight with our friends and family. However, these attractive aspects can make winters dangerous for drivers. As the days get colder, the risk of road accidents increases. Therefore, taking precautionary measures and driving with complete focus is important to save your life. The NHTSA mentions many tips on their website, and here are some tips and tricks to drive your vehicle during cold weather safely.

Winter Driving Tips

Drive Slowly and Super Smoothly

The trick to safe winter driving in snow is being smooth with your accelerator, steering wheel, and brakes. Every push of the brakes, turn off the wheels, or throttle movement needs to be gentle, deliberate, and gradual. It would help if you tried to be as slow as you could while driving the car.

Avoid Involving in Distractions

Most accidents happen when the driver is distracted doing other things while driving. Therefore, avoid talking to the passengers when driving in extremely cold weather, never use your phone, eat food, or listen to music at high volume. You need to avoid every type of distraction if you want to avoid an accident.

Turn On Your Lights

Turning your lights on will help other drivers on the road to see you from far. Headlights can also make your vehicle visible on extreme fog days. This way, whenever other drivers notice you on the road, they will drive carefully around you.

Avoid Driving in Harsh Weather

This is another very important winter driving tip. Driving in winters can be extremely challenging. So, if you find yourself not having to drive in dangerous weather conditions, don’t push yourself to drive in these circumstances. Cancel your journey as soon as possible and head back to your house. If the weather is too harsh to get back to the house, go to the nearest place to relax until the condition becomes appropriate for driving.

Do You Need to Report Accidents?

Many people don’t report accidents if they are not serious. But this is a wrong approach. Not only do you reduce your chances of getting insurance coverage, but you can also save others. Wondering how? Well, report accidents to the authorities in your area to find ways to solve the problem. They first try to find the cause of your accident and then opt for different ways to resolve the issue. So, even if you had a bad experience, you can save others from going through the same trauma.

Wrapping Up

Besides the mentioned winter driving tips, you also need to install high-quality tires in your vehicle. It’s also vital to check the weather conditions before stepping out of your house. If you can, keep some important things on you while traveling long distances at night. This includes extra batteries, a torch, water bottles, and snacks. So, if you have to spend the night in your car on the roadside, you will have all the essentials to pass the night. Click here to read more.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance understands that sometimes you may not be able to stay off the roads and things happen. That’s why, as a premier local independent insurance agency, we strive to build the relationships necessary to customize your insurance coverage to your needs at the right price. Contact us today.

Flashback Blog: Boston is No Stranger to Fire

The city of Boston has been destroyed by large blazes multiple times. The first devastation of fire occurred in 1631; just one year after Boston was officially established.

Here are a few tips to keep you from having to file a fire damage claim on your home insurance.

The first thing you should cement in your mind is to never leave a flame burning where it cannot be seen. Enjoying an aromatherapy session with some scented candles? Even if you need to leave the room for just a moment, blow them out. You never know if something will delay or distract you from returning immediately.

Keep pets, especially agile cats, away from lit candles, scented oil burners, and other open flames. They could bump or knock over the materials, causing a fire that could have been avoided. On the same train of thought, teach your children proper fire safety. Flames and the resulting smoke can be very dangerous.

In case a fire does occur, despite your best efforts to handle flames safely, make sure you have up to date insurance in Boston, MA. Boston boasts median home values above $100,000. 

Without coverage, how would you repair or rebuild your home after a fire ravaged your property? Avoid this potential financial burden by requesting a free insurance estimate today and putting your coverage in place. 

With Vargas & Vargas Insurance, you can get the coverage you need for your home. Click here to contact us today for more information!

Turn Back The Clocks; Turn Back Time

It’s Autumn; you know what that means! “Spring” towards those clocks and “fall back” an hour! 

This year, Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. on November 3rd.

Turning back the clocks is a great reminder for some basic security measures to protect your home.

Smoke Detectors: Do a survey of your smoke detectors to ensure you have sufficient safety coverage around your house.  Change the batteries.  Generally speaking, smoke detectors should be placed inside bedrooms and in hallways near to sleeping areas.  You should also have smoke detectors strategically placed in your basement within a reasonable distance to your furnace.

The more smoke detectors you have, and the better-placed they are, the chances of early warning and survival in the event of a fire increase dramatically.

You might also consider at this time installing carbon monoxide detectors, definitely in your basement near to the furnace area, but also near windows and doors that either lead to indoor garages or face onto close proximity driveways.  Car idling can quickly lead to carbon monoxide buildup that seeps through windows and past doorways to cause lethal harm.

Password Review: In our modern technological age, we recommend adding a password review protocol to your “Turn Back Time” routine.  In general, you should change passwords more frequently than once a year, but we’re often too busy to accomplish this.  So, at least spend some time to update your password security this November 3rd.  Check your security challenge questions on websites and definitely consider implementing a Two-Factor authentication.

Annual Insurance Review: We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that this is another great opportunity to consider calling your agent and scheduling an appointment for your annual insurance review. Things change each year with life and with the insurance carriers. It is your responsibility to know how your insurance portfolio is structured.

Once you’ve run around on November 3rd getting all that done, you’ll be exhausted for sure! Not to worry, you’ll get an extra hour of sleep this weekend!

From the Vault: Choosing a Safe Halloween Costume

As Halloween approaches, it’s time to think about what you or your little ones will wear for the big holiday. It’s exciting to wear a costume, but when you’re out shopping, make sure that you follow these costume guidelines so that you and your children can have a sweet and safe holiday:

Make sure that your costume fits properly – When choosing a costume, make sure that you purchase the right size. As with clothing, costumes should be snug without being too tight. Make sure there are no tripping hazards, such as pants or dresses dragging on the ground.

Look for costumes that are flame resistant – Candles are a great way to set a spooky atmosphere, but they are a huge risk when wearing a costume. Ensure a costume is safe by checking to make sure that the outfit is flame-resistant.

Ensure proper visibility – If a costume requires a mask, make sure that they can see properly. This may mean altering the mask so that the eye-holes are larger, or opting for makeup instead of a mask. Remember, though, to always do a patch test on costume makeup before Halloween night.

Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes – It doesn’t matter if you’re trick-or-treating or going to a party, everyone should wear the right shoes for Halloween. Little ones may fight you on this one, but they will be miserable after just a couple of minutes of walking in other shoes. If they insist, bring a pair of comfortable sneakers and socks as a backup.

Avoid dangerous accessories – If there is a sword, broom, or other accessory that goes with your child’s costume, make sure that it is pliable, and will not injure your child if they fall on it. It also helps to make sure that accessories are lightweight and east to carry.

Make sure drivers can see trick-or-treaters – A big part of Halloween safety is making sure that you and your children are visible to drivers while you’re out and about. Children with bright costumes should be easy to spot, but dark costumes may need a little work to make them visible. Have children with dark costumes carry a colorful treat sack, or strategically affix reflective tape to their costumes.

Don’t overlook Halloween weather – Remember, it’s usually pretty chilly in Boston on Halloween night. Historical temperatures show an average high of 56 and a low of 42. Make sure that you and your children don’t feel that chill by choosing warm costumes, or wearing long underwear. Go out earlier to avoid the nightly temperature drop.

When you have all of these tips in mind, picking out a safe costume will be easy. And make sure that you stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog throughout the month for more safety tips. Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance for an insurance review at 617-298-0655.

Home Security Overview

Alarms, cameras, door and window locks, passwords. 

That should cover everything you need to remember this Autumn as you perform your twice annual security review!

  1. Alarms.  Is your alarm system up to date with the latest equipment?  Check with your alarm provider to be sure your technology is up to date.  Then conduct a survey to be sure that all contact points for your alarm system are secure with no loose contact plates or wiring.   What about power sources for your alarm system?   Be sure that outlets that provide power to your alarm appliances aren’t overloaded with other appliances.
  2. Cameras.  When did you last update the firmware for your cameras?  Even if you’ve set up devices for automatic updates, you should check to be sure that updates have occurred.  Keep hackers out of your systems with the latest software/firmware updates.   How are the sight lines for your cameras?  Have storms or critters moved cameras out of alignment?  Are those lenses clean and intact?  Do a visual inspection up close of each camera to make sure there is no damage to the lenses our housing.  Are the mounting screws secure?
  3. Door and Window Locks.  Check for loose strike plates, loose screws.  Are the locks easy to close and open?  A tiny dash of a lubricant might be necessary to ensure smooth lock operation.  Do your window sashes line up to make the locking secure and firm?  If you’re using electronic locks have you updated the passwords?  Is the power to such locks secure?
  4. Passwords.  We cannot say enough about using very secure passwords and about changing passwords frequently.  Thankfully many smartphone manufacturers and other third party providers are creating secure password storage apps for your phones.  Be sure to back up your passwords in writing somewhere in your home, in a book where you won’t forget it and where it’s unlikely that an intruder would look there to find your passwords.  Yes, written backup.  You read that correctly.

When you conduct a home security review you should also have a conversation with your Independent Insurance Agent to ensure your insurance policy reflects new security measures you’ve installed in your home. This could help to save you money on your insurance premiums.

Please check out our other blogs on claim prevention tips. You can reach us by calling 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.

Tip-Top on the Rooftop

Gravity combined with water can be an enemy to your property. 

Leaking water through even the tiniest of openings in your roof follows the laws of gravity. It will fall downward causing damage on its way to the inner sanctum of your home. 

The good news is that you can prioritize your to spend a little time on the weekend to prevent water from entering your home through your roof.

  1. Gutters.  Get ready for it. Fall is coming and and it’ll be time to clear and clean those gutters!  The thought of hauling oneself up on a ladder on a Sunday morning to claw through the muck of wet leaves and other detritus isn’t appealing.  Mostly, we think of this as a time-consuming activity that could otherwise be spent with our family. 
    In reality, frequent gutter clearing can be done fairly quickly.  It’s when we let the muck pile up that it sucks up our time.   More to the point, when you clean those gutters, you’re conducting a serious prevention campaign!  You’re avoiding the wood rot that happens from built up water that gets into the soffits of your house and under the shingles of your roof.  Once water gets in there, the damage is more severe than clearing out your gutters.
  2. Chimney caulking.  You’ll need to get up on the roof to check closely the caulking around the bricks of your chimney.  The caulking should not have broken or loose pieces and should have a uniform adhesion to the bricks.  Make sure the shingles around the base of your chimney are secure to the roof.   Check the chimney for loose mortar.
  3. Loose shingles.   Especially after a bad storm, taking a walk around your home for a visual inspection of your roof shingles, or, better yet, while you’re up on the ladder cleaning your gutters, can save you costly repairs.  Shingles should not have loose flaps or curled edges. Secure loose shingles and replace damaged or curled shingles.
  4. Overhanging tree branches and limbs.   Anything that’s too close to the roof and large enough can cause roof damage during severe weather, should be trimmed away from your roof.
  5. Ask the Pro.  It can’t hurt to have a professional roof inspection done every few years. Call us for assistance and a referral to an inspector.

Please check out our other blogs on claim prevention tips. You can reach us by calling 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.