Recap: Rainy Day Activities

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”

– Gilbert K. Chesterton

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we love days when the sun is shining – but we also know that it’s important to embrace the rainy days! The next time that you’re besieged by a day of grey skies and rainclouds, don’t despair. Instead, gather up your family and try out one of the following activities:

  • Pull out the arts and crafts! There are hundreds of craft tutorials online for kids and adults of all ages, and you probably have the materials on hand already!
  • There’s not much better than a good book on a rainy day. Find a cozy spot and host a family read-a-thon. Bonus if there are healthy snacks involved! Also encourage everyone to share what they’re reading about.
  • Like arts and crafts, cooking is an activity that can be tailored to all ages. Have kids help prepare dinner or bake something yummy for dessert! Having kids help make food also makes them more likely to try new foods.

Still need something to do on a rainy Boston day? Talk to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about your policies! Make sure that they are up to date and ask about the benefits of an umbrella insurance policy for extra liability protection. Just call 617-298-0655 to speak to a friendly and knowledgeable insurance agent.

Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

Spring has sprung here in Boston, and we’ll bet that you’re ready for the warm, sunshiny days ahead. As in life, however, not all days can have sunshine. Sometimes you need to be prepared for days with rain. The best way to deal with a rainy day is to make the best of it and enjoy the indoors, especially if you have children that need entertainment (and to burn off a little energy). Pick out an activity (or several) from the following suggestions and see if you can’t make a rainy day great!

A Perfect Time for Arts and Crafts

If it’s grey and rainy outside, it’s the perfect time to break out some arts and crafts in an attempt to get your creative juices flowing! Don’t have a project in mind? That’s ok! There are hundreds of online tutorials with project ideas for kids and adults alike. The best part is that you probably already have the supplies on hand – paper, scissors, glue, and other crafty staples will get you hours of fun with your kiddos.

If you’re in a pinch for a fun crafty activity, there are even websites that allow you to print out coloring pages and activity books from your home printer. Find something with a fun pattern or your child’s favorite characters and go to town… they’ll forget about the rain in no time!

Cozy Up with a Good Book

Rain is naturally relaxing, making it perfect weather for reading! If you don’t currently have a book in progress you can go to the nearest branch of the Boston Public Library for access to books, eBooks, audiobooks, and much more. Also check the library’s calendar – they often offer free classes and activities for kids!

For older kids, encourage them to get a head start on next year’s summer reading list, if you know what books are going to be included. Sometimes, these books are old enough to be available in eBook format for free on Project Gutenberg – a site that provides free copies of books with expired copyrights.

Spend Some Time in the Kitchen

It can be hard to find time to teach kids basic life skills – especially when the sunshine beckons. Take advantage of the rain and let the kids help with some meal preparation. Depending on the age of the kids in question, they can help measure and add ingredients, mix things, chop, or even make something by themselves (with some guidance).

Kids are also much more likely to try new foods and flavors when they are involved in preparation – so pick out something new and different to encourage your kids to try new things! They will feel a wonderful sense of pride at having produced the meal and be excited to share it with the family. You can make it an even more special occasion by inviting someone special over to enjoy the meal – like a member of your extended family or your children’s friends.

Games and Cards and Puzzles – Oh My!

Board games, card games, and puzzles are a great way to spend some quality time with your family when the weather refuses to cooperate. Odds are that you have several of these in your closet already, so there is no cost associated with the hours of fun provided by these activities.

Card games are a favorite around the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office because a deck of cards is so versatile. There are dozens of different games that you can play with a single deck, so finding something fun and age-appropriate for smaller kiddos isn’t an issue. A quick online search can reveal ideas for new games that you and your loved ones will enjoy for the rainy afternoon.

Unbury Lost Treasures

It’s no secret that kids and adults alike get bored of their toys. Sometimes, however, something can have a fun nostalgia factor after it hasn’t been used in a while. The challenge is to find something that has regained its sense of fun! Give something new life and enjoy it one last time, even if afterword it goes in your ‘donation’ pile.

If you’re desperate to find something for your kids to do on a rainy day, ask them to clean their room – they are almost guaranteed to find something in there to amuse themselves in order to keep from tidying up!

A rainy day is also the perfect day for an insurance review! No need to even pick up an umbrella – Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is only a phone call away. Dial 617-298-0655 and talk to a Massachusetts insurance agent about your coverage, and what you can do to ensure that an insurance claim isn’t the cause of a ‘rainy day’ in your future. The rain may even remind you to ask about an umbrella insurance policy – one of the best forms of protection for your peace of mind.

Do I need umbrella insurance for a startup business?

Most startup businesses operating on a tight budget make the mistake of not prioritizing insurance. What these business owners fail to understand is that it takes a small accident or disaster to lose all that they have worked so hard to build. An umbrella insurance policy from Vargas & Vargas Insurance will help you protect your startup business against disasters in Dorchester, MA.

What is umbrella insurance?

The purpose of umbrella insurance in your startup business is to supplement underlying insurance policies such as general liability and auto insurance policies. The insurance policy provides you with an extra buffer of financial protection when you have exhausted your other existing insurance coverages. Depending on your preferences, the umbrella insurance policy can cover more than one of your other insurance policies. Your umbrella insurance policy kicks in when your existing insurance policy has been exhausted or in situations where some claims are not covered. Umbrella insurance will provide extra coverage for various risks including restitution for injuries and paying for litigation costs.

Does my startup business need umbrella insurance?

Your startup business in Dorchester, MA is definitely predisposed to a wide range of risks or mishaps. Just as the small business requires other insurance coverages, it also requires umbrella insurance. In addition, most insurance policies don’t cover every risk that your startup business is potentially facing. There are certain claims your startup faces that are not only rare but also very costly. Therefore, protecting your business’s assets with an umbrella insurance policy is very important.

Umbrella insurance can also help you save money. When you raise the limits of your individual liability policies, you will also have to increase your premiums. But with umbrella insurance, you will get the extra coverage buffer without worrying about the limits of your other individual policies. This is a rainy day coverage that you can get without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, most people think that umbrella insurance is for big businesses or the rich in the society with a lot of assets to protect. But, even a small accident in your startup business can lead to claims worth large amounts of money, especially if the accident was serious. Protect your startup business idea today by purchasing an umbrella insurance policy from Vargas & Vargas Insurance.

 

Recap: After Your Wedding, Update Your Insurance

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” -Franklin P. Jones

Summer is a popular time for weddings here in New England. If you are getting married this summer, make sure to follow these simple tips to update and combine your insurance policies with your new spouse:

  • Combine your renter’s insurance or home insurance policies to cover your singular residence. Remember to update your home inventory to include your wedding rings and gifts that you received!
  • Bundling your home or renter’s insurance with your car insurance (for one or multiple vehicles) will probably save you money on your insurance premiums.
  • Now that you’re married, you should consider getting a life insurance policy, or change your existing policy to have your new spouse as the beneficiary.
  • More responsibility can mean more potential risks. Consider guarding yourself and your new family with an umbrella insurance policy – you can get a lot of additional coverage for pennies on the dollar.
  • For more tips on how to update your insurance policies after marriage, talk to your Boston insurance agent!

And if you’re not tying the know anytime soon, pass our blog post along to a bride-to-be or groom-to-be that you know! Anyone who needs a Massachusetts insurance review can call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 for a free consultation with a local insurance expert.

Getting Married? Update Your Insurance Policies!

Summertime is a very popular time for weddings across the country, but especially here in the Boston area where chilly temperatures affect a good portion of the year. If you’re planning a wedding, or if someone that you know is getting married, remember that after a wedding is the perfect time to review your insurance policies with your Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency agent!

Home Insurance or Renter’s Insurance

If now is the first time that you and your new spouse are officially living together you will need to update your home or renter’s insurance policy to add the new occupant. This is also a great time to review your home inventory, whether you’re creating something new from scratch, or just adding the details and value of your wedding gifts to your spreadsheet. Remember to keep a copy of your home inventory in a safe place outside of your home, either with a loved one or in a safe deposit box, or even in the cloud so that it is accessible anywhere.

There’s one more thing you should add to your renter’s or home insurance policy after your new relationship milestone – your rings! Depending on the value of your jewelry, it may need a special rider in order to be fully covered. Make sure that this is done early so that the rings are covered on your honeymoon!

Car Insurance

Nowadays, most young people have their own car. If you’re going to be a two-car household, talk to your insurance agent about the best way to combine your auto policies. Insuring two cars on the same policies will almost always save you money on your premiums, and you could save even more if you bundle your auto insurance with your home or renter’s insurance.

Life Insurance

There are several major points in a person’s life where they should consider their life insurance policy and getting married is a major one (along with having children). When you say “I Do” you are vowing to take care of your spouse no matter what – and this should include if you pass away unexpectedly. Life insurance is the perfect way to guarantee that your new wife or husband will have the financial means to take care of your final business.

Life insurance may be more affordable than you realize. Talk to a Boston insurance agent about how much of a premium you can expect for the coverage that they would recommend. And if you already have a life insurance policy, ask about updating the beneficiary to be your spouse.

Umbrella Insurance

Getting married is an exciting time in your life, but having a spouse is also a big responsibility. You want to do everything you can to protect them, and one of the best things that you can do is get an umbrella insurance policy. For pennies on the dollar, an umbrella insurance policy can offer you and your husband or wife protection that goes above and beyond your existing insurance policies. For more information about umbrella insurance and what it can offer you and your new family, check out this Vargas and Vargas blog post.

More Post-Wedding “To Do’s”

After your wedding and honeymoon, updating your insurance policies probably isn’t the only thing on your ‘to-do’ list. In addition to sending out Thank You notes, possibly going through the process of changing your name, and finding a fun way to display your new wedding photos, you will want to:

  • Sit down with your partner for a full financial “state of the union.” Discuss debts, incomes, and assets, as well as make plans for savings and retirement. If you are merging your finances, you will need to decide which accounts are being emptied, and which are being kept.
  • Create a budget. You will need to be on the same page regarding your household spending. Having a discussion about it early is much easier than trying to read each other’s minds about how the household should be run. And it doesn’t have to be rigid – you just need a set of guidelines that you will update as you figure out how your relationship as a couple operates.
  • Consider drafting a will. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but you never know what life will bring.
  • Now that you’re married, you will have the option of filing jointly when tax season rolls around. You don’t need to make a decision right away, but now is the time to start figuring out if joint filing will be a benefit to you.

Want to see if you and your new spouse could combine your insurance policies and save money on your premiums? Your Massachusetts insurance agent will do this and will also make sure that there isn’t overlapping coverage for which you’re paying double. Just call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to speak with an agent about how to start the process.

Are You Ready for April Showers?

The first quarter of the year has passed, and April has arrived. Even though temperatures are still struggling to get above 50 degrees here in Boston, we are ready to welcome warmer weather. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” meaning that this month has a history of being on the dreary side.

To help you prepare for the rainy weather associated with the month of April, we have amassed an “April Showers” guide for the rain. Here are tips for dealing with downpours and sprinkles alike:

Storm Preparedness

First and foremost, we have some tips about how to get ready for the storms themselves. In case of a severe storm, you should have an emergency kit in your home (and one in each car). Make sure that these kits include a flashlight and extra batteries! Also include nonperishable foods in case of an extended power outage (and make sure that you have a manual can opener in the house).

Make sure that your home is ready to take on a storm by performing some maintenance, including cleaning your gutters and trimming trees around your property. Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we deal with a lot of Massachusetts home insurance claims related to broken tree limbs. Taking time ahead of spring and summer storms to prune weak branches could save you a headache in the future.

Gardening

It is still definitely chilly, but those of you with green thumbs may want to start planning out your garden soon so that you’re ready for planting season. Soon it will be time to plant seeds for winter harvest (like squash and potatoes) and even some flower and fruit seeds. Just make sure to wait to plant seedlings until it warms up a bit, otherwise you risk them dying due to frost!

Pest Control

The increased amount of rain in April makes it a perfect atmosphere for bugs and critters. Do your part to prevent mosquitoes by ensuring that your property isn’t a magnet for standing water.

Rain also gives you the perfect opportunity to check for leaks. And any place that water can get into your home, a bug can too! Pay special attention to doors and windows, as that is the most common place for a gap. Also check for small holes around electrical outlets.

If you are having a pest problem, a trained Massachusetts pest control professional can help get the issue under control as quickly as possible.

Plumbing

It may sound silly at first, but all of the excess water falling from the sky can put a strain on your home’s plumbing. This is especially true in Massachusetts, where we also have to deal with the yearly snow melt as Spring temperatures arrive.

Pay special attention to your sump pump (if there is one in your home). It is critical that your sump pump works properly so that excess water doesn’t cause mold and mildew, or worse, a flood! Test to ensure that it is working by pouring water into the pit and waiting for the motor to start. Watch to see it pump water out and away from your home. You should also ensure that the pump is free of leaves and debris.

Driving and Vehicle Tips

Some people like the dreariness of rain, and it is relaxing if you’re trying to sleep or want to cozy up and read a good book. On the other hand, though, rain can create treacherous driving conditions. This makes it so important to make sure that your car can handle slick roads – after all, there are over 1 million weather-related vehicle crashes every year, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Before you drive in the rain, be sure that your tires are ready for the wet roads. They should be properly inflated according to the specifications in your car owner’s manual. The tread on your tires and your car’s brakes should also be checked.

When you are behind the wheel in the rain, you should increase the distance between you and the car that you are following, turn on your car’s headlights (it’s the law in Massachusetts!), and know how to handle your vehicle if you start to hydroplane.

Rain Gear

At some point in the next month or so, you are probably going to get caught in the rain. Now is the perfect time to make sure that you are ready when that moment arrives. After all, you don’t want to be running through a rainstorm thinking, “I should have bought that raincoat!”

A raincoat is a perfect place to start when it comes to buying gear. You should also have some waterproof boots and even a hat (otherwise make sure that your jacket has a hood). Everyone also should plan to have a few umbrellas. One for your home, one for your vehicle, and maybe even an extra for your workplace.

Hopefully this blog has helped you prepare for the rain-filled Spring months ahead. If you want, tell us about some of your favorite Spring activities on our Facebook page. And make sure to stay tuned to the blog for more insurance tips and tricks.

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.

Fill in the Gaps with Umbrella Insurance

Your auto, property, and business insurance policies cover most of your valuables. But for those with multiple properties, luxury items, and other high-dollar assets, these policies may not fully cover your investment. If a complete loss occurs, you could be left footing the bill.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA offers insurance policies to protect the things you care about most. Our experts are able to customize a package of policies to fit your specific needs. However, all policies have their limits.

Umbrella insurance policies provide additional coverage for your existing plans. Here are several ways an umbrella policy can protect you financially.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

A lawsuit, natural disaster, or economic fluctuations can contribute to the ruin of a thriving business. You may need more than your current policies provide if a catastrophic event takes your property and inventory.

When the liability limit on your primary policy is reached, your umbrella policy will provide additional funds to get you back on your feet. This removes the financial burden when problems occur, giving you the peace of mind to deal with other issues. Your losses from legal judgments, natural disasters, and theft may be covered.  

Umbrella Policies for Home and Auto

For most people, your primary residence and vehicle are your largest assets. If your house burns down or your car gets totaled, primary policies may help pay off what you still owe. Any extra may not cover the cost of replacing your property.

After your auto, renters, or auto insurance pays their share, an umbrella policy further reduces your out-of-pocket costs for replacing your property.

Contact the insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA. We can help you decide if umbrella insurance is the right strategy for you.

My Child Got Their Driving Permit – What Now?

 

Children grow up so fast. It seems like they just start to walk, and the next thing you know they’re getting their learners permit and ready to start driving. If you have a teenager who is just about to get their Massachusetts learner’s permit, here are a few steps that you should take to make it a smooth transition:

  • The first step that you should take when your child gets their permit is to call your insurance agent. They will help add your child to your Massachusetts auto insurance policy so that they are insured while they learn to drive.
  • It’s important to let your agent know if your child is a good student, and if they have completed a driver’s education course. Either (or both) of these criteria will help to lower your insurance premium.
  • If you want to further compensate for the cost of adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy, consider lowering your deductible. Ask your agent if this is the right choice for you.
  • While you are making changes to your insurance policies, consider adding an umbrella insurance policy to your portfolio. This coverage is very affordable, especially considering how much protection it provides. After all, teenagers are inexperienced drivers and are more likely to cause a major accident that would, without the proper umbrella insurance, potentially cause financial distress.

To talk to your Boston insurance agent about the new driver in your household, just call 617-298-0655. We can help you get them added to your auto insurance policy, and get you a free umbrella insurance quote to consider.