When is Your Home Insurance Denied and What Can You Do?

Home insurance is there to help pick up the pieces in the event of a catastrophe or mishap. From direct damage due to third-party negligence to shielding you from nature’s wrath, being insured is vital. But when can your home insurance get denied by your current carrier? What can you do when you find yourself without proper coverage in the event of an emergency?

The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of things that can cause your carrier to drop you from being insured. It all really centers around the policies and practices of each individual company.

However, there are a few that are almost universal among many carriers. Some of the more common include:

  • If the house becomes in extreme disrepair
  • Non-disclosure of damages to, or the result of, the home
  • Insurance fraud
  • Non-payment of premiums
  • Excessive past claims
  • Missing a filing deadline
  • Criminal record of certain judgments, such as arson
  • Certain types of dog breeds

This is by no means a complete list. The problem is that every insurer has its own guidelines to follow when it comes to the home. However, the above problems are common among many companies and something you should consider when your home insurance is denied.

What about being denied specific claims from your insurer? In many cases, this happens because of a lack of specific coverage. For instance, earthquake and flood protection often require their own insurance plans separate from the home.

Some insurers will still cover you even if you’ve experienced any of the above. However, the premiums you’ll have to pay are usually quite higher. This is because you’ve been established as “high risk.”

If someone or the property is deemed as a high risk, this means that there is a greater chance of the insurer losing money due to damages.

What Can You Do When Home Insurance is Denied?

You could always appeal to the insurance company and plead your case. In some instances, this may prove beneficial, especially if you’ve invested in preemptive measures.

For example, taking the time to make sure the home is up to code and in good condition after a denial may change the mind of an insurer. Especially if you can reinforce the validity of the repairs by having the home inspected.

Your local independent insurance agent is the best way to appeal your case as they have a relationship with the insurance company.

Another thing you can do is spend time looking for an insurer who’ll cover your home. As I said, every insurer is different and some may be willing to overlook specific issues. But that’s when your payments may increase due to being a high risk, as mentioned above.

Bear in mind that the very reason why one insurer dropped or denied you could be why it’ll be difficult to find another. At least not without addressing why you were denied in the first place.

Never Give Up, Proper Protection is Worth the Effort

If you’ve been denied in the past for home coverage, give us a call at Vargas & Vargas Insurance. Contact us today to see if we can help you get the coverage you need to protect your investment as well as your family.

In the worst-case scenario, you don’t want to face disasters and accidents alone. We are able to give you some peace of mind by finding the insurance coverage that you require.

Captive Versus Independent Insurance Agents For Your Automobile and Home Insurance; An Honest Comparison

When you’re shopping for insurance, knowing the different types of insurance agents is important as part of understanding whom you should work with.
 
There are two kinds of insurance agents — captive (who represents one insurance company) and independent (also known as an insurance broker).
 
Many online insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual depend exclusively on captive agents, but some like GEICO and Progressive rely on a mixture of captives and independents.
 
Both types of agents can provide the kind of quality expertise you need to make one of life’s important financial decisions. But there are some big differences between the two.
 
Captive agents
 
Captive agents work directly for a single insurance provider and are limited to the products of that company. For example, if you call a captive agent who works for State Farm, he or she will market and try to sell you only State Farm products. How they get paid is set by their insurance company, and they are paid by that one company.
 
On the plus side, these agents are experts in what their insurance companies have to offer. But they cannot help a client who doesn’t need or qualify for their company’s products. And captive agents usually have quotas to hit to keep their job and earn bonuses. Although that’s not terribly different from independent agents, you might feel a bit more pressure to buy car insurance from a captive agent when all you really want is term life.
 
Independent agents 
 
Independent agents, meanwhile, work for themselves and not any one insurance company. They sell policies from a variety of insurance companies, not just one, there is no increase in the premium to work with an independent insurance agent, and make most of their money through sales commissions and bonuses from the carriers.
 
Independent agents can save you some time by getting insurance quotes from a few different insurers, we have 11 insurance carriers that we can provide you with an insurance quote.
 
Which is best?
 
The type of insurance coverage you choose depends on your needs and your budget.
 
If you’re looking for multiple quotes from different companies, an independent insurance agent probably is the way to go. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can save you time and money, reach our agents at 617-298-0655.

Spring Cleaning & Maintenance Checklist to Prevent Home Insurance Claims

Want to maximize your spring cleaning schedule to include maintenance items that can help prevent home insurance claims? Read on for some helpful tips!

Organize and declutter

Go through each room in your home and remove any objects that are not useful or needed anymore. Organize your storage space so that useful items are contained neatly. By preventing clutter from accumulating, you are reducing your fire hazards.

Store chemicals and other dangerous items out of the reach of children and pets

While you are going through your home, keep an eye out for any items that could be a potential source of danger for your children or pets. Look for medicine or cleaning chemicals that need to be stored in safe places. Consider adding child locks to certain cabinets to minimize the danger for children. 

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Come up with a plan to help you prepare your home for general maintenance to help prevent serious issues down the road. Having a maintenance schedule helps you feel less overwhelmed by scheduling different services throughout the year, while also giving you peace of mind that your home will be up to date and as safe as possible.

Some must-include items for your maintenance schedule

  1. Check your carbon monoxide and fire alarms. According to staysafe.org, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires are two of the leading safety hazards for homeowners. Make sure your alarms have fresh batteries and are in working order.
  2. Change the air conditioning filter. Air conditioning filters are meant to sort out harmful particles such as dust and mold. By preventing the spread of mold you are keeping your house safer and your family healthier!
  3. Inspect your roof. Check for missing shingles and clogged gutters. This helps prevent water damage to your home and its foundation.
  4. Check Your Oil Tank. Unwanted oil tank leaks can cause a huge headache, especially because oil tank leaks are rarely covered with home insurance plans

Stay one step ahead of your maintenance needs!

By keeping your house clean and up-to-date on maintenance, you minimize your risks of safety hazards and damages in the future. It’s worth it! Click here to read one of our earlier posts on Spring cleaning.

When you finish cleaning your house, give Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency a call and we’ll help you clean up your insurance portfolio! One of our friendly and knowledgeable agents can review your home insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and other insurance policies to make sure that you have all the coverage that you need, and at the right price. Don’t hesitate, call now – 617-298-0655.

Is Your Oil Tank Covered On Your Homeowners Insurance Policy?

Living in Massachusetts has plenty of amazing upsides, but you’re definitely taking a risk if you don’t have your oil tank covered on your homeowner’s insurance policy!

According to state records, over 700,000 homes are warmed by heating oil in Massachusetts, which makes us the second-highest state for residential heating oil consumption.

How Many MA Homes Are Covered If Their Oil Tank Leaks

Despite the heavy use of oil for residential heating, most homes are not covered with their basic homeowners’ policies, sometimes resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs for homeowners. In one recent story, an oil tank leaked on the property of a MA resident battling COVID-19, costing over $500,000 in damages.

We don’t want this to happen to you, but statistically speaking, you’re likely at risk. Data shows that only about 5% of homes in MA are covered in the case of an oil tank leak.

Given that there are 120 spills a year, we want to make sure you’re prepared in case you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

How To Get Your Oil Tank Covered

Even though you may not have an oil tank leak on your current homeowners policy, the good news is you can relatively inexpensively add this coverage into your policy.

First, you must comply with the Homeowner Oil Heating System Upgrade and Insurance Law by ensuring your oil tank and valves are safe.

Once you’ve made sure your leak-prevention systems are in place, we can help you add oil leak coverage to your policy that covers you and any neighboring properties contaminated by a leak from your tank.

How To Prevent Oil Leaks In Your Home

Even if you decide to make the wise choice to get oil tank coverage, you can do your best to avoid finding yourself in this situation with regular maintenance checks to your home heating system.

The DEP provides a very useful PDF of Tips for Maintaining Your Heating System that’s free of charge. We’d recommend you print it out and include it in your regular home maintenance tune-up list. Commit to running through these checks regularly so you can spot warning signs and fix small problems before they become a huge ordeal.

We’re Here To Help Find The Right Coverage For Your Situation

Are you missing oil tank coverage on your policy, or are you curious about what else isn’t covered in your homeowners insurance? We’re here to help.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance offers top-rated insurance services that will help keep you and your family protected from unexpected events on your rented property. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs, and we offer affordable prices.Contact us today to get a customized plan, or to just get the peace of mind that you desire!

What A Home Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover

Is your home insurance policy covering you when you need it most? If you’re like most people on a “standard” home insurance plan, there are several things that aren’t actually covered with your policy!

Don’t worry – you’re about to find out what a home insurance policy doesn’t cover, and how you can quickly make a few updates to your plan to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need.

Before we get into that, take a quick inventory of what you’re hoping is covered in the case an unfortunate event presents itself to you. As we take a deeper dive into what isn’t covered, you’ll be able to quickly identify whether you’ll need extra coverage or if you’re in the clear!

What Doesn’t A Home Insurance Policy Cover?

Most home insurance policies don’t cover the following:

  • In-Home Businesses
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Vehicles used for business
  • High-value Jewelry.

Take a quick look at each in more detail, and how you can protect yourself.

In-Home Businesses Are Not Covered By Your Homeowners Insurance

Did you join the recent surge of people deciding to jump into at-home work, including freelancing, or even starting a business that’s based in their home? Whether you’ve just started or you’ve been at it for years, many people are unprepared for a sudden loss to their business equipment.

Don’t let that be you!

There are several ways to get your business property covered if you’ve got a home-based business.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), you can:

  1. Add a Policy Endorsement to your existing homeowners insurance. This simple endorsement is a simple way to increase your coverage to include business property. If your policy has minimal coverage for business property already (as some policies do), this can be a low-cost way to get the coverage you need.
  2. Add an In-Home Business Policy. This policy is for you if you need more comprehensive coverage for business equipment and have a need for liability coverage for your business. It can be a life-saver if you need to recoup costs beyond simple business property, such as loss of important papers, records, income, etc.
  3. Add a Businessowners Policy (BOP). If you’re a small/mid sized business that operates out of more than one location (including your home), you’ll want to consider the broader coverage offered by a BOP. 

Be Careful: Floods Are Not Covered In Most Home Insurance Policies

This one is slightly tricky, as most people don’t think they live in an area susceptible to flooding.

However, “flooding” can mean many things in your insurance policy. For example, a failed sump pump or water damage due to a clogged drain are generally not covered in a standard home insurance policy.

Many people have been saved by adding a separate flood insurance policy, as there is some gray area in standard policies, and they chose to be safe rather than sorry!

Earthquakes Aren’t Covered

Earthquakes are on the rise, according to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration branch of the US Government (and shown in this chart). Despite this, earthquakes are not covered by most home insurance policies.

If the thought of an earthquake hitting your area makes you tremble a little, you may want to consider specific earthquake coverage to be on the safe side.

Vehicles used for business

Not surprisingly, vehicles used for business are not covered in a homeowners policy, even if the damage to the vehicle happens on your property.

High-Value Jewelry

Jewelry-lovers take note! If you’ve got jewelry valued at over $2,000, there’s a good chance your homeowners insurance will not cover these pieces.

To make sure you’re covered, you can easily add on additional coverage into your policy to account for the loss if something should happen to your valuables. 

We’d recommend learning about coverage for commercial auto insurance if you own vehicles used for business, or check with your employer to ensure they have the correct coverage.

We’re Here To Help Find The Right Coverage For Your Situation

Don’t be alarmed if you’re in any of the categories above. Everyone’s situation is unique, and you deserve to be informed about what is – and what isn’t – included in your coverage. 

Let’s talk over your current policy and make sure you’ve got everything you need for your situation. 
Contact us today to get a customized plan, or to just get the peace of mind that you desire!

Insurance Check-Up

Insurance Check-Up

Life Changes and it’s Time for an Insurance Checkup

Having insurance policies is vital to gain great security and protection from unexpected problems. Ensuring everything in your life at an early stage is also a great idea.

While getting yourself and your house, vehicle, and assets insured is vital, you also need an insurance checkup to review your policies yearly. This allows you to ensure that the insurance coverage will be of help to you when your circumstances and lifestyle change. But if your insurance doesn’t cover you as it should, you need to make some changes to the policies or, even purchase new policies to cover your changing needs.

Here are some reasons why you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Change in Family Status

Are you planning to get married or expect a baby? It would help protect your growing family by purchasing the right insurance plan. Insurance checkups will allow you to ensure whether the coverage is enough to support your entire family when you are not around. The loss of a family member through disability and death is also the right time for an insurance plan review.

Remodeling or Moving Your House

If you plan to remodel your house, your house value will surely increase. Similarly, if you move from the house, you might own a property with a higher value than the one you have before. Since your assets have increased, you need an insurance plan that covers these assets.

Retirement Time

When you decide to retire, you need something to rely on for your future expenses, especially final expenses, it’s vital to choose the right insurance plans to protect you properly. It would also be helpful if you had the proper insurance that will pay for your funeral, medical care, and debts.

Chance in Assets Value

Many people insure their jewelry and other assets to get the money if they get damaged or lost. But they forget the fact that these valuable assets increase over time. By keeping the coverage updated regularly for these valuable assets, you are protected in the event you lose them or they are stolen.

Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts on different insurance plans. This way, you can purchase the right insurance plans at much lower prices. So, if you have not received your discounts, it’s time to have an insurance checkup.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s life, house, vehicle, or assets insurance, insurance is not something that you purchase and forget. You need to always look for ways to lower your premiums and avail optimal benefits from your policy. For this purpose, you need to opt for an insurance checkup.

Missing Coverage

If you have any assets at all, an umbrella policy is a valuable protection. Home insurance and car insurance policies have liability limits that are often not high enough to protect you adequately. If you are found to be at fault beyond your liability limits, you may be required to pay the remainder of the money out of pocket. It could take all of your savings and assets and even your future assets to make that payment.

This will help you look for flaws in your insurance and allow you to get the features that you don’t have. Not only this but practicing this method can help you lower your premiums and get interesting discounts and offer. So, if you currently have any insurance, consider reviewing it.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs at incredibly affordable prices. Contact us today for a free insurance review or quote.

How a Renters Insurance Policy Protects You

Living uninsured in a rental home can put you at risk of personal liability and property damage. Learn how a renters insurance policy protects the renter
What Renters Insurance Does (& Doesn’t) Cover

Are you planning to rent a residence in Massachusetts? Consider a renters policy to protect yourself against the financial impact of unexpected personal property damage, theft, and legal liability. A renters insurance policy is designed to do just that and help protect tenants, their personal belongings, and the occupied property from the financial aftermath of an unfortunate event or accident.

In this post, we’ll share how a renters insurance policy protects the renter so readers can better understand its importance and where to get the best coverage in Massachusetts.

What Renters Insurance Covers

A renters or tenant insurance policy covers renters from the financial repercussions of unexpected or unpreventable events on their rented homes or apartments. Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

Personal Property Damage

Standard renters insurance policies cover Personal Property Damage in the event of a fire, smoke, vandalism, explosion, plumbing issue, and other listed disasters. You can opt for one of the two policies – Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. Replacement Cost covers the full cost of replacing damaged possessions, whereas Actual Cash Value takes depreciation into account, meaning the compensation will depend on your possessions’ usage and age.

Personal Liability

Personal Liability covers property damage and bodily injuries caused by you, your family, and your pets. In case of a lawsuit, the liability portion of a renters insurance policy can pay for medical bills and repairs, as well as the legal costs for your defense in court. The compensation amount typically starts at $100,000 but can be raised higher depending on your needs.

Additional Living Expenses

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage pays for temporary accommodation and expenses when your rented home or apartment is undergoing restoration or renovation following damage. Typical expenses include restaurant bills, transport, hotel bills, and temporary rentals.

What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover

The following is a list of items not covered by a Renters insurance policy:

  • Pest infestation
  • Earthquake and flood damage
  • Vehicle theft or damage (Belongings inside the vehicle are covered)
  • Roommate property and personal belongings

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Massachusetts?

Renters insurance rates vary according to the state and where you’re shopping from. The average cost of renters insurance in Massachusetts is $192, or about $16 per month. Your location in the state also influences your cost. For example, if your residence is a region prone to natural disasters like severe storms, floods, wildfires, landslides, you’ll most likely have to pay more than the average. Similarly, if your neighborhood has a crime rate, this will also affect your overall cost.

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim

The following are the main steps for filing a renters insurance claim. However, keep in mind that your claims process may vary on the type and extent of the damage:

  • Contact your insurance company or agent as soon as you and your family are secure (in case of fire, theft, vandalism, etc.)
  • Seek emergency repairs to secure the property’s structural integrity. Make sure all the damage is documented in writing with photos and video footage for proof of damage.
  • Answer all the questions related to the damage asked by the agent and insurance adjuster
  • Discuss your policy’s coverage with your agent to understand what applies to your situation and the compensation limits

Secure Yourself with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help keep you and your family protected from unexpected events on your rented property. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs, and we offer affordable prices. Contact us today for a free quote.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Home Insurance

Your mortgage company will require home insurance for homeownership today. The insurance policy protects your house and possessions from harm and ensures that you can protect yourself from liability in cases of financial and physical loss.

However, since homeowner insurance rates vary from house to house, residents may like to know just how much they’ll be required to pay towards full insurance. In this article, we look at the factors that affect the total cost of home insurance. Study these factors to get an idea of how your insurance rate will be determined.

Area of Residence

Your area of residence is perhaps the biggest factor impacting the total cost of insurance. Homeowners in the state of Louisiana pay three times as much for home insurance than homeowners in Oregon. Natural disasters, political instability, and crime rates play a significant role in determining rates. Rates can vary from city to city, even within the same state.

Home Price

A home with a higher price often takes more to insure because the cost of rebuilding it will be higher. Coverage is provided with the cost of rebuilding in mind. Hence, insurers would like to know what your home costs right now.

Assets Covered

Your home insurance will cost more if you have collectibles and, like antiques, firearms, gold, and silver etc. have more things covered. Besides repair and rebuilding, you should include personal belongings, living expenses, and liability against lawsuits in your home insurance policy.

Home’s Age

The current age and condition of your home can also impact the total cost of insurance. Older homes often come with premium construction materials that are harder to replace. Older homes sometimes have outdated plumbing and electrical systems are also exposed to greater risk.

While the cost of home insurance can vary based on the factors provided above, it shouldn’t come as a deterrent to purchasing the right home coverage. Regardless of what it costs you to insure your home, your home is most likely your most valuable asset. You should purchase the right insurance from a local independent insurance agent to save yourself from huge losses down the line.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help you keep your business safe during the winter season. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs as we offer affordable prices. So contact us today for a free quote.

Does My Home Insurance Cover a Flooded Basement?

Happy homeowner with coverage in the event of a flooded basement

Your home is a haven for you and your family. When floods happen, the last thing you want to hear is that your flooded basement isn’t covered. At such a time, safety and getting help are your priorities. 

What many homeowners do not know is that having a home insurance policy is crucial. On the other hand, even those with home insurance aren’t always aware if it covers flooding and to what extent they will be compensated in case of such an event.

To understand how insurance works and know if your policy covers flooding, our professionals at Vargas & Vargas Insurance are on standby to simplify the process for you. We listen, advise, and guide you in making an informed choice.

What Is Flood Insurance, and Do Insurers Provide a Flood Policy Cover?

Flood insurance is any policy that covers your home, electronics, and other important belongings from losses occasioned by flooding. Generally, it comes as a separate cover due to the high risk involved. But it may vary from company to company. 

New developments in the mortgage industry within Massachusetts require lenders to ask for flood insurance, and several insurers have developed appropriate packages for homeowners. These new developments point to a higher risk of flooding, and the lenders want to protect their investments. On the other hand, taking the cover as a homeowner puts you at ease if flooding happens.

Why Flood Insurance Is Necessary

Generally, home insurance covers you from any damage that may occur. The different policies have several aspects that detail what is covered and to what extent. Flood insurance is a specific home insurance cover that will cover you when flooding happens, including if you have a flooded basement.

To choose the ideal policy, it is a good practice to seek help. Work with a trusted agent who will help you go through the policies, terms, and conditions, among other things. This will help you determine if the insurer and their package fit you or if your home is covered in case of flooding. 

Parting Shot

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies. We work for our clients and not the insurance company.  We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price. Our team is here to answer all of your insurance questions, so contact us today.

How to Insure a Vintage Motorcycle

If you own a motorcycle that is over 20 years old, your bike may be considered vintage. These motorcycles may be incredibly valuable, but they can also be more expensive to repair. You want to make sure that you have the right insurance coverage for your most valuable items.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance, which serves Dorchester, MA, understand that vintage motorcycle insurance can be tricky to navigate. Some additional information can help you make the right decision.

You Need a Standard Policy

The first thing you need to do is ensure that you are meeting Massachusetts’s requirements for vehicle liability insurance. Even antique or vintage bikes that you use are subject to these requirements. Even if you only ride your bike on the weekends, you will need to ensure you have enough liability coverage for any damage you are responsible for.

Consider Comprehensive Coverage

If you have a vintage motorcycle, you are wise to have comprehensive coverage to provide coverage for your bike when it is not in motion. Some insurance companies offer special coverage for vintage motorcycles at shows and other events, for instance.

Ask About Collision Coverage

Whether you regularly ride your vintage bike or drive it to shows, you should consider collision coverage. This coverage is intended to provide for the costs to replace or repair your bike if you are in an accident.

Get More Information About Vintage Motorcycle Insurance

Do you want to get the most out of your vintage motorcycle? Insurance can help you protect your bike, even when you are not riding or showing it. If you live in Dorchester, MA, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance to learn more about your options.