Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Options

You enjoy the feeling of freedom you get from riding your motorcycle so it is imperative you’re your protect the investment you have made in your bike. The best way to accomplish that goal is to obtain a motorcycle insurance policy that is best for you and your situation.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, you must have at least a liability insurance. This policy will cover bodily injury to others if you are involved in an accident that is deemed to be your fault, along with damage to someone else’s property. You also need to have personal injury protection coverage or you can choose a deductible of $8,000 for yourself and household members. You must also have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage which will cover bodily injury or property damage that you and/or your passenger sustains if you’re involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your medical costs and property damages.

Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive motorcycle insurance coverage will cover your bike if it is damaged or destroyed by a fire, vandalism, or a natural disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane. This is an important policy to have to repair or replace your bike if it falls victim to one of these situations or if it is stolen.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance will cover your bike if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle or an object. For example, if you hit an electric pole with your bike, it will cover the damage to your bike and the pole.

To obtain the best motorcycle insurance policy for you and your situation, contact the motorcycle insurance agents at Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA today!

How to Shop for Condo Insurance If You’ve Only Owned a House

couple shopping for condo insurance in their new home

Condo owners independently own their individual units (though there is common ownership of the common areas), and that means you need to protect it. If you are looking for coverage for your condo, it is essential to understand the different aspects of insuring a condo compared to a home.

What Do You Need to Know Before You Start Condo Insurance Shopping?

When shopping for condo insurance, it is important to be aware that the primary dwelling is protected under the condominium association’s Master Policy. Your condo community may provide all-in coverage or less inclusive insurance like single entity coverage Additional structures do not apply to a condo and are not included in the coverage. When you pay for your condo association’s fees, personal property protection is not covered by the policy. Therefore, it is crucial to consider this when looking for condo insurance.

Aspects of loss of use, medical payments, and personality liability are the same for both condos and homes. Therefore, when shopping for insurance for your condo, it is vital to ensure that you obtain a policy with high-level protection for personal property. This is because your condominium association’s primary dwelling coverage only covers the structure and does not include your belongings inside the walls.

Typical condo insurance covers:

  • Vandalism
  • Fire and smoke
  • Burst pipe
  • Theft

Factors to Consider While You Look for Condo Insurance

When shopping for condo insurance, you need to consider the cost. The cost of standard condo insurance depends on different factors, including:

  • The amount of deductible
  • Your coverage options
  • Aspects covered by your condo association’s insurance
  • Materials used in the construction of the condo
  • Location of the condo

It is essential to review the master policy of your condo association before deciding the amount of your condo insurance. This is because, in some instances, some insurance policies do not cover anything inside the walls of your condo. In such a case, you need to include more items when calculating your insurance coverage.

It is not easy to make general recommendations about condo insurance due to variations in state laws and condominium association bylaws. Consider working with local independent insurance agencies because of their business relations with financially robust insurance entities. Also, local insurance agencies can tailor your policy to meet your specific needs. 

For more assistance choosing the right condominium insurance for you and your family, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We’re here to help.

Changing Your Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Virtual Work: How to Protect Your Business

When employees shift to working from a remote location, the scope of the normal rules become complicated and confusing. Several legal nuances arise when employees work remotely, especially regarding cybersecurity and injuries to both employees and clients. Despite the notable perks of allowing employees to work from home, there are potential liabilities to consider. That’s where modifying your business’s workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work may come in.

man videoconferencing with co-workers as he works from home

There are measures that you need to take to minimize the liabilities and to ensure that your business and employees working from home are protected. These include:

  • Ensuring the employees’ homes are safe for business
  • Designating a dedicated work area
  • Ensuring their homeowner policy is updated
  • Protecting their devices from intrusion
  • Creating a telecommuting policy and informing the employees that telecommuting is a privilege
  • Reviewing your insurance

Most business owners believe that the homeowner’s insurance policy covers them, but it is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to review your insurance policy as a way of protecting your business. 

How Extra Coverage Can Help Protect Your Business

Additional business insurance policies can also help in covering potential lawsuits, workplace injuries, and office assets.

You need to obtain the right home-based business liability coverage and extra protection besides your workers’ compensation coverage. Business liability insurance is meant to protect your remote employees. The right coverage for your remote employees is vital in mitigating your business risks.

Accidents occur during work, and they can easily occur in the home. Along with ensuring your workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work is up to par, you need to ensure your employee’s work environment is safe. Employees working from home have the same compensation benefits as those working from the office.

You might need extra coverage in your business’s insurance policy to protect its assets, such as laptops. This is because your existing insurance policy may not cover losses relating to damages at the employee’s home.

Also, it’s important to verify that your employees’ home insurance adequately covers your employees who are working from home. Therefore, you need to modify the employee’s insurance policies and the coverage policies of the business.

You may be held liable for injury to anyone other than the employee in the home office. In this regard, it is important to confirm with your insurance company whether your public liability insurance covers home offices.

How You Can Get Started

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, and we are here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the right protection for you and your business.

How to Organize Your Insurance Policies to Help Your Spouse or Dependents Find Them

older couple organizing and discussing their insurance policy documents on the computer

Acquiring policies like life insurance can put your mind at ease and help you feel secure. But it’s only the start of formulating a game plan that will keep you and your family prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.  Part of your ongoing strategy must involve decisions about organizing and storing your policies so that they can be retrieved by your spouse or dependents as needed.  By following these guidelines, you can live your life without worrying about how your insurance policies will be stored and accessed.  

Choose a Secure Physical and Digital Location

Step one for organizing any insurance plan is to keep it in a safe place that only you — and others you give permission to — can open.  There’s so much personal information in policy documents that is important to protect, so we recommend using either a safe or lockable filing cabinet. Let your spouse or dependents know where the key or password is stored.  In addition to keeping the papers in a physical location in your home, consider sending a copy to a trusted lawyer or loved one who will also keep it safe.  

A digital copy can far outlast paper, which can be lost, stolen, or destroyed.  For this reason, definitely keep electronic records of your insurance policies.  Make a list of passwords for where your policies are stored on your computer, and share the information with your dependents so they can find them.  If you aren’t using software to store your insurance policy, you can scan your hard copy onto your computer.

Communication Is Paramount

While discussing your home or life insurance with your spouse and family can be uncomfortable, clear communication is going to be how you avoid any additional difficulties in case of a crisis.  Your dependents need to know which policies you have, and they should probably know the names of your agent, insurance company, and other important contacts.  Set clear expectations about how and when these should be accessed, and go over how you have stored everything.  By communicating effectively, you can avoid your family being another statistic in the millions of insurance dollars that go unclaimed every year.

Update Outdated Documents

Finally, you should keep everything up to date and know when your policies need updating.  There are many life events that can require you to update paperwork, including a new birth, a divorce, a new marriage, a change of address, business developments, and many more.  Seek advice from a qualified local insurance agent if you are unsure of when an update might be required.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you with these and other questions or concerns regarding your insurance policies.  Our ultimate goal is to assist you in any way we can with top-notch insurance plans and unbeatable customer service.

How to Know If You Are Financially Ready to Buy a Condo

couple with a young child analyzing their finances before buying a condo

Besides the convenience that accompanies owning a condo, who wouldn’t appreciate the freedom from the hustle and bustle of having to take care of the land while getting to have a roof over your head? However, just because buying a condo suits your needs, and you feel the need to buy one, it does not mean you are ready to own one.  Here are pertinent questions whose answers will help you find out whether you are really prepared to buy that desired condominium:

1. Can You Afford the Down Payment?

Whether you have sufficient cash to pay off for that condo or not is important, but it’s not the only cost to consider. A good down payment amount is a must-have. You are in an excellent position to go ahead and take the leap towards owning your dream condo only if your savings match the down payment requirements that accompany the property you have in mind.

2. Are You Managing Your Debt Well?

Second on the financial checklist that determines your readiness for buying a condo is how debt-free you are. Debts will certainly put constraints on your desire to acquire that condo you crave. You will want to ensure all impending bills and maxed credit cards are brought under control to free up more income that is needed for buying your condo.

3. Are You in a Position to Handle Hidden or Unforeseen Costs?

Before engaging the seller of the property, ensure you have set aside some money for unforeseen costs and any other unconsidered charges that will arise before closing the deal. For instance, many sellers throw all kinds of fees at you. These fees might range from recording fees and underwriting fees to the appraisal fees. There is also the hurdle of moving costs and money for decorating and furnishing the new condo in line with your tastes. Also, you may need to pay property taxes upfront.

4. Have You Considered the Cost of Purchasing a Condo Insurance Policy?

When looking to buy a condo, the last thing you would want is to risk any insurable outcome forcing your hard-earned investment down the drain. From the onset, you will then need to know from who and where you can shop around for a reliable and affordable condo insurance policy.

Condo insurance saves your money in case of any accidents and incidents in your condominium. For instance, without condo building insurance, you may not be able to replace your custom cabinets or fittings in the event of a fire. To avoid losses in terms of money or property, purchase proper condo insurance and protect yourself.

If you answered yes to these questions, step out of that bubble of uncertainty and get ready to buy that desired condo. Want to learn more about the condo insurance policy that suits you best from someone you can trust? Contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance for help with all the condo insurance concerns you might have.

Do You Need Car Insurance If You Aren’t Driving Your Car?

In these times, most of us have experienced extreme upheaval when it comes to our routines. That may include working from home. You may be ordering groceries or take-out to be delivered instead of going out. This means that our cars remained parked. As a result, many car owners are starting to wonder if they should even have car insurance during these times.

man next to his car on his driveway

The short answer is, yes! Let’s explore why.

It’s Better to Maintain Coverage Than Have On-and-Off Coverage

Unless your car is completely out of commission — as in, it’s been totaled and is no longer drivable — you should keep insurance on it. The reason why is relatively simple: if you can still drive it, at some time, you probably will. That means there is always that chance that something could happen. 

Another reason is that if you cancel your car insurance, and then you end up needing it again, you will be labeled as high-risk to the underwriters. This means you may have a hard time obtaining car insurance, or you will end up paying more. So, it’s cheaper and safer to maintain insurance. 

Options for Stored Cars

If your car is locked away in a storage facility and you are definitely not going to be driving it anytime soon, meaning it will not be anywhere near any public road, you may be able to drop the coverage to comprehensive insurance only. This type of insurance protects the car from anything except a collision with another vehicle. For this reason, comprehensive insurance is sometimes referred to as “car storage insurance.”

How to Save on Car Insurance

Essentially, you do need to have insurance on your car (even if you aren’t driving that much). However, if you are concerned about the cost of premiums, it is always worth looking into different kinds of insurance and ways that you can save. Liability insurance is something that you have to have if your car is registered. But you may be able to take other kinds of coverage off of your car if you feel that you are not driving it enough to warrant having full coverage. 

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we’re here to help answer your insurance questions and make sure you have the coverage you need. Contact us today to get in touch with a local representative.

How to Know if Umbrella Insurance is Right for You

While nearly every person is familiar with common insurances like auto and homeowners, one that often flies under the radar is umbrella insurance. Essentially, for each of your insurance policies you have a limit to how much money the insurance company will pay – minus your deductible – for a claim. In some circumstances, the total balance due may be greater than what the insurance company is paying which means you are on the hook to pay the difference. In a situation like this, if you have umbrella insurance then the policy will kick in to cover the difference once your coverage has been maxed.

Whether or not you need umbrella insurance is a common question. Generally speaking, you should consider purchasing a policy if the value of your assets to include items like your real estate property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, college savings plans and any other asset with a monetary figure attached to it exceeds the limits of your homeowner’s or auto insurance liability coverages. Ultimately, the goal is to have more liability insurance than your assets are worth so you can’t risk losing them in a lawsuit.

With that said, you don’t need to have a high net worth to make umbrella insurance worthwhile. If you have a situation where you have greater liability than others such as household staff, dangerous equipment on property or an aggressive animal than it won’t hurt to at least explore your options. 

When it comes to shopping for umbrella insurance in Dorchester, MA, there’s really no better option than Vargas & Vargas Insurance. Focusing on a no pressure environment, our friendly and knowledgeable team of insurance professionals will answer all your questions, help determine if an umbrella policy is right for you and assist you in the underwriting process. 

What You Need to Know About Business Interruption Coverage and COVID-19

a carpentry business owner considering his insurance options during COVID-19 restrictions

Most businesses throughout the country have experienced some type of financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have chosen or been forced to temporarily close your business, you are likely searching for ways to replace your lost income in order to avoid a permanent closure, particularly if you have not been allowed to reopen yet. Although business interruption coverage applies to many events that have a similar impact on the operations of your business, it is unlikely to be a solution to interrupted business and revenue.

What Is Business Interruption Coverage? 

Business interruption insurance is a type of specialized coverage that can be added to your regular commercial insurance policy. It is intended to serve as an additional layer of assistance for businesses that must temporarily stop operating as the result of a specific event, such as a fire or natural disaster.

Business interruption insurance generally serves as a temporary replacement for income, which can be used to keep the business from being forced to permanently close after such an event. The coverage is typically used to allow the business to continue paying employees and bills until it can reopen. 

Can Business Interruption Coverage Be Applied to COVID-19 Closures?

Unfortunately, most business interruption coverage policies cannot replace the income that is lost as a result of closures related to COVID-19. Many business interruption coverage policies include a clause that specifically excludes pandemics, as the policy is intended for closures that include physical damage to the business. Although business interruption insurance policies exist to cover sporadic closures, they generally do not have the funds to replace the massive amount of income lost by nearly every business in the country during the pandemic.

However, not every insurance company excludes pandemics. We highly recommend reaching out to your insurance provider for more information about specific policies regarding COVID-19. Talking directly with your agent is the best way to get your questions answered accurately. 

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we prioritize providing the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the various types of insurance coverage available and how they can apply to unprecedented circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about the insurance policies we offer or to request a quote.  

3 Recommended Commercial Insurance Changes for Companies Switching to Remote Work

An increasing number of businesses are considering a permanent shift to remote work for their employees. The change is taking place in different industries, especially the technology industry. When a business switches to remote work, its potential risks and liabilities change. If your small business is considering changing to a remote workforce as a long-term strategy, start with a review of your business’s commercial insurance policies. This will help you identify potential gaps and changes in coverage that need to be addressed.

woman on a video conference while working from home

Some of the insurance implications that may arise under conventional insurance policies include:

1. Employers’ Liability and General Insurance

Coverage for your employees’ potential injuries depends on the categorization, where the injury took place, and the activity undertaken at the time of injury. Your business needs to ensure that the definition of covered employees under the employers’ liability insurance includes all employees to which the company may be found liable. Also, you need to ensure that the coverage consists of all places where your workers are located.

2. Property Insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on different aspects of property insurance. While transitioning to a remote workforce may create less loss as a result of property damage, you may have more devices and equipment spread across different locations. Therefore, you need to make sure that property being used by workers in remote locations is insured.

3. Cyber Insurance

The switch to work remotely can make your business more susceptible to schemes of social engineering and hacks. When your employees work from home, they adapt to different modes of communication and may create new vulnerabilities in your system. But you need to do more than allow your IT personnel to increase security in remote working environments. Consider adding more coverage, such as cyber insurance, to protect your business’s data, systems, and hardware. Your business needs to make sure the coverage matches the risks.

For more assistance choosing the right commercial insurance policies during changes to your business, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We’re here to help.

What Should You Do If Your Term Life Insurance Policy Is About to End?

Do you have a term life insurance policy?  A term life insurance policy is for a specific period of time.  It will only provide coverage for a set period of time, such as 10, 15, or 25 years.  During this time, if your policy is active, and you die, the policy will pay out benefits.  But if you have a 10-year term life insurance and you die in the 11th year, unfortunately, the policy will not pay your beneficiaries. 

older couple discussing what to do about their term life insurance policy

If you have term life insurance and it is coming to the end of the policy, you can do a number of things.  These include:

  1. Convert the policy.
  2. Renew the policy.
  3. Buy a new policy.
  4. Let the policy end.

1. Convert Your Term Life Insurance

If you have a term life insurance policy, you may have the option to convert the policy to universal or whole insurance.  Depending upon the term life insurance that you have, you may have the entire policy period to convert or just a specific time period. 

For example, if you have a 10-year policy, you may have ten years to convert to another type of life insurance policy.   On the other hand, your policy may only allow you to convert in the first five years of the policy.  Check the terms of your policy or reach out to your insurance company.

The key advantage of converting to a whole or universal life insurance policy is that you often do not have to go through another health check for your policy.  The policy will convert and not use your current health condition for underwriting the policy.  This is a great feature if you have developed health conditions since you bought the original policy.

What Is Whole or Universal Life Insurance?

Before we continue, it’s important to know what whole and universal life insurance are.  Whole life insurance has consistent premiums and a guaranteed cased value accumulation.  Universal policies have flexible premiums and death benefits.  You can borrow against the cash value of either policy, and these are considered permanent life insurance.  The coverage doesn’t end when you stop making premium payments — it will extend further into the future.

2. Renew the Policy

Some term policies allow for renewing the policy.   This is known as a renewal option or privilege.  It allows the policy owner the right to renew their term life insurance policy for an additional time period.  However, if you renew the policy by extending your current policy’s coverage, the amount you pay may increase.  You can renew even if your health has changed, but you may only be able to renew the policy until a certain age.

3. Buy a New Policy

If your health hasn’t changed, you can also buy a new policy.  At this point, you can buy a term, whole, or universal life insurance policy.  You will have to go through the health check again, and you may be limited by a two-year suicide clause.

4. Let the Policy End

A fourth option is to just let the policy end.  Though this leaves you with no life insurance, it is an option.

If your term life insurance policy is ending or you would like to make changes to it, contact us or give us a call!  The team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance can help you figure out what is best for you and your situation.