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!

Commercial Insurance Options for Dorchester, MA Business Owners

If you own a business in and around Boston, MA, accidents happen whether you are prepared or not. One of the best ways to protect your business is by investing in commercial insurance. There are numerous types of business insurance, and narrowing it to the one that suits your business can be challenging.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance walks you through the options and will guide you to choose the ones that meet your business needs.

  • General liability insurance: While this insurance isn’t mandatory in Nebraska, it’s a must-have investment for every business. Given the ubiquitous nature of claims like advertising injury, property damage, bodily injury, and even suits, your business will be treading on thin ice if you don’t have liability insurance.
  • Umbrella insurance: Like mentioned, liability claims are never far away from your business. While your liability insurance is great, it can only do so much when faced with significant liability claims. However, when you have umbrella insurance, it picks up from where your general liability insurance leaves off.
  • Property insurance: Your business operates because of the support it gets from assets like computers, furniture, buildings, and so on. So, it makes sense to invest in insurance that protects your assets from perils like fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters, among others.
  • Workers’ comp insurance: This coverage is mandatory in Massachusetts regardless of the number of hours worked by your employees.
  • Commercial auto insurance: Whether you have a fleet of vehicles or one car used to run commercial errands, you must invest in commercial auto insurance to protect your vehicle and the driver.
  • Professional liability insurance: If you offer professional services, you should invest in this coverage since it protects you when your actions lead to financial distress for clients.

Need to invest in commercial insurance? Need to learn more about commercial insurance? If you need any of these services in Dorchester, MA, don’t hesitate to contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance.

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

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!

Homeowners Insurance Facts

If you own and home or condominium with an outstanding mortgage, you are required to carry homeowner insurance.  But, if you are thinking of purchasing one, you should know what insurance policies cover and don’t cover you for.

Some Loses are not a Part of Home Insurance

If you plan to purchase home insurance, you need to know that standard policies don’t cover earthquakes or floods. In these cases, you may need to add the coverage to your home or condominium policy or purchase separate policies that offer you coverage for these perils.

Some Dog breeds can make it Challenging to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance

All homeowner’s policies give you coverage if your dog bites someone. This way, the liability portion of your insurance saves you from financial ruin. But some insurance providers refuse to offer coverage to homeowners who have dogs with different breeds like Rottweiler and bulls. Therefore, you may have to dig a bit deeper to find the right insurance policy that will also cover you for dog bites.

Polices Can Cover Plane Crashes

Of course, there are chances of a plane falling from the sky onto your house, but some insurance companies still offer you coverage for this. They even offer you a plan for several things that can fall from the sky, including the tree.

Food Spoilage Coverage

A power outage can occur due to several problems. When your fridge is not working, your stored food may get spoiled in a few hours. Some insurance policies offer food spoilage coverage, this kind of coverage will pay you for your spoiled food.

Volcano Damage Plans

It might surprise you, but there are home insurances that cover volcanic damage. If you live near volcanic mountains, this plan is beneficial for you. Even if the volcanoes have been dormant for centuries, it still has some risks. Well, it’s better to save yourself than feel sorry.

Birds Damages and Vermin

Any damages caused by birds, Racoons, or squirrels making their way into your attic are not part of standard homeowner’s insurance plans. Whether wild birds have made a nest on your roof or have damaged your windows, you have to make repairs and replacements all by yourself. The best way to prevent further damage is to call animals experts like Clancy Bros Pest Control who can help you get rid of these creatures.

The Bottom Line

These homeowners insurance facts may have encouraged you to read the policies and plans carefully to get the coverage you are looking for. You can also read our blog on Home insurance terms you need to know..

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.

A Brief Guide to Classic Car Insurance

If you have been thinking about buying a classic car in Dorchester, MA, you will want to ensure you are familiar with classic car insurance requirements and differences when compared to standard insurance. Vargas & Vargas Insurance shares some information you need to know.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

Most auto insurance companies will have a set of eligibility requirements for a classic car insurance policy. It is not generally required for your classic car to meet a minimum value, but it is usually required for your classic car to be of higher value now than when it first came out on the market. Further, your car should be at least 10 years old in order to qualify for classic car insurance.

The condition of your antique car will also be taken into consideration. It needs to be currently running (or close to it) and be in good condition overall. You will also be required to keep your vehicle stored in a secured indoor environment. Mileage will also need to stay low with a possible maximum number of miles being permitted.

How Is a Classic Car Insurance Policy Different Than the Standard Policy?

With both forms of auto coverage, you are protected while on the road with collision, comprehensive, and liability offerings. With classic car insurance, though, the policy is focused more on the particular needs of an antique vehicle. As the value amount of your classic car increases, you can make adjustments to your insurance policy. A classic insurance policy will also take into consideration the fact that it will cost more to repair or replace your vehicle if involved in an accident.  

If you are interested in classic car insurance in Dorchester, MA, contact the team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance for a quote.

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.

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.

Preventing Frozen Pipes at Your Home and Office

Cold temperatures can mean frozen pipes and finding solutions to prevent bursting pipes and flooding of your home are very important. Water will expand in the freezing environment, while metal pipes get a contract in colder days. Since the water in the pipe responds to winters oppositely, this causes pipes to damage or burst.

Here we have mentioned some simple and accessible tips that you can use to prevent this problem in your home and offices.

Add Insulation to Different places

Adding insulation to basements, attics, and crawl spaces will help you get higher temperatures in these areas. Not only will this help you live comfortably in your house, but it also keeps your pipes in these spaces from freezing. 

Close Garage Doors

Most people keep their garage door open while doing a different task. However, this can lead to great problems if you have a water supply in this area. The cold and freezing air can reach the pipes and cause them to freeze. Closing all the passages for wind can help you maintain a warm environment around the pipes.

Allow Water to Drip from Faucet

You need to keep open one or two faucets in your house or office throughout the winter weather. Running water through the pipe prevents water from freezing by staying in one position. Of course, you don’t need to open the faucets, allowing faucets to trickle completely will do the trick.

Seal Leaks

Hire an expert to identify air leaks in your house and office, especially near the pipes. Ask the experts to use different methods to seal leaks around the windows, doors, and electrical wiring. You can also use insulation or caulk to keep the cold air out of your personal space.

Open Cabinet Doors

This might look like a bizarre idea, but it can help you save yourself from great troubles. Keeping your cabinets open in winter will allow heat to get to the pipes present in your walls. This technique is more important for pipes under appliances and sinks that have more risk of bursting.

Drain Outside Water Lines

Water lines in uninstalled or unheated areas have more risk of freezing. Since the outside pipes and water lines are more exposed to freezing weather, you need to drain them before winter. So, prepare your water lines and empty them before winter.

Drain Water from Swimming Pool

Water in a swimming pool can get frozen, which can freeze other pipes connected to a swimming pool. Draining water from your house or office pool will save your pipes from getting affected by the freezing wind. Make sure to do this task before winter knocks on your door.

Wrapping Up

 Frozen pipes can ruin your day, as it can lead to costly repairs. Not to mention, bursting frozen pipes also waste your time and effort that you can use for some productive work. So, it’s vital to prepare your water lines for this problem, rather than getting into trouble. For this, you can keep your cabinets open and the garage door close to maintain a warm temperature. Also, you can seal leaks and insulate different spaces in your office and home.

Protect Your Property with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we offer top-rated insurance services that will help you keep your property safe and protected. Should you suffer a frozen pipe that you need help with, we are but a call, text, or email away. All our clients enjoy customized insurance coverage to match their unique needs, and we offer affordable prices. Contact us today for a free quote.

How Flood Insurance Works, How Much Does It Cost, and How It Protects the Homeowner

How Flood Insurance Works and Costs

Many homeowners in Massachusetts don’t know that their standard insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy designed to protect and compensate property owners for physical damage caused to a property’s structure and personal belongings.

In this post, we’ll share how flood insurance works and how it protects the homeowner. Using this information, you can determine if you need flood insurance and learn where to get it.

What Flood Insurance Covers

Depending on your policy, flood insurance coverage can pay up to $250,000 for structural damage and $100,000 for personal possessions. Filing a flood insurance claim is no different from filing a regular claim on your homeowners or car insurance. Following your claim application, an insurance adjuster will survey the damage, after which you’ll have to submit a “proof of loss” form, which contains every damaged item within 60 days.

Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

Structural Damage

Flood insurance provides replacement cost coverage for primary residence and actual cash value coverage for vacation homes. A standard policy pays for structural damage to a building’s foundation, cracks or bulging in walls and ceilings, damp floors, roof, etc. Some policies can also cover damage caused to plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical systems.

Personal Property Damage

Apart from structural damage, flood insurance also covers damage to furniture, window treatment (curtains, drapes), electronic appliances, art, and other valuables. However, in this case, coverage is offered on an actual cash value basis only, meaning insurers will take depreciation into account.

What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover

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

  • Mold damage
  • Currency, precious metal, and documents
  • Outdoor property like gardens, decks, patios, sewage systems, pools, etc.
  • Temporary accommodation in extreme flood cases
  • Vehicles

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Massachusetts?

The cost of flood insurance premiums in Massachusetts varies according to your city and your property’s location. The rule of thumb is, the closer your property is to a high-risk flood zone, the higher the premium. On average, residents in the Bay State who are in a preferred flood zone will pay around $550 per year, but someone who is in a federal flood zone will pay an average $1,300 per year for about $250,000 in coverage.

How to Get Flood Insurance

Now that you know how flood insurance works and what it covers, the next step is to purchase a policy. The Federal Government provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, they do not sell insurance policies directly but through private insurance companies. A local insurance agent or company in Massachusetts can help you purchase a policy from the NFIP. Once approved, it takes around 30 days before the policy goes into effect unless you purchase flood insurance while taking out a mortgage.

Protect Your Property with Vargas & Vargas Insurance

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