If you own a business in Portland, ME, you need commercial auto insurance to protect your vehicles, drivers, and your business from any financial loss in the event of an accident. However, choosing the right coverage can be challenging. This article will guide you through the coverage options and their benefits.
Types of Coverage
The three main types of commercial auto insurance are liability coverage, physical damage coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Liability coverage protects your business from any legal expenses or damages you might face if one of your drivers causes an accident. Physical damage coverage protects your vehicles from damage caused by an accident or other incidents such as theft or vandalism. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects your business if one of your drivers is in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Benefits of Commercial Auto Insurance
Having commercial auto insurance provides many benefits for your business. Some of these benefits include:
Protecting your business from financial loss
Ensuring compliance with state and federal laws
Covering medical expenses and lost wages for injured employees
Providing peace of mind for you and your employees
Why Choose Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance?
At Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, we understand that every business has unique insurance needs. We offer customizable commercial auto insurance policies to meet your specific needs. Our experienced agents will work with you to create a policy that protects your business and fits within your budget.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you find the right commercial auto insurance for your business.
If you have installed solar panels on your home, you may be wondering how to insure them against damage or theft. Solar panel insurance for Maine homes can help. Solar panels can reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint. However, they’re also expensive. And they expose you to risks that may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Let’s look at how to insure your home solar panels and what factors to consider when choosing a policy.
What is solar panel insurance?
You’re looking coverage that protects solar panels from hazards like:
Some insurance may also cover the cost to repair or replace solar panels that fail too soon.
How much does solar panel insurance cost?
The cost of solar panel insurance depends on several factors, such as:
Value of your solar panels and their installation cost
Type and size of your solar system
Location of your home and condition of your roof
Deductible and limit of your policy
Insurer and coverage level you choose
How to choose a solar panel insurance policy
When choosing solar panel insurance, consider the following aspects:
– Coverage: Make sure you understand what’s covered and excluded by your policy. For example, some policies may not cover damage caused by mechanical breakdown. Others might have a no or limited wind coverage.
– Limits: Does the policy have a separate limit for solar panels? Are they included in the total limit of your home insurance policy? Are solar panels subject to a depreciation clause that reduces the value over time?
– Deductible: This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible can lower your premium, but it also means you will have to pay more in case of a claim. Some policies have separate wind deductibles.
– Insurer: Compare different companies and policies to find the best value for your needs. Is local service most important to you? Lowest price? Experience and financial strength? By the way, an independent agent like Noyes Hall & Allen can compare for you. They offer a choice of several insurance companies.
FAQ about solar panel insurance
Do I need solar panel insurance?
If you own your solar panels, you are responsible for insuring them. If you lease or finance your solar panels, the lender will require insurance. So will a mortgage company.
Does my home insurance cover my solar panels?
Some home insurance policies may cover your solar panels as part of your dwelling or personal property coverage. However, you may need to increase your coverage to fully protect your investment. Check with your home insurer about their coverage for solar panels. They will be able to tell you how your policy applies and what else you may need.
How do I file a claim for my solar panels?
As with any property insurance claim, follow these steps:
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and report the incident.
Document – take photos and videos of the damage.
Collect any relevant documents, such as receipts, invoices, warranties, etc.
Cooperate with your adjuster and provide them with any information they request.
Track your expenses and repairs until your claim is settled.
Need solar panel insurance in Maine?
Solar panels are a great way to save money and energy while helping the environment. However, they also come with risks that demand proper insurance coverage.
Do you live in Greater Portland and need solar panel insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of several insurance companies. We can help you compare and find the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.
On the one hand, it may seem like a small online business doesn’t need a lot of protection. Online business owners may even feel their risks are minimal compared to those who own a brick-and-mortar business. However, nothing could be further from the truth. As an online business owner, you still need protection. You don’t have fewer risks; you have different risks. Our Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance team is committed to helping online Portland, ME business owners understand the benefits of commercial insurance.
What is Commercial Insurance?
Commercial insurance is another name for business insurance. It provides protection from many unexpected and expected events and issues that many business owners wouldn’t be able to pay for out of pocket. Commercial insurance protects you and your business from liability lawsuits, theft, property damage, employee injuries, other business interruptions, cyber risks, and more. This insurance can also provide protection from libel and slander and help to settle bonds and judgments. In short, commercial or business insurance is designed to suit your business’s unique needs and preferences. You have many options.
I have a very small online business. Should I invest in commercial insurance?
You may feel as if your risks are minimal as a small online business owner. However, the right threat could possibly wipe out your business. If you sell products online, imagine being sued by an unsatisfied customer. Commercial insurance would provide protection for an incident like this in the form of online business liability insurance. This is just one example of a potential risk that an online business might encounter. If you have questions regarding commercial insurance, we’d happily answer them. Call us. We’re standing by.
Off the shelf policies don’t provide proper artwork insurance. Homeowners, renters and condo policies have limited coverage. To really protect your collection requires a bit more.
GOOD – Basic Policies and Artwork Insurance
Home, condo and renters policies protect your belongings. They pay for damage by fire, theft plumbing leaks and 14 other perils. Personal Property (Coverage C) is the most your policy will pay. Off-the-shelf policies value your property at Actual Cash Value. That’s defined as replacement cost minus depreciation. That’s a start, but we recommend more.
BETTER – Two Upgrades for Artwork Insurance
Even if you don’t have much artwork we recommend two important upgrades to the base policy.
Replacement Cost Coverage for Personal Property. You want the insurance company to pay you the full cost to replace damaged or destroyed items. This endorsement removes the depreciation deduction. Only your deductible applies. We sometimes call this “new for old” coverage.
Replacement cost coverage is an option on homeowners, condo or renters policies.
Special Coverage for Personal Property – also called “open perils” or HO-5 coverage. This expands the causes of loss that your policy covers. The basic policy covers 16 named perils. That’s exactly what it sounds like. Only listed perils are covered. Some examples: fire; vandalism; smoke; and plumbing leaks.
But what if you leave your window open, and rain damages your artwork? Or, someone spills wine on it? Those aren’t among the 16 named perils. You need open perils coverage for your policy to pay.
BEST – Scheduled Artwork Insurance
Scheduling your valuable articles gives the best artwork insurance coverage. That means listing and describing each piece and assigning a value to it. This is the best way to insure many types of valuables. That includes jewelry, antiques, rugs or special collections. You may see it on your policy as Scheduled Personal Property.
Important Benefits of Scheduling Artwork
Sets the value BEFORE a loss – it can be hard to describe your artwork after it’s completely destroyed or stolen. It’s also difficult to prove what it was worth. Scheduling it establishes the value before the loss, not after. The insurance company will pay the lesser of
the cost to repair the item;
the cost to replace the item;
the amount listed on the schedule.
Provides Special Coverage – like the open perils coverage described above. For example: hanging hardware fails and a painting crashes to the floor. The frame breaks. It’s covered! But it wouldn’t be without special coverage or scheduling.
Removes the deductible – most property policies have a $1000 deductible or more. But scheduled property is usually covered with no deductible at all.
Valuing Your Artwork for Insurance
Many insurers allow you to set the value of your own artwork up to a limit. Often, that limit is $5,000. Any single piece valued over that needs an appraisal to justify the value. Insurance companies may require updated appraisals every 5 years. They want to make sure the valuation stays current.
If you have a lot of art or other valuables an insurance company might require an alarm system in your home. That usually means a system that’s monitored 24/7 by a service, not self-monitored via app or cell phone.
Want to Insure Your Maine Art Collection?
Do you live in Southern Maine and need artwork insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home insurance companies. We can help you find the best value for your collection.
Maine insurance rates are following national trends. Home and auto rates are up as insurers try to catch up with rising claim costs and construction values. Portland Maine area insurance buyers saw almost a 10% price increase in the 1st quarter of 2023. Even so, Maine insurance rates remain among the lowest in the US.
Maine Insurance Rates – Auto – January to March 2023
Between January and March 2023, Portland Maine area auto insurance rates jumped 6.8% on average at renewal, up from 3.7% last September. The average annual auto insurance policy in Cumberland County costs $1341 per year.
Insurers reported higher than expected losses as people drove more after COVID reductions. Body shops and mechanical repair shops charged higher prices due to supply chain and labor shortages. Used auto prices spiked during COVID and settled above pre-pandemic levels. Finally, auto rentals are much more expensive, and needed longer due to body shop delays. All of these factors, along with medical cost increases, put strong upward pressure on auto insurance rates in 1Q 2023.
Maine Insurance Rates – Home – January to March 2023
Maine home insurance rates increased even faster than auto insurance. The average home insurance premium was 10.9% higher than a year ago. That’s up from 9.6% in September. And we haven’t seen the end yet.
Many of the same inflationary pressures pushed home prices higher. Building materials and labor costs spiked dramatically during COVID and haven’t settled completely back. It’s been difficult and expensive to find contractors. That delays repairs and increases claim costs.
But reinsurance costs are probably the biggest driver of property insurance rates. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It protects them against catastrophic losses from natural disasters like wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many insurance companies saw their reinsurance rates jump 30-50% this year. Insurance companies must pass on the cost of reinsurance to their customers.
It’s a tight housing market in Maine right now. Whether your rent or own, that means property insurance is more important than ever. High costs and tight supply define the current market.
Building material costs remain at historic highs.
Contractors are busy, often scheduling work months ahead.
Real estate inventory is very low, which means it’s hard to find temporary housing.
Whether you’re a homeowner, condo owner or renter, property insurance can help. If disaster strikes your home, property insurance may help in three ways.
Property insurance can pay to remove smoke odors from furniture or clothing. It can also pay to dry water-damaged property. This helps you to salvage the things you need and your favorite belongings. Without homeowners, condo or renters insurance, you would have to pay these costs out of pocket.
Temporary Living Expenses
What if your home is damaged so badly that you can’t stay there? Your homeowners, condo or renters insurance may help. It may pay the extra cost for you to stay elsewhere until you can move back or find a new place.
Since housing is tight, that can be expensive. Make sure you have enough Additional Living Expense coverage. We recommend at least 3 months’ rent cost for renters and 12 months rent cost for home or condo owners.
Rebuilding, Repair and Replacement Costs
If you own your home or condo, your property insurance may cover the cost to repair fire, water or wind damage. What if your belongings can’t be repaired? Your renters, homeowners or condo policy may pay to replace them.
Make sure you have replacement cost coverage. “Off the shelf” policies may only pay depreciated value.
Check your Personal Property coverage limit. Is it enough to replace your belongings “new for old”. Increase your insurance if necessary.
If you own your place, check your Dwelling coverage limit. Is it enough to rebuild? Building costs are very high in the tight Maine housing market. Make sure your policy is keeping up with inflation.
Local, Professional Advice is Important
You can buy property insurance on the internet or from a call center. But why?
A local insurance agent doesn’t cost extra. They also know the local market and can advise you before and during a claim.
As an independent agent Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland offers a choice of many insurance companies. We can compare options for you. That saves time and money. Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for more information at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.
Should I buy rental car insurance? As a Maine insurance agency, that’s one of our most common auto insurance questions. The answer is a bit complicated. It depends on your risk tolerance, too.
Before we start, 2 important warnings:
This advice applies to Maine insurance policies only. Auto policies vary by state. Check with your insurance company about your own policy.
Auto rental contracts differ. Read yours carefully to find out what you’re responsible for.
OK. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to buy rental car insurance.
What Kind of Vehicle Are You Renting, and Why?
If you’re renting anything but a car, passenger van, SUV or pickup, buy the insurance from the rental car agency. Your Maine personal auto policy will not cover you properly. Likewise, if you’re renting a vehicle for business use, or in a business name, buy insurance from the rental car company.
Where Are You Renting?
U.S. auto policies only cover you in the U.S., its possessions and territories, and Canada. If you’re renting anywhere else, buy rental car insurance from the rental company.
What is Your Risk?
You face four types of risk when you rent a vehicle: liability, collision, injury and lost income for the rental company. Let’s look at the types of coverage that the car rental companies offer.
Rental Car Insurance – Liability
If you are at fault in a crash, you’re liable for any damage or injury you cause. Rental car companies sell Liability Damage Waiver insurance. That means they take responsibility for your action, provided you were operating with in the terms of your rental contract.
Maine auto insurance policies extend your liability protection to rental cars. Therefore, it’s not usually necessary to purchase Liability Damage Waiver from the rental car agency. You usually already have coverage under your own insurance. An exception might be if you have purchased very low liability limits.
Rental Car Insurance – Collision
If you crash a rental car, you’re responsible for the cost to fix it. If it’s stolen while you rent it. You’re responsible to replace it. Car rental companies sell “Collision Damage Waivers” (CDW) to remove that risk. This waiver is not insurance. It’s simply a promise from the rental car agency that they won’t make pay to repair or replace it. CDW is also expensive: often $10 to $30 per day.
Some states also allow the rental car company to claim diminished value. That’s the difference between the car’s value before the crash and after it’s fixed. Maine auto insurance policies are not required to cover diminished value.This is a gap, and a risk that you should think about before declining CDW.
Rental car company insurance usually doesn’t cover injuries to people in your vehicle. Your Maine auto insurance policy provides medical payments coverage, which is likely a small amount. Regular medical insurance (if any) takes over from there. Otherwise, your medical bills for crash injuries must be paid out of pocket.
Lost Income to Rental Car Company
If you damage a rental car, the rental company has to pull it from the fleet until it’s repaired. That means they lose income. And that’s your responsibility.
Rental car companies sell Loss Damage Waivers (LDW). Similar to the CDW, these are not insurance. They transfer the risk of the lost income from you to the rental company. These cost about as much as Collision Damage Waivers: up to $3,000 per year if you annualize it!
Maine Law requires your auto insurer to cover verifiable loss of use for the rental company up to 30 days. That’s fine as long as the rental company doesn’t claim more than 30 days lost income. With supply chain issues and labor shortages, repairs can often take more than 30 days. You could still be responsible for loss of income beyond 30 days. This is a gap, and one you should consider before declining to purchase LDW.
Rental Car Insurance Tips
Check the Vehicle
Protect yourself by checking the car carefully for damage – with a rental company employee present – before you leave the lot and when you return it. Request that all prior damages be noted in writing. We’ve heard about car renters being charged for damage weeks after turning in vehicles. If you didn’t have an attendant check the vehicle when you returned it, there’s no way to prove your innocence.
Read the Contract
Rental contracts differ. Be sure you understand:
Who can drive the vehicle
Any restrictions or requirements (alcohol or drug use, types of roads driven, etc.)
Rental Car Insurance: Budget vs. Risk
Buying the waivers from the car rental company is the safest way to reduce your risk. But it’s expensive. Weigh the cost of those waivers against the additional risk you assume by not buying them.
Frozen pipes happen quickly in frigid weather. All it takes is one small area with insufficient insulation to cause major water damage.
Greater Portland and Maine could experience the coldest air mass we’ve seen in years. If you’ve made recent improvements to your home or business (additions, remodeling, new heat systems, etc.), this will be the harshest test your property has had to endure since then. Here’s how to avoid damage from frozen pipes, and what to do if your pipes freeze.
In Very Cold Weather
Open cupboard doors below sinks. This allows warm air to circulate, and helps keep pipes from freezing.
Turn on hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving through the pipes prevents freezing.
If You Leave for More than a Day
Keep the temperature at a minimum 65 degrees F. People often set their thermostats lower than this and assume they’ll be ok. They find out the hard way that the temperature in the living or working space may be fine, but the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are, may not.
Have someone check your property regularly. If your pipes freeze or water leaks, early discovery saves major damage.
Use a “low-temp alarm”. Plenty of inexpensive wireless devices can text or call you if the temp drops inside your property. Even better long-term solution: install a low-temperature alarm into a monitored security system.
Think You Have Frozen Pipes?
Don’t wait for them to burst.
Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance. Do NOT attempt to thaw them yourself with any sort of flame!
If your frozen pipes do burst…
Even a 1″ split in a pipe can cause thousands of dollars in damage in minutes. You need to act quickly to prevent additional damage.
Turn off the water at the main shutoff valve.
Clean up the water. You don’t want more damage than you already have. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the water, but will want to inspect any damaged items.
If you have a lot of water, contact a remediation contractor. Your insurance agent can help you locate one.
Prevent further damage. Protect or remove any carpets, furniture, inventory or other items that can be damaged from further seepage.
Making an Insurance Claim for Frozen Pipes
Many standard homeowners and business property policies cover water damage resulting from frozen pipes. Not all policies are alike. Contact your agent to be sure what your policy covers.
Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage.
Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Make a list of damaged items. If your home is so severely damaged that you cannot live there, save the receipts from any additional living expenses you incur for accomodations while repairs are being made.
We hope you and your property remain safe and warm through this cold weather.
Ice dam damage is a common problem in Maine and other cold weather areas. Learn the warning signs and how to prevent damage here.
Icicles and Ice Dams
You can have icicles on your roof without an ice dam. They affect different parts of your roof. But icicles hanging from eaves and gutters are often a warning sign of an ice dam on the roof. Ice dams and icicles are both caused by the freeze – thaw cycle.
Icicles form when ice or snow melt from your roof and freeze on the edge. They can be very heavy. When they fall, they can damage property or injure people.
Ice dams occur when snow melts and then re-freezes on your roof. If melted water works its way under your roof shingles and refreezes, it expands. Ice can trap (or dam) water on the roof, causing it to pool and back into the building. The resulting roof leak can cause damage inside the building. Untreated, it can cause mold and rot.
Insulation and Ventilation Prevent Ice Dam Damage
Proper insulation and ventilation help prevent the freeze – thaw cycle that creates ice dams. The goal is to keep your roof cold.
Good insulation between the ceiling and roof is key. Pay particular attention to openings like vents and hatches. EfficiencyMaine is a great resource to learn more about insulating – and saving heating and cooling costs. You can even set up an energy assessment.
Ventilation is another key. Allowing cold air to circulate between the insulation and the roof keeps your roof cooler. That reduces the freeze – thaw cycle that causes ice dams.
Maintenance Tips to Prevent Ice Dam Damage
Good maintenance is another way to avoid damage from ice dams.
Clear leaves and debris from downspouts and gutters before winter.
Allow downspouts and gutters to flow freely. Keep them free of snow and ice.
Rake snow from your roof with a special roof rake. Roof rakes allow you to stand on the ground and clear your roof, reducing chance of a fall or other injury.
Never chop ice with any sharp tool or hammer. This can damage your roof!
Look for these signs that an ice dam may be forming:
Water damage on inside ceilings or walls.
Exterior paint damage.
Your roof is clear when your neighbor’s is snow-covered. This can be a sign that your insulation is inadequate.
Ice Dam Damage and Insurance
Your home or business property insurance may cover water damage caused by ice dams. Sometimes, roof shingles are undamaged by ice dams, but water leaks inside. Check with your insurance agent to see if your home, condo, renters or business policy covers ice dam damage.
If you live or have a business in Southern Maine, including Greater Portland, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541. Because we offer a choice of many insurance companies, we can compare options to find the right fit for you.
It’s that time of year again – the cold weather is settling in, and the snow is starting to fall. For many, this means bundling up and staying inside as much as possible. But for some, it means dusting off the snow shovel and hitting the road. If you’re someone who chooses to drive in the snow, be sure to follow these tips to stay safe!
1. Make sure your car is adequately prepared for winter weather. This includes checking the tires, windshield wipers, and headlights to ensure they are all working properly and clear of any snow or ice buildup.
2. Drive slowly and carefully, especially on hills and curves. This will help you maintain better control over your vehicle and give other drivers plenty of time and space to react to your presence on the road.
3. Keep a safe distance from other cars, and use your brakes sparingly. This will not only help you avoid accidents, but it will also help preserve your car’s brake pads if you need to come to a sudden stop.
4. If you get stuck in the snow, don’t panic – there are several steps you can take to get yourself out. First, clear any snow or ice from your wheels using a shovel or other tools if necessary. Next, try gently rocking your car back and forth to work the snow out from underneath your tires. And lastly, if these steps don’t work, consider calling a tow truck to help you get back on the road.
If you have questions about driving in the snow or how to protect yourself with auto insurance, call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance today. We proudly serve the Portland, ME area.