Finally! Insurance for Maine Uber & Lyft Rideshare Drivers

Since Uber and Lyft launched in Portland 3 years ago, rideshare drivers have had a big insurance gap. Personal auto policies exclude coverage for “Periods 1, 2 and 3” of a driver’s availability. Rideshare companies cover Period 2 and 3, but not Period 1. When a driver turns on their Uber or Lyft app, they turn off their personal insurance coverage.

Progressive just introduced a gap-closer for Maine Uber and Lyft drivers: the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Endorsement.

How Does the TNC Endorsement Provide Auto Insurance for Maine Uber and Lyft Drivers?

  1. Period 1 (logged onto TNC app, no trip accepted). Progressive now covers drivers during this period if you’ve bought the TNC Endorsement.
  2. Period 2 (trip accepted, driver en route to pickup). Progressive’s TNC Endorsement covers your full policy liability limit, not the skimpy coverage provided by many TNC insurance programs.
  3. Period 4 (on a trip). Progressive’s TNC Endorsement covers the difference between your policy deductible and that provided by Uber or Lyft. The TNC policy remains primary. This helps reduce your out-of-pocket expense.

How Much Does Uber or Lyft Driver Insurance Cost in Maine?

The cost for Progresssive’s new TNC Endorsement varies. We’ve seen prices as low as $6.00 per month. Your rates will depend upon your driving record, insurance score, and whether or not you’ve maintained consistent insurance.

If you’re driving for Uber or Lyft in Maine, and you’re not certain you have insurance coverage for it, you probably don’t. Many drivers have been afraid to call their insurance company to ask about it, for fear that their insurance might be canceled. Our agency represents more than 10 auto insurers, none of which has offered a solution until now. Kudos to Progressive for living up to their name in this case.

If you live in Southern Maine and have questions about your auto insurance, call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

How to Secure your Home with Insurance

A home is a place where you go after a long day of work. It is where you raise a family, and share and creates memories. To most people, home is the most important place and thus an investment. But life is unpredictable; you never know what to expect. You may wake up one day to find your house on fire or damaged by weather. What do you do then?

At Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in Portland, ME, we are experienced and have been in the insurance business for quite some time, and within that time, we have had the chance to work with different clients and handle a multitude of different situations. We understand the risks that can affect a home, and so, we have various coverage options that are designed to fit your needs and provide the protection you want.

Here is a glimpse at some of the options available:

Structure Coverage

With our home insurance policy, we may be able to rebuild or repair your home if it gets damaged by hail, winds, fire, or any other disaster. Note, however, not all home insurance policies protect your home from floods, and so it is essential to make sure you know and understand your coverage.

Personal Belongings Coverage

Home is where you keep all your personal belongings. It is where you have your clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, and just about everything in between. So, if your home is destroyed, all your possessions may become destroyed as well. With a personal belonging coverage, we help you recover all your lost or damaged personal items. It is also wise to make an inventory of your more important items for the insurance company.

Additional Coverage

If your home is destroyed, you may have to find a place to live while your home is being repaired. Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance can cover all additional living expenses which include restaurant and food bills. With that, you get to continue living your life without worrying about the costs.

If you are in the Portland, ME area, please feel free to contact us for more information and to have your questions answered.

HO-5 vs. HO-3 Homeowners Policies. What’s The Difference?

 


Note: This discussion applies only to Insurance Services Office (ISO) coverage forms. These are used by most insurance companies in Maine. Some insurers (Allstate, State Farm, Travelers and more) use their own proprietary forms. If you have a quote or a policy from those companies, ask an agent to explain the coverage you’re buying.

 

All Maine homeowners policies are not created equal. In fact, if your policy is properly written, there may not be another like it. Common insurance policy forms have important differences, even though they look very similar.

HO3 vs. HO5

One key example is the difference between ISO HO-3 and HO-5 homeowners forms. The HO-3 was the most popular coverage form for decades. It covers a broad scope of building damages, but more limited coverage for your personal belongings.

A quick chart:



 

 

 


Open Perils – Covers any cause of loss unless excluded.

Named Perils –
Covers only damage from specified causes.

 


 

The HO-3 covers personal property against 16 named perils:

  1. Theft
  2. Fire or Lightning
  3. Freezing
  4. Windstorm or Hail
  5. Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water from Plumbing
  6. Vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
  9. Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
  10. Sudden & Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning, or Bulging
  11. Sudden & Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electric Current
  12. Falling Objects
  13. Volcanic Eruption
  14. Riot or Civil Commotion
  15. Aircraft Damage
  16. Explosion

Why Buy HO-5 Instead of HO-3?

The open perils HO-5 form shifts the burden of proof from you to the insurance company. You’re not required to prove that the damage to your personal property was caused by one of the 16 named perils. It’s covered, unless it’s specifically excluded. Believe it or not, insurance adjusters like this, too. It removes a lot of the uncertainty and headache out of proving coverage.

What does an HO-5 Cover that an HO-3 Doesn’t?

Because the coverage is so broad, there are almost no limits to the ways your property could be damaged. Here are a few:

  • On a hot August day, a freak thunderstorm hits while you’re at work. Rain blows through an open window, damaging your home entertainment system.
  • At a dinner party, a guest spills a glass of red wine on your oriental carpet, damaging it.
  • A skunk finds its way through your open patio door. You startle it, and it sprays inside your home. All of your upholstered furniture must be deodorized.

Admittedly, these are not common claims. But clients often call insurance agents to report damage that’s NOT covered. Wouldn’t it be good to put the odds in your favor?

 

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost to upgrade from HO-3 to HO-5 varies by insurer. Believe it or not, sometimes, the HO-5 with one insurer may cost LESS than the HO-3 with another.  Often, insurers only offer HO-5 coverage for preferred properties and clients. That means you may qualify for very good pricing to begin with, which could save you money from your current HO-3 policy. If you qualify for both forms, the HO-5 is the preferred option.

Do you live in Southern Maine and have questions about your Maine homeowners insurance? Are you buying a home in Southern Maine and want insurance advice? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent.  Or, you can create your own Maine home insurance quotes online in 10 minutes. We offer a choice from many preferred insurers. We’re independent and committed to you.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Portland Maine?

 

Most Portland Maine landlords require proof of renters insurance before you move in to your apartment, house or condo. That’s because the landlord’s insurance does NOT cover your belongings against water damage, theft, fire or other perils. They want to make sure that you have coverage for your own stuff. The same goes for your liability. If someone slips on an ice cube in your apartment, the landlord’s insurance will not pay for medical bills or lost work. But, your renters insurance will.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

The price depends on how much coverage you need. The minimum premium for many insurers is $150 to $200 per year. That usually buys you $300,000 of liability protection and $20,000 of personal property (contents) coverage. You can insure an engagement ring on the same policy for a few dollars a year. If you have a lot of stuff, you might spend $300 – $400 for $100,000 of contents. You may save money by bundling your car insurance and renters insurance.

How Long Does it Take to Buy Renters Insurance?

Most insurance agents can quote and bind renters insurance the same day – and often within the same hour. A local agent knows most of the apartment buildings in their area, and can quickly put together a cost-effective program to meet your lease requirement. They can also send proof of coverage to your landlord.

How Do I Provide Proof of Renters Insurance?

Your insurance agent can list your landlord as an “additional interest” so that your landlord automatically gets a copy of your renters insurance every year. This proof doesn’t cost any extra, and makes sure that you stay in good stead with your landlord.

If you’re renting a Portland Maine area apartment or condo, get a renters insurance quote from Noyes Hall & Allen.  We know every neighborhood from Willard Square to Westbrook, Oak Hill to the Old Port, the Eastern Prom to Eastern Village, and the Foreside to Bayside. We work with you and your landlord to make sure you’re protected quickly and properly, so you can focus on moving into your new place.

We’re independent and committed to YOU.

$500 or $1000 – What is the Best Car Insurance Deductible?

 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options when buying car insurance. Many of our Maine insurance agency’s clients ask “which deductible should I choose?”

The most common collision deductibles in Maine are $500 and $1,000. The higher your deductible, the lower your cost. But, you have to pay more out of pocket in case of an accident. Most insurance companies’ rates are about 15% less for a $1000 deductible than $500.

Which is a better value? Here’s a 4 question test to help you decide.

Before You Buy Higher Auto Insurance Deductibles…

Ask yourself these questions:

Can I afford to pay the higher deductible? Would you have a hard time scraping together $1,000 to repair your car? You might not want to take the chance of a higher deductible. This is even more important if you lease your vehicle. You must repair any damage on a leased vehicle or pay the difference when you turn your vehicle in.

What is the payback? The more premium you pay, the larger the savings for higher deductibles. Fifteen percent savings on an $800 collision premium is $120 per year. The same discount on a $300 collision premium is only $45. It would take 50 months to “earn back” the $500 deductible difference in the first example. In the second, it would take more than 11 years!

How often do I have accidents? If you average an accident every 10 years, the first scenario above might pay off for you. If you average one every 3 years, neither will.

How risk-averse am I? Do you hate taking chances? The peace of mind of a lower deductible may be worth the extra cost to you.



Related post:  When Should I Drop Comprehensive & Collision Coverage?

 


 

Collision Coverage Is Used More Than You Think

Most people think collision coverage is only used when you’re at fault in an accident. That’s only part of the story. Collision coverage is also used when:

  • You’re the victim of a “hit & run”;
  • There’s a dispute about who’s “at fault”;
  • You run over or strike road debris;
  • You’re hit by an uninsured driver;
  • The other driver’s insurance company is slow responding.

Keep those scenarios in mind as you choose your collision deductible.

Do you want help choosing an auto insurance deductible? If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541 – or click the chat button below. We’ll answer your questions, quote options, and help you choose from 10 hand-picked insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Does My Parents’ Insurance Cover Me If I Rent a Vehicle?

 

You may be listed as a driver on your parents’ insurance policy. The car you drive may be on that policy, too. But you may not be covered to the same extent your parents are. 

Note: This information is based only on personal auto insurance policies in the State of Maine using ISO coverage forms. Most insurers that sell through independent agents use these forms. Many “direct writers” use proprietary forms, which may differ. Check with your own agent to be sure. 

Are You a “Resident”?

That’s the big question. If you’re a member of your parents household, you have all of the coverage that they do. If you’re not considered a “resident”, then you’re only covered to drive the vehicles listed on your parents’ policy.

So, what’s a “resident”? That line can be tough to define. If you’re a full-time student who returns home between school terms, you’re still a “resident”. If you’re not in school, and have a place of your own with a lease or utilities in your name, you’re not a resident of your parents’ household. Those are the two ends of the spectrum. The middle can get muddy.


 

Related Post: “Should You Stay on Your Parents’ Car Insurance? 


Renting a Car

If you’re a “resident”, you’re covered on your parents’ policy just like they are. For Maine residents, that means the liability and physical damage coverage applies to a rental car (in the U.S. and possessions, and Canada). You may be responsible for other expenses, and there are some holes in coverage. But, many Mainers take their chances and waive the rental company’s insurance.


 

Related Post: Does My Maine Car Insurance Cover Me When I Rent a Car?


If you’re not certain that you’re a “resident”, we recommend that you buy the insurance from the rental car company. You don’t want to be responsible for damage repairs, lost income and any liability from an accident while you’re driving the rental car.

If you’re thinking of renting a car, and you don’t have an insurance policy in your name (not just a driver), contact the insurance agent or company whose name is on that policy. They can advise you about your personal situation. If you’re driving a vehicle insured by Noyes Hall & Allen, call us at 207-799-5541. One of our agents will be happy to help.

Should I Pay a Small Insurance Claim Myself, or Report It?

 

You clip your mirror on the garage door frame. Your daughter hits a golf ball through your neighbor’s window. Your shower drain leaks, staining your kitchen ceiling.  Should I file an insurance claim, or just pay it myself? How much will my insurance rates go up if I file a claim? Clients often ask us questions like this.

The answer may depend on your individual financial circumstances, insurance policy and who else was involved.

Definitely File an Insurance Claim If:

  • There’s even a CHANCE anyone was injured. Even if someone says at the scene that they’re “fine”, they can always claim that the injury wasn’t apparent until later. Sometimes, that’s the truth; other times it’s bogus. Insurance adjusters are experienced at weeding out legitimate claims from fraudulent ones. If you delay reporting the claim to your insurance company, you may jeopardize their ability to adjust the claim. They can refuse to honor your claim or defend you in that case.
  • The other party seems antagonistic or dishonest. Difficult people are hard to satisfy; and not everyone is as honest as you are. You may think that their damage or injury is minor, and offer to pay it, only to have them increase their demands. If you promise to pay something, and then turn it over to your insurer, you’ve taken away their ability to settle properly. You may find yourself on your own to pay.

Think BEFORE Reporting an Insurance Claim

Once you report a claim, it’s on your record – even if it ends up being uncovered, below your deductible, or you end up paying it yourself. And insurers consider claims when pricing your policy. Some insurance companies even charge you more for claims when nothing was paid. 

Wait…I get charged extra for saving the insurance company money by paying for my own damage? Is that fair? It sure seems wrong at first thought. Insurance companies might argue you’re more likely to have a claim if you’ve already had one. And the next one might not be so small. They need to collect more premium with the expectation of that future claim. You might say “what’s the point of having insurance in the first place?”

We’re not defending the insurance companies that charge for “no payment” claims. But, as independent insurance agents, we can advise you which companies DO charge, and how reporting a claim might affect you.

Here’s the thing: if you talk to an insurance company about a claim, they have a record of it. And, it may be used against you. If you buy your insurance directly from an insurance company (instead of an agent), you’re talking to an insurance company employee EVERY TIME you call, email or go onto their web site.


RELATED POST: What is Auto Insurance Accident Forgiveness, and Is It Worth It?


 

How Much Will My Insurance Go Up After a Claim?

It really depends. An accident surcharge is a percentage of your premium. So, if you’re paying higher rates (because of expensive vehicles, young drivers, prior accidents or violations, etc.), your increase will be bigger than someone with a lower rate. Every insurance company charges a different percentage, and for differing terms. We’ve seen increases as small as 5% for 3 years, and as high as 50% for 5 years. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t publish accident surcharge info, which would allow us to quote “what if” scenarios. But, we have enough experience to know which companies surcharge the most.


RELATED POST: Can An Insurance Company Charge Me for a Not-at-Fault Accident?


 

So, Do I Pay a Small Claim Myself, or Not?

That’s an individual decision, based upon your financial situation, risk tolerance and insurance status. You and your neighbor may make very different decisions. You might even make a different decision next year than this year. Your agent can provide as much information as they’re able, but the decision is ultimately yours.

If I’m Not Going to Put in a Small Insurance Claim, Should I Increase my Deductible?

Now you’re thinking. Higher deductibles even reduce the temptation to file a smaller claim. You also save money by choosing higher deductibles. Some companies offer larger savings than others. Your insurance agent can quote “what if” scenarios for you. Obviously, you don’t want to choose a higher deductible than you’re comfortable paying “out of pocket”. But, deductibles can be a useful risk financing tool.

Live in Southern Maine and have questions about your auto or home insurance? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click the chat button below. We represent many different insurers. We’re independent and committed to you.

What is Accident Forgiveness on an Auto Insurance Policy?

 

You’ve probably seen the insurance company ads on TV. “We won’t raise your rates after an accident”. Insurance companies call that “accident forgiveness”. And it’s REALLY important for drivers who rarely have accidents.

What Is Accident Forgiveness?

Auto insurance companies raise your rates for 3 – 5 years after an accident. Some insurers waive the extra charge if it’s your first accident with them, and you’ve insured with them for 3 or 5 years. Some only waive the rate hike if your driving record is squeaky clean. This rewards good drivers who have one bad moment. It’s also intended to encourage your loyalty to the insurance company.

How Much Does An Accident Raise My Auto Insurance Rates?

An auto insurance accident surcharge is a factor, not a flat dollar amount. Each insurance company decides how much and how long to surcharge. So, the cost varies by company and by client. We’ve seen increases from $100 to $600. The average is about $225 per year for 3 to 5 years.

Do I Lose Accident Forgiveness if I Switch Insurance Companies?

Yes, but you might be able to buy it back. Our South Portland Maine insurance agency represents 9 major auto insurance companies. Of those:

  • TWO allow you to “earn” Accident Forgiveness by not having claims. They don’t charge more for that benefit, but it takes 3 – 5 years to qualify.
  • FOUR sell optional Accident Forgiveness to new customers. That waives your first accident even if you’ve only been insured by that company a short time.
  • THREE don’t even offer Accident Forgiveness; they raise your rates after an at-fault accident.

How Much Does Accident Forgiveness Cost?

Of the four insurers we represent that sell Accident Forgiveness, only one sells it a la carte. The other 3 include it in a bundle of optional coverage. Either way, it costs between $80 and $120 per year to add Accident Forgiveness to a multi-vehicle policy. That’s about half of the $225 average rate hike after an accident.

The Secret That Makes Accident Forgiveness So Valuable

Many people don’t know this: most Maine auto insurance companies surcharge for not-at-fault accidents in addition to at-fault ones. This is a recent development, and it baffles people.

Why does the insurance company raise your rates when it wasn’t your fault? Insurers have convinced the Maine Bureau of Insurance that folks who’ve had any accidents – even not at fault – are more likely to have another. We can’t defend the data, and we don’t make the rules. But we can advise you how to play the game.



Related Post: Can My Insurance Company Charge Me for a Not-at-Fault Accident? 


The “not-at-fault” accident charge can be almost the same as an at-fault accident. We’ve seen increases from $125 to $300. The average is about $225.

Accident Forgiveness, is a “get-out-of-jail-free” card that allows you to avoid the rate hike. That makes Accident Forgiveness even more valuable. Interesting side note: the insurance companies that don’t offer Accident Forgiveness are the same ones that don’t charge for not-at-fault accidents. They also tend to have smaller rate hikes after an at-fault accident. All are smaller, regional insurance companies.

If you live in Southern Maine and have questions about your auto insurance, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541 or click the chat button below. We’re independent and committed to you.

Are Drones Covered by Maine Homeowners or Business Insurance?

Flying Drone

Innovative Maine businesses use drones to literally get a new perspective on their operations.  Land owners survey lots and buildings. Engineers use photos from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in project work.  Photographers and videographers use drones to capture unique images and videos. Marketers use or hire them to create compelling and disruptive visual content. Even individual hobby fliers own drones now.

 

 

Drones: A Money Saving Investment

Drones and UAVs are not cheap. It’s easy to invest $25,000 to $40,000  in a good quality setup, including cameras and software. Still, that can be a lot less expensive than renting an airplane or helicopter, and offers much more control and flexibility. It’s also safer than sending an employee up on a ladder or bucket to inspect facilities at height.

Legal Issues for Drones in Maine

The FAA requires registration of drones and UAVs weighing more than 0.55 lbs. The maximum weight permitted is 55 lbs. Permitted location and other rules vary between pleasure and business use. A remote pilot airman certificate is required as well.

Drone owners and operators face many of the same liability issues as other aircraft pilots. The low altitude operation of UAVs can also create privacy and property issues. Some examples:

  • Injuring someone, either directly, or by causing an auto accident
  • Damaging property by striking it
  • Invasion of privacy or trespass

Even if a claim against you is not valid, defending yourself can cost many thousands of dollars in legal fees in Maine.

Drones are NOT Covered by Standard Insurance Policies

Because drones are considered unmanned aircraft, and subject to FAA regulation, they are excluded from coverage on homeowners or business liability policies. The Maine Bureau of Insurance recommends that you buy separate insurance for your drone. We agree.

Up to now, few insurers have offered insurance on drones. One of our company partners, Acadia Insurance recently introduced a liability insurance plan for businesses that use drones as an incidental part of their ordinary operations.

If you or your Maine business uses a drone or other UAV, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207.799.5541. We’d love to hear how you’re using this innovative technology for fun or business. We can help you manage your risk. We’re independent and committed to you.

Portland Maine Airbnb Landlords: New Law, Same Risks

 

The sharing economy creates opportunity and risk for Maine property owners. Many capitalize on the opportunity and create serious rental income. Mainers collected more than $26 million from 175,000 Airbnb guests in 2016. And that doesn’t include other services like HomeAway and VRBO.

Risks of Property Sharing and Short Term Rental

It’s important to consider the risks of short term rental of your property as well as the rewards. You can be liable for guests’ injuries, Guests can damage your property by abuse or negligence. You can run afoul of condo bylaws that prohibit or limit rental. Your neighbors may complain about the activities of your renters. You may jeopardize your homeowners insurance coverage by converting your home, apartment or condo into income property.

Plenty of Portland Maine area residents have those risks, whether they know it or not. More than 650 Airbnb units are actively offered for rent in the area. Owners hosted more than 50,000 guests in 2016, pocketing $7.1 million in revenue.

Portland Maine Regulation of Airbnb and Other Short Term Rental

Portland City Council has been concerned for years about the effect on housing affordability. Some investors have purchased condos and homes to rent them out short term. Portland area rents are at a historic high as the city becomes a trendy work and play destination. Short term rental of apartments and condos reduces the housing inventory for area residents and workers. City officials admit that they have no way to measure how many units are available short term rental.

That’s why City Council passed a law effective January 1, 2018 limiting short term rental activities on the mainland. Island properties are not affected by the new law. What does the law do? Can you still rent out your home or apartment as an Airbnb? Does it matter if you live in the unit you rent? What if you rent a room instead of the whole unit? Here’s a graphic showing how the new law applies to owner occupied principal residences, multi-family units and income property.

Portland Maine short term property rental laws as of January 1 2018

 

Do You Live in Greater Portland, Maine & Own Rental Property?

If you’re a Maine resident who owns income property, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541, or request a quote online. You can’t afford to wonder whether your insurance will be there when you need it, to protect your property and other assets.

We can advise you about the local insurance market and help you evaluate your options. Whether you own a home Cape Elizabeth, apartments in Portland, a camp on Sebago Lake, a cottage in Boothbay Harbor or a Sugarloaf ski condo, we know the insurance market. We represent many different insurance companies, so we can survey the market to find the best fit and value.

We’re independent and committed to you.