Do I Have to Wait for the Insurance Company Before Repairing Maine Storm Damage?

Hurricane Irene visited Maine yesterday. Fortunately, the southern Maine wind damage was mostly limited to fallen trees and limbs – at least judging by our clients who contacted us to report an insurance claim.

The most common claim question today is “A tree fell on my house. Can I remove it, or do I have to wait for the insurance company to inspect it”? As this prior post explained, fallen trees aren’t always covered by insurance. But, if a tree lands on your home or other structure, your homeowners or business policy probably covers both the damage it causes and the cost to remove it.

Generally, it’s fine to remove the tree from your home or driveway to assess the damage and to  make temporary repairs to preserve your property. You don’t need to wait for the insurance adjuster to see it; they can usually tell what happened by the scars that the tree or limb left behind.

5 Things to Do if a Tree Falls on Your Property

  • Document the damage with digital photos or video.
  • Take action to preserve your property from further damage. Remove the tree from the structure, make temporary repairs, or move property indoors.
  • Save damaged property for the insurance company to inspect.
  • Schedule – but don’t begin – permanent repairs. Repair contractors are very busy after a natural disaster. The earlier you schedule your job with a reputable, experienced and insured contractor, the better the chance of your property being repaired faster. Do not start repairs until the insurance company has a chance to see your damage.
  • Report your claim. Noyes Hall & Allen clients can contact an agent to start the process.

If you have questions about Maine homeowners insurance, condo insurance, renters insurance or insuring your Maine business property, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541.

Does a Maine Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Hurricane Damage?

That may be the most popular insurance question of this week as Hurricane Irene curves its way toward the East Coast.

The Good News…

Most Maine homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage, wind-driven rain, damage to a home from falling trees, and other common types of hurricane damage.


In the past 5 years, many insurers have introduced special deductibles for property located within a quarter-mile of the coast. Sometimes, the deductible applies only in the case of a hurricane, or other “named storm”. Other insurers’ policies have higher deductibles for all wind damage, even from a February nor’easter.

These deductibles are usually expressed as a “percentage deductible”. Common deductible percentages are anywhere from 1 to 3% of your property insurance amount. In other words, on a $250,000 home, a 2% wind deductible would be $5,000, and would apply to any wind damage.

You should check your own policy to find out what kind of deductible is on your homeowners, Maine renters insurance or Maine condo insurance policy, and how large that deductible is.

What About Other Hurricane Claims?

Standard homeowners policies do not cover damage from loss of power, such as food spoilage or basement water backup caused by a sump pump not working. Often, you can buy some power failure coverage.

Likewise, homeowners policies have little or no insurance coverage for fallen trees, unless they strike a structure or block a driveway. Some insurers sell endorsements that offer limited coverage for this.

Finally, flood damage is NOT covered by homeowners policies. You must buy NFIP Maine flood insurance to have flood coverage.


For more information about Maine hurricane insurance for homes, autos, condos, boats or other property, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. If you are already a client, and need to report a Maine insurance claim, visit our web site, or call the number above for instructions.

Hitting Miranda Cosgrove’s Bus: A Liability Insurance Fable

If your household is like mine, you have an iCarly fan. Teens and tweens across America were distraught by news that iCarly’s star Miranda Cosgrove’s ankle was broken in a bus accident, causing her to postpone her popular “Dancing Crazy” summer tour. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

How Much Auto Liability Insurance Should I Buy?
That’s a question we hear often. Many people who shop for Maine auto insurance have purchased “split liability limits”, which contain separate limits for bodily injury and property damage. On split limits policies, Bodily injury is also subject to a “per person” sub-limit. If you have one of these policies, your liability coverage might say 100/300/50. This means you have $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, subject to a $300,000 maximum per accident; and $50,000 property damage.

What If You Cause a Serious Accident?
Let’s pretend that you were responsible for the accident that injured Miranda Cosgrove, and you had those common Maine liability limits shown above.

There were 5 people on the bus. Would $100,000 be enough to pay for any one person’s medical bills? Would $300,000 be enough for all the bus’ occupants? Maybe. Maybe not. What if our fable had a commuter bus full of people? Uh-oh.

And that’s just the injuries from one vehicle. What about the damages from lost income due to the postponement of Miranda Coscrove’s tour? What about any other vehicles that may have been involved?

Who Will Defend Me Against a Liability Suit?
This fable has a knight in shining armor! Your auto liability insurance pays defense costs – regardless of whether the suit is groundless, and in addition to the limits of your policy. As long as you have liability limits remaining, your insurer will defend you.

What if You Don’t Have Enough Liability Insurance?
If you’re legally liable for damages, and your insurance isn’t enough to pay them, two bad things happen.

  • Your defense coverage stops. That means you have to pay for your own legal representation to defend yourself.
  • Your assets and future earnings are fair game. You could be forced to turn your home, investments, savings or other assets into cash to pay the damages. If that’s not enough, the court can garnish your future wages.

That’s a Fable. What Are the Chances?
Fortunately, they’re slim. But, celebrity sightings in Maine are common, especially in summer.  And, you might be unlucky to meet a celebrity in the worst way possible – by accident.

Remember, you don’t buy insurance to protect you from the probable – you buy it to protect your assets from financial disaster.  Buy enough to protect your assets and your future earnings. We generally recommend against split limits, and often suggest that our clients consider Maine personal umbrella insurance. For custom advice about your situation, or a Maine auto insurance quote, contact Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541 – and live happily ever after.