Recent Law: Texting & Driving Illegal in Maine

As of this week, Maine is the 33rd state to ban texting while driving. The recently enacted law includes a minimum $100 fine for drivers caught sending electronic messages including texts, emails or instant messages from a mobile device.  The law stops short of banning hand-held cellphone use by drivers. Several Atlantic states, including Connecticut, New York and New Jersey prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices.

map of texting bans by state as of Sepember 2011
source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (

It remains to be seen whether Maine auto insurance rates increase for drivers who are caught texting while driving. More likely, scofflaws may lose Maine Auto Insurance Discounts if their MVR (motor vehicle record) shows a violation.

It’s unclear how Maine commercial vehicle insurance policies might be affected if a business’ fleet drivers are ticketed for texting & driving.   In general, commercial underwriters have a higher threshold for violations before surcharging a policy.

If you have questions about your personal  auto or business vehicle insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agency in South Portland at 207-799-5541. You can also request a Maine car insurance quote or a Maine business insurance quote on our web site.

Am I Covered if a Falling Satellite Hits My House or Car?

I realize I’m out of the loop, but was I the only one surprised to wake this morning to news that a huge piece of space junk is headed straight for Earth?

As usual, my friend Sabine was way ahead of me. She had already tweeted this insurance question (and blog post idea!):



The Answer to Every Insurance Question is: “It Depends”.

If you have  Maine homeowners insurance, business property insurance, or anything other than the most basic kind of property policy, you’re covered for damage caused by “aircraft, including self-propelled missiles and spacecraft”.

If you have  Maine car insurance, commercial vehicle insurance, or contractors’ equipment coverage, and have included “other than collision coverage”, you’re covered against hurtling space junk. If you bought “liability only” coverage, you’re taking your chances.

Fortunately, your chances of getting hit are infinitessimally low. Probably.

If you live in Southern Maine, and  have questions about your insurance, our Portland area insurance agency can help. Call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. Or, post on our wall by finding Noyes Hall & Allen on Facebook or tweet us @NHAIns on Twitter.


What is “Dwelling Fire” Insurance?

Most Maine home insurance is written on a homeowners policy. But certain types of property do not qualify for homeowners policies, either because of the characteristics of the property or its occupancy. Properties that do not qualify for Maine homeowners insurance are often insured on a Dwelling Fire policy.

Does a Dwelling Fire Policy Only Cover Fire?

The name is misleading. All Dwelling Fire policies cover more than just fire. How much more depends on which policy form you have.

Dwelling Fire policies offer 3 common flavors: DP-1, DP-2 and DP-3. Homeowners policies also have 3 options, HO-1 through 3. The vast majority of Maine homeowners policies are HO-3; likewise, DP-3 is the most common coverage level found on Maine Dwelling Fire policies.

DP-3 Dwelling Fire policies and an HO-3 Homeowners policies have very similar coverage for buildings. Building coverage is considered “open perils”: unless a cause of loss is excluded, it is covered. The lower-numbered policies provide more restrictive “named perils” building coverage; only specifically listed causes of loss are covered. The DP-2/HO-2 building section covers 12 named perils. The DP-1/HO-1 only covers 4: Fire & lightning; windstorm; explosion; and vandalism.

The Difference Between a Dwelling Fire Policy and a Homeowners Policy

There are several key differences between the two policies.

  • Dwelling Fire policies do not automatically include Liability or Medical Payments coverage.
  • Theft of contents is not covered by Dwelling Fire policies (you can sometimes purchase a small amount for an additional premium).
  • Dwelling Fire policies typically don’t permit optional coverage extensions that are common to homeowners policies (e.g. water backup; identity theft; fallen tree removal; food spoilage).


Related Post: What’s the Difference Between a Homeowners Policy and a Dwelling Fire Policy? 

Why do I need to Buy a Dwelling Fire policy?

A Dwelling Fire policy may be required for:

  • Property rented to others.
  • Seasonal property.
  • Other properties as determined by an insurer’s Underwriting Department.

A Dwelling Fire policy covers your property for more than fire. Coverage is generally not as broad as a homeowners policy, but it’s not as limited as the name implies. For advice about your particular situation contact your Maine insurance agency or Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541.