Is Your Valentine’s Day Jewelry Insured Properly?

Americans spent $4.1 billion on jewelry this Valentine’s Day, the National Retail Federation estimates. If you were one of the lucky recipients, you might be wondering:  does my homeowners or renters insurance cover my jewelry?

The short answer is “somewhat”. If your jewelry burns up, or is blown away in a tornado, it’s covered. But that’s not usually what happens to jewelry. Most commonly, jewelry is stolen or lost, or a stone falls out of its setting.

What Kind of Jewelry Should I Insure Separately?

More expensive jewelry pieces should be separately insured, for several reasons. Because they’re subject to limitations on your homeowners policy, they may be only partially covered – or not at all. Certainly, any jewelry with precious stones, especially valuable ones, should be separately insured.

How Much Does Jewelry Insurance Cost?

Jewelry insurance is surprisingly affordable. Insuring $5,000 of jewelry on your Portland Maine  renters insurance, condo or homeowners insurance usually costs less than $40.00 a year.

Do I Need to Have My Jewelry Appraised?

Jewelry pieces valued greater than $5,000 must be appraised to be added to most insurance companies’ policies. Insurance companies also require appraisals about every 5 years. Gemstone, gold, platinum and silver prices fluctuate based on popularity, supply and demand, and condition. Appraising your jewelry makes sure that your coverage keeps pace, and also provides an opportunity to have the settings, strands and gems checked. This can avoid the heartbreak of lost jewelry.

Should I Take Pictures of My Jewelry for Insurance?

Photographing your jewelry is always a good idea. Even if  your pieces were not separately insured, photographs can help the police recover stolen jewelry, or help a claim adjuster identify exactly what you had prior to a loss.

Our Portland, Maine area insurance agency hosts periodic free jewelry inspection events, where you can have your settings checked, and jewelry cleaned and photographed for insurance purposes. If you would like to be notified of future events, like Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance on Facebook.

For answers to your personal or business insurance questions, contact our experienced Maine insurance agents at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance: 207-799-5541. We represent many different insurers, so we can offer a solution customized to your needs and situation.

 

 

When an Employee Layoff Goes Bad

 

Bill runs a café on the West Side.  Since a nearby hi-tech facility had a major layoff, lunch business has dropped 25%. In fact, Bill had to let Willie, one of his waiters go last week. Now, Bill’s wife Elaine stands in the kitchen with a concerned expression on her face and an official-looking letter in her hand. Willie hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.

Elaine calls the café’s insurance agent. Good news! Bill & Elaine followed their agent’s recommendation by adding Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to their portfolio of coverage last year. When the agent explained that the average cost of defending a groundless lawsuit is $20,000, they knew they couldn’t afford the risk. Their agent explained that the insurance company would respond on their behalf, hire a lawyer if necessary, and pay any damages if they are found liable. Bill and Elaine just avoided a huge expense  one that could have forced them to close their business.

Are you smart, like Bill and Elaine? Has your insurance agent recommended EPLI coverage to you? If not, you might consider:

5 Myths About Employment Practices Lawsuits

1. Employee Lawsuits Are Rare

Employment related lawsuits happen more than you think. Six in ten employers in the U.S. have faced an employment-related lawsuit in the past 5 years.

2. Only Large Employers Get Sued For Employment Practices

Nationwide, more than 40% of employment-related practices claims are brought against employers with fewer than 100 employees.

3. Employee Lawsuits Don’t Happen in Maine

Think again. The Maine Human Rights Commission or Maine Workers’ Compensation Board handle more than 800 employment-related practices complaints every year.

4. It’s Covered by Liability or Workers’ Comp Insurance

Unless you have specifically purchased EPLI coverage, the costs of defense or damages are NOT covered by standard Workers Comp, General Liability or Professional Liability insurance policies.

5. EPLI Insurance is Expensive

Depending upon the type of business you operate, Maine Employment-Related Practices Insurance costs as little as $30 per employee per year – or $0.58 per weekly payroll period.

 

What does EPLI Cover?

  • Legal Representation to defend you against claims from current, former or prospective employees, including:
    • discrimination (age, sex, disability, race, religion, etc.)
    • wrongful termination
    • sexual harassment or hostile work environment
  • Damages you’re legally obligated to pay.
  • Court costs and related expenses.
  • Some policies also offer counsel with an employment law professional to help you during the hiring employment and termination process.

If you have employees, your business is at risk. For answers to your Maine employment liability insurance questions or Maine workers compensation insurance questions, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541.

 

Maine Insurance Dept.: ME Car Insurance Rates Remain Low

Maine drivers pay some of the best auto insurance rates in the U.S., according to this press release from the Maine Insurance Department. While the individual rankings seem to differ from study to study, it’s clear that Maine’s car insurance and motorcycle insurance rates are in the bottom 20%.

Why Are Maine Auto Insurance Rates Low?

A lot of factors go into the rates each of us pays for car insurance or motorcycle insurance. Your location, driving record, the type of vehicle you drive, your age and gender – even your credit score – all play a part. So, it’s impossible to generalize. But, based upon our experience as a Greater Portland Maine independent insurance agency, we have a theory why Mainers pay lower auto insurance rates. We think it has a lot to do with Maine’s culture of responsible behavior. Mainers are less litigious, and more likely to buy insurance themselves, than other Americans. That helps keep insurance rates low for all of us.

How Do Your Maine Auto Insurance Rates Compare?

Insurance companies change their rates and underwriting rules constantly. The only way to tell if you’re paying a good auto insurance rate or motorcycle insurance rate is to compare. Fortunately, we are an independent agency representing many different auto insurance companies. We also represent Progressive and Dairyland, some of the top motorcycle insurers in Maine. We do the shopping for you, and can present multiple quotes at one time. If you want to do your own research first, you can even get Maine car insurance quotes from 5 different companies at once on our web site. There’s no pressure or obligation to buy (although we’re always ready to answer any questions).

If you live in Greater Portland or elsewhere in Southern Maine and have insurance questions, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207.799.5541. An experienced local insurance agent is ready to provide personal service.

Avoiding Used Underwear & Red Cross Socks for $10 a Month

You rent a house, condo or apartment. Maybe you’ve been meaning to buy renters’ insurance.  Or maybe, you’ve been thinking something like this:

My Stuff Isn’t Worth Much

You think you have minimal furniture, electronics and clothes. But, you acquired it a little at a time; maybe you even bought some of it used. After a fire, you’re going to have to replace it all at once, and in a hurry. Even a 1-bedroom apartment easily holds $10,000 of stuff – more if you have a decent computer or a hobby like photography, mountain biking or music. That’s more than most of us have in the bank.

When you get Maine property insurance buy replacement cost coverage; it’s always worth it. Otherwise, the insurance company pays you “actual cash value”: the difference between replacement cost and depreciated value.

Replacement cost =  cost of new underwear in the store.

Depreciated Value = what I’d pay for the stuff in your underwear drawer (not much).

My Landlord’s Policy Covers Me

Your landlord’s insurance (IF they have any) covers them, and them alone. Whether the plumbing leaks on your sofa, a fire burns up your apartment, someone steals your computer, or someone slips on an ice cube in your kitchen, you have no insurance unless you buy it yourself.

I Can’t Afford It

Renters’ insurance is cheap: often less than $10.00 a month. That’s a few cups of coffee. Know what you really can’t afford?

  • To replace all your stuff (“new for old”, right?)
  • To rent a hotel room while your apartment is damaged.
  • Medical bills if someone falls in your house or your dog bites someone.
  • That fancy vase you accidentally knocked over in that gift shop on Exchange Street.

 

My Friends/Family/ The Red Cross Would Help Me

Your friends and family rock. And they mean well. But, do you really want to wear your sister’s hand-me-downs; move back into your old bedroom in your parents’ house; or  have your brother say ” you owe me one”? No, you don’t.

The Red Cross is amazing. There they are on the TV news, delivering clothes and putting people up for a few days when they’re burned out of their homes. But, you probably don’t want to be that poor girl on the news. It’s always better to pick out your own clothes and choose your own place to stay.

If you live in the area of Portland Maine, renters insurance quote is just a few mouse clicks away. Or, you can contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We represent several insurance companies, so we can compare to find the best deal for you.

What If You Are Hit by Someone With No Insurance?

The Uninsured Motorist coverage in your Maine auto insurance policy also protects you against uninsured and underinsured drivers. If someone hits you – their fault – and they have no insurance, your policy acts as if they had the same Bodily Injury liability limits you do, and pays for your bodily injuries, and those in your vehicle. It’s the same if the at-fault driver had low liability insurance limits, and you bought higher ones.

Isn’t Insurance Mandatory in Maine?

Yes, in Maine, car insurance is mandatory – at least liability insurance. Maine DMV requires proof of insurance to register your car. So everyone’s insured, right? Not really.

An estimated 4% of Maine drivers are uninsured – and that’s the 2nd best rate in the country. The Insurance Research Council estimated that nearly 14% of U.S. drivers had no car insurance at all.

Repairing Your Car

If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you’ll have to rely on your own policy’s collision coverage to repair your vehicle. That’s assuming that you have collision coverage on your vehicle. If not, you’re on your own to repair or replace your vehicle.

But that’s only half the story: what about the people who buy state minimum liability limits? Maine’s minimum limits are only $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage. Is your vehicle worth more than the $25,000 minimum limit? What if the at-fault driver hits more than one vehicle? The minimum-limits driver’s policy only pays a total of $25,000 for all damage.

Out of Staters and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Mainers are a pretty honest bunch. 96% of them carry at least minimal liability insurance. But what about people “from away”? What’s that nickname on Maine’s license plates again? Oh yeah…

Maine license plate - "Vacationland"

Most of our out-of-state visitors are from the northeast, right? Click on the map below to enlarge it, and you’ll see that of the 10 states within an easy day’s drive of Maine, 2 do not require drivers to buy insurance AT ALL. Six more require per person Bodily Injury limits of $20,000 or less.

Map of uninsured motorist laws by state

In Maine, Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage limits almost always match your own liability limits. If you have less than $500,000 per person in bodily injury coverage, and your agent hasn’t recommended that you increase your limits, maybe it’s time to contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We represent several different insurance companies, and will help you find the best value for your individual situation.

When Should I Drop Collision Insurance Coverage in Maine?

This is a question our clients commonly ask. When does it make economic sense not to insure your car against collision?  Here are our slightly oversimplified rules.

“The 3 Rules of  Tens”

We’ve created these simple guides to help you consider when it’s less risky to remove collision coverage from your Maine auto insurance policy:

  • TEN PERCENT – When collision coverage costs more than 10% of the book value of your vehicle plus your collision deductible.  For example, if the book value of your vehicle is $3,000 and your collision deductible is $500, consider removing collision coverage if it costs more than $350 per year for that vehicle.
  • TEN YEARS – If your vehicle is more than 10 years old, it may no longer have enough value to warrant insuring.
  • TEN TIMES – If you have 10 times your collision premium in a “rainy day fund”, you probably have enough of a cushion to put a sizable down payment on a replacement vehicle. If you pay $350 a year for collision insurance and your “rainy day fund” has at least $3500 in it, you might reasonably risk dropping collision coverage. If you don’t have that much saved, you would probably need the insurance proceeds to help you make a down payment on another vehicle.

When Should You Keep Collision Coverage?

There are some times when you should definitely NOT drop collision coverage:
  • You have a loan or lease on the vehicle. Your loan or lease contract requires you to carry collision coverage for the length of the agreement.
  • You have only one vehicle. Most multi-car families can limp by on one car while one is in the body shop. But, if you’re a 1-car household, you’ll probably want coverage to rent another while yours is being repaired. Also, you’ll definitely need to buy rental car insurance on vacation if you don’t have collision coverage on at least one vehicle on your policy.
  • You’re worried about being hit by an uninsured driver.  If you have no collision coverage, someone hits you and it’s their fault, their insurance will pay. But, what if you are hit by an uninsured driver? Obviously, there’s no one else to pay; if you don’t have collision coverage, you’re on your own to repair your vehicle.  Maine’s ratio of uninsured drivers is 4%. That’s among the lowest in the country. But, we’re also inundated with drivers “from away” during tourist season. Other states have many more uninsured drivers.

    Related Post: Someone Hit My Parked Car!


As you can see, there is no single answer to the question of when to insure collision or not. It depends on the vehicle, your financial situation, how much collision coverage costs, and your  own risk tolerance.
If you’re a Noyes Hall & Allen client, you can request a change in your coverage here.
If you aren’t a client of ours yet, live in Southern Maine and have an insurance question, call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s preferred insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.
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