How to Choose Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Limits in Maine

Click to enlarge

Almost every state in the U.S. requires drivers to have car insurance. Like every other law, there are always some people who choose to ignore or disobey it.

The good news: if you are in a crash in Maine, the other driver probably has insurance. Maine is in the Top 10 states for percentage of insured drivers.

The bad news: many Maine drivers carry very low liability limits – as low as $50,000 per person. After an accident, your medical expenses can easily exceed that.

What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Insurance to Pay My Damages?

It’s great if the at-fault driver has insurance. Do they have enough insurance to pay your damages? Who knows? At 50/100/25, Maine’s minimum auto liability insurance limits are among the highest in the country. But if you drive a late-model car, $25,000 isn’t going to replace it. If you are badly injured, you can accumulate $50,000 in medical bills in one day. You need to protect yourself.

What Happens if Someone Hits Me and They Don’t Have Insurance?

If an uninsured driver hits you, you have to rely on your own Maine auto insurance. Your collision coverage (if you purchased that option) will pay to repair your vehicle. If you don’t carry collision insurance, you’ll have to deal with the damages on your own. Some other states offer “uninsured motorist physical damage” coverage. Maine does not.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)?

In Maine, Uninsured Motorist coverage is bodily injury coverage only. It protects you and the people in your vehicle by acting as if the person who hit you had the same liability limits you have. UM limits always match your policy’s liability limits. That’s another reason we say don’t cheap out when you choose your liability insurance limit.

Let’s say you’re driving in Portland, Maine. You have Uninsured Motorist coverage with Maine state minimum liability limits of $50/$100. Someone runs a red light and broadsides you. Your daughter goes to the hospital with broken bones and internal injuries. You were not injured as badly. After an ambulance ride, the hospital releases you with minor injuries. Your daughter’s medical expenses are $75,000, and yours are $2,500. In this scenario, you would have to pay $25,000 of your daughter’s medical bills ($75,000 – $50,000) out of pocket. If you had chosen a $300,000 combined single limit, all medical expenses would have been covered 100%.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?

Underinsured motorist coverage applies when someone has insurance, but not enough to pay for your injuries. Like Uninsured Motorist coverage, it pretends that the person who hit you had the same limits as you do.

Let’s assume the same accident scenario as above, except the at-fault driver did have insurance with Maine minimum limits of $50/$100. Their insurance wouldn’t be sufficient to pay for your daughter’s medical bills.

If you also had $50/$100 limits, you would still be out of luck. You didn’t buy any more insurance than the person who hit you did. But, if you had chosen a $300,000 limit, your UIM coverage would pay up to $250,000 per person, the difference between your insurance limit and theirs.

Danger: Uninsured Drivers in Vacationland

Although most Maine drivers are insured, remember that tourism is Maine’s largest industry. Visitors from other states are constantly driving among us. They’re in unfamiliar territory, and distracted by Maine’s natural beauty. They’re trying to follow GPS directions. Perfect scenario for an accident, right? Depending on the state they’re from, there’s almost a 25% chance that they have no insurance. So, pay attention to your Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage limit.

What Liability and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Limit Should You Choose?

Everyone’s situation is unique. We recommend discussing your situation with a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent. If you live in Greater Portland, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541 for a custom review of your insurance and your options. We represent most of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, and can help you choose the one that best meets your needs.

Should I Cancel My Maine Auto Insurance When I Sell or Won’t be Driving My Car?


It seems simple: why would I have auto insurance if I don’t own a car? Or if I’m storing it for a long time? That’s a waste of money! Believe it or not, it may make sense to maintain your auto insurance, depending upon your future plans.

Of course most of us know better than to cancel our auto insurance when we own a vehicle. It’s illegal to drive without insurance in Maine, and foolishly risky everywhere. But there are cases when responsible people consider letting their Maine auto insurance lapse.

You’re Not Going to Use Your Car for a Long Time

You’re going on a long trip, sabbatical, or a semester abroad. Your car will be parked while you’re away. It’s tempting to save money by canceling your auto insurance, and start it up again when you return. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Someone may need to borrow your car.
  • You may want someone to drive it occasionally to keep it lubricated, rotate the tires, and prevent animals from nesting in it (it happens).
  • Things can still happen to a parked car. Trees fall, garages collapse, cars get stolen, vandalized, or damaged by people parking next to it.

 You’re Selling Your Only Vehicle

Our Portland Maine area insurance agency recommends that you at least consider a “named non-owner” policy – especially if you’re likely to be  without a car for less than a year. Here’s why:

1)      You Might Drive Someone Else’s Car. In the U.S., you’re borrowing someone’s insurance when you borrow their car. But do they have any? If so, how much? Without a named non-owner policy, you would be personally liable if they don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough to pay for the damage you cause.

2)      You Could be Hurt as a Passenger, Pedestrian or Cyclist. Your auto insurance provides medical payments coverage in case you are hurt in a car accident. This applies whether you’re a pedestrian, passenger or cyclist. A $5,000 limit would probably be enough to cover your medical insurance deductible.

3)      You might rent a car. A Maine named non-owner policy would provide liability coverage for vehicles rented in the U.S.  You’d still want to buy the Collision Damage Waiver coverage offered by a rental agency, but wouldn’t need to buy their liability insurance.

4)      You’ll Pay a Much Lower Rate When You Do Buy Another Vehicle. Insurance companies charge a higher premium if you have not had continuous liability insurance. People who have a lapse of more than 30 days typically pay a surcharge, and are ineligible for most preferred insurers’ policies until they’ve had continuous insurance for a year.

What is “Named Non-Owner” Auto Insurance, and What Does it Cost?

Named non-owner auto insurance provides only liability, uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage. It’s designed for people who don’t own a vehicle, but may drive other vehicles, such as rental cars, business fleet  cars, or friends’ or relatives’ vehicles. It covers only the people who are specifically listed on the policy.

Named non-owner auto insurance costs less than regular auto insurance. Rates vary, but are often about 50% of the cost of liability insurance for an owned vehicle. For example, if your current insurance costs $900, and $300 of that is physical damage (“comprehensive” and collision) coverage, a named non-owner policy might cost about $300 per year.

Think about whether  these situations might apply to you, and discuss it with your agent. To compare up to 6 Portland, Maine area auto insurance quotes in 10 minutes, visit our web site, or call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541.


The biggest insurance mistake - and how to avoid itWhy do my car insurance rates keep going up-

What Should You Do If You’re Rear-Ended in a Maine Auto Accident?


You’re stopped at a traffic light in South Portland, a stop sign in Portland or highway exit ramp in Falmouth, when suddenly – WHAM! a vehicle hits you from behind. You’ve been rear-ended. What should you do next?

In Maine, You’re Not Considered at Fault if You’re Rear-Ended

Every Maine driver is expected to operate their vehicle under control. That means being able to avoid an obstacle in the road ahead. If you’re following the rules of the road and stopped in traffic, waiting to make a turn, or just stopped, drivers behind you should be able to stop, go around you safely, or pay the consequences, regardless of road conditions. If it’s snowy or icy or rainy, they should allow extra time and distance, and be extra cautious.

Make Sure Everyone’s OK

First things first. Check on people before property. Is everyone in your vehicle OK? If it’s safe to get out of your vehicle, check on occupants of other vehicles involved. If there’s even the slightest injury (a bump, bruise – anything), call 911.

Check for Vehicle Damage

If it’s safe, get out of your vehicle and check the damage to all vehicles. Leave the vehicles where they are unless it’s completely unsafe. If you see ANY damage at all – no matter how minor it looks – we recommend that you…


CALL 911

Technically, Maine police  only respond to accidents on public roads with bodily injury or combined property damage over $1,000. We recommend calling 911 even if you think there’s less than that, for 3 reasons:

  • It takes nothing to cause $1,000 damage to a vehicle. Even a bumpers cost more than that, with all the technology modern bumpers contain (airbag sensors, rear cameras, etc.). Also, modern bumpers are designed to be part of “crumple zones”. What may look like a cracked bumper often masks greater damage underneath. Police (and drivers) are notorious for underestimating the cost of damages.
  • The police will get the proper information. You’re stressed. Even if you trade information with the other driver, you’re likely to forget something that will be important to the insurance company.
  • Stories can change. People are much less likely to change a story they told the police at the scene – a story that’s now part of a written report. In our Portland area insurance agency, we hear it often: injuries “appear” in days after the accident; someone who admitted fault at the scene later says it was YOUR fault; insurance information is revealed to be incorrect or fabricated. Having the police take the report makes these situations less likely.

While You Wait for the Police, Get the Other Party’s Information

Whether or not you take our advice to call 911, at least get the other driver’s:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Driver’s license number (make sure the addresses match the one they gave you)
  • License plate number, and year, make & model of their vehicle (their registration will have this info).

This is important! Very often, the police gather this info but will not give this information to you at the scene. Instead, they give you a “report number”, and tell you the insurance company can call for that info. The problem is that those reports can take days or weeks to be available. Meanwhile, you want to get your car fixed.

Tip: Take pictures of these documents with your cell phone.

Report Your Accident to Insurance

In the case of a not-at-fault accident, call your agent, not your insurance company (you did buy from an agent, not one of those 800 numbers, didn’t you?) If you’re a client of ours, report your claim to Noyes Hall & Allen.

Report Your Claim to Noyes Hall & Allen


Armed with the proper information about the other driver and their insurance, we can do what your insurance company cannot do:

  • Help you verify that their insurance is valid;
  • Start the claim with that company.
  • Advise you whether to file a claim on your own policy, depending upon your circumstances.

Who Pays to Fix Your Vehicle?

If the at-fault party has valid insurance, their policy should pay these costs:

  • Repair your vehicle;
  • Rent a comparable replacement vehicle while yours is unable to be driven;
  • Medical expenses for anyone in your vehicle (some companies will make you collect from your own Medical Payments coverage first, and reimburse your insurance company).

Not everyone has valid insurance. Just because the other driver has an insurance card in their glove box, that doesn’t mean that policy is in force. Even though it’s state law to have liability insurance, 5% of Maine drivers don’t. If the driver happens to be from out of state, that percentage might be as high as 25% (Mississippi). In that case, you’ll want to know what to do if you’re hit by somebody without insurance. 

Should You Use Your Own Insurance?

Here’s why it’s better to have the at-fault party’s insurance pay for your damages.

  • The claim stays off your insurance policy;
  • You don’t have to pay the collision deductible;
  • There’s no dollar or time limit for rental reimbursement.

Some insurance companies accept fault more quickly than others. Some situations are more cut-and-dry. The insurer is entitled to conduct their own investigation before accepting responsibility. Meanwhile, you may decide to put a claim under your own policy, pay the deductible, and move on.

If your insurer recovers the damages from the at-fault party’s insurer, they will reimburse the deductible to you, and wipe it off your insurance record. If they cannot collect, the accident will show as an “at fault” accident on your record, and you may pay higher rates in the future.

Each accident is different, and so is each person. Your independent insurance agent can provide personal advice and advocate for you. If you have questions about Portland Maine area auto insurance, or Maine commercial vehicle insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

Ron Blumenthal Retires, Innova Insurance Clients Can Rely on Noyes Hall & Allen


Ron Blumenthal, the founder of Innova Insurance Services in Scarborough Maine, retired October 31. Ron sold Innova Insurance to Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in December, 2012. Ron had a close relationship with Noyes & Chapman for many years, which continued when Noyes & Chapman became Noyes Hall & Allen. Ron continued to work from the Noyes Hall & Allen office at 170 Ocean Street, South Portland Maine until his retirement.

Tina Countryman, who worked with Ron at Innova, remains at Noyes Hall & Allen, and continues to serve clients.

If you were a client of Ron Blumenthal at Innova Insurance, your insurance transferred seamlessly to Noyes Hall & Allen. Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.