Avoid The Biggest Home or Auto Insurance Mistake


Auto and home insurance are necessary for most Mainers. That’s one reason why the Maine Bureau of Insurance enforces consumer protection laws. A Maine insurance company can only cancel your auto or home insurance for a few reasons. The most common is also the most avoidable – and the most damaging.


Allow your policy to cancel for non-payment of premium.


Once your policy cancels, you have almost no legal protection. The insurance company may refuse to take you back for any reason at all. End of story. 

The moment your policy cancels, you lose ALL leverage with the insurance company. They hold all the cards. If you want to go back to them, they will pull out their magnifying glass to review your:

  • claim history (even small claims hurt);
  • payment history (are you often late?);
  • other business with the insurance company (if this was your only policy with them, they may not take you back);
  • credit score (if your score is a lot lower than it was when they insured you, they may decline);
  • the age, location, use and condition of your home (for homeowners insurance).

With a Lapsed Insurance Policy, You Have Few Options

Preferred insurers will consider you only if you’ve had insurance (no lapse) for at least 2 years. Some companies demand an even longer period of continuous insurance. If your preferred company won’t take you back, you may end up in the “non-standard or “specialty market. Expect much higher premiums, less broad coverage, and limited payment options.

Keep Your Leverage Against the Insurance Company

Keep your policy in force until YOU choose to cancel it.

Down to the wire? Most insurers now accept credit cards.
Down to the wire? Most insurers now accept credit cards.


  • Set up automatic withdrawal of insurance premium (monthly, quarterly or annual);
  • Notify your agent right away of any changes in mortgage company or address;
  • Notify your agent if you change address or phone number;
  • Update Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles with any address changes.

If Your Maine Homeowners or Auto Policy Cancels

The insurance company may give you another chance IF:

  • you’re a long-term insurance company customer;
  • you caught your lapse very quickly; and
  • you have a good claim and payment history;Contact your agent right away. They’ll try use their leverage with the insurance company on your behalf. They don’t always win. If they do, the insurance company will need immediate payment and a signed “no loss statement”. Only then will they reinstate your coverage.

Who Needs to Buy Workers Comp Insurance in Maine?


Maine law requires every business to provide workers compensation insurance to protect its employees. Workers comp pays for medical expenses and lost wages following an on-the-job injury or occupational disease.

Is There a Minimum Payroll for Maine Workers Comp?

No. As soon as you hire your first employee, you’re required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter how much or how little they work, or what their hourly wage is. The only exceptions are employers of domestic servants in a private home, or agricultural employers who meet certain requirements.



Do I Have to Buy Workers Compensation for Independent Contractors in Maine?

No, but the eligibility bar for an independent contractor is VERY high in Maine. Maine law sets 12 tests for an independent contractor. The tests deal with supervision and control. How many do you have to meet to qualify? All twelve.

Related Post: Independent Contractor or Employee?
Maine Workers Comp Insurance Costs Hang in the Balance

If there’s any question in your mind whether or someone is a contractor or an employee, chances are good that they’re an employee. To avoid unplanned expenses, we recommend applying for a Pre-determination of Independent Contractor Status (WCB-266) with the Maine Workers Compensation Board.

Are Business Owners and Partners Required to Buy Maine Workers Comp Coverage for Themselves?

They’re not required, but whether they’re automatically covered or not depends on the type of legal entity.

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships – Owners are not automatically covered, but they may “opt in”. Parents, spouses and children of an owner who work in the business are automatically covered, but may “opt out” by signing a form.

Corporations and Professional Associations – Officers who work in the business are automatically covered and included at their actual payroll (subject to minimums and maximums). If they own less than 20% of the stock, they cannot be excluded.

An owner of 20% or more of voting stock may “opt out” of workers comp by signing a form. Spouses, parents and children of these owners may also be excluded, even if they’re not household members.

Charitable, Religious or Non-Profit Corporations – Executives are not considered “officers”. If they are paid wages, they are covered by workers compensation. They may not “opt out”. If they are not paid, they are considered volunteers, and not covered. Volunteers do not have the choice to “opt in”.

LLCs – Owners are excluded unless they “opt in” to coverage. Parents, children and spouses of owners are automatically covered, but may “opt out” of workers comp.

Owners of 50% or more of separate businesses MUST be on the SAME policy, even if the two businesses have different legal forms (e.g. a partnership and a corporation).

What’s the Penalty for Not Having Maine Workers Compensation Coverage?

That’s a risk you don’t want to take. Here are a few of the downsides:

  • It’s a Class D crime, subject to a $10,000 penalty or 108% of the premium you should have paid (whichever’s larger);
  • You can lose your corporate charter or other state licenses;
  • You’re solely responsible for the medical expenses and lost wages of your employees (regardless of fault or contributory negligence);
  • Your liability and other insurance offer no protection against this.

If your business hires an employee, you need Maine workers compensation coverage. Call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541 for a free consultation and quote. We can help you manage your workers compensation and other Maine business insurance costs. We represent several top Maine business insurers, including MEMIC, the largest workers compensation insurer in Maine.

We’re independent and committed to you.



Why Did My Maine Auto Insurance Go Up?


You’re a careful driver. You haven’t had an accident or a ticket in years. You drive the same old car. Maybe you drive less because you retired, or bike to work. Why did your auto insurance price go up?

It’s not just you. Average US auto insurance rates increased by about 11% the 5 years from 2011 to 2016. Maine’s rates remain among the lowest in the nation, but so are our incomes. Fortunately, your personal behavior and situation greatly affect your car insurance costs. You do have some control over what you pay for car insurance.

Why Did My Car Insurance Increase?

You Had an Accident

Insurance companies charge more after an accident – some even charge if the accident wasn’t your fault. That’s because insurance data shows that if you’ve had one accident, you’re more likely to have another than someone who hasn’t had any. Some insurers charge for 3 years, some as much as 5.

You Got a Ticket

Speeding tickets and other moving violations flag you as a higher accident risk to insurance companies. Some insurance companies don’t charge for the first ticket, but they charge for the next, and even more for any future tickets. As with accidents, different insurers surcharge your policy for 3 or 5 years after a violation.

You Have a Young Driver

Inexperienced drivers have more accidents, so they cost more to insure – at least until they can establish a good record. If your child recently got their license or permit, expect to pay more for a few years. Insurance companies do offer discounts for honor roll / dean’s list students,  students who are away from home without a car, and those who passed a driver’s ed course. Check with your agent to be sure you’re getting the discounts you deserve.

Related Post: How Much Does Car Insurance Cost for a 16-year-old in Maine? 

Your Credit Score Recently Dropped

Drivers with excellent credit tend to pay less than others. Insurance records show that they file fewer claims than those with lower scores. Credit score impacts your “insurance score”, which almost every insurer in Maine uses to set your rate. Some insurers review your score every few years. Others freeze your score when you apply, unless you ask them to re-run your score. If your score isn’t as good as when you started your policy, your car insurance may go up. Each insurer uses a different formula for insurance score. Talk to your agent to see if your current insurance company is still the best value.

Your Insurance Company Has Lost Money

Overall insurance company results affect your rates, too. Insurance pools the experience of your neighbors with yours. That’ good, because it reduces your risk and limiting your expense to a budgetable amount. It’s bad if your insurer has paid so many claims for other people that it affects your rates.

Insurance companies are good at estimating claim expenses. But, they’re not perfect. A large hail storm, or unexpected factors (like lower gas prices) can catch them off-guard. Some years, your insurance company pays more in claims than they collect in premium. If they do that for too many years, they must increase rates to collect enough to pay future claims.

Related Post: What’s Causing U.S. Auto Insurance Rates to Go Up?

Your Insurance Company Thinks You Drive More Than You Do

How you use your car affects your car insurance rates. When you started your policy, your agent asked whether you drove to work and how many miles a year you drove. If you’ve since changed jobs, retired, or commuting a different way, call your agent.

Some insurers offer custom rates if you allow them to monitor your driving. The savings can be considerable: as much as 30% if you drive very few miles. Contact your agent if you’re interested in learning more about these pay-as-you-drive plans.

How Can I Reduce My Auto Insurance Costs?

First, drive safely. A clean driving record is the best way to control your auto insurance price. Here are some others:

Should I Shop My Car Insurance?

If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent for a review at 207-799-5541. Not ready to talk to a human yet? You can still compare prices from up to 6 Maine auto insurance companies online on our web site.

When you chat with us, we can provide personalized, custom, professional advice. As a Trusted Choice insurance agent, we are independent and committed to you.


When should I drop comp & collision coverage-When a great car insurance quote isn't.

Moving or Relocating to Portland Maine: How to Register a Car


If you’re moving or relocating to Portland Maine, you’ll be eager to take care of business once you’ve settled in. Well, maybe not. But, you’ll feel better after you do it. You’ll need to get a Maine driver’s license and register your car in Maine within 30 days. Here are the steps.

Step One: Get Maine Car Insurance

Maine requires every vehicle owner to have insurance. This, and our mostly rural character, makes cheap auto insurance a way of life. Maine has the lowest average car insurance costs in the U.S. 

Shopping for car insurance isn’t as bad as you think. Nobody does it for fun, but it will go faster if you have your old policy information handy.

If you’re looking for Maine auto insurance and live in Southern Maine, we can help. As an independent agency, we offer a choice of many insurance companies at once. You can get up to 6 Maine auto insurance quotes online in 10 minutes, or call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent to get your quotes.

Step Two: Visit City or Town Hall

(maine.gov photo)
(maine.gov photo)

Take your insurance card and your out-of-state title and registration to your local municipal office. Note your vehicle mileage. You’re going to need that to register. They’ll collect excise tax, a type of vehicle property tax. Excise tax is based upon the age and “cost new” of your vehicle. If you call ahead, your city or town can tell you how much your excise tax will be.

Most Maine cities and towns including Portland, Falmouth, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and Westbrook provide standard Maine license plates. If you want vanity plates, order them from Maine BMV.

Step Three: Get Your Maine Drivers License

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles issues drivers licenses. As long as your out-of-state license is valid and your name hasn’t changed, it’s easy to convert it to a Maine license. You’ll need to:

  • Provide proof of residency (your auto registration should suffice)
  • Take an eye test
  • Turn in you old license (sorry, we know that picture was your favorite)
  • Pay a fee.

Greater Portland area Bureau of Motor Vehicle Branch Locations:

Maine BMV Portland: 125 Presumpscot St. 04103  207-822-6400

Maine BMV Scarborough: 200 Expedition Drive, Suite G 04074  207-883-2596

Do I Have to Get a Maine Inspection Sticker?

Yes, but maybe not right away. If you have a current inspection from another state, you’re not required to get a Maine State auto inspection until that expires. A lot of people do it at the same time as registration to make it easier to remember to renew both. Maine registration and inspection each last for a year.

Don’t Forget to Insure Your “Stuff”

Many Portland Maine landlords require proof of renters insurance. Even if they don’t it’s a good idea to protect your belongings from fire, theft and other disasters. We can quote Portland Maine renters insurance in 10 minutes or less. When it comes time to buy a home in Maine, or if you have questions about Maine insurance, we’re here to help. We offer a choice of several preferred insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.


RENTERS INSURANCE 101Which Car Insurance is Best-