Get Proof of Insurance for a Portland Maine Sign Permit

 

If you own a business in Portland Maine, you may want an outdoor sign or awning to attract and help customers. Signs can be simple or elaborate, carved wood or electric, mounted or hanging. But all signs need a City of Portland sign permit from City Hall. You can find the application at the Citizen Self Service portal. Most sign permits cost $30 plus $2.00 per square foot. Sidewalk sign permits cost $25 plus $0.20 per square foot.

You’ll need to show proof of insurance for a Portland Maine sign permit. Your insurance policy must name the City of Portland Maine as additional insured with respect to the sign.

Proof of Sign Insurance ExampleWhy Does the City of Portland Maine Need to be an Additional Insured for My Sign Permit?

When you apply for your permit, you agree to be 100% responsible for your sign. This is called a “hold harmless” agreement. The city wants proof that you have insurance to back that up. They want to know that your insurance will pay if your sign injures someone or damages property. That’s one reason they require to be named as an Additional Insured on your business liability policy with respect to the sign.


See also:  Adding an Additional Insured to Your Insurance Policy


What Does an Additional Insured Do? 

When you add an additional insured on your business liability policy, it does two things.

  • Extends coverage to protect them under your insurance policy
  • Notifies them if your policy cancels for any reason

 

How to Get Proof of Sign Insurance

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance can help you show proof of insurance for your Portland Maine business. Often, you must show this before you even open your business or move into the location. Sign insurance isn’t expensive. It’s often part of another policy, such as a package policy or a businessowners policy.

What Does Business Sign Insurance Do?

Sign insurance can protect

  • The value of the sign against vandalism, wind or other damage. The city doesn’t require this.
  • Your liability if your sign injures someone or damages property. That’s the part that your Maine town or city requires.

If you’re opening a business in Portland Maine and want to know more about insurance coverage and cost, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent. We offer a choice of many top Maine business insurance companies. We can help you find the right insurance for your business and budget. We’re independent and committed to you.

Helpful Link: City of Portland Maine Citizen Self Service Portal Login

 

How Much Commercial Insurance does Your Small Business Need in Maine?

Are you a small business owner in Portland, ME looking to protect your assets? The last thing that you need is for disaster to strike and to learn that your policy limits are too low for you to rebuild the company. Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland can help you determine how much coverage your small business needs to survive a catastrophic event.

What is considered a small business in Maine?

By definition, a small business owner in Portland, ME is a someone who owns a company with fewer than 50 employees. Technically, sole proprietors are considered small business owners even though they are the only employee at their company. Even those who work from home should consider commercial insurance since homeowner’s policies tend to reject claims resulting from conducting business in the residence. Imagine the entire cost of medical bills for one of your clients resting on your shoulders because your homeowner’s insurance policy refused to cover a business-related slip-and-fall incident!

How much coverage do you need?

The amount of coverage varies by business. Many low-risk companies such as those primarily operated online may think they only need a minimal amount. Retail business owners might understand the exposure to loss that their customers’ foot traffic creates, and be more likely to want higher insurance limits. In reality, your liability limit should be at least $1,000,000 per occurrence – higher if  your business’ net worth exceeds that. Of course, Maine small business owners with employees also need to buy workers compensation insurance.

You have worked hard to establish yourself as the owner of your company. Do not let an incident threaten your financial stability. Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance today at 207-799-5541 for a Maine business insurance quote!

Adding an Additional Insured to Your Insurance Policy

What is an Additional Insured?

An Additional Insured (AI) is someone else who is added to your business insurance policy. That coverage might last one day, one job, or all year.

Additional Insureds get two valuable kinds of protection:

  • Defense – if someone sues your AI for something covered by your insurance, your policy steps in to defend them.
  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage – your policy will pay on behalf of the AI for someone else’s medical bills or property damage .

Why Would I Agree to Cover Someone as Additional Insured?

Usually, it’s because you really want to sign a contract that requires it. Often, the contractual party with the most bargaining power is the one named AI. The weaker party adds them to their insurance. We didn’t say it was fair, did we?

For example, a landlord with a prime retail location might require tenants to add them as Additional Insured. Because you really want to be in that location, you could agree.

Additional Insureds are also common in construction trades. The practice may reduce finger-pointing and expedite settlement of accidents and claims.

What are the Disadvantages to Adding an Additional Insured to Your Policy?

Adding an Additional Insured essentially shares your insurance with someone else. Their claims become your claims. Their troubles become yours. It’s like a shared data plan, but with a maximum cost in the millions. What if your Additional Insured has a lot of claims?

  • Your insurance company might raise your rates, refuse to renew, or even cancel your policy.
  • Many commercial liability policies have an “annual general aggregate” limit. Each claim reduces the fund available to pay future claims. You may be left with a lot less insurance – less than your next job requires.

How to Add an Additional Insured to Your Insurance Policy

Contact your insurance agent if you want to add an AI to your policy. They should review the contract and your policy. They can advise you how this will affect your business and your insurance costs.

Can My Insurance Company Refuse to add an Additional Insured?

Yes. The insurance company will review your contract and exposure it creates. They may decide that it’s too risky. Some insurance policies don’t permit Additional Insureds at all. Professional liability policies are a good example. Each party should be responsible for the performance of their own professional activities.

How Much Does it Cost to Add an Additional Insured?

Additional Insured costs vary among policy types and insurers. Some business policies have “blanket additional insured” endorsements. For a flat price, these cover anyone that you contractually agree to include as AI. Otherwise, insurers charge for each Additional Insured, usually starting at $25.

Are “Proof of Insurance” , “Certificate of Liability Insurance” and “Additional Insured” the Same Thing?

No. Certificates and other proof of insurance forms are just that. They show that you have insurance at a moment in time. But if your policy doesn’t include an Additional Insured, proof of insurance doesn’t change that.

However, Additional Insureds usually DO ask for Certificates of Insurance. They want to prove that they are Additional Insureds on your policy. Your agent will only provide this if your certificate holder has AI status.

Is your business in the Portland Maine area? Do you need help with contracts, insurance requirements, additional insureds, leases or equipment rental? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen business insurance agent at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice among Maine’s preferred business insurance companies. We can help you find the right fit for your business and your budget. We’re independent and committed to you.

Retirement in Maine: How to Reduce Insurance Expenses

If you’re planning to retire or recently retired, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s time to enjoy what you’ve worked so hard for. Many people dream of retiring in Maine. Of course, some of us are lucky enough to already live here!

Retirement finances can be a source of anxiety. No matter how much you’ve saved for retirement, you may wonder:

  • Will I Outlive My Money?
  • How Can I Safely Reduce My Monthly Expenses?
  • Can I Reduce My Insurance Now that I’m Retired?
  • Can I Live on My Monthly Retirement Income?

retirement insurance expense reductionMaine Retirees Are:

  • House Rich – Maine condo and home values are at an all-time high. With even modest savings, you may have a lot of net worth to protect. Make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild or relocate after a disaster. Protect your assets against lawsuits from injuries or property damage you might cause.
  • Income Tight – You’re on a fixed income. Every monthly payment reduces your retirement fund. You watch expenses more closely than ever.
  • Closer to Home? – Travel is now for pleasure, not work. You may drive fewer miles than you used to. Do you plan go south in the winter? What happens to your home and your car while you’re away?
  • Uncertain About the Future – will you stay healthy enough to do the things you want to? If there’s a disaster, will you have enough money to live the life you do now? If you can’t drive, who will help you with your errands?
  • Done with Property Maintenance  – you spent years mowing, shoveling, landscaping and painting. Now someone else can climb the ladder or wrestle the snowblower. Hiring contractors can open you up to liability if they hurt someone – or themselves.

Do You Need Less Insurance in Retirement?

As you prepare for retirement in Maine, you may be eager to reduce your insurance costs. You want to keep monthly expenses down because you’re on a limited income. But you also want to protect the assets you’ve spent your life accumulating. A good insurance agent can help you pick the coverage you need within your budget.

5 Retirement Planning Insurance Value Tips

  1. Buy enough liability insurance – and not too much. Your auto and homeowners liability insurance limits should at least equal your net worth. If your total assets exceed $500,000, keep your umbrella policy (or buy one). Umbrella policies are one of the best insurance buys; $1 million coverage often costs less than $200 a year.
  2. Watch Your Maximum Out of Pocket – How much are you comfortable paying if something bad happens? Choose your home and auto insurance deductibles with that in mind. Larger deductibles reduce your monthly insurance costs.
  3. Compare Insurance Prices –  Because you’ll drive differently, and won’t be working any longer, your underwriting profile changes. Your current insurance company may still be the best value. Or maybe not. A Maine independent insurance agency like Noyes Hall & Allen can compare prices and coverage among several insurance companies with one phone call.
  4. Keep Maintaining Your Property – Regular maintenance helps you budget your expenses and maximize your insurance options real estate value. If you want to change insurers, your new insurance company will inspect your home. Even if you don’t change companies,  your insurer may inspect from time to time. If they find something that they’re concerned about, they will require you to repair it. It’s better to keep up with repairs and maintenance on your own timetable.
  5. Choose Contractors Wisely – Hire reputable and trustworthy people to work in and on your property. Ask them for proof of insurance. If they hurt someone or damage their property, or injure themselves, they should be responsible – not you. When hiring cleaning people, home health care or similar service providers, ask if they are bonded.  Bonding protects you against theft by someone you’ve let into your home.

Want a Pre-Retirement Insurance Review?

If you’re thinking about retirement in southern Maine, call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Or, get several insurance quotes online from our website. We can help you check your current insurance, and let you know if it’s the best value. We can also give you cost-effective advice to customize your insurance to your exciting new life. If you’re moving to Maine in retirement, and looking for a new insurance agent, we’re happy to help. We offer a choice of several of Maine’s top insurers and can do the comparing for you. We can even introduce you to some wonderful local realtors and financial planners.

Either way, you’ll know that your insurance is solid and the cost is reasonable as you head into retirement. At Noyes Hall & Allen, we’re independent and committed to you.

The Most Important Insurance for Maine Cyclists

If you know me, you know that I like to bike year-round. Not every day, but most. I’m not alone. Two of our current staff of 10 regularly bikes to work.

bike commuter insurance guysWe’re lucky to live and work in the Portland area. Maine is ranked #17 most bike-friendly state by the League of American Cyclists. The Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Facebook group has more than 650 members (including me).

As a bike commuting insurance agent, it’s about time I wrote to explain how common insurance policies can protect cyclists, and suggest the best insurance coverage for Maine cyclists. The good news: many cyclists already have the basic coverage; they may just need to adjust their policies to get the best protection.

Car Insurance for Bicycles?

Most cyclists are also drivers, so they have car insurance. They’re probably unaware that their auto policy protects them when they’re cycling.  One part, Uninsured Motorist Coverage, is especially critical when you’re riding your bike:

Uninsured Motorist coverage protects you against injury

  • caused by an accident that’s someone else’s fault
  • if that person had no insurance or insufficient insurance

 

UM coverage can pay:

  • hospital and medical care
  • prescriptions and therapy
  • lost wages
  • pain & suffering

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works

UM covers the difference between the limit you purchased and what the responsible party bought. An example: someone with Maine state minimum limits ($50,000 per person) hits you. Your medical bills, lost wages and pain & suffering total $100,000. Your UM policy will pay $50,000 if you purchased at least $100,000 of coverage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Buy as much UM coverage as you can. For most Maine auto policies that’s $500,000.
  • Some umbrella policies allow you to include UM up to an additional $1 million.
  • Even if you don’t own a car, you can buy a “named non-owner” policy, including UM coverage.

 

Bicycle Coverage on Home, Condo or Renters Insurance

The most common Maine property insurance policies cover:

  • Your bike and accessories against 16 “named perils”, including theft and vehicle damage.
  • Injuries or Property damage you cause to others while cycling
  • Legal defense against lawsuits for injuries or property damage.

They do NOT cover:

  • Collisions or dumping
  • Road damage such as potholes
  • Falling off a vehicle rack, driving into the garage with the bike on the roof rack, etc.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Buy “replacement cost” coverage to avoid depreciation.
  • Buy “open perils” (sometimes called HO-5) homeowners coverage. This greatly expands the 16 named perils described above.
  • Your deductible will apply. Keep the value of your bike in mind when you choose deductibles.
  • Some insurance companies allow you to “schedule” your bike, which provides better (“open perils”) coverage, often at no deductible.

 

How Are Scooters, Mopeds or E-Bikes Insured?

Scooters, mopeds and similar self-propelled vehicles are considered “motor vehicles” by insurance policies. They should be insured on an auto or motorcycle policy. Maine State Law requires proof of auto insurance to register them. The insurance isn’t very expensive.

E-bikes are unique. They’re not considered to be “motor vehicles” by most auto insurance. But they ARE defined as motor vehicles on most homeowners policies, and thus EXCLUDED. That means no property OR liability coverage for e-bikes.

A few specialty e-bike insurance programs exist. For now, we recommend that you buy coverage from them to protect yourself against liability, theft and more. At this time, Noyes Hall & Allen does not sell any policy that can adequately protect e-bike owners.

If you’re a cyclist in Maine, and have questions about insuring yourself or your bike, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. We understand cyclists and insurance. We’d be happy to help you protect yourself better. We offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies, and know how to advocate for our clients. We’re independent and committed to you.


Resources:

Maine’s data card from League of American Cyclists (.pdf)

Bicycle Coalition of Maine website

Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Facebook Group

 

How to Compare Insurance Prices

There are lots of ways to compare auto, home, condo or renters insurance prices. Most people prefer to save time and work by getting several quotes at the same time. Two common methods: contact a local independent agent; or get multiple quotes from an app or web site. Businesses that produce these quote sites are called “aggregators”.

Aggregators: slick apps, relentless solicitation

Online apps are usually well-designed, easy and convenient to use. Most don’t sound anything like an insurance company. They often named after a food or an animal, for some reason. Or they sound like tech companies. That’s because most of them are not insurance companies. Although they promise insurance quotes, aggregators rarely present firm numbers. Instead, they sell your information to insurance agents and companies. It’s up to those agents to try to close the sale.

And they’re relentless.

I tried getting quotes recently. I’d barely clicked “submit” when my phone started ringing. It didn’t stop for 2 days. My voice mail clearly says I’m an insurance agent. You’d think they would quickly figure out that I wasn’t going to buy from them. But they kept calling back. And the emails! I gave them credit for persistence even as I cursed their repeated interruptions.

Think that’s unusual? Google insurance quote scams.

Of course, not all insurance quote sites are the same. Some provide an estimated price at the end of your session. But most of those still need more information from you to produce a policy. That can change the price.

Independent Agents: good insurance takes time

IA’s also offer several insurance options at the same time. They are locally owned businesses – about 35,000 in the US. Call or visit an independent agent and you’ll spend 10 minutes answering the questions they need to quote. Then, the agent compares rates and coverage and presents a recommendation. Instead of just taking your order, they use their local market and insurance knowledge to recommend the right solution. It may take a bit more time than the aggregator’s app, but that can be a great investment if  it helps you avoid an expensive mistake.

Some independent agents are more aggressive than others. Some even buy leads from aggregators. A few (like us) offer online insurance quotes 24/7 on their website. Most don’t share your personal information with anyone else.

It’s smart to shop around

Savvy consumers know to compare insurance prices. You can call several “one company stores”; give your information to an online aggregator; or choose a local independent agent that you trust. If you’re in Southern Maine, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance might be the agent you trust. Find out. Call us at 207-799-5541, get insurance quotes online, or stop by our South Portland office. We’re independent and committed to you.