Navigating Maine Property Insurance in 2024

It’s clear that Maine property insurance is facing challenges in 2024. Homeowners are feeling the impact. Rising rates, policy cancellations and coverage cutbacks are common. It’s not just a coastal problem. People all over Maine are discovering that insurance underwriters hold the cards in this market. How and why is the insurance market so hard right now? Do you have any recourse? What can you do to control costs?

Maine property insurance is facing challenges in 2024

There are many reasons, but they all come down to cost. Insurance is designed to share costs and spread risk. Claims of the few are paid by the many through insurance premiums. Insurance companies are well-funded. They have reserves to pay out more than they collect in premiums for a short time. But those costs are then passed on. Otherwise, the system falls apart and everyone loses.

Insurance claim costs have spiked in many areas for various reasons. They include:

  • Inflation in materials – Rising costs for building materials, auto parts, and medical supplies contribute to higher claim expenses.
  • Increased claim severity – More frequent and severe weather events, changes in property use, and an increased number of seasonal and secondary properties lead to larger claims.
  • Rising labor prices – Worker shortages, wage increases, and legislative impacts affect repair costs.
  • Longer repair times – Shortages in parts, materials, and labor result in extended repair durations, impacting expenses for auto rentals, temporary housing, and commercial relocation.
  • Reinsurance costs – Insurance companies buy reinsurance to protect themselves from disasters. Shrinking reinsurance capacity since 2020 has led to price hikes for insurers.

Mainers often think that weather disasters happen “somewhere else”. But they do happen here. And lately they’ve been more frequent.

Verisk defines a catastrophe (“CAT”) as an event resulting in more than $25 million in insured losses. Regional insurers may see an average of 4-5 “CAT” events per year in Northern New England. In 2023 there were 8.

There aren’t just more catastrophes than normal. They’re bigger too. Their 2023 expected payout for damage from CAT claims was nearly 8X an average year. We don’t see signs of improvement right away. 2024 started with a major wind and rainstorm.

Maine property owners are seeing a lot of changes in their insurance. Most of it is not good news. Here are some things you might experience:

  • Increasing rates – Even homeowners with no claims experience are facing rising rates, with the current average increase around 17% in Maine.
  • Saying “no” -Moving to a different insurance company during this time can be risky, as many insurers decline to quote on properties they consider higher risk.
  • Tougher inspections – Insurers are inspecting properties more often and more closely. They’re focusing on roof condition and overhanging trees. Some are even using aerial photographs to spot hazards.
  • Bumping deductibles – Many coastal properties now have big wind deductibles. Some insurers are increasing deductibles across the board. Others are only increasing deductibles if you’ve had several claims.
  • Mandatory alarms – Insurers require owners of high value or secondary homes to install central alarm systems to warn against water leakage, low temperature, fire and burglary.
  • Required increases in insurance amount – Building material and labor cost increases mean higher costs to rebuild your home. Insurers review that cost periodically and require you to insure to the full rebuilding cost. (Although it costs more, it’s important to make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild – this is a benefit).
  • Cancellation or non-renewal – Insurers may cancel policies due to claims or if homeowners fail to make necessary improvements after an inspection.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance plays a crucial role in regulating insurance companies offering Maine property insurance. Here are some key points:

Rate Approval and Policy Changes

  • The Bureau approves rates for insurers authorized to do business in Maine.
  • They also permit cancellation or non-renewal for certain reasons. Those reasons include failure to comply with reasonable loss control recommendations or failure to permit inspection.
  • Insurers can make changes to policy terms, which is known as a “conditional renewal.”
  • If an insurer decides not to renew your policy, they must send you a “legal notice of non-renewal.”

Challenging a Non-Renewal

  • As a policyholder, you have the right to challenge non-renewal by appealing to the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
  • However, insurers typically adhere to non-renewal rules, making successful appeals less common.

Although you can’t completely avoid large market forces, you can do some things to control your Maine property insurance costs and protect your property.

  • Pro-actively protect your property – regularly trim trees and shrubs away from buildings. Install a generator or backup sump pump. Keep gutters clean. Use a low-temperature alarm if you’re often away from the property.
  • Keep up on maintenance – take care of peeling paint or moss or debris on your roof. Replace roof shingles before you get water damage (hint: like tires, shingles don’t usually last as long as the warranty may say).
  • Stay claim-free – Small insurance claims sit on your record for 5 years or more. Many insurance companies decline to insure new properties if they have multiple property claims.
  • Watch your credit score – insurers “score” policies to set rates. An insurance score is closely related to your credit score. The better your score, the lower your rate.
  • Choose a local insurance agent – Local knowledge can be the difference between getting property insurance and not. National insurers and 800 number agents don’t know your area like a local advocate.
  • Communicate with your insurance agent. Let them know if you make improvements, install alarms or generators, or pay off your mortgage. All of those might reduce your insurance premium.

If you own property in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. While we don’t control the market, we have a good perspective on current conditions. We can help you find the best fit and value for your property insurance.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Maine Insurance Rates 2024 Home and Auto Update

Maine insurance rates follow national and local trends and claim experience. Home and auto rates continue to rise as insurers and customers struggle with rising costs. Portland Maine area insurance buyers saw more than a 15% price increase in 2023. Industry experts expect this to continue in 2024. Still, Maine insurance rates remain among the lowest in the US.

Portland Maine area auto insurance rates jumped 14.4% on average in 2023. The average annual auto insurance policy in Cumberland County now costs $1475 per year.

According to a report by Insurify, personal auto prices were up 17% countrywide in the first half of 2023. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that auto insurance prices increased 20.3% in 2023. Maine rates increased even more: 28% statewide, according to Insurify. That was the 6th highest rate in the US.

Source: State of Auto Insurance in 2024 – ValuePenguin

Several factors put strong upward pressure on auto insurance rates everywhere in the US:

  • Used auto prices are at an all-time high.
  • New vehicles have much more technology, which makes parts more expensive to replace.
  • Auto body shops are backlogged, increasing auto rental costs
  • Auto parts and labor remain scarce, increasing prices
  • Medical care inflation is high.
Maine insurance rates - 2024 auto

Will auto insurance rates level off in 2024? We don’t see any signs that they will. Neither does the financial advice site Motley Fool.

The good news is that Maine auto insurance rates are the lowest in the US according to the Value Penguin “State of Auto Insurance 2024” report. They report that the average Mainer pays $92 per month for car insurance, 44% less than the national average.

Maine home insurance rate increases continue to outpace even large auto insurance increases. The average home insurance premium was 17.7% higher than a year ago. The end is not in sight yet, as US home insurers report record losses from weather events and historically high rebuilding costs.

Many of the same insurance inflationary factors described above affect home insurance. But reinsurance costs remain one of the biggest drivers of property insurance rates. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It protects them against catastrophic losses from natural disasters like wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many insurance companies continue to see their reinsurance costs jump 30-50% this year. Insurance companies pass on that cost to their customers.

Although this isn’t great news for Mainers, we’re better off than many areas of the country. Extreme weather has caused wildfires in the west and north, tornadoes and heat in the south and torrential rains elsewhere. Insurance companies have responded by canceling policies in Florida, Louisiana and California, and reducing their new policy offerings elsewhere.

Maine insurance rates - 2024 Homeowners

Most financial advisors recommend comparing to get the best insurance value. If you live in southern Maine, you can get up to 5 insurance quotes in 10 minutes from our website. Or contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541 for a free no-obligation custom review.

For more than 80 years, we’ve helped southern Mainers navigate the insurance market. While we don’t have any control over prices, we offer a choice of several insurance companies. That means we can help you find the best insurance value in any market.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Should You Install a Water Shutoff?

A water shutoff system can help avoid a common cause of building damage: water leaks. They aren’t cheap, but neither is water damage. Some insurers offer discount codes for these systems. Installing one may also qualify you for an insurance discount.

Water shutoff systems can minimize damage from plumbing leaks.

Water – The Most Common Property Insurance Claim

Most home and business owners worry about fire or theft damaging their property. But water damage is far more likely. According to Leak Defense, you are 7X more likely to have water damage than a fire. Moreover, water losses are 6X more common than burglaries.

There are 2 broad categories of water damage:

  • Weather related water damage such as: ice dams; wind-driven rain; or backup of sewers or drains.
  • Non-weather related water damage such as: plumbing leaks; tub overflows; or frozen pipes.

Water Damage is Expensive and Disruptive

Water damage is expensive. The average 2018 water damage claim for Hanover Insurance was $10,849. That’s just the water damage, not including the insurance deductible or the plumber’s bill to fix a leaky fixture. And costs have only increased since then. This Hanover Insurance infographic shows that buildings older than 20 years are more likely to have issues.

Water damage also disrupts your life or business. Hanover reported that the average length of impact from water damage to homes was 3 to 6 months. In severe cases, that can mean moving out of your home during repairs.

Water Shutoff Valves Can Minimize Losses

A water shutoff system does just what its name suggests. It monitors water flow in a building’s plumbing and automatically shuts off the water when it detects too much. It also alerts the building owner or manager so they can correct the problem.

The longer water flows from a leak, the more damage it causes. Shutting the water off quickly reduces the extent of water damage. That can be the difference between a minor mess and a major disaster.

How Much Do Water Shutoff Systems Cost?

Prices vary from building to building. For example, a professionally installed shutoff device in a home might cost $3,000 to $5,500. Commercial installations would cost more.

Sensor systems without shutoff valves can cost as little as $100 and you can install them yourself. However, low-cost sensors only alert you. They don’t shut off the water, which is so important to reduce damage.

Some insurance companies offer discount codes or special pricing for water shutoff systems. Check with your agent to see if your insurance company does this.

Insurance Discounts for Automatic Water Shutoffs

Many insurance companies offer discounts for customers who install automatic water shutoffs. Although the discount is only a fraction of the cost of the system, it helps offset the cost and rewards those who take this extra step to protect their property.

Not every system qualifies. Most insurers require:

  • Automatic water shutoff valve
  • 24/7 reporting to a monitored service
  • an approved vendor. This varies by insurance company. Check with your agent before you commit to install one.

Answers to Your Water Damage Insurance Questions

Do you own a home, condo or business in the Portland Maine area? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland. We offer a choice of Maine’s top personal and business insurance companies. That means we can search and compare for the best value for you.

We’re independent and committed to you.

What is Personal Injury Liability Coverage?

Personal injury liability coverage fills an important coverage gap in many policies. Off-the-shelf personal and business liability policies cover Bodily Injury and Property Damage. But you can be sued for reasons that fall between the cracks.

Personal injury liability insurance fills an important coverage gap in most policies.

What Is Personal Injury Liability?

Personal injury means non-physical injuries. Some examples:

  • Invasion of Privacy – interfering with someone’s right to be left alone or to control their personal space or information.
  • Libel – writing, posting or publishing something false or damaging about someone.
  • Slander – saying or broadcasting something false or damaging about someone.
  • False arrest – detaining someone without legal authority or justification.
  • Malicious prosecution – bringing legal action against someone with the intent to harm them. Suing someone without reasonable grounds.

This coverage is not included in the standard homeowners, renters, condo or business liability policies. You can usually add it for a small additional premium.

What Are Some Examples of Personal Injury Liability Claims?

  • A person posts on Instagram about a negative experience at a restaurant. The restaurant owner sues for libel.
  • A landlord enters an apartment to check something while the tenant isn’t home. The tenant finds out and sues for invasion of privacy.
  • At happy hour, a golf club member tells others that a certain member cheats. That member sues the accuser for slander.
  • A homeowner sees someone in the neighborhood who looks suspicious to them. They call the police and detain them until the police arrive. The person is actually a fellow resident out for a walk. They sue the caller for false arrest.
  • A parent posts photos online of their child’s soccer game. Another parent sues the poster for invasion of privacy.
  • A store owner accuses teen of shoplifting. They keep them in the store until the police arrive. Even though the police confiscate the stolen items, the teen’s parents sue the store for false arrest.
  • A resident puts a large sign on their lawn, against HOA rules. Another neighbor complains. The neighbor with the sign sues the other for malicious prosecution.

What Does Personal Injury Liability Insurance Pay For?

If someone sues you for these types of injuries, Personal Injury insurance can:

  • Provide an attorney to defend you – even if the claim is baseless.
  • Pay legal fees and court costs
  • Pay settlements or judgments

Who Needs Personal Injury Coverage?

Almost everyone is exposed to personal injury liability. For example, if you or a family member:

  • Live, work or go to school near other people
  • Have a high-profile job or volunteer position
  • Use social media
  • Own income property
  • Encounter someone with a history of disputes with others.

Liability Insurance in Maine

Do you live or own a business in Southern Maine? Looking for answers about liability insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland. We offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. We’ll do our best to help you find the right coverage within your budget.

We’re independent and committed to you.


Maine Insurance Rates 2Q 2023 Home and Auto Update

Maine insurance rates are affected by national and local trends. Home and auto rates continue to jump as insurers and customers struggle with rising claim costs and construction values. Portland Maine area insurance buyers saw almost a 15% price increase in the 2nd quarter of 2023. Still, Maine insurance rates remain among the lowest in the US.

Maine Insurance Rates – April to June 2023 – Auto

In the 2nd quarter of 2023, Portland Maine area auto insurance rates jumped 11.6% on average at renewal, up from 2% a year ago. The average annual auto insurance policy in Cumberland County costs $1374 per year.

According to a report by Insurify, personal auto prices were up 17% countrywide in the first half of 2023. Insurify says that Maine rates increased even more: 28% statewide. That was the 6th highest rate in the US.

Maine insurance rates for auto rose 11.6% in 2Q 2023.

Insurers continued to report higher than expected losses as body shops and mechanical repair shops passed along higher costs. Used auto prices spiked during COVID and settled above pre-pandemic levels. Finally, auto rental times remain very long as body shops require much more time to schedule repairs. All of these factors, along with medical cost increases, put strong upward pressure on auto insurance rates in 2Q 2023.

Maine Insurance Rates – Home – April to June 2023

Maine home insurance rate increases continue to outpace even large auto insurance increases. The average home insurance premium was 13.3% higher than a year ago. That’s up from 4% a year ago. The end is not in sight yet.

Maine insurance rates for homeowners rose 13.3% in 2Q 2023.

Many of the same inflationary pressures pushed home prices higher. Building materials and labor costs have dropped from post-COVID peaks, but remain historically high. It’s been difficult and expensive to find contractors. That delays repairs and increases claim costs.

But reinsurance costs remain one of the biggest drivers of property insurance rates. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It protects them against catastrophic losses from natural disasters like wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many insurance companies continue to see their reinsurance costs jump 30-50% this year. Insurance companies must pass on that cost to their customers.

Although this isn’t great news for Mainers, we’re better off than many areas of the country. Extreme weather has caused wildfires in the west and north, tornadoes and heat in the south and torrential rains elsewhere. Insurance companies have responded by canceling policies in Florida, Louisiana and California, and reducing their new policy offerings elsewhere.

Compare Your Options with an Independent Agent

Most financial advisors recommend comparing to get the best insurance value. If you live in southern Maine, you can get up to 5 insurance quotes in 10 minutes from our website. Or contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541 for a free no-obligation custom review. We offer a choice of several insurance companies. That means we can help you find the best insurance value.

We’re independent and committed to you.


Solar Panel Insurance for Maine Homes

If you have installed solar panels on your home, you may be wondering how to insure them against damage or theft. Solar panel insurance for Maine homes can help. Solar panels can reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint. However, they’re also expensive. And they expose you to risks that may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy.

solar panel insurance for Maine homes protects your investment against damage and loss.

Let’s look at how to insure your home solar panels and what factors to consider when choosing a policy.

What is solar panel insurance?

You’re looking coverage that protects solar panels from hazards like:

  • fire
  • hail
  • wind
  • vandalism
  • theft
  • power surges

Some insurance may also cover the cost to repair or replace solar panels that fail too soon.

How much does solar panel insurance cost?

The cost of solar panel insurance depends on several factors, such as:

  • Value of your solar panels and their installation cost
  • Type and size of your solar system
  • Location of your home and condition of your roof
  • Deductible and limit of your policy
  • Insurer and coverage level you choose

How to choose a solar panel insurance policy

When choosing solar panel insurance, consider the following aspects:

– Coverage: Make sure you understand what’s covered and excluded by your policy. For example, some policies may not cover damage caused by mechanical breakdown. Others might have a no or limited wind coverage.

– Limits: Does the policy have a separate limit for solar panels? Are they included in the total limit of your home insurance policy? Are solar panels subject to a depreciation clause that reduces the value over time?

– Deductible: This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible can lower your premium, but it also means you will have to pay more in case of a claim. Some policies have separate wind deductibles.

– Insurer: Compare different companies and policies to find the best value for your needs. Is local service most important to you? Lowest price? Experience and financial strength? By the way, an independent agent like Noyes Hall & Allen can compare for you. They offer a choice of several insurance companies.

FAQ about solar panel insurance

Do I need solar panel insurance?

If you own your solar panels, you are responsible for insuring them. If you lease or finance your solar panels, the lender will require insurance. So will a mortgage company.

Does my home insurance cover my solar panels?

Some home insurance policies may cover your solar panels as part of your dwelling or personal property coverage. However, you may need to increase your coverage to fully protect your investment. Check with your home insurer about their coverage for solar panels. They will be able to tell you how your policy applies and what else you may need.

How do I file a claim for my solar panels?

As with any property insurance claim, follow these steps:

  • Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and report the incident.
  • Document – take photos and videos of the damage.
  • Collect any relevant documents, such as receipts, invoices, warranties, etc.
  • Cooperate with your adjuster and provide them with any information they request.
  • Track your expenses and repairs until your claim is settled.

Need solar panel insurance in Maine?

Solar panels are a great way to save money and energy while helping the environment. However, they also come with risks that demand proper insurance coverage.

Do you live in Greater Portland and need solar panel insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of several insurance companies. We can help you compare and find the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

More information about solar initiatives in Maine


Artwork Insurance for Maine Homes

Off the shelf policies don’t provide proper artwork insurance. Homeowners, renters and condo policies have limited coverage. To really protect your collection requires a bit more.

artwork insurance is best handled by scheduling your pieces

GOOD – Basic Policies and Artwork Insurance

Home, condo and renters policies protect your belongings. They pay for damage by fire, theft plumbing leaks and 14 other perils. Personal Property (Coverage C) is the most your policy will pay. Off-the-shelf policies value your property at Actual Cash Value. That’s defined as replacement cost minus depreciation. That’s a start, but we recommend more.

BETTER – Two Upgrades for Artwork Insurance

Even if you don’t have much artwork we recommend two important upgrades to the base policy.

  • Replacement Cost Coverage for Personal Property. You want the insurance company to pay you the full cost to replace damaged or destroyed items. This endorsement removes the depreciation deduction. Only your deductible applies. We sometimes call this “new for old” coverage.

    Replacement cost coverage is an option on homeowners, condo or renters policies.
  • Special Coverage for Personal Property – also called “open perils” or HO-5 coverage. This expands the causes of loss that your policy covers. The basic policy covers 16 named perils. That’s exactly what it sounds like. Only listed perils are covered. Some examples: fire; vandalism; smoke; and plumbing leaks.

    But what if you leave your window open, and rain damages your artwork? Or, someone spills wine on it? Those aren’t among the 16 named perils. You need open perils coverage for your policy to pay.

BEST – Scheduled Artwork Insurance

Scheduling your valuable articles gives the best artwork insurance coverage. That means listing and describing each piece and assigning a value to it. This is the best way to insure many types of valuables. That includes jewelry, antiques, rugs or special collections. You may see it on your policy as Scheduled Personal Property.

Important Benefits of Scheduling Artwork

  • Sets the value BEFORE a loss – it can be hard to describe your artwork after it’s completely destroyed or stolen. It’s also difficult to prove what it was worth. Scheduling it establishes the value before the loss, not after. The insurance company will pay the lesser of
    • the cost to repair the item;
    • the cost to replace the item;
    • the amount listed on the schedule.
  • Provides Special Coverage – like the open perils coverage described above. For example: hanging hardware fails and a painting crashes to the floor. The frame breaks. It’s covered! But it wouldn’t be without special coverage or scheduling.
  • Removes the deductible – most property policies have a $1000 deductible or more. But scheduled property is usually covered with no deductible at all.

Valuing Your Artwork for Insurance

Many insurers allow you to set the value of your own artwork up to a limit. Often, that limit is $5,000. Any single piece valued over that needs an appraisal to justify the value. Insurance companies may require updated appraisals every 5 years. They want to make sure the valuation stays current.

If you have a lot of art or other valuables an insurance company might require an alarm system in your home. That usually means a system that’s monitored 24/7 by a service, not self-monitored via app or cell phone.

Want to Insure Your Maine Art Collection?

Do you live in Southern Maine and need artwork insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home insurance companies. We can help you find the best value for your collection.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Maine Insurance Rates 1Q 2023 Home and Auto Update

Maine insurance rates are following national trends. Home and auto rates are up as insurers try to catch up with rising claim costs and construction values. Portland Maine area insurance buyers saw almost a 10% price increase in the 1st quarter of 2023. Even so, Maine insurance rates remain among the lowest in the US.

Maine Insurance Rates – Auto – January to March 2023

Between January and March 2023, Portland Maine area auto insurance rates jumped 6.8% on average at renewal, up from 3.7% last September. The average annual auto insurance policy in Cumberland County costs $1341 per year.

Maine insurance rates for auto rose 6.8% in 1Q 2023.

Insurers reported higher than expected losses as people drove more after COVID reductions. Body shops and mechanical repair shops charged higher prices due to supply chain and labor shortages. Used auto prices spiked during COVID and settled above pre-pandemic levels. Finally, auto rentals are much more expensive, and needed longer due to body shop delays. All of these factors, along with medical cost increases, put strong upward pressure on auto insurance rates in 1Q 2023.

Maine Insurance Rates – Home – January to March 2023

Maine home insurance rates increased even faster than auto insurance. The average home insurance premium was 10.9% higher than a year ago. That’s up from 9.6% in September. And we haven’t seen the end yet.

Maine insurance rates for homeowners rose 10.9% in 1Q 2023.

Many of the same inflationary pressures pushed home prices higher. Building materials and labor costs spiked dramatically during COVID and haven’t settled completely back. It’s been difficult and expensive to find contractors. That delays repairs and increases claim costs.

But reinsurance costs are probably the biggest driver of property insurance rates. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It protects them against catastrophic losses from natural disasters like wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many insurance companies saw their reinsurance rates jump 30-50% this year. Insurance companies must pass on the cost of reinsurance to their customers.

Compare to Find the Best Value

Most financial advisors recommend comparing to get the best insurance value. If you live in southern Maine, you can get up to 5 insurance quotes in 10 minutes from our website. Or contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541 for a free no-obligation custom review. We offer a choice of several insurance companies. That means we can help you find the best insurance value.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Why Property Insurance is More Important in a Tight Housing Market

It’s a tight housing market in Maine right now. Whether your rent or own, that means property insurance is more important than ever. High costs and tight supply define the current market.

  • Building material costs remain at historic highs.
  • Contractors are busy, often scheduling work months ahead.
  • Real estate inventory is very low, which means it’s hard to find temporary housing.
In a tight housing market, property insurance is more important than ever.

Whether you’re a homeowner, condo owner or renter, property insurance can help. If disaster strikes your home, property insurance may help in three ways.


Cleanup Expenses

Property insurance can pay to remove smoke odors from furniture or clothing. It can also pay to dry water-damaged property. This helps you to salvage the things you need and your favorite belongings. Without homeowners, condo or renters insurance, you would have to pay these costs out of pocket.

Temporary Living Expenses

What if your home is damaged so badly that you can’t stay there? Your homeowners, condo or renters insurance may help. It may pay the extra cost for you to stay elsewhere until you can move back or find a new place.

Since housing is tight, that can be expensive. Make sure you have enough Additional Living Expense coverage. We recommend at least 3 months’ rent cost for renters and 12 months rent cost for home or condo owners.

Rebuilding, Repair and Replacement Costs

If you own your home or condo, your property insurance may cover the cost to repair fire, water or wind damage. What if your belongings can’t be repaired? Your renters, homeowners or condo policy may pay to replace them.

  • Make sure you have replacement cost coverage. “Off the shelf” policies may only pay depreciated value.
  • Check your Personal Property coverage limit. Is it enough to replace your belongings “new for old”. Increase your insurance if necessary.
  • If you own your place, check your Dwelling coverage limit. Is it enough to rebuild? Building costs are very high in the tight Maine housing market. Make sure your policy is keeping up with inflation.

Local, Professional Advice is Important   

You can buy property insurance on the internet or from a call center. But why?

A local insurance agent doesn’t cost extra. They also know the local market and can advise you before and during a claim.

As an independent agent Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland offers a choice of many insurance companies. We can compare options for you. That saves time and money. Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for more information at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.  

    Should I Buy Rental Car Insurance, or Does My Maine Policy Cover Me?

    Should I buy rental car insurance? As a Maine insurance agency, that’s one of our most common auto insurance questions. The answer is a bit complicated. It depends on your risk tolerance, too.


    Before we start, 2 important warnings:

    • This advice applies to Maine insurance policies only. Auto policies vary by state. Check with your insurance company about your own policy.
    • Auto rental contracts differ. Read yours carefully to find out what you’re responsible for.

    Should I buy rental car insurance? In Maine, the answer is a bit complicated. It depends on your risk tolerance, too.

    OK. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to buy rental car insurance.

    What Kind of Vehicle Are You Renting, and Why?

    If you’re renting anything but a car, passenger van, SUV or pickup, buy the insurance from the rental car agency. Your Maine personal auto policy will not cover you properly. Likewise, if you’re renting a vehicle for business use, or in a business name, buy insurance from the rental car company.

    Where Are You Renting?

    U.S. auto policies only cover you in the U.S., its possessions and territories, and Canada. If you’re renting anywhere else, buy rental car insurance from the rental company.

    What is Your Risk?

    You face four types of risk when you rent a vehicle: liability, collision, injury and lost income for the rental company. Let’s look at the types of coverage that the car rental companies offer.  

    Rental Car Insurance – Liability

    If you are at fault in a crash, you’re liable for any damage or injury you cause. Rental car companies sell Liability Damage Waiver insurance. That means they take responsibility for your action, provided you were operating with in the terms of your rental contract.

    Maine auto insurance policies extend your liability protection to rental cars. Therefore, it’s not usually necessary to purchase Liability Damage Waiver from the rental car agency. You usually already have coverage under your own insurance. An exception might be if you have purchased very low liability limits.

    Rental Car Insurance – Collision

    If you crash a rental car, you’re responsible for the cost to fix it. If it’s stolen while you rent it. You’re responsible to replace it. Car rental companies sell “Collision Damage Waivers” (CDW) to remove that risk. This waiver is not insurance. It’s simply a promise from the rental car agency that they won’t make pay to repair or replace it. CDW is also expensive: often $10 to $30 per day.

    If you have collision and comprehensive coverage under your own Maine personal auto insurance, your policy extends to the rental car. Your regular deductibles apply. CDW from the rental car company usually has no deductible.

    Some states also allow the rental car company to claim diminished value. That’s the difference between the car’s value before the crash and after it’s fixed. Maine auto insurance policies are not required to cover diminished value. This is a gap, and a risk that you should think about before declining CDW.

    Injury

    Rental car company insurance usually doesn’t cover injuries to people in your vehicle. Your Maine auto insurance policy provides medical payments coverage, which is likely a small amount. Regular medical insurance (if any) takes over from there. Otherwise, your medical bills for crash injuries must be paid out of pocket.

    Lost Income to Rental Car Company

    If you damage a rental car, the rental company has to pull it from the fleet until it’s repaired. That means they lose income. And that’s your responsibility.

    Rental car companies sell Loss Damage Waivers (LDW). Similar to the CDW, these are not insurance. They transfer the risk of the lost income from you to the rental company. These cost about as much as Collision Damage Waivers: up to $3,000 per year if you annualize it!

    Maine Law requires your auto insurer to cover verifiable loss of use for the rental company up to 30 days. That’s fine as long as the rental company doesn’t claim more than 30 days lost income. With supply chain issues and labor shortages, repairs can often take more than 30 days. You could still be responsible for loss of income beyond 30 days. This is a gap, and one you should consider before declining to purchase LDW.

    Rental Car Insurance Tips

    Check the Vehicle

    Protect yourself by checking the car carefully for damage – with a rental company employee present – before you leave the lot and when you return it. Request that all prior damages be noted in writing. We’ve heard about car renters being charged for damage weeks after turning in vehicles. If you didn’t have an attendant check the vehicle when you returned it, there’s no way to prove your innocence.

    Read the Contract

    Rental contracts differ. Be sure you understand:

    • Your responsibilities
    • Who can drive the vehicle
    • Any restrictions or requirements (alcohol or drug use, types of roads driven, etc.)

    Rental Car Insurance: Budget vs. Risk

    Buying the waivers from the car rental company is the safest way to reduce your risk. But it’s expensive. Weigh the cost of those waivers against the additional risk you assume by not buying them.

    We’re happy to answer these and other insurance questions for our clients.  Call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.