Commercial Leases in Maine – Protecting Your Business

Are you looking for a commercial lease for your Maine business? Moving your business from home or a co-working space to your first real office? Expanding your retail footprint from Portland to Westbrook or Scarborough? Just looking for new space? Either way, negotiating and signing a lease is a big move. It’s also a big commitment. And a legal contract.

A new location is an exciting opportunity for your Maine business. It’s tempting to lock in a great location by quickly signing a lease. Be a smart business person. Review it with your attorney, accountant and insurance agent first. It can save you trouble during the term of your business lease.

Why a Written Lease is Important

It’s good to have a written lease. It’s a legal contract that you can refer to whenever you have questions about your space. It’s also in black-and-white, which reduces misunderstanding when conflicts arise. And, a written lease is easy to review with your trusted advisors. 

Review Your Lease with Your Advisors – Before You Sign It

If you have an attorney, make sure they review your lease. They know what clauses are standard, and which are unusual in the Southern Maine market. They can help you negotiate with your potential landlord. Likewise, your accountant can determine tax implications of your lease. They can set you up to properly record your lease expenditures. 

Don’t forget to review your lease with your Maine business insurance agent. Your lease requires property and liability business insurance. Your agent can help make sure you meet your lease obligations.  They can also keep your property and other assets protected. Finally, they can help you build an insurance budget for your new location.

Insurance Implications of Your Commercial Lease

Depending on your operations and your lease agreement, you may need to update your business insurance.  Here are a few examples.


BUSINESS PROPERTY INSURANCE AND YOUR LEASE


Insuring building items and improvements. 
Your new space may need a build-out. Who pays for that? Who insures it after it’s done? And who owns it, and when? A well-written lease addresses those issues.

A good Maine business insurance agent can help you determine whether you need to insure improvements. If you do, they can also tell you how much it will cost. Triple net leases require a tenant to assume many expenses of the building, including insurance. Your agent can help you budget for that. 

Insuring Your Contents and Inventory
Your new place may be larger, or be an additional location for your business. If so, increase your insurance to make sure that your assets are properly protected. Don’t forget to insurer new signage, awnings, etc. 

In Case of Emergency
What does your lease say about damage to the property? What if the property is damaged to the point where you can’t operate your business for some time? A well-crafted lease outlines the extent of damage and the time limit that triggers the clause.

It’s one thing for your lease to allow you to move somewhere else in case of damage to the property. It’s another thing to be able to afford to move, and to let your customers know about it. An astute Maine business insurance agent can help you buy insurance to pay for business interruption and extra expenses. 


BUSINESS LIABILITY INSURANCE AND YOUR LEASE


Your lease may require a certain amount of business liability insurance protection. That may be more insurance than you currently have. You might even need business umbrella insurance to satisfy the lease requirements. Your commercial insurance agent can provide figures to build into your pro-forma for the new location. 


Who’s Responsible for What? 
Your lease should outline what areas you are responsible for vs. the landlord. It may address issues such as maintenance and snow removal. Make sure that you know what your lease commits you to. Share that with your business insurance agent. 


Hold Harmless Clause / Mutual Waiver of Subrogation
Many commercial leases have a “hold harmless” clause. This prevents a landlord from suing a tenant or vice versa, except in cases of extreme negligence. These clauses help to maintain good relations between the parties. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, the landlord and tenant simply pay for damage to the property they’re responsible for in the lease. Many leases also have a “mutual waiver of subrogation.” This prevents the landlord and tenants’ insurance companies from collecting from an other at-fault party after they pay a claim. It’s important to share your lease with your insurance agent so they can make sure your insurance is properly set up. 


Additional Insureds and Certificates of Insurance
Many leases require tenants to make the landlord an Additional Insured under their policy. Insurance companies are generally willing to do this when required in a lease. Some insurance companies charge extra for Additional Insureds. Check with your business insurance agent to build your budget.

Does your new location have an exterior sign or outdoor seating area? The city or town may require a certificate of liability insurance showing them as an Additional Insured. Hanging signs and outdoor seating are popular in areas like the Old Port and downtown Westbrook, Biddeford and Saco. The city wants to make sure that if your sign injures someone, your insurance will pay. Overhead signs are also common in suburban strip retail areas, such as Scarborough, South Portland and Falmouth. 

Are you looking for a commercial lease for your southern Maine business?
Call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s best business insurance companies. We can help make sure your insurance meets your lease requirements. We can also help you build your insurance budget for this location. We’re independent and committed to you.

What Maine Small Business Owners Need to Know About Insurance

Running your small Portland, ME business can be a rewarding and satisfying endeavor. However, without the right liability insurance coverage, running your small business open you up to lawsuits. Here is a brief description from Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance of the most common business liability insurance.

Worker’s Comp

Worker’s compensation insurance is required in Maine for any business with employees. As a business owner, you need to stay up to date on your state’s requirements concerning worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s compensation insurance protects your employees when they are injured on the job. This also protects you as the employer from liability for said injuries.

Liability Insurance

General liability is one of the most important types of insurance for the small business owner to have. Liability can come in many forms. Individuals can get injured on your property or by your product. Something could go wrong with a service you provided resulting in damage or injury. Liability insurance will protect you in these situations and ensure that your company is not required to pay out of pocket for these types of liability claims.

Commercial Auto

If your company owns vehicles in order to provide services or deliveries, then you need business auto insurance. Commercial vehicle insurance can cover your drivers and your vehicles in the event of an accident. If your company uses vehicles, then you will no doubt have invested a good deal of money into those vehicles. This will protect that investment.

Umbrella Insurance

Commercial umbrella insurance policies help small business cover all their bases in one simple policy. Umbrella policies provide high limits of liabilty over your general liability and business auto policies. To learn more about small businesses, contact our friendly staff at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance serving Portland, ME at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s best business insurance companies, so we can help you find the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

Access Your Insurance Policy Info 24 X 7 – Noyes Hall & Allen Client Center

We have invested in a new service for our clients: 24 x 7 access to your insurance documents from the Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance Client Center. Now you can view your secure policy information, download insurance cards and other proof of insurance, and request policy changes anytime. This 6:17 video explains how:

  1. Log in to the Noyes Hall & Allen Client Center from our home page. Simply enter the email address associated with your account. We will email a one-time code. Enter it in the field, and you’re in!
    Note: some mobile users may have difficulty with certain browsers. We’ve found that Google Chrome works reliably with most devices. 
  2. Select View Account to see the information you want.
  3. Select Policy to see your in-force policies and coverage info, or Documents to see or download proof of insurance, correspondence, or other information we have shared with you. Note that you can also request a change to your insurance policies from the Client Center.
  4. When you’re done, you can log out by clicking on the person icon in the upper right, or simply closing your browser. Our vendor uses the latest security technology to keep your personal information private. You can view our privacy policy here.

THAT’S IT! 

We hope you find the Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance Client Center useful to access your information when it’s convenient for you, whether the office is open or not.

Please note that these are very simplified views of your policy info. You may have purchased additional coverage which doesn’t show on the Client Center policy screen. Your actual insurance policy is always the definitive document of your coverage.

If you have any questions about your insurance, call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you!

What Does an Insurance Agent Do After a Claim?

No one enjoys making an insurance claim. Something bad happened. You need it fixed. Soon. So much to do! Repair a car or building. Run a business. Get a temporary vehicle. Find a place to live or work. Heal from an injury. Replace damaged or stolen property. Deal with another party after the accident. Stress!

It’s an inconvenience you didn’t need. But, that’s why you bought insurance, right? It’s time for policy to do what it promises: fix you.

Insurance is a Two-Party Contract

Your insurance policy is a written contract between you and your insurance company. No one can change it after a claim. Your contract makes you responsible for certain things. The insurance company too. The policy specifies what’s covered, what’s not, and how losses are paid.

If you purchased your policy from an agent, they can help you through the process. But some things you have to do yourself.

Things only YOU can do in an insurance claim:

  • Make a statement about what happened to insurance companies
  • Prove your loss
  • Choose a contractor or repair shop (some companies have preferred contractors or shops, but cannot force you to use them)
  • Accept or reject a settlement

Things only your ADJUSTER can do in an insurance claim:

  • Determine whether your policy covers your loss
  • Decide who’s at fault in claims involving more than one party
  • Evaluate and pay claims

Some claims never involve anyone but you and the insurance company.  You report it directly to the insurance company. The claim is minor. Settlement is simple. Everything goes smoothly. Other claims are more complex.

You never know which kind of claim you will have. That’s why it’s good to have an agent on your side. Not to mention for the advice they can give you the 99.9% of the time when you’re NOT having a claim.

What Use Is an INSURANCE AGENT after a Claim?

A good insurance agent:

  • Helps you decide whether to make a claim at all.  Is your claim clearly not covered? If it is clearly covered, what’s your policy deductible? Is your insurance cost likely to increase if you make this claim? How much? An agent can answer these initial questions so you can decide whether you want to make a claim at all.
  • Is your insurance sherpa. There’s a lot to know and remember. Report your claim to your insurance company or someone else’s. Protect your property. Gather information you’ll need later. Find a temporary solution until the adjuster can take over. An experienced agent is your sherpa in foreign territory.
  • Is your claim cattle dog. Haven’t heard from your adjuster? Waiting for an appraisal? Having trouble preparing the reports the insurance company needs? A good agent can pull things together and herd your claim in the right direction.
  • Has clout with the insurance company. Agents help their clients to find good insurance companies. So insurers want to be on the agent’s “good list”. A trustworthy and knowledgeable agent earns the respect of the insurance company. They can use that to advocate on your behalf. An agent can’t create coverage where there isn’t, but they can influence the process.
  • Is an “insurance translator”. A good agent can explain the gobbledy-gook in that letter from your adjuster. They can tell you why the offered settlement may be different than you expected. They can explain to the adjuster, using insurance terms, it if it’s wrong. Your agent can even translate in real time, meeting with you and the adjuster face-to-face, to resolve issues.
  • Helps insurance companies get better. Want to let your insurance company know how your claim went? Compliment your adjuster? Complain about the company’s preferred service provider? Rave or rage about the service you received? Share advice for how to make it better? A good agent has a pipeline to the insurance company, and knows where to send the feedback to get the most impact.

Need Help With a Claim? Ask Your Agent!

Don’t assume that your agent knows how your claim is going. Insurance companies don’t routinely communicate with agents during a claim. If you need help, ask your agent. At Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, we ask our clients if they need help a week after they file a claim on their policy. Many don’t need help. But for those who do we’re able to jump in and assist where needed. We believe that helps our clients’ claims go smoother than they might otherwise.

Do you own a business or live in the Portland Maine area? Looking for an experienced agent who represents several insurance companies? An agent who can help you choose the right insurer and be available if you have a claim? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Or just click “get a quote” above. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred business and personal insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Maine Food Truck Insurance

Food trucks have roamed the streets of Portland Maine for several years.  Now they’re popping up in places from Biddeford Saco to Westbrook, Scarborough to Freeport, Sugarloaf to Sunday River. Food truck insurance can be a challenge for an inexperienced insurance agent. Insurance companies know how to insure trucks. They know how to insure restaurants. But rolling restaurants are different.

5 Types of Insurance Every Food Truck Needs

  • General Liability  Insurance

    If someone breaks a tooth in a crabmeat roll or gets food poisoning after eating your product, they’re going to come back to you. GL coverage pays for these claims, as well as slips and falls and other injuries or damage that occur at your location.

  • Business Auto Insurance

    If you get in an accident while you’re on the move, you need to have your food truck fixed and back online soon. If you’re at fault, you’ll also need protection to pay for the damage and injury you cause.

  • Workers Compensation Insurance

    By law, you’re required to provide Maine workers comp coverage for your employees. If they’re injured at work or miss time due to an on-the-job injury or illness, workers compensation insurance pays them.

  • Business Property Insurance

    You have a big investment in your inventory, fixtures and supplies, both at the commissary and on your food truck. Insurance can protect that asset against fire, theft, equipment breakdown and more.

  • Loss Of Food Truck Income

    If your food truck is down, you have no income.  What if your fryer malfunctions, causing a fire? You could be off the road for the whole summer season. Or what if your best brewery location or outdoor venue suddenly shuts down due to a fire, windstorm or some other disaster? Business income insurance for food trucks can help you replace the income you lose following property losses like these.

Get Maine Food Truck Insurance

If you have questions about insuring a food truck in Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen insurancce agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click “get a quote” above. We’ve insured food trucks since they first came to Maine. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, including the Acadia Street Eats food truck program by Acadia Insurance. We’ll help you find an insurance solution that fits your business and your budget. We’re independent and committed to you.

Why Maine is a Great Place to do Business

Are you thinking about opening a business in Maine?

If so, you should consider doing so in Portland, ME. This city stands out as a location where entrepreneurs have access to all the resources they need to find success with their new business. In fact, Portland has been ranked as the ninth best location for women entrepreneurs and number five for starting a business overall. If you are starting a business, you need to protect it with proper commercial insurance coverage with the help of Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance.

Keep reading to find more reasons why Greater Portland is such a great place to start a business.

Maine Has Great Support Network for Entrepreneurs

The history of underemployment in Maine has helped to spark several institutions that are designed to support and fund entrepreneurs. For example, The Maine Venture Fund, which was established in 1995 has currently received more than $13 million to provide startup companies. Maine Center for Economic Development, Startup Maine, Top Gun, Greenlight Maine and other resources help startup business owners to network and learn. Several Portland coworking spaces offer work and meeting rooms, including Think Tank, Cloudport, Engine Room and Peloton Labs.

Integration of  Maine Values into Business 

Another reason that Maine is such a great place to do business is the fact that this is a location where values are at the forefront of business ideas. For example, a recently opened company, American Roots, sells ethically sourced, fleece clothing made in Maine. The state is brimming with young values-based companies including GrandyOats, Heritage Seaweed and Flowfold.

As you can see, the Portland Maine area is a great place to open a business. Before you take the leap, be sure you have the proper protection for your business. The best way to do this is by purchasing a robust insurance policy from a quality insurer. Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance today. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred business insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

 

Do Hurricanes and Wildfires In Other States Affect Maine Insurance Rates?     

Insurance companies pool risk. They collect money from many people to pay the losses of a few who have claims. Everyone’s rates go up or down, depending on the insurance company’s experience. More claims paid = higher rates.


You may be wondering:

  • How much do hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters affect insurance rates?
  • Do disasters in other states affect my insurance rates in Maine?

It’s helpful to understand how insurance companies price their product. Insurance rates are recommended by insurance company actuaries. They project how much money the insurance company must collect to pay claims and make a profit. This requires complex modeling and formulas. Actuaries recommend rate changes to a special committee of company executives. The committee compares the actuary’s recommendation to the company’s profitability and growth targets. They agree on a proposed rate change, and submit it to Maine insurance regulators.

The regulator’s job is to make sure that insurance rates are:

  • Adequate to pay claims
  • Not excessive
  • Not unfairly discriminatory.

Regulators may approve or deny the rate change, or ask for more information.

What Factors Affect Insurance Rates?

At its simplest, insurance is “money in…money out.”

Money In = Premium Collected

Cheap insurance rates may leave the insurance company with insufficient money to pay claims and make a profit. Rates that are too high may send customers fleeing to other insurers.

Money Out = Losses 

The most important determinant of insurance rates. More losses than expected puts pressure for the insurance company to raise rates. Fewer losses puts downward pressure on rates.

But here’s the rest of the story:

Insurance Company Financial Strength – Well-managed insurance companies keep adequate reserves to pay claims on a rainy day. Insurers with strong financials can weather a bad year without huge rate increases. Weaker ones need more frequent rate adjustments. The best way to learn the financial condition of an insurance company? A.M. Best tests the financial strength of insurers and assigns them a letter grade.

Type of Insurance Company – Mutual insurance companies are owned by their customers. After they pay claims, mutuals store their profits to pay future claims. Other insurance companies are stockholder owned. Stockholders expect a return on their investment. Investors pressure executives of publicly held companies to improve profits every quarter. This can lead to larger or more frequent rate increases to stay ahead of current losses.

Reinsurance – Almost every insurance company is also an insurance consumer. They buy insurance against “the big one”. This is called reinsurance. Most companies reinsure against annual total losses exceeding a certain amount. This dampens the impact of multiple hurricanes, fires or other disasters in one year.

Generally, larger insurers buy less reinsurance than smaller ones. Smaller insurers have less surplus, and thus are more vulnerable to catastrophic losses.

Of course, reinsurers are also insurance companies. They must collect more premium if they suffer unexpectedly large claims. Insurance companies pay different reinsurance rates based on their individual loss experience.

Do Disasters in Other States Affect My Insurance Rates?

Probably not as much as you think. Maine insurance regulators only allow insurers to file rates based upon Maine premium and losses. Claims that a company pays in California or Florida are not baked into Maine insurance rates.

BUT…

Insurance companies factor nationwide overhead costs into Maine rates. Cost like advertising, salaries – and reinsurance. Since events outside Maine influence reinsurance costs, they influence Maine customers’ rates. Just less than you might expect.

Contractors Liability Insurance in Maine – What does it Cost?

If you’re a contractor or subcontractor in Greater Portland Maine, you will have to show proof of liability insurance to get preferred jobs. Whether you’re a Maine carpenter, plumber, electrician or other trade contractor, people or businesses who hire you want to know that you’ll be able to pay for any damage or injury caused by your work. A certificate of insurance shows proof of liability insurance.

 

How Much Does Contractors Liability Insurance Cost in Maine?

The cost of your insurance depends on several factors:

  • What kind of work you do (type, number and size of jobs)
  • How much experience you have
  • How much liability insurance you buy
  • Whether you’re insured now, and how long you’ve been insured
  • Your insurance claims experience

 

My Job Requires $1 Million of Contractors General Liability Insurance. Isn’t That Too Much?

One million is a common requirement, even for smaller jobs. It seems like a lot of money, but it’s not when you consider how much damage or injury you could cause in a worst-case scenario. Many contracts for larger jobs require even higher limits. Fortunately, insurance companies readily provide these limits. The prices are probably lower than you think.

 

Can I Get Contractors Liability Insurance Today?

If you currently have insurance, have a proven track record of work and few or no claims, many insurance companies want your business. You can get insurance right away. If you’re new in business, or have never had insurance, it may take longer.

 

I’m Starting a Maine Contracting Business. Can I Get Insurance?

Congratulations on your big leap! Do you have lots of experience as a supervisor? Are you going out on your own after years of working for someone else? Many insurance companies will take you on as a new business with that kind of experience.

 

How Long Does it Take to Get Proof of Insurance in Maine?

Once your coverage is bound, your insurance agent can send insurance certificates to anyone who’s requesting one.

 

Do I Need to Get Certificates of Insurance from Maine Subcontractors?

Yes! Without proof that your subs have their own insurance, you may be responsible for injuries to them or damage they cause. Always collect and keep certificates of insurance from subs you hire. Otherwise, your insurance company will increase your rates at the end of your policy for your added responsibility.

 

What Other Insurance Does a Maine Contractor Need?

In addition to general liability, you may want to protect your tools and equipment against theft or damage. If you have a business vehicle, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance. And if you hire employees, you must provide workers compensation insurance. Fortunately, insurance companies can bundle some of these with your general liability policy. This reduces cost and confusion from multiple bills and policies.

 

How to Get Maine Contractors General Liability Insurance

If you have a contracting business in Scarborough, South Portland, Westbrook or elsewhere in Greater Portland, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click the “get a quote” button below. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, including MMG Insurance, Concord Group, Hanover, Liberty Mutual, Acadia Insurance and more. We’re independent and committed to you.

 

Maine Drone Insurance

Maine businesses are using drones to create unique video, capture aerial shots, and check locations that would otherwise be hazardous or difficult to access. Photographers and videographers capture unique images and videos. Marketers use drones to create compelling and  content. Real estate agents and developers use drones to show the attractiveness and potential of properties.

New Drone Insurance Program in Maine

Acadia Insurance Drone coverageWe were excited to learn today about Acadia Insurance‘s new drone insurance program.  Until today, our clients have had to insure their drones in Maine with specialty insurance programs. That meant separate billing, coverage and claims. Sometimes, it’s even meant that they had to work directly with the insurance company, with no agent to help. Insurance company financial stability isn’t a given for these programs.

The Acadia program allows Maine businesses to insure their drone with the rest of their property and liability. One bill, one claim adjuster, one agent. Acadia is based in Westbrook, Maine and already insures thousands of Maine businesses. They’ve introduced special programs inspired by iconic and growing Maine businesses, from breweries to artisans and contractors.


related post: Are Drones Covered by Maine Homeowners or Business Insurance?


Do you use a drone in your Maine business? Have you bought insurance from a specialty program or an insurance company you’ve never heard of? Do you wonder if they’ll be able to pay claims? Do you struggle to speak to a human at your insurance company? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re eager to see if Acadia Insurance can help Maine businesses insure their drones with a Maine insurance company.

Commercial Insurance for Maine Small Business

Maine small businesses face many of the same hazards as their larger counterparts. They are also unique, and as such, they have unique insurance needs. For businesses in the Portland, South Portland and Scarborough, ME area, the agents with Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance can help you to find the right insurance policy to protect their unique operations.

Maine small businesses are not legally required to carry property or liability insurance. If your business has employees, you must carry Workers Compensation insurance, though. Smart business owners know that insurance is a cost-effective way to protect their investment in property such as inventory, fixtures and equipment. They also know that business liability insurance will protect them from lawsuits alleging negligence that causes injury or property damage.

Many business contracts require proof of insurance. These include rental agreements and leases, equipment leases, and independent contractor agreements.  A Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent can help you determine what kind of insurance you need and how much. They’ll help work within your budget so you don’t buy too much – or too little – insurance. For those in the Greater Portland, ME area, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers the choice of several of Maine’s preferred insurers. We’re independent and committed to you. Call us at 207-799-5541.