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.

Is Commercial Auto Insurance Right for Your Small Business?

Even if you just started up your small business in the Portland, ME area, it is a good idea to sit down with one of our friendly agents at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance to make sure you have the coverage you need. Maybe you are using your personal van, truck, or SUV to save on capital expenditures. If so, your personal auto insurance might not fully protect you or your business. You may need  commercial auto insurance.

Making Deliveries in Your Own Vehicle?

If you are delivering goods to clients in your vehicle and cause an accident, an injured party may go after your personal assets as well as your business. A commercial auto insurance policy would provide the liability protection your growing business needs to stay afloat.

Sending Someone for Business Errands

Do you ever send someone to get supplies, tools, or even lunch, using their own vehicle?  That’s a business use. Your business can be sued for any injuries or damage they cause. Of course, if you have employees, you need to purchase workers compensation insurance to pay their medical bills and lost time.

Driving the Crew to a Job

When you are the boss and are offering transportation in your SUV to your workers, it becomes a business vehicle. Make sure that you carry sufficient coverage for liability and medical expenses if something goes wrong.

When starting a business, it’s important to control expenses. But improper insurance takes big chances with your personal investment. By purchasing the right commercial liability, auto, and workers compensation insurance, you allow your Portland, ME business to grow instead of being bankrupted by a lawsuit or other disaster.

Give our agents a call at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance for more tips and the right coverage today.

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.

 

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.

Maine Business Insurance – How Much Does it Cost?

If you’re starting or running a business in Maine, your budget includes insurance. How much fire, auto or liability insurance do you need, and what will it cost? The answer varies, depending on what your business does. Restaurants pay more for fire insurance because of open flames and heat. Web designers pay more for professional insurance due to copyright infringement hazards. Breweries and other manufacturers spend more for product liability insurance. Contractors and food trucks pay more for auto insurance because they have a lot of equipment on the road.

Your business location affects your insurance costs, too. Business insurance in Portland or Southern Maine may cost more due to more congested roads, exposure to out-of-state travel and more a more litigious environment. But, business fire insurance may cost less in Portland, South Portland, Scarborough or nearby southern Maine towns due to strong fire protection.

Average Costs for Small Business Insurance in Portland Maine

The business clients of Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, an independent agency in South Portland Maine, pay an average of:

  • $3600 for all their commercial vehicles
  • $4500 for workers compensation
  • $1400 for business property insurance
  • $2600 for business liability insurance
  • $2750 for professional liability (Errors & Omissions) insurance

Those figures include all business clients, large and small. Some clients only need business liability coverage; others need all the insurances.

What Would It Cost to Insure Your Maine Business or Idea?

If you own a business or a startup business in Maine, we can help you find out. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred business insurance companies, so we can survey the market. We’re independent and committed to you.  Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland Maine, or click “get a quote” above. In the end, you’ll know how much to budget for insurance, and what kind of business insurance you need.

Commercial Insurance for Maine Business Start-Ups

Commercial insurance is requisite for any business in the modern world, including start-ups. In fact, new businesses or start-ups have the most to lose if things go south. Therefore, it’s vital to protect yourself in the best possible way – including getting commercial insurance. In Maine, this type of coverage is not mandated, but if you are serious about running a successful business, you need to get it.

Purchasing commercial insurance might be the difference between death and survival  for your start-up. If you are planning to open a new business in The Pine Tree State and need coverage, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in Portland, ME is the place to look. We offer the following commercial insurance coverage options for start-ups:

  • General Liability Insurance for Start-Ups. GL pays for losses arising from settlements, claims, or lawsuits that your start-up may face due to injuries or property damage caused to third parties.
  • Professional Liability Insurance. Many creative and tech startups would face disaster if sued for copyright infringement, programming error, printing mistakes and other gaffes. Professional liability insurance protects you and your reputation by defending you and paying damages you might owe.
  • Property Insurance for Start-Ups. This covers physical assets owned by your start-up. This includes your investments in inventory, structures, equipment and company vehicles (commercial auto insurance). Damages caused by wind and hail storms, fire, smoke, collision and vandalism fall under this category.
  • Flood Insurance.  Flood damage isn’t covered by business property insurance. That’s why you need flood insurance for your start-up. Remember that flooding can occur anywhere, anytime. It helps to be covered from the resultant losses.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance. In Maine, if you have employees, you’re required to provide workers comp insurance. Your employees are an essential part of your business. Ensure that they are taken care of in case of an accident that results in injury, disability, or missed work.

Other coverage options are available, but these are the most important. Commercial insurance is the best way to make sure that your business doesn’t go under after an unfortunate event. For more information on commercial insurance from Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in Portland, ME, call us at 207-799-5541, or visit our website to get the answers you need.

How Much Does Lawn Care / Landscaping Contractor Insurance Cost in Maine?

 

Maine’s growing season is short. Landscapers and lawn care contractors only have a few months to earn money. That means they must watch expenses carefully to be profitable. Too much overhead can be the difference between profit and loss for a Maine contractor. 

How Much Does Landscaping Liability Insurance Cost?

Prices vary depending on:

  • Whether you specialize or not – pesticide or heavy tree work specialists pay more for insurance.
  • How much experience you have – seasoned businesses with good experience pay less than start-ups.
  • How much you make – higher revenues means higher insurance costs. 
  • If you plow in winter – If you take on lots of commercial plowing jobs, you’ll pay more for coverage.

If you’re a single operator in Maine with a mower or two, you’ll probably pay less than $1500 a year. If you have heavier equipment to insure, you’ll pay a bit more.

 Do I Need Workers Compensation Insurance for My Landscaping Business?

If you have employees, yes. If not, you may or may not have to buy workers’ comp, depending on the legal setup of your business. For example, if you’re a “dba”, you can choose to cover yourself under workers compensation, but you’re not required to.


 

Related Post: Who Needs to Buy Workers’ Comp Insurance in Maine?


 

How Much Does Lawn Care Equipment Insurance Cost?

You can insure tools and equipment like deck mowers, weed trimmers, hand mowers and hedge trimmers on a contractors package policy. The price varies with the value of the equipment. It usually costs less than $3.00 per $1,000 of value. Some policies offer replacement cost coverage (new for old). Other policies cover depreciated value. Ask your agent what they’re quoting.

How Much Does it Cost to Insure My Landscaping Truck and Trailer?

Business vehicle insurance costs more than personal. For a brand new 1/2 ton pickup, budget about $1500 per year – more if you plow commercially. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s still a good idea to buy the business policy. You want to be covered properly.


Related Post: Should a Maine Contractor Insure Vehicles in a Business Name?


 

Can I Store My Lawn Care Stuff in My Garage at Home?

Storing fuel or equipment in an outbuilding  can VOID COVERAGE for that building on your homeowners policy. If you have gas cans and mowers in your detached garage, and a fire starts, destroying the garage, your homeowners policy will NOT cover the rebuilding cost – even if the mowers or fuel had nothing to do with the fire.

Talk to your homeowners insurance agent about how your policy deals with this. Another option: insure your garage on your contractors policy. You want to make sure you have insurance help to rebuild after a disaster.

Have questions about contractors insurance for Maine landscaping or lawn care business? If you live and work in the Portland Maine area, call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541. We represent many insurance companies, so we can recommend the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

When Should a Maine Contractor Insure Vehicles Commercially?

 

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Many Maine contractors drive personal vehicles for business every day. Cleaning contractors drive their own cars to jobs from Cape Elizabeth to Cumberland. Food delivery workers pop a magnetic sign on the roof and zip through Portland streets. Uber drivers shuttle people to and from the Old Port in their SUVs. Landscapers haul mowers on trailers from Scarborough to Yarmouth. Carpenters and handymen load tool boxes and ladder racks for Munjoy Hill rehab projects. In winter, contractors from Kittery to Fort Kent pick up plow jobs to pay the bills.

Does a Personal Policy Cover Contractor’s Business Use of a Vehicle?

Maybe not. Many insurance companies exclude delivery or transporting commercial goods. If you’re in a crash hauling your tools or delivering a pizza, you could find yourself with no coverage. Almost every personal policy excludes carrying passengers for a fee (Uber or Lyft).

If My Truck Has Lettering on the Side, Does it Require Commercial Insurance?

Lettering can be a “tipping point” when defining a business vehicle. Is your truck lettered? Talk to your Maine contractor’s insurance agent to see if you need to switch to a business policy. Avoid a surprise at the absolute worst time – after an accident.

What if I’m in an Accident With My Contracting Truck on My Personal Insurance Policy?

You may have no coverage (see above). Even if your policy doesn’t exclude your claim, your personal insurer won’t be happy. After paying, they could cancel your family’s insurance. Or, they could force you to insure your truck on a business policy. At the very least, they would surcharge your policy for the claim.

What’s the Advantage of Business Auto Insurance?

Compared to a personal auto policy, a commercial vehicle policy allows you to:

  • Get coverage for business use of the vehicle – which is the whole purpose of having insurance at all.
  • Buy higher liability limits – to meet job requirements, and better protect your business assets and reputation.
  • Have Loading and Unloading coverageIf you yank the wires from a customer’s house while pulling your ladder off your rack, that’s not covered by your business liability insurance. Business Auto policies cover it.
  • Purchase higher rental limits, so you can rent a vehicle comparable to the one that’s damaged. No one wants to show up for a carpentry job in a subcompact car.
  • Include non-owned auto coverage – protects your business if someone crashes while picking up a part or a tool for you with their own vehicle.
  • Separate your personal life from your business. You don’t want to explain to your spouse why their insurance was canceled, or the price increased so much.
  • Insure larger vehicles – most personal policies don’t insure anything bigger than a 3/4 ton pickup.
  • Include attached equipment – like tool boxes, ladder racks or signage.

How Much Does Commercial Vehicle Insurance Cost in Maine?

It varies of course, depending on the vehicle and use. Plan to spend about $100 a month for a contractor’s pickup truck with collision coverage and $1 million of liability coverage. Prices can decrease if you have more vehicles, or increase if you have bigger trucks.

Would your Maine auto insurance pay if you were in an accident at work? Have questions about Maine contractors insurance?  Contact Noyes Hall & Allen in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click “let’s talk” below. We’ve helped contractors to stay on the job and out of hot water since 1933. Because we represent many insurance companies, we’re independent and committed to you.

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Maine Auto Insurance: What to Expect in 2017

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Last Thursday, we met with executives from 7 different insurance companies, one after the other. Every December, we invite our key company partners to review the year and plan for the next.

It’s a full day spent discussing trends, challenges and opportunities in the insurance industry. We learn a lot from the executives’ lofty perspective. They learn just as much from our “front line” reports. By the end of the day, trends usually emerge.

This year, increasing frequency and cost of auto claims concerns almost every executive. Their companies are paying claims faster than they’re collecting premiums. They can’t afford to do that for long. We haven’t seen this trend yet in our agency’s fairly small sample of Maine’s drivers. But it’s clear: we should prepare for rising auto insurance rates in the next few years.

Four Reasons to Expect Higher Auto Insurance Rates in 2017

  1. Fierce Competition Depressed Car Insurance Rates

The Great Recession put extreme pressure on many household budgets. Many insurers focused their advertising message on reducing prices. GEICO spent more than $1 billion a year on advertising. State Farm spent about $800 million. This extreme competition caused prices to remain level for years. Total industry premiums remained flat from 2006 to 2009.

2. People Are Driving Again

While the economy was slow, driving decreased. Americans drove fewer miles 3 out of 4 years from 2008 to 2011, due to:

  • higher gas prices
  • higher unemployment
  • many younger people choosing to delay getting licensed

As the economy improved and gas prices dropped, Americans drove more. We now drive about 3.15 trillion miles per year, an increase of about 150 million miles since 2013.

3. Distracted Driving is a Big Bummer

Several execs shared their front-line adjusters’ stories about distracted driver crashes. Maine adjusters report that many claims involve drivers using mobile devices to text, talk or use social media. Keep in mind that all three are illegal in Maine.

National data reinforces these stories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 431,000 people injured in distracted driving accidents in 2014, the latest year available. More than 3,000 people were killed. And that was 2 years before Pokemon Go.

4. Crashes Are On the Rise

With the increases in mileage driven and distracted driving, you might expect crash rates to spike. They have. Personal auto insurance claims in the U.S. increased 37.1% between 2006 and 2015. Meanwhile, auto insurance premiums increased 20.9%.

Higher speed limits, increased road congestion and distracted driving seem to be causing increased crash activity. A December 1 Portland Press Herald article cited a 32% increase in accidents on Route 295 north of Portland between 2013 and 2015.

What You Can Do to Control Auto Insurance Expenses

  • Shop Around – Compare prices every 3-5 years, or if your rates change significantly. Independent agencies like Noyes Hall & Allen represent several insurers. We can compare coverage and prices for you, without changing agents.
  • Bundle Property & Auto Insurance – Many insurers discount your auto policy if they insure your home, condo or apartment, too.
  • Think About Dropping Physical Damage Coverage – One rule of thumb is: if you’re spending more than 10% of the book value of your car on your comprehensive and collision insurance, consider dropping or adjusting your coverage.

    Related: When Should I Drop Collision Coverage?


  • Consider Usage-Based Insurance – UBI involves installing a telematics device in your vehicle. This allows your insurer to track your mileage and driving behavior. Many insurers offer big discounts if you allow them to customize your premium to your driving habits.

    Related: Is Progressive Snapshot Right for You? 5 Questions to Ask


  • Protect Your Credit Score – Almost every insurer uses an “insurance score” to price your insurance. These scores are closely related to your credit score. The better your credit score, the lower your auto insurance rate.

FMI:

More Accidents, Larger Claims Drive Costs Higher, Insurance Information Institute, October 2016 (.pdf)

Consumer Information, Maine Bureau of Insurance

Get Free Maine Auto Insurance Quotes in 10 Minutes, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance