Rideshare Insurance for Uber & Lyft in Maine

 

Does Your Auto Insurance Protect You?

Many Maine drivers are thinking about making some extra cash by driving for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. They often ask us if how their personal auto insurance company would respond.

Personal Insurance Does NOT Cover Rideshare Driving

As soon as you turn on the app and make yourself available to pick up a guest, you turn OFF your Maine auto insurance policy – at least all of the policies we’re aware of. Your insurance company should deny any claim – collision, liability, uninsured motorist, medical payments, rental or towing – that occurred while you were available for hire or driving a customer.

Do Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies Protect Maine Drivers?

Knowing that personal insurance policies do not cover livery (driving for a fee), rideshare companies have obtained blanket insurance policies to cover their drivers. Most companies seem to be insured with James River Insurance, based in Richmond, VA, and rated A- by A.M. Best. These policies cover you pretty well when you’re carrying a customer – but not when you’re simply available and waiting for a customer request. This chart shows when coverage applies, and how much.

RideShare Insurance in Maine

 

What are the Risks of Being an Uber Driver?

As you can see from the chart above, the insurance provided by Uber, Lyft and similar companies leave important gaps that could cost you a lot – especially in Period One, when you have the app on and are awaiting a ride request.

DURING “PERIOD ONE”:

  • Injury from an uninsured or under-insured driver. If you are waiting for a ride request and someone rear-ends you at a stop light, their liability insurance should pay for the damage to your car, and your medical bills and lost wages. But, what if they have no insurance – or not enough? Uber and Lyft policies do not pay anything to repair your car. And, because their uninsured motorist coverage drops to state minimum limits during that time, you would have little or no coverage for your medical bills.
  • Liability to Others for Injury or Property Damage. Imagine you’re waiting for a ride request. You decide to stop for a coffee. When you pull in, you accidentally step on the gas instead of the brake, plowing into the front of the coffee shop. Your rideshare insurance will only cover state minimum liability limits for injuries to others or damage to property. Because your personal auto policy doesn’t cover you during this time, you’re out of luck if damages are higher. You’ll be responsible for paying for the damages. That could mean a lot of fares in your future just to repay the damage.
  • Damage to Your Car. Rideshare insurance policies don’t pay for damage to your car from crashes, vandalism, theft or fire. If you have a loan on your vehicle, you could find yourself making payments on a car you cannot drive. And you won’t be able to make more money via driving since your vehicle is out of commission.
  • Your Insurance Company Might Cancel Your Policy. Many drivers fail to notify their auto insurance company when they start to drive for a rideshare company. And for good reason: even  though they don’t cover your rideshare activities, insurance companies generally don’t like the idea. Your vehicle is on the road a lot more, possibly at odd hours and unfamiliar locations. Even if you’re driving a customer and have collision coverage under the Uber or Lyft insurance policy, they require you to first report it to your insurance company and be denied coverage. That can be an uncomfortable conversation, and it can attract the attention of the insurance company, which may then cancel your personal policy.

Know the Consequences Before You Become an Uber Driver in Maine

It’s tempting to make some extra money during your spare time. Just know that the opportunity comes with risks. Rideshare companies are eager to sign up new drivers, and may gloss over the risks and limitations of their insurance program. Make sure you understand them before you get behind the wheel for a rideshare company.

If you have questions about your Maine auto insurance, contact  Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

 

The Most Popular Vehicles in Portland Maine

 

As a Portland Maine insurance agent, we insure lots of homes, condos, vehicles and businesses. We thought it might be fun to share some facts about vehicles we insure. While our clients may not be a statistically accurate sample, we think they give a pretty good indication of what vehicles are most popular in the Portland Maine area. It’s also kind of interesting to see some trends by model year.

Top 10 Vehicle Brands in Portland Maine

If Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance clients currently are typical, the top 10 auto makers capture almost 75% of the market. The “big three” alone are 38%.

  1. TOYOTA – 15.2% market share
  2. FORD – 11.5%
  3. HONDA – 11.3%
  4. CHEVROLET – 9.1%
  5. SUBARU – 8.8%
  6. VOLVO – 4.0%
  7. NISSAN – 3.9%
  8. HYUNDAI – 3.4%
  9. VOLKSWAGEN – 3.3%
  10. JEEP – 3.3%

What are the Best-Selling Vehicles in Portland Maine?

This graphic shows which auto maker appears to have sold the most vehicles in each of the last 5 years, based on vehicles our clients own.

Favorite auto brands in Portland Maine

It’s interesting to note that Ford is the only auto maker always in the top 3. Toyota rode a wave of #1 but seems to be fading a bit. Subaru is off to a fast start with 2016 models. Will they sustain the momentum for the whole year?

How Long do Portland Maine People Keep their Vehicles?

The median model year of vehicles our clients own is 2008. So the average person keeps a car for about 8 years. Which side of average do you fall on?

0-4 YEARS OLD – 22.1%  (2013 to 2016 model year)
5-8 YEARS OLD – 30.1%  (2008 to 2012 model year)
8-12 YEARS OLD – 28.0% (2003 to 2007 model year)
Older than 12 YEARS – 15.8% (2002 model year and older).


 

When is the right time to drop collision coverage from your carClick on the link to read our blog post answering that question. 


The Most Popular Vehicle on the Road in Portland Maine

By IFCAR - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6770336
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6770336

 

Despite being only the 5th most popular vehicle brand among our clients, Subaru has the top two models when you look at all vehicles on the road. The Subaru Outback is #1 by far, with the Subaru Forester #2. The Toyota Camry is right behind the Forester at #3. These top 3 vehicles represent more than 10% of the vehicles our clients own.

UPDATED: August 2017

The trends continue in 2017. Subaru seems to remain super popular in Portland Maine. Foreign models continue to dominate the top 5. So do 4X4 vehicles. Ford pickup sales appear to rise and fall, maybe with the economy or gas prices? The Nissan Rogue looked to be picking up steam in 2016, only to fall off the leader board in 2017.

 

Whatever you drive, if you live in the Portland Maine area and would like a review of your auto insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. You can even get 7 Maine auto insurance quotes online in 10 minutes. Of course we also insure homes, condos, apartments, boats, motorcycles, businesses and more. We offer a choice from Maine’s preferred insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Does Driving for Uber Affect Maine Auto Insurance?

 

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) have quickly become part of the landscape in American urban and vacation areas. Portland, Maine got its first Uber service in 2014. Almost immediately, people questioned whether Maine insurance companies exclude coverage for Uber.

The Maine State Legislature regulated TNC insurance by passing LD 1379, “An Act To Establish Transportation Network Company Insurance”, effective June 03, 2015. Key features of the law specify:

  • How much liability insurance TNC drivers must have while logged into the network and not carrying passengers (matching Maine state minimum auto liability insurance limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury/$25,000 property damage).
  • How much liability insurance they must have while carrying passengers ($1,000,000 bodily injury and property damage).
  • That personal auto insurance companies are NOT required to cover TNC drivers while they are logged into the network.

BEFORE You Sign up to Drive for Uber, ASK:

  • Does the TNC provide insurance for you while you’re logged in to the network? If so, at what limits? Do those limits change when you pick up passengers?
  • Does your personal auto insurance cover you when you’re logged in to the network? Ask your agent.
  • Does your auto loan or lease allow you to transport passengers or goods for hire? Many vehicle finance agreements prohibit it. If you do, the bank could consider you in default even if your payments are up-to-date. Read your loan or lease agreement, or ask your lender.

Uber insurance in Maine - quote from Eric Cioppa

Our Advice

Most insurers EXCLUDE coverage any time you’re logged into a TNC network, whether or not you have a passenger. For answers to your insurance questions, call your insurance agent.

 

Is Rain Storm Damage Covered by Insurance?

 

Maine weathered a huge storm today. About 6″ of rain overwhelmed storm drains, flooding streets, basements and parked cars. Fortunately, it was only a rain event. Winds were not damaging. Here are the most common questions we expect from our clients after they survey the damage.

Does Auto Insurance Cover My Flooded Car or Commercial Vehicle?

Flooded Parking LotIf you have “other than collision” coverage on your vehicle, water damage from flooding is covered. Other Than Collision coverage was formerly known as “comprehensive” coverage. If your car was inundated and needed to be towed to a mechanic for evaluation and repair, the towing would be covered, even if you didn’t purchase separate “towing” coverage. Of course, your deductible (usually $250 to $1,000) would apply.

 

Does Homeowners or Condo Insurance Cover My Flooded Basement?

This one’s trickier. If the water came over the sills of your foundation, only flood insurance would cover that. Homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is only offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. Every Maine independent insurance agency sells flood insurance.

If water backed up into your home through a drain or sewer, your homeowners policy MAY pay for cleanup and repairs. You would have to purchase  optional coverage. An “off the shelf” homeowners or condo policy does not cover water backup.

Even if you do have water backup coverage, be careful. Most insurers limit coverage to $5,000, including the cost of water extraction and damage removal. Cleanup alone in a finished basement can cost $5,000 following serious water damage.

Is My Business Insured for Water Damage?

Business policies vary considerably. Many DO cover water backup, but very few cover flood damage from surface water. It’s best to ask your Maine business insurance agent if your own policy would respond.

Do you have questions about Maine business insurance, homeowners insurance, condo insurance or auto insurance? Do you want to get a Maine insurance quote? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

What to Do if You’re in an Auto Accident in Maine

 

Auto accidents are stressful, and the scene is often chaotic. Emotions and nerves run high, which can prevent clear thinking. Whether you’re driving a personal vehicle or a business vehicle, if you’ve been in an auto accident in Maine, you may have these questions.

Do I Need to Report an Auto Accident in Maine?

Rear-end auto accidentMaine state law requires you to report to the police any accident on a public road causing more than $1,000 in property damage or any bodily injury (a driveway, parking lot or other private property is not considered a public way). If you fail to report, you’ve committed a Class E crime, and may have your driver’s license suspended. So, it’s better to report it, just in case.

3 Good Reasons to Report Your Accident Anyway

  • $1,000 damage is less than you think. On modern vehicles, most parts are replaced, not repaired. A simple cracked bumper plus labor costs will do it. The responding police officer may estimate it lower, but it almost always costs more.
  • Injuries aren’t always immediately apparent. Sometimes everyone says they’re fine at the scene, but ends up at the ER or the doctor’s office later.
  • Stories can change. A police report captures them at the scene. ‘Nuff said.

While You’re Waiting for the Police to Respond to Your Accident

Assuming everyone’s OK, not belligerent, and you’ve been able to pull over to a safe spot:

  • Take photos of the vehicles with your phone. Include license plate numbers and any apparent damage.
  • Take photos of the other person’s info: driver’s license, insurance card an registration.
  • Get the other person’s phone number.
  • Record names, addresses & phone numbers of any passengers in either vehicle.

Won’t the Police Get Information About the Other Driver?

Yes, but police no longer are required to share this information at the scene, and they rarely do. We get it: the police are busy, and traffic accidents are mostly a paperwork chore for them. They didn’t become cops because they loved to file reports. And they file a lot of them. The police office will tell you that the insurance company can get the report and all the information online.

Important Things About the Accident Report that the Police DON’T Tell You

  • Accident reports aren’t available for a long time. If you’re lucky, it’s 2-3 days. In larger cities, it can be weeks. That’s a long time if you’re waiting to start your insurance claim.
  • Accident reports cost money to obtain. The insurance company will order one, so your local agent doesn’t want to pay for it, too – just to get the info to report your claim.

That’s where than info you gathered before the police arrived comes in handy.

  • You’ll be able to report your auto accident to your agent or insurance company with all the info you need.
  • If you were clearly not at fault, it allows you (or your agent, if you have one) to report the claim RIGHT AWAY to the other driver’s insurance company. This is especially important if you don’t carry collision coverage on your own vehicle. If the other insurance company accepts responsibility, they will pay to fix your vehicle and rent a replacement while yours is in the shop. If it turns out the other driver didn’t have valid insurance (it happens), you can make a claim under your own insurance, or, if you didn’t buy collision coverage, at least plan accordingly.
  • Your photos document the extent of damage at the scene. Believe it or not, things sometimes change between the time of an accident and the time an adjuster sees the vehicle (’nuff said).

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance clients can report claims here, or call us at 207-799-5541. If you live in Greater Portland and find this information helpful, why not get 5 Maine car insurance quotes in 10 minutes from our website?

Uber Comes to Portland Maine: Are Uber Drivers Insured?

 

Rideshare service Uber began operating in Portland Maine at noon on October 2. Uber and its top competitor Lyft are innovative, efficient, popular – and controversial. uber screenshotEverywhere Uber and Lyft pop up, local lawmakers scramble to address it. Taxi operators and other livery drivers rail against it. And insurance companies caution drivers who might think about joining the Uber fleet.

Are Uber Drivers Insured?

If they have a personal auto policy, their own insurance will not cover them while they’re driving someone for a fee. Period. Every PAP excludes coverage while a vehicle is being used as a “public livery or conveyance“, which basically means driving others for hire. An Uber driver in an accident shouldn’t count on their personal insurance helping out.

You can’t blame insurance companies for that. If you’re driving for Uber, you’re probably driving more miles and hours than you otherwise would. You might be in areas unfamiliar to you, under time constraints, and at hours with higher congestion or impaired operators on the road. All of those increase the likelihood you could have an accident.

The Good News
Uber’s web site says that the service provides a commercial insurance policy with a $1 million limit per incident, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. That’s more than 90% of drivers in Maine have. It also provides $50,000 of “contingent comprehensive and collision insurance”, which should pay for repairs to an Uber driver’s vehicle as a result of an accident during an Uber trip.

Not So Good News
Uber’s insurance drops to to $50,000 per person for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage “between trips” – the absolute minimum limits allowed in Maine. That’s inadequate for most people who want to protect their assets or future earnings from an expensive lawsuit.

Uber says that most auto insurance policies will provide coverage during the time that the driver is logged on available for hire  but between trips. Talk is cheap. Don’t count on an insurance company seeing it the same way. When presented with a claim, expect an insurance company to say you were engaged in livery, just not actively driving someone – and deny your claim.

What Kind of Insurance Should an Uber Driver Have?
The only type guaranteed to cover you is a business auto policy, rated as livery use. If you insure your car with Maine commercial vehicle insurance  and are upfront about your Uber driving, you should be covered.

 Is Uber Rideshare Service Safe to Use?
If you’re thinking of taking a ride from Uber, you can expect that the driver has insurance while you’re in the vehicle. That includes if you’re hit by someone with no insurance. If you have a personal auto policy, you also have Medical Payments coverage (usually $5,000 or less) for minor medical expenses.

If you have questions about Portland Maine auto insurance or Maine business insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

How to Choose Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Limits in Maine

Uninsured_drivers_by_state
Click to enlarge

Almost every state in the U.S. requires drivers to have car insurance. Like every other law, there are always some people who choose to ignore or disobey it.

The good news: if you are in a crash in Maine, the other driver probably has insurance. Maine is in the Top 10 states for percentage of insured drivers.

The bad news: many Maine drivers carry very low liability limits – as low as $50,000 per person. After an accident, your medical expenses can easily exceed that.

What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Insurance to Pay My Damages?

It’s great if the at-fault driver has insurance. Do they have enough insurance to pay your damages? Who knows? At 50/100/25, Maine’s minimum auto liability insurance limits are among the highest in the country. But if you drive a late-model car, $25,000 isn’t going to replace it. If you are badly injured, you can accumulate $50,000 in medical bills in one day. You need to protect yourself.

What Happens if Someone Hits Me and They Don’t Have Insurance?

If an uninsured driver hits you, you have to rely on your own Maine auto insurance. Your collision coverage (if you purchased that option) will pay to repair your vehicle. If you don’t carry collision insurance, you’ll have to deal with the damages on your own. Some other states offer “uninsured motorist physical damage” coverage. Maine does not.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)?

In Maine, Uninsured Motorist coverage is bodily injury coverage only. It protects you and the people in your vehicle by acting as if the person who hit you had the same liability limits you have. UM limits always match your policy’s liability limits. That’s another reason we say don’t cheap out when you choose your liability insurance limit.

Let’s say you’re driving in Portland, Maine. You have Uninsured Motorist coverage with Maine state minimum liability limits of $50/$100. Someone runs a red light and broadsides you. Your daughter goes to the hospital with broken bones and internal injuries. You were not injured as badly. After an ambulance ride, the hospital releases you with minor injuries. Your daughter’s medical expenses are $75,000, and yours are $2,500. In this scenario, you would have to pay $25,000 of your daughter’s medical bills ($75,000 – $50,000) out of pocket. If you had chosen a $300,000 combined single limit, all medical expenses would have been covered 100%.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?

Underinsured motorist coverage applies when someone has insurance, but not enough to pay for your injuries. Like Uninsured Motorist coverage, it pretends that the person who hit you had the same limits as you do.

Let’s assume the same accident scenario as above, except the at-fault driver did have insurance with Maine minimum limits of $50/$100. Their insurance wouldn’t be sufficient to pay for your daughter’s medical bills.

If you also had $50/$100 limits, you would still be out of luck. You didn’t buy any more insurance than the person who hit you did. But, if you had chosen a $300,000 limit, your UIM coverage would pay up to $250,000 per person, the difference between your insurance limit and theirs.

Danger: Uninsured Drivers in Vacationland

Although most Maine drivers are insured, remember that tourism is Maine’s largest industry. Visitors from other states are constantly driving among us. They’re in unfamiliar territory, and distracted by Maine’s natural beauty. They’re trying to follow GPS directions. Perfect scenario for an accident, right? Depending on the state they’re from, there’s almost a 25% chance that they have no insurance. So, pay attention to your Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage limit.

What Liability and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Limit Should You Choose?

Everyone’s situation is unique. We recommend discussing your situation with a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent. If you live in Greater Portland, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541 for a custom review of your insurance and your options. We represent most of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, and can help you choose the one that best meets your needs.

What Should You Do If You’re Rear-Ended in a Maine Auto Accident?

 

You’re stopped at a traffic light in South Portland, a stop sign in Portland or highway exit ramp in Falmouth, when suddenly – WHAM! a vehicle hits you from behind. You’ve been rear-ended. What should you do next?

In Maine, You’re Not Considered at Fault if You’re Rear-Ended

Every Maine driver is expected to operate their vehicle under control. That means being able to avoid an obstacle in the road ahead. If you’re following the rules of the road and stopped in traffic, waiting to make a turn, or just stopped, drivers behind you should be able to stop, go around you safely, or pay the consequences, regardless of road conditions. If it’s snowy or icy or rainy, they should allow extra time and distance, and be extra cautious.

Make Sure Everyone’s OK

First things first. Check on people before property. Is everyone in your vehicle OK? If it’s safe to get out of your vehicle, check on occupants of other vehicles involved. If there’s even the slightest injury (a bump, bruise – anything), call 911.

Check for Vehicle Damage

If it’s safe, get out of your vehicle and check the damage to all vehicles. Leave the vehicles where they are unless it’s completely unsafe. If you see ANY damage at all – no matter how minor it looks – we recommend that you…

accident

CALL 911

Technically, Maine police  only respond to accidents on public roads with bodily injury or combined property damage over $1,000. We recommend calling 911 even if you think there’s less than that, for 3 reasons:

  • It takes nothing to cause $1,000 damage to a vehicle. Even a bumpers cost more than that, with all the technology modern bumpers contain (airbag sensors, rear cameras, etc.). Also, modern bumpers are designed to be part of “crumple zones”. What may look like a cracked bumper often masks greater damage underneath. Police (and drivers) are notorious for underestimating the cost of damages.
  • The police will get the proper information. You’re stressed. Even if you trade information with the other driver, you’re likely to forget something that will be important to the insurance company.
  • Stories can change. People are much less likely to change a story they told the police at the scene – a story that’s now part of a written report. In our Portland area insurance agency, we hear it often: injuries “appear” in days after the accident; someone who admitted fault at the scene later says it was YOUR fault; insurance information is revealed to be incorrect or fabricated. Having the police take the report makes these situations less likely.

While You Wait for the Police, Get the Other Party’s Information

Whether or not you take our advice to call 911, at least get the other driver’s:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Driver’s license number (make sure the addresses match the one they gave you)
  • License plate number, and year, make & model of their vehicle (their registration will have this info).

This is important! Very often, the police gather this info but will not give this information to you at the scene. Instead, they give you a “report number”, and tell you the insurance company can call for that info. The problem is that those reports can take days or weeks to be available. Meanwhile, you want to get your car fixed.

Tip: Take pictures of these documents with your cell phone.

Report Your Accident to Insurance

In the case of a not-at-fault accident, call your agent, not your insurance company (you did buy from an agent, not one of those 800 numbers, didn’t you?) If you’re a client of ours, report your claim to Noyes Hall & Allen.

Report Your Claim to Noyes Hall & Allen

 

Armed with the proper information about the other driver and their insurance, we can do what your insurance company cannot do:

  • Help you verify that their insurance is valid;
  • Start the claim with that company.
  • Advise you whether to file a claim on your own policy, depending upon your circumstances.

Who Pays to Fix Your Vehicle?

If the at-fault party has valid insurance, their policy should pay these costs:

  • Repair your vehicle;
  • Rent a comparable replacement vehicle while yours is unable to be driven;
  • Medical expenses for anyone in your vehicle (some companies will make you collect from your own Medical Payments coverage first, and reimburse your insurance company).

Not everyone has valid insurance. Just because the other driver has an insurance card in their glove box, that doesn’t mean that policy is in force. Even though it’s state law to have liability insurance, 5% of Maine drivers don’t. If the driver happens to be from out of state, that percentage might be as high as 25% (Mississippi). In that case, you’ll want to know what to do if you’re hit by somebody without insurance. 

Should You Use Your Own Insurance?

Here’s why it’s better to have the at-fault party’s insurance pay for your damages.

  • The claim stays off your insurance policy;
  • You don’t have to pay the collision deductible;
  • There’s no dollar or time limit for rental reimbursement.

Some insurance companies accept fault more quickly than others. Some situations are more cut-and-dry. The insurer is entitled to conduct their own investigation before accepting responsibility. Meanwhile, you may decide to put a claim under your own policy, pay the deductible, and move on.

If your insurer recovers the damages from the at-fault party’s insurer, they will reimburse the deductible to you, and wipe it off your insurance record. If they cannot collect, the accident will show as an “at fault” accident on your record, and you may pay higher rates in the future.

Each accident is different, and so is each person. Your independent insurance agent can provide personal advice and advocate for you. If you have questions about Portland Maine area auto insurance, or Maine commercial vehicle insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

New Maine Driving Laws: Texting, Electronic Proof of Insurance and More

 

Several new Maine motor vehicle laws went into effect October 9, 2013. Among other topics, they deal with distracted driving, electronic proof of insurance, driving permit practice time, and accidents involving bicycles. Here are some of the key points Maine drivers will want to know.

Distracted Driving

Drivers cited for texting while driving will be charged:

  • a $250 minimum fine for the first violation;
  • a $500 fine for the second or subsequent offense within three years, plus 30-days license suspension for each offense above two. These suspension periods are mandatory, without a right to a hearing.

Electronic Proof of Insurance Electronic Proof of Insurance

Noyes Hall & Allen has provided electronic proof of insurance to our clients for several years. Most local city and town halls have accepted them after we made initial calls to explain them.

Now, the State of Maine has caught up. Police officers and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles must now accept proof of insurance in electronic form as well as paper.

Did you know?

Most of the insurance companies we represent offer an optional online account to our clients. Once you create an account, you can retrieve copies of bills, policies, evidence of insurance and other documents. If you’re interested, follow the link above to your company’s web site and create your account.

Practice Driving Time for Permits

The minimum practice time for anyone younger than 21 who applies for a learner’s permit after October 9 increased from 35 to 70 hours, including an increase in night driving from 5 to 10 hours.

three foot rule poster

Bicyclists and Roller Skiers

Bicyclists are now part of the definition of “traffic”. Along with motorists in 21 other states, Maine drivers have already been responsible for keeping a distance of at least 3 feet from a bicycle on the road. Now, a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist or roller skier is prima facie evidence that the motorist violated the three-foot law.

Other new driving laws deal with Veterans; driving on an expired license; and Operating Under the Influence (OUI). For more information about these new laws, visit this Maine Secretary of State web page.

For more information about Maine commercial vehicle insurance or Maine auto insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. You can even get up to 5 Maine car insurance quotes online in 10 minutes at our website. We’re independent and committed to you.

Who Is Liable for Pothole Damage to Your Car in Maine?

 

pothole

Potholes can cause hundreds to thousands of dollars of damage to your vehicle, including flat tires, bent rims, misaligned steering and underside  damage. They can even cause an accident if you lose control of your vehicle or swerve suddenly to avoid one.

 

What should you do after you hit a pothole? Clients of our South Portland Maine insurance agency commonly ask three questions after they hit a pothole:

Who Pays for Pothole Damage to My Car?

Potholes can appear quickly, and can reappear even after they have been filled repeatedly. Maine law absolves municipalities from liability for damage caused by potholes unless the pothole was reported more than 24 hours before your accident, and untreated.  This is difficult to prove, which means you’re usually not going to get help from city or town hall. Maine State Law is even more lenient with state-owned roads: the state of Maine is never liable for damage caused by potholes.

 

 

Is Pothole Damage to My Vehicle Covered by Insurance?

Hitting a pothole, or any other hazard in the road (other than live animals) is covered by the collision section of your Maine auto insurance or Maine commercial vehicle insurance policy. If you purchased collision coverage, your collision deductible will apply. If it is a single-car incident, it’s considered “at fault”, and therefore may increase your auto insurance rates. Your Maine insurance agent can help you decide whether or not you want to file an auto insurance claim for pothole damage.

Will Anyone Else Pay for Pothole Damage?

New car dealers sell a product called “road hazard warranty”. It typically covers road damage to tires and rims, with a small deductible. Check to see if you purchased this warranty when you bought or leased your vehicle. If so, you may be in luck.

"Fix It! Portland." web page.
“Fix It! Portland.”

What to Do if Your Vehicle is Damaged by a Pothole

  1. Pull off the road as soon as it’s safe. Is your vehicle is still OK to drive? If not, call a tow truck. 
  2. Note the date and time of the accident. Take a photo of the pothole and report it. If it’s a town road, report it to your municipality’s Public Works Department. If it’s a state route, report it to MDOT (207-885-7000 in Southern Maine).  The City of Portland has a web page: FixIt! Portland. They also have a mobile app.
  3. If you’re not sure your vehicle is OK, have a repair garage check it.
  4. Call your insurance agent if you’re considering whether to report an insurance claim.

 

Have questions about Maine auto insurance or Maine commercial vehicle insurance? Want to compare Maine car insurance quotes in 10 minutes? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.