Hitting Miranda Cosgrove’s Bus: A Liability Insurance Fable

If your household is like mine, you have an iCarly fan. Teens and tweens across America were distraught by news that iCarly’s star Miranda Cosgrove’s ankle was broken in a bus accident, causing her to postpone her popular “Dancing Crazy” summer tour. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

How Much Auto Liability Insurance Should I Buy?
That’s a question we hear often. Many people who shop for Maine auto insurance have purchased “split liability limits”, which contain separate limits for bodily injury and property damage. On split limits policies, Bodily injury is also subject to a “per person” sub-limit. If you have one of these policies, your liability coverage might say 100/300/50. This means you have $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, subject to a $300,000 maximum per accident; and $50,000 property damage.

What If You Cause a Serious Accident?
Let’s pretend that you were responsible for the accident that injured Miranda Cosgrove, and you had those common Maine liability limits shown above.

There were 5 people on the bus. Would $100,000 be enough to pay for any one person’s medical bills? Would $300,000 be enough for all the bus’ occupants? Maybe. Maybe not. What if our fable had a commuter bus full of people? Uh-oh.

And that’s just the injuries from one vehicle. What about the damages from lost income due to the postponement of Miranda Coscrove’s tour? What about any other vehicles that may have been involved?

Who Will Defend Me Against a Liability Suit?
This fable has a knight in shining armor! Your auto liability insurance pays defense costs – regardless of whether the suit is groundless, and in addition to the limits of your policy. As long as you have liability limits remaining, your insurer will defend you.

What if You Don’t Have Enough Liability Insurance?
If you’re legally liable for damages, and your insurance isn’t enough to pay them, two bad things happen.

  • Your defense coverage stops. That means you have to pay for your own legal representation to defend yourself.
  • Your assets and future earnings are fair game. You could be forced to turn your home, investments, savings or other assets into cash to pay the damages. If that’s not enough, the court can garnish your future wages.

That’s a Fable. What Are the Chances?
Fortunately, they’re slim. But, celebrity sightings in Maine are common, especially in summer.  And, you might be unlucky to meet a celebrity in the worst way possible – by accident.

Remember, you don’t buy insurance to protect you from the probable – you buy it to protect your assets from financial disaster.  Buy enough to protect your assets and your future earnings. We generally recommend against split limits, and often suggest that our clients consider Maine personal umbrella insurance. For custom advice about your situation, or a Maine auto insurance quote, contact Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541 – and live happily ever after.


What Should I Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car in Maine?


This week alone, two of my friends’ parked cars have been hit by someone else. One in Portland Maine. The other in Westbrook, Maine. A responsible person would leave their contact information for the poor victim, but that doesn’t always happen. If you can’t identify who hit your car, you have little recourse but to use your own insurance.  However, if you can identify the other party, this information may be helpful.

Flickr photo by gillicious
Flickr photo by gillicious

What To Do If Someone Hits Your Car in Maine

  • If it’s safe to do so, get the person’s name, address, phone number and insurance company information – BEFORE the police arrive!
  • Call the police if the total damage (both vehicles) appears to be more than $1,000. If there’s visible damage – even minor – it’s probably more than $1,000.
  • Give your statement to the police. Don’t admit any fault to the other driver, or argue about whose fault the accident was.
  • Report the accident to your Maine auto insurance agent.

Should I Use My Insurance or Theirs?

If the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault (e.g. you were legally parked), try their insurance first.  Using their insurance avoids having to pay your collision deductible, allows you to keep your Maine car insurance discounts, and contains no daily limit on rental coverage. Of course, if  you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you have no choice but to use your own insurance. Your own local insurance agent can help you start the process.

Use their insurance if:

  • You got their insurance information at the scene, or can quickly get the Maine police report (many police reports aren’t available for several days).
  • Their insurance company accepts responsibility quickly (within 24 hours after you contact them).
  • You did not buy collision coverage on your own policy.

The Other Company Isn’t Responding After the Accident

The other insurance company must confirm liability before they accept responsibility to fix your car. They do this in one of three ways:

  • Their customer admits to them that they were clearly at fault (e.g. hit your parked car, rear-ended you at a stop light).
  • The police report says the other driver was at fault (police reports may not be available for several days).
  • After their own investigation, the insurance company determines that their customer was at fault.

If it’s taking too long for the insurance company to accept responsibility, you may choose to make a claim on your own policy.  You’ll have to pay your collision deductible, but at least you’ll get your car fixed, and get on with your life.

Will I Get My Deductible Back if My Insurance Company Collects from the Other Insurance Company?

Yes. if they collect from the other insurance company (a process called “subrogation”), your Maine insurance company will reimburse your deductible, and wipe the accident off your record.

Who Will Help Me Deal With The Other Insurance Company?

That depends on where you bought your insurance.  If you bought your car insurance or Maine commercial vehicle insurance from an independent local Maine insurance agent like Noyes Hall & Allen, they can help you report that claim to the other company. Your claim against the other insurance company should not affect your insurance company or your policy.

If you bought your Maine car insurance online, you’re probably on your own. One more reason to buy insurance from a local agency instead of a computer or 800 number. 

Of course, if you have no insurance at all on your vehicle, you’re really on your own.


Does Your Maine Insurance Policy Cover Wind Damage?

The National Weather Service confirmed on Thursday what many Mainers knew Wednesday night: tornadoes touched down in southern Maine, causing widespread damage. Our Maine insurance agents have been busy answering clients’ questions about damage ranging from fallen trees to wind damage – even lightning damage. Their first question, of course: “Does my insurance cover my windstorm damage?”

Whether you have Maine homeowners insurance, auto insurance, or business property insurance, the answer is usually “yes”, subject to the level of property coverage and deductible on your policy.

Windstorm Coverage in Maine
A tornado is just wind – vicious, frightening, powerful, damaging wind whirling in a funnel cloud. Many insurance policies cover wind damage to buildings or vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it’s caused by a gale, nor’easter, tropical storm,  hurricane, microburst or tornado. Some limited policies exclude wind damage – again, it doesn’t matter what kind of storm caused it.

Types of Wind and Storm Deductibles
Every property and auto policy has a deductible. On personal and commercial vehicle  insurance policies, wind is covered if you purchase “other than collision” (sometimes called “comprehensive”) coverage.  This coverage varies by vehicle.

Some property insurance policies have specific deductibles for wind. In Maine, it’s common to see these types of storm deductibles (from least to broadest insurance coverage):

  • “Wind Deductible” – Any wind damage is subject to a flat dollar deductible – usually a higher amount than your normal deductible,  or a percent of the amount of your property insurance.
  • “Named Storm Deductible” – Any damage caused by a storm that the National Hurricane Center has given a name is subject to a special deductible (see “wind deductible” above for some examples). Other wind damage is covered, subject to the regular policy deductible.
  • “Hurricane Deductible” – Any damage caused by a true hurricane is subject to the special deductible. Other wind damage is covered, subject to the regular policy deductible (usually a smaller deductible).

Insurance companies have different criteria for underwriting the peril of wind damage. A Maine independent insurance agency has access to many insurance companies, which gives you the most options.

We’re happy to answer your questions about property insurance for your home, auto or business. Contact Noyes Hall & Allen, or call us at 207-799-5541.

Maine Drivers: What’s Your “Third Number”?

Every so often, a local news article like this one appears. Something goes wrong, and a Maine driver finds their vehicle in somebody’s living room – or bank lobby.

This accident happened right around the corner from our office. At noontime today, the damage was impressive: two large (and no doubt, expensive) glass walls were completely destroyed. Equally impressive was the speed of the repairs, which were in full swing. Fortunately, the bank was able to open today, so there was no “loss of income” suffered.

Hopefully, the driver of this vehicle had insurance. And hopefully, he paid attention to “the third number”.

The Third Number

Maine auto insurance policies provide liability coverage. Maine’s minimum liability limits are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for Bodily Injury, and $25,000 for Property Damage. When you get a car insurance quote, the insurance company might quote those figures as “50/100/25”.

In the accident that happened last night, there was no Bodily Injury (thank goodness), only Property Damage. That means that the Third Number is what will pay for the damages.

I have no idea whether $25,000 would be enough to repair this building, but I wouldn’t want to find out the hard way. If a Maine driver doesn’t have enough insurance for the damage or injuries they cause, their assets are wide open to help pay for the other party’s loss. That’s why we never recommend buying State Minimum limits.

What’s Your Third Number?

When you get a Maine car insurance quote, pay attention to ALL the numbers, including the “Third Number” – your Property Damage limit.

For professional, personal insurance advice, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 799-5541. We’ll help you understand what you’re buying, and help you make informed choices to find insurance you can afford.


In the 6 years since we first posted this, lots of similar accidents have occurred. Just this week, the Press Herald Headline said “Young Driver Smashes Car into Scarborough Natural Food Store“. Our advice is just as relevant as ever.

Car Sharing Comes to Portland Maine – with Insurance?

This week, the Press Herald reported that  Portland UHaul plans to bring its U Car Share program to town in the form of four white PT Cruisers. In August, we addressed the issue of car sharing and insurance in this post.

To reiterate: car-sharing services can be a great alternative for those who rarely need a car. They help to reduce parking congestion, greenhouse gases and other automobile-created problems. But don’t forget that when you get behind the wheel, you’re in a position to put all of your assets at risk. You’re relying on the car sharing service’s insurance to protect you. The U Car Share website doesn’t say what extent of liability protection their policy provides. We recommend that you get the answer to that question BEFORE you join.