Maine Insurance Rates – Home and Auto Update

Maine insurance rates are some of the lowest in the US. But home and auto rates are up as insurers struggle with rising claim costs and rising construction values. Fortunately, Maine insurance buyers are seeing smaller rate increases than much of the country.

Maine Auto Insurance Rates

As of June 2022, Maine auto insurance rates are averaging a 1.7% increase at renewal. That’s considerably less than the national average of 4.3%. The Wall Street Journal recently reported increases as high as 20%.

The main factors driving auto insurance increases include:

  • More driving. Miles driven are returning to near pre-pandemic levels
  • More serious crashes. Traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high last year.
  • Higher repair costs. Parts and labor costs have both risen sharply due to staffing issues, shipping problems and supply chain glitches.
  • Higher used car prices. When insurance companies total a vehicle, they have to pay the current used car market price. Used car prices went through the roof recently.
  • Car rental issues. Auto body repair times are much longer. That means longer replacement rentals. Daily car rental costs have spiked, too.
Maine auto insurance rates are up 1.7% at renewal as of June 2022.

Maine Home Insurance Rates

Maine home insurance rates are rising faster than auto premiums, at a 4.1% clip. That’s still less than the 6% national average. And at an average premium of $1005 per year, Maine home insurance is a relative bargain.

Home insurance costs are affected by building values and claim costs.

  • Rebuilding costs. Building materials and labor costs spiked during the pandemic. Insurance companies have increased their “inflation guard” factors to provide increased coverage on renewals.
  • Longer repair times. Contractors are hard to find, too, which increases additional living expenses.
  • Unusual weather. Natural disasters caused $116 Billion in insured claims in 2021. Maine sees far less than the rest of the US. That’s one reason why our rates are lower. But insurers are feeling less certain about predicting future losses.
Maine home insurance rates average a 4.1% increase in June 2022

Individual Home and Auto Insurance Rates Vary

Every insurance company files their rating plan with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. That plan includes individual rating factors such as driving record, insurance claim history, property location and personal insurance scores.

Maine Insurance Rates – Find the Best Value

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

We’re independent and committed to you.

Comparing Homeowners Insurance Quotes

Comparing homeowners insurance among several companies is smart. When you only check one company, you don’t know if you’re getting a good value. Some insurers target higher value homes. Others focus more on the middle-market. Still others specialize in manufactured homes or hard-to-insure homes.

Comparing homeowners insurance quotes is hard. An independent agent can make it easier.

What’s the best way to shop for homeowners insurance?

Step 1: Gather Information About Your Home

You’ll need:

  • Square footage
  • Approximate age of updates to roof, plumbing, heating and electrical systems
  • Details about any claims in the last 5 years
  • Current coverage limits and deductibles (if you currently own the place you’re insuring).

Step 2: Decide Where to Get Quotes

You have 3 main options for getting insurance quotes:

  • DIY – go online or call an 800 number. You’ll get 1 quote at a time from companies like Progressive, GEICO, State Farm or Liberty Mutual. Plan to call a few places and repeat answers to the same questions to get quotes to compare.
  • Company Agent – State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual and others may have local offices near you. You’ll still only get 1 quote at a time. But unlike the DIY option, you’ll get advice and help from an agent.
  • Independent Agent – like Noyes Hall & Allen. Indie agents offer the convenience of several quotes at once. They also provide help and advice, like a company agent.

Step 3: Comparing Homeowners Insurance Quotes

Comparing homeowners insurance quotes can be challenging. Each company’s presentation looks different. Some may not offer the coverage you asked for. And they may not even tell you that it’s not the same.

Key Differences

The basic coverage limits and deductibles should be clear. You should be able to tell the difference by looking at the numbers. A policy that insures your home for $600,000 obviously has more coverage than one insuring it for $500,000. Of course that coverage costs something. Likewise, a higher deductible usually costs less than a lower one.

The other differences may not be easy to find. Here are a few things to look for:

  • “Open Perils” vs. “Named Perils” contents coverage. Open perils (sometimes called HO-5) coverage is better.
  • Water damage – Basic policies may not cover hidden leaks or water backup. These are some of the most common homeowners insurance claims.
  • Service Lines – Base homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage to pipes outside of your foundation. You can buy service line coverage or a water district plan to protect yourself.
  • Extra Replacement Limits – Base policies limit coverage to the amount on the face of the policy. If building materials or labor costs spike after you buy your policy, that may not be enough. Look for “additional amounts of insurance” or a similar clause to protect yourself.
  • Wind deductibles – Some insurers apply special wind deductibles to homes near the coast. This practice is very inconsistent between companies. Pay attention! Wind deductibles can be several times higher than your regular one.

Comparing Homeowners Insurance Quotes Since 1933

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland Maine has helped generations of home and condo owners protect their assets. As an independent agency, we offer a choice of several insurance companies.

Own property in Southern Maine? Want to compare insurance quotes all at once? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541. Not ready to talk to an agent? You can get up to 5 insurance quotes online on our website.

We can help you find the best fit and value for your Maine home or condo insurance. We’re independent and committed to you.

Jewelry Insurance – Is a Homeowners Policy Good Enough?

If you’re fortunate enough to have jewelry, you may wonder about jewelry insurance. Does a homeowners, condo or renters policy properly cover it? What kind of jewelry claims are covered by homeowners policies, and which aren’t?

Off the shelf homeowners policies do a good job of insuring everyday belongings. But to keep costs reasonable, they limit coverage on unusually valuable items. That includes jewelry, watches and similar items.

Therefore, many people choose to insure their jewelry specifically. The most common way is to list jewelry as Scheduled Personal Property on a homeowners policy.

Jewelry insurance is limited on homeowners policies. It's a good idea to have separate jewelry coverage.

5 Reasons to Separately Insure Your Jewelry

1. To Cover Jewelry Theft

Maine renters insurance policies only cover theft of jewelry up to $1,000 or $1,500. Maine condo insurance policies and homeowners policies have the same limitation.  If you separately list your jewelry (called “scheduling”), it’s covered for theft up to the listed value.

2. Jewelry Insurance is Cheap

Maine jewelry insurance is inexpensive. Insuring a $5,000 ring often costs less than $50 a year on your homeowners policy.

3. To Avoid Arguing with Your Insurance Company about Value

After your jewelry is gone or damaged, it’s hard to prove what it was worth. What size and quality were the stones? What type and grade of metal was it? Scheduling more expensive pieces of jewelry requires an appraisal. When your jewelry is appraised and scheduled, you and the insurance company agree up-front what you have and how much it’s worth.

4. Jewelry Insurance Can Avoid a Deductible

Your homeowners policy has a property deductible. Often that’s $1,000 or more. If you lose a stone or a piece of jewelry, you’re less likely to replace it if you have to pay that kind of money. When you schedule your jewelry, there’s no deductible. That makes it more likely that you can replace or repair it.

5. Broader Coverage for Damage

Homeowners policies cover your belongings for 16 “named perils”. Those include everyday causes like fire, theft, etc.  If you schedule your jewelry, it’s covered for “open perils”. In other words, if a cause of loss isn’t excluded in the policy, it’s covered. For example, losing a stone from a diamond ring is NOT covered on an unendorsed homeowners policy, but IS covered when the ring is scheduled.

Maine Jewelry Insurance Quotes

Do you live in Maine and own jewelry? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. As an independent agent, we offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. That means we can compare price and coverage to help you find the best value. We’d be happy to compare options for your jewelry insurance and give advice.

In other words, we’re independent and committed to you.

Water and Sewer Backup Insurance – What is It, and Do I Need It?

Water and sewer backup insurance coverage isn’t included in off-the-shelf homeowners or business policies. But backup of water is a very common cause of property damage in Maine. Therefore, we’re lucky that optional coverage is available and easy to buy.

water and sewer backup insurance can help with cleanup and repair

What is Water and Sewer Backup?

Water and sewer backup insurance covers backup from a sewer, drain or sump. Remember, it’s not covered by standard home or business insurance. In Maine, water backup is commonly caused by high groundwater level or a plumbing blockage or malfunction. For instance:

  • A sump pump fails, causing water to flood a basement
  • A check valve malfunctions, causing a backup of sewer or water
  • A sewer drain clogs, backing up wastewater

What Does Water and Sewer Backup Insurance Cover?

Coverage can be thought of in steps:

  • firstly, removal of water or sewage
  • secondly, drying and disinfecting
  • then, cleanup of waste or debris
  • finally, repair or replacement of damaged property

What’s Excluded?

Leakage or seepage through a foundation or slab isn’t considered water backup. Moreover, it’s not covered by any insurance form.

Leaking from plumbing or heating systems is often covered by homeowners or business policies. So it’s not included in water backup coverage.

How Much Does Water and Sewer Backup Insurance Cost?

Water backup insurance usually has a separate coverage limit. The minimum amount is often $5,000. Most companies’ offerings max out at $25,000. Cost varies by insurer and coverage limit. Prices start around $50 per year, and can be as high as $250. Business insurance policies are different. So check with your agent about coverage for your business.

How do I Choose a Water and Sewer Backup Coverage Limit?

First evaluate your exposure. How much damage would inches of water cause? For instance, do you have finished space in the lower level of your home? Do you store anything damageable there? Moreover, cleaning, drying and disinfecting often costs $5,000 or more. And that’s before repairing or replacing any damage. The average water damage claim is more than $11,000.

I Don’t Have a Sump Pump. Do I Need Water and Sewer Backup Insurance?

You can still suffer water backup without a sump, because water can back up from any drain or sewer in the lowest level of your home. However, if you have none of these, you probably don’t need water backup coverage.

I Have City Sewer and Water. Do I need Water and Sewer Backup Coverage?

Backup can occur from public utilities, private wells or septic systems. Above all, it matters whether you have a sewer, drain or sump, not what kind of services you have.

Need Help? Ask an Agent

In conclusion, water and sewer backup coverage can be an important addition to your insurance.

Do you live in Maine? Have questions about water and sewer backup insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top insurance companies. In other words, we can help you find the best fit and value for your insurance. Because we’re independent and committed to you.

Increasing Construction Costs – Do I Have Enough Home Insurance?

Increasing construction costs may mean you don’t have enough insurance. Building costs are very high now. The 2020 pandemic caused material supply shortages. Meanwhile, many people wanted to improve the homes where they were spending so much time. The increased demand and supply shortages caused increased building material costs.

Increasing Construction Costs in Maine

Construction costs have two components: labor and materials. Both factors have increased during COVID. Contractors have been very busy. That drove up labor costs. Material shortages and supply chain interruptions pushed material costs higher, too. There’s no doubt that it would cost more to rebuild your home if a disaster struck this year.

My Home’s Worth More than It’s Insured For

Your insurance amount is almost never your home’s market value. Real estate values include acreage, desirability of location, landscaping, hardscape and excavation. These don’t affect the cost to rebuild your home. Your insurance amount should cover reconstruction costs, and no more.

How Do Insurance Companies Set the Value of My Home?

Insurers and agents use software to estimate the cost to rebuild your home. The largest vendor of this software is MSB, now owned by CoreLogic. Using MSB, agents input your home’s dimensions and features to calculate the rebuilding cost. This software isn’t perfect. Neither are agents. The program uses historical building data. In a fast-changing market, past data can differ from actual current costs. If an agent enters incorrect information, the result can be wrong, too.

Almost every homeowners policy has a built-in inflation guard factor. Many insurers change these every year in response to current cost changes. Others increase by a flat percentage each year – often 4%.

These adjustments help cushion against inflation but they aren’t perfect. It’s a good idea to ask your agent to do a fresh MSB estimate every few years.

How Can My Insurance Adjust to Increasing Construction Costs?

Building costs rise and fall with supply and demand. They can spike after a disaster and drop when contractors are looking for work. It would be a pain to calibrate your insurance coverage every time the market changes. Insurance companies know this. That’s why they build extra coverage into many policies.

Look for something called “specified additional amount of insurance.” A common additional amount is 25%. That means that your policy has up to 25% more building coverage than the limit shown on the front page. This insulates you from cost spikes and estimating errors that could leave you without enough insurance to rebuild.

Concerned About Your Insurance?

If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland. We offer a choice of several of Maine’s top insurance companies. We can help you find the proper coverage for your home and your budget.

Looking for new home insurance, but not ready to talk to a human yet? Get up to 5 Maine insurance quotes online here.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Home Improvements Insurance – Time to Adjust Your Policy?

Have you made improvements to your house or condo this year? If so, you may need to make home improvements insurance adjustments.

You depend on your homeowners or condo insurance to pay rebuilding costs after a disaster. It’s important for insurance to keep up with changes in your home.

Home improvements insurance can make sure your policy protects your home's value

Does Your Project Require Home Improvements Insurance Adjustments?

Did You Add Something New?

  • increase the living space your home?
  • finish a basement or attic?
  • add a deck?

If so, you should increase your Coverage A (Dwelling) insurance.
How much? Probably by the full cost of the renovation.

Add a structure to the yard?
Did you add a shed, fence, gazebo, hot tub or swimming pool? Check your policy’s Coverage B (Other Structures) limit.

Most homeowners policies cover Other Structures at 10% of Coverage A. If your home’s insured for $300,000, you likely have $30,000 Coverage B. Is that enough? Then you don’t need to adjust your insurance.

Did You Replace, or Upgrade?

Some home projects don’t affect property rebuilding cost. Did you replace your worn-out roof, flooring, kitchen or boiler?  If the new items are the same quality as the old, you may not need to adjust your insurance. Why?

Most homeowners and condo insurance policies cover building items at replacement cost. That means “new for old”, without depreciation. If a fire had damaged your 20-year old roof or boiler, your insurance would have paid for a new one of similar quality. That’s the same as what you just paid to replace it. In other words, a home improvements insurance adjustment is unnecessary.

Did you upgrade laminate counters with stone? Linoleum with hardwood? Standard cabinets with custom?  You should upgrade your Coverage A.

How much? Here’s a guide for what to include:

  • Demo and removal costs – do not include in your home improvements insurance adjustment
  • Design services – included
  • Materials – included, but only the upgrade differential.

Exclusions from Home Improvements Insurance

Home and Condo insurance doesn’t cover everything. Most landscaping and earthwork isn’t covered. Tree coverage is very limited.

Some types of loss are also excluded. Off-the-shelf policies don’t cover breakdown or electric power surges. If you installed solar panels, electric vehicle charging or similar items, that could be a problem. Optional coverage may be available. Check with your agent.

Questions About Home Improvements Insurance?

Do you live in Southern Maine? Considering an insurance change? Not sure if you have enough home insurance to rebuild? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541.

We can help determine the replacement cost of your home. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top insurers. We can check the market to find you the best value, and recommend coverage based on your needs. We’re independent and committed to you.  

Relocating to Portland Maine? We Can Help

During the COVID pandemic, many people are relocating to the Portland Maine area. 2020 has been a banner year for people moving here.

Looking for a safer, more affordable place to live, work and play? A desirable place to raise a family? A slower pace? Portland offers all of this. So do nearby suburbs like South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Falmouth, Cumberland and Westbrook.

Portland Maine is Safe

Through November 2020, Maine successfully managed the public health aspect of the COVID pandemic. Cumberland County had about 1/3 the infection rate of the rest of the country: 11,500 cases per million. Rural Maine had even lower rates.    

Maine is a safe place to live even after COVID time. Maine’s crime rates are among the lowest in the nation. Our roads are safer, too: traffic deaths are about 10% below national average.

Maine: Room to Spread Out

The Portland Maine MSA is home to about 250,000. That’s 390 people per square mile. Even Portland, the state’s largest city, only has about 3,000 people per square mile. Portland is the ideal size for a small city: about 70,000 people.

Like the outdoors? Sailing, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, cycling and beaches are all a short distance from home.

Prefer to be entertained? Portland has choices. Live music venues, theatres, professional sports teams, museums and more.

Portland Maine’s Foodie Culture

Portland has a national reputation for restaurants, breweries, distilleries and food. The proximity of local farms and seafood adds to its farm-to-table culture. Portland was Bon Appetit’s Restaurant City of the Year in 2018.

COVID restrictions limit indoor restaurant dining in 2020. But it’s too much a part of Portland’s identity to disappear. The restaurant scene will be vibrant again.

We Can Help You Settle Here

Whether you’re buying a house or a condo or renting an apartment, our agents can help with insurance. We’ll send proof of renters or hazard insurance to your landlord or lender. We can provide you with the insurance card which you need to register your vehicles in Maine.

First time homebuyer? We make the insurance part easy. A 10-minute phone call is all it takes to start. Or, you can compare Maine insurance quotes online at our website. When you’re ready for help, Noyes Hall & Allen agents are known for responsiveness and knowledge. We’ve earned great customer reviews.

Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

What is a Home Insurance Inventory and Why Do I Need One?

Portland, ME is a great place to live. Friendly neighbors, farm to table dining and safety make it a popular choice for families and retirees.

Even in a safe place like Maine, bad things can happen. If something happens to your home, you want to be confident that your  insurance will help get life back to normal. When it comes to home insurance, you want to know that your agent is on your side. The team at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance has been committed to you since 1933.

When you file a home insurance claim, your insurance company needs to know what you lost. Then they pay you to replace it. Imagine after a tragedy trying to remember everything you had in your home. It’s overwhelming.

You can avoid stress and helplessness by preparing a home inventory. This creates a record of all the rooms in your home and what was in them. You can do it with a video, computer spreadsheet or on paper. Either way, aim for as much backup information as possible. Recording details like model numbers and receipts are a good start. Store the inventory in a safe place, and back it up in the cloud or in your safe deposit box.

Are you buying a home or condo in the Portland, ME area? Are you  considering changing insurance companies?  Call an experienced Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541.

We are independent agents. That means we offer you lots of choices from a wide variety of insurance companies. We will help you find the best value for the coverage you need. We’re independent and committed to you.

What is Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage?

Maine home owners have a lot to worry about. Homeowners insurance can help with some of the big ones. Most homeowners policies cover fire, wind damage, and water damage from plumbing leaks.

Other big expenses aren’t covered by basic homeowners insurance. Off-the-shelf policies exclude flooding, foundation leaks, and breakdown of systems and appliances. But many home insurers now offer a homeowners Equipment Breakdown Endorsement.

What Does the Mechanical Breakdown Endorsement Cover?

Your insurance company’s form may differ. But most cover the cost to repair or replace items hit by mechanical or electrical failure. Think heating systems, solar panels, appliances, electronics, IOT smart devices and more.

Some examples

  • Your expensive dishwasher breaks down when the motor burns out.
  • A central air conditioner compressor fails.
  • The boiler or water heater break.
  • Your smart home monitoring system stops working.
  • The solar panels on your roof stop generating electricity.

What’s the Coverage Limit on Homeowners Equipment Breakdown?

Insurance company forms can differ, but many have a $100,000 limit. That’s enough to cover almost any system in American homes.

Does a Deductible Apply to Equipment Breakdown?

Yes. Usually it’s different than your regular homeowners policy deductible. $500 is a common deductible on homeowners Equipment Breakdown Endorsements.

What’s Not Covered by Equipment Breakdown?

Wear & tear and gradual deterioration are never covered. Everything eventually fails. Don’t expect insurance to pay for items past their useful life.

For example, if your 30-year old air conditioning compressor dies. the insurance company will likely deny your claim.

Other exclusions apply to all homeowners policies. Examples include intentional damage; flood; or seepage through a foundation.

Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage vs. Home Warranty

Many home buyers buy a home warranty when they invest in a home. Home warranties help guard against big expenses in the first few years of ownership. They pay the cost of repairing or replacing major appliances or equipment.

Unlike Equipment Breakdown insurance, home warranties usually pay even for wear & tear. That’s why home warranty coverage is much more expensive than equipment breakdown coverage.

Equipment breakdown often costs less than $50 a year. Home warranties can cost $50 or more per month.

Why to Buy Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage – or Not

You might purchase breakdown coverage on your homeowners if:

  • Your home or most of its equipment is newer.
  • The coverage is inexpensive.
  • It’s included in some bundle of other extra coverage that you want or need.

You might NOT purchase homeowners Equipment Breakdown coverage if:

  • You already purchased a home warranty
  • Your home’s equipment is older and you’re worried about breakdown due to wear & tear.

Do you own a home or condo in the Portland, Maine area? Have questions about equipment breakdown? Worried about big expenses from property damage? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s top property insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Is Skunk Spray Covered by Insurance?

A Portland, Maine woman recently had an unwelcome guest. A skunk snuck into her home and sprayed 4 times inside before police could remove it. What a mess! The home and everything in it must be deodorized.

Does Home Insurance Cover Skunk Spray?

Will home insurance cover the cost to remove the smell? It depends on whether you bought “off the shelf” coverage or upgraded. It also depends whether your insurance company uses the latest edition of the coverage form (spoiler alert: in this case, the latest is NOT the best).

Skunk Spray Damage Coverage in Basic Homeowners Policies

The most common home insurance form is the ISO HO 00 03. Many Maine insurance companies use it. It’s tried and tested over decades. Insurance people call it “HO-3”.

Insurance Services Office (ISO) updates the form periodically. Each insurer decides which edition to use. In Maine, some insurers still use the 1991 version. Many use the 2000 edition. A few have adopted the 2011 edition.

Before the 2011 edition, “off the shelf” HO-3 policies covered skunk spray damage to buildings. Damage to contents was not covered by the basic policy.

The 2011 edition excludes “discharge or release of secretions by any animals”. Even building damage is no longer covered for skunk spray in the 2011 form.

Which Homeowners Policy Edition do You Have?

Your insurance policy should list coverage forms. The first two letters are the coverage type – “HO” for homeowners. The next four digits are the form number. Basic homeowners are 00 03. Condo policies are 00 06. Renters policies are 00 04. The final four digits are the month and year of the edition. For example, HO 00 03 05 11 is the 2011 edition of the basic homeowners policy.

Can You Buy Extra Insurance for Skunk Damage?

We recommend “open perils” coverage for contents. That covers skunk spray damage on the pre-2011 forms. Ask your agent if you’re eligible for that.

Unfortunately, we know of no way to add skunk spray coverage to the 2011 edition of the policy. The exclusion in the 2011 form denies coverage for skunk spray to both building or contents. You can’t buy it back. That stinks (sorry, we couldn’t help it).

What if a Skunk Sprayed My Vehicle?

You may have purchased “other than collision” coverage on your auto insurance policy. Some people call this “comprehensive” coverage. Most common auto insurance policies in Maine cover damage by animals. That includes skunk spray. So, if a skunk gets into your car and sprays, you probably have coverage. As long as you purchased “other than collision” coverage.

Action Items:

  • Check your property insurance policy’s coverage form and edition date
  • Ask your agent if you have “open perils” coverage. If not, get a quote to add it if you’re eligible.
  • If you’re on the 2011 homeowners form, ask your agent for a quote with a company that uses one of the older editions.

Do you live in the Portland Maine area? Have questions about home, condo, renters or auto insurance? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s preferred insurance companies. One of them is likely a good fit for you.