Auto Insurance Combined Single Limit vs. Split Limits

When buying car insurance, choosing proper coverage limits is very important. Uninsured motorist and liability insurance limits are the most important of all.

Understanding Insurance Policy Liability Limits

Auto insurance policies cover bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) liability in an at-fault accident. BI reimburses others for medical treatment, missed work, pain & suffering and related expenses. PD pays to fix or replace autos, structures and other property that you damage.

In Maine, uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) is important coverage. It protects YOU and people in your household or vehicle. What if you’re in a crash where someone else is at fault? They have little or no insurance. UM pays your medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering and more. In Maine, UM limits match BI liability limits except in very rare cases.

Link to video explaining different types of Maine auto insurance liability limits - split limits vs. combined single limit.
This 4:00 video explains the different types of auto insurance liability limits.

Split Liability Limits

Split limit liability policies are easy to identify. They have separate limits for bodily injury and property damage. They also slice BI coverage into a limit per person and per incident.

If your policy limits are 100/300/100, you have a split limits policy.
In an at-fault crash, your policy will pay $100,000 max per person. It will pay $300,000 max for all injuries you cause. You have the same limits for injuries uninsured people cause to you. A 100/300/100 policy also pays $100,000 max to fix vehicles, buildings and other property you damage.

The Most Common Insurance Shopping Mistake

Many insurance shoppers think 100/300 UM limits give them $300,000 of protection. They actually have about 1/3 of that. Here’s why: most vehicles on the road have 1 person in them. If you crash into another vehicle injuring a single occupant, your policy pays only up to $100,000.

That sounds like a lot. It’s not. A few days in ICU with surgeries, CAT scans and other tests can easily cost more than $100,000. Accident victims often collect pain and suffering settlements, too. What happens if your insurance isn’t enough to pay for the injuries you’re responsible for? Your personal assets are at stake.

Remember that your UM limits are the same as your liability limits. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver an you have 100/300 limits, your medical bills may exceed your insurance.

Auto Property Damage Limits

Don’t forget that third number: 100/300/100 means you have $100,000 max of property damage coverage. That could include:

  • Vehicles (including commercial or public vehicles)
  • Buildings
  • Street signs, telephone poles and other roadside items

With the cost of vehicles, it’s easy to imagine causing more than than $100,000 damage in a multi-car accident. The cost of driving into the front of a building can easily top that.

Combined Single Limit to the Rescue

Combined single liability (CSL) is just what it sounds like. There are no sub-limits for bodily injury per person and per accident and property damage. Just a big, round number. If you buy a $300,000 combined single limit policy, you have a pool of $300,000 to pay for all the damages you cause.
It’s all available for property damage if no one’s injured. It can pay for one seriously injured person.

Even more important, $300,000 of UM coverage pays up to that amount of YOUR medical bills following a crash with an uninsured at-fault party.

Which is Cheaper: Combined Single Limit or Split Limits Auto Liability?

Most discount insurers sell split limit policies. Because they have “gotcha” sub-limits, the insurance company can charge lower premiums. They know that they are unlikely to pay the high “per accident” limit on the policy.

In the real world, most split limits policies have MUCH less coverage than a combined single limit policy. Very rarely, you see generous split limits like 500/500/250. A policy like that would be even better than a $300,000 CSL policy. Most split limits policies have MUCH lower limits. Unsuspecting buyers, lulled into complacency by the “per accident” limit, think they’re fine.

A Good Insurance Agent Can Help

If you’re shopping for Maine car insurance and confused by all the options, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland. We offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. We can compare price and coverage to find the best value. Best of all, we provide personalized professional advice, at no extra charge! Call us at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

$500 or $1000 – What is the Best Car Insurance Deductible?

 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options when buying car insurance. Many of our Maine insurance agency’s clients ask “which deductible should I choose?”

The most common collision deductibles in Maine are $500 and $1,000. The higher your deductible, the lower your cost. But, you have to pay more out of pocket in case of an accident. Most insurance companies’ rates are about 15% less for a $1000 deductible than $500.

Which is a better value? Here’s a 4 question test to help you decide.

Before You Buy Higher Auto Insurance Deductibles…

Ask yourself these questions:

Can I afford to pay the higher deductible? Would you have a hard time scraping together $1,000 to repair your car? You might not want to take the chance of a higher deductible. This is even more important if you lease your vehicle. You must repair any damage on a leased vehicle or pay the difference when you turn your vehicle in.

What is the payback? The more premium you pay, the larger the savings for higher deductibles. Fifteen percent savings on an $800 collision premium is $120 per year. The same discount on a $300 collision premium is only $45. It would take 50 months to “earn back” the $500 deductible difference in the first example. In the second, it would take more than 11 years!

How often do I have accidents? If you average an accident every 10 years, the first scenario above might pay off for you. If you average one every 3 years, neither will.

How risk-averse am I? Do you hate taking chances? The peace of mind of a lower deductible may be worth the extra cost to you.



Related post:  When Should I Drop Comprehensive & Collision Coverage?

 


 

Collision Coverage Is Used More Than You Think

Most people think collision coverage is only used when you’re at fault in an accident. That’s only part of the story. Collision coverage is also used when:

  • You’re the victim of a “hit & run”;
  • There’s a dispute about who’s “at fault”;
  • You run over or strike road debris;
  • You’re hit by an uninsured driver;
  • The other driver’s insurance company is slow responding.

Keep those scenarios in mind as you choose your collision deductible.

Do you want help choosing an auto insurance deductible? If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541 – or click the chat button below. We’ll answer your questions, quote options, and help you choose from 10 hand-picked insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Beware of “Teaser” Maine Homeowners Insurance Quotes

 

One of our employees received this solicitation from a competitor. It quotes a homeowners premium of $409 per year. That’s hundreds less than they pay now. How can that be? Is this “bait and switch”? Like most of these offers, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. The answers are in the fine print.

Example: 6 Cheap Homeowners Insurance Quote Tricks

Beware of "teaser" homeowners insurance quotes!
Beware of “teaser” homeowners insurance quotes! (click to enlarge)

1. Using the “Perfect Profile”

Every insurance company uses personal information to provide an accurate quote and policy for you. This may involve your insurance history, your insurance score (similar to a consumer credit score), your occupation and more. If you get a quote out of the blue without giving any of your information to anyone, you’re getting a generic quote, probably containing the absolute best rate, reserved for the theoretical human who fits the perfect profile. No one gets that rate.

2. Quoting On the Tax Assessor’s Value of Your Home

Tax assessments have nothing to do with insurance. Towns and cities revalue every several years to create a “just baseline” to compare properties for tax purposes. If it’s been years since the last revaluation, the figure is probably low. Assessed value has nothing to do with the cost to rebuild your home. Assessments are roughly based on market value, which is affected by location, condition, and acreage.

After a disaster, you want to have enough insurance to rebuild your home. Insurance companies want that, too. That’s why they require you to insure 100% of replacement cost. Usually, assessed value is far below your home’s replacement cost. For example, this home’s replacement cost is 20% more than the quoted amount. If they called for quote, the insurer would take information about their home, calculates its replacement cost, and bump the amount by 20%. That would increase the price.

This insurance company knows all of that, but chooses to ignore it. The lower amount means a cheaper quote. It’s appealing – until you think about it.

3. Inflating Your Insurance Score                         superior-credit-quote

As explained above, insurance companies use scoring to price your insurance. The higher your credit score, the lower your insurance price. This quote assumes that you’re in the top tier of insurance scores. Even people with excellent credit scores may not make the “superior credit” status. So, when you respond to the solicitation, your price probably goes up.

4. Presuming Your Home Was Just Built

This home was built in 1972. The tax assessor’s document clearly says that. Why would the insurance company quote it as if it was new? Because there’s a “new home discount”. That makes the rate lower, until you call in. Oops, no discount for you.

5. Assuming You Move All Your Insurancemultipolicy-quote

It’s no secret that you can get a lower price with most companies by bundling auto and property insurance. You should absolutely talk to your agent about bundling to see if it makes sense for you. It doesn’t always. What if this company’s car insurance rates are terrible? What if you don’t meet their underwriting requirements? What if…?

Without a package discount, this quote could be 20% higher – or more. And, think about it: if this insurance company uses shady quoting tactics on your home insurance, do you really want to trust them will ALL of your insurance?

6. Have You Really Had No Claims in 5 Years?

Maybe that’s true, maybe not. Five years is a long time. Many people forget that they’ve had claims. You could think it’s true, until the insurance company runs their reports. That plumbing leak? The water backup in the basement? Oh yeah. Those count. And, they can change this quote considerably.

Looking for a Real Maine Homeowners Insurance Quote?

If you are looking for homeowners, condo or renters insurance in Maine, and want a thorough review and a realistic proposal for your coverage, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent. We’re independent, so we offer a choice of preferred insurers in Maine. Prefer to start online?  Get up to 6 Maine homeowners insurance quotes in 10 minutes on our web site. If that’s as far as you want to go, we won’t hound you later. But, we’re happy to answer your Maine home insurance questions.

Should You Have a Personal Umbrella Policy?

 

Many financial advisors recommend personal umbrella coverage to protect your net worth and future earnings. The maximum liability limit offered by most home and auto insurers is $500,000. Even those with modest incomes can exceed $500,000 in net worth, as they pay off debt, accumulate retirement savings, or receive an inheritance.

Maine’s Wrongful Death Statute allows lawsuits up to $500,000 in addition to specific medical or property damages. If you don’t have enough liability insurance, you could be forced to pay out of your own assets and future earnings. Also, when your insurance runs out, so does your coverage for legal costs.

What Is an Umbrella Policy?

Maine Personal Umbrella Insurance provides excess liability protection above your home, auto, boat, RV and other primary insurance. Umbrella policies are purchased in increments of $1 million. They may be added to a personal package policy or purchased separately on a “stand-alone” policy.

How Much Does Umbrella Insurance Cost?

Maine Personal Umbrella policies are quite inexpensive – often less than $200 per year for $1 million in protection. Insurance companies can offer these low prices because they require you to maintain a certain amount of “underlying” coverage, usually $300,000 or $500,000. Insurers know that claims larger than that are rare, so umbrella policies are priced accordingly.

 

Do You Need an Umbrella Policy Infographic

Can Someone Garnish My Wages?

Absolutely. If you don’t have enough assets to pay for a legal judgement, but you expect to work in the future, the court can garnish a percentage of every paycheck you receive until the debt is paid.

Can They Take My Home or My Retirement Savings?

Courts don’t  like to force  someone to sell their primary residence to pay for legal judgement, but it does happen.

How Much Umbrella Insurance Should I Buy?

Umbrella policies come in increments of $1 million. Many insurance companies sell up to $3 million, which is sufficient for many Americans. Higher limits are available, however, for those who need extra protection.

For more information about personal umbrella insurance in Maine, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. We would be happy to help you decide if an umbrella policy is right for you.

How to Buy Home Insurance in Maine: 4 Easy Steps

 

If you’ve recently begun looking for a home in Maine, or have recently put one under contract, you’ll soon be looking for Maine homeowners insurance. If you will have a mortgage, your lender will pester you for the name of your insurance agent and the cost of your insurance.

Insuring your new home is a simple 4-step process:

How to Buy a Home in Maine

1. Put your home under contract

2. Get a home inspection

Your realtor can introduce your to a reputable home inspector. They almost always point out some deficiencies, possible trouble spots, or upcoming maintenance items. It’s up to you whether you negotiate who pays for these with the buyer, or include them into your early home improvement budget. Don’t ignore them, though. For example, if the inspector tells you that your roof shingles have less than 5 years remaining life, set aside the cost to replace it within that time.

3. Contact an Insurance Agent 

You’ll want to get a Maine homeowners or condo insurance quote for 100% of the rebuilding cost to satisfy your lender. The agent will use real estate and property tax info and ask a few questions about your home to help determine the rebuilding cost.

The agent will also ask how recently the home systems were updated (plumbing, heating, electrical and roof). Your home inspection will be handy in providing this information.

If you live in southern Maine, a Noyes Hall & Allen agent would be happy to help you with insurance quotes. We represent many different insurance companies, so we can shop the marketplace for you. Different insurers have different appetites, strengths and rates. We can also help you choose appropriate deductibles and insurance programs to fit your needs and budget.

 

Twitter graphic_ Bundle

Bundle Up
It often makes sense to bundle your insurance with one insurance company. Most Maine insurers offer discounts when you insure your home and auto together. The savings can be substantial – up to 25% in some cases.

 

4.  Show proof of insurance to your lender

Once you introduce your insurance agent to your closing attorney (usually a title company), you shouldn’t have to do any work. Your agent and the title company will make sure the lender is satisfied. You can focus on getting ready to move into your home!

A Note About Escrow Accounts

If you escrow your insurance, lenders require you to pay the first year’s premium up-front – either to your insurance agent, or at closing. The lender collects a couple of months’ insurance and tax at closing to “seed” your escrow account. You’ll then pay 1/12 of those amounts along with your monthly mortgage payment. The insurance and tax bills will go to your lender, not to you.

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

When Should You Change Insurance Companies?

 

We’ve all thought it:

“My homeowners insurance bill went up again!”

“I’m paying too much for car insurance!”

“I need to cut my business insurance costs!”

“My insurance company wants me to repair my house, and I don’t have the money!”

Is it time to shop your insurance? No one really enjoys doing it, but sometimes it’s necessary. When is it smart to change insurance companies? How much savings is enough to make a switch?

Everyone’s price “pain threshold” is different. We have clients who didn’t want us place them with another insurer in spite of $300 savings per year and similar coverage. We have others who want to switch insurance companies to save a fraction of that, with a higher deductible. Neither is right or wrong. It depends on your risk tolerance and price sensitivity.

Is Your Agent Shopping Your Insurance For You?

Does your insurance agent represent more than one company? One reason people choose our Greater Portland Maine Independent Insurance Agency is that we represent several insurance companies. This offers you the ability to shop and change insurance companies without having to start a whole new  relationship. In the current insurance market, we typically check insurance prices for you when your renewal price goes up by more than 7.5%. We communicate the results if we think we have a good alternative to present to you.


Related Post: When a Great Car Insurance Quote Isn’t


Compare the Costs, Savings and Risks

Changing insurance companies is not to be done lightly. You can save money, but there are costs and risks  to consider, too. If the savings outweigh the risks, maybe it’s time to change insurance companies. We can help you evaluate that.

  • Saving Money on Insurance  – This is easy to measure – or is it? Insurance is a competitive business. You can sometimes find savings of $300 per year for similar coverage – or that quote might have less coverage or a higher deductible. An insurance agent can tell you the difference.Make sure that the quote you get is as close to “apples to apples” as possible. Compare the liability coverage, property deductibles, and type of coverage. Consult an insurance agent to help you review the quotes. A good agent will tell you if their program is not the best for you. Pay attention to their answer.
  • Cost of Time – How much is an hour of your free time worth? It can easily take 3 -5 hours to switch insurance. You have to:
    • research insurance companies,
    • choose one (or more)
    • provide information for a quote
    • compare the quotes and coverage
    • apply for a policy
    • cancel your old insurance
    • set up new billing arrangements.

An independent insurance agency that represents many companies, and can save time. But even if you use an IA you can’t eliminate these steps completely. It still takes time. And time is money.

  • Cost of Lost Benefits –  Many insurance companies reward longevity. Some offer insurance discounts to customers who are claim-free for 3 or more years. Others are more lenient in underwriting or billing for long-term clients with a good payment or claim history. When deciding whether to change insurers, estimate a dollar value on those lost benefits and advantages. Your agent can help evaluate them. If you perceive the value to be less than the price difference, you may want to change. Everyone values them differently.
  • Risk of Missing Coverage – Insurance companies’ coverage can vary  a lot. When you change companies, it’s difficult to impossible – even for an experienced insurance agent – to duplicate the coverage you had before. Trying to match coverage on your own (on a web site or 800 number)? That’s risky. A local insurance agent can help you evaluate and discuss whether there are important differences.
  • Risk of a New Insurance Company – Insurance companies quote your insurance using a “quick qualification” process. They don’t want to spend money on expensive reports for people who don’t intend to buy. After you apply, they inspect your property and order more reports (motor vehicle records, claim histories, etc). At that time, they may charge more than their initial quote if you’ve had accidents or tickets. Some auto insurers even surcharge your policy for accidents that were not your fault.If the company underwriter sees something they don’t like in your reports or inspection, they can reject your application. The insurance company can dump you for any reason in the first 60 days of the policy. If you’ve already cancelled your other policy, you could find yourself looking for insurance in a hurry – and end up worse off than you were before. If you shopped on your own, without an agent to advocate for you, you’ll be on your own to fight the insurance company.

 

If you would like an insurance quote for your Maine business, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. We’re also happy to review your homeowners, condo or renters insurance. You can get a Maine auto insurance quote from 5 companies at once on our web site, and continue the discussion if you see something that interests you. Or, if you just have questions about insuring your business or personal belongings, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent.

How to Be an Instant Insurance Genius With 1 Easy Move

Did you buy home, condo or renters insurance from one company and auto insurance from another? You’re not alone. Maybe you bought a policy online to insure your first car. Then, when you bought your house or condo, you found a local agent who found you a good deal with another company. Each of your insurance companies has probably solicited you for the part they don’t insure.

Knowing that combining your home and auto insurance is smart is one thing; actually doing it is another. The good news is, it’s not that hard. Having separate insurance companies may not have hurt you too much so far. Sure, you might have paid a few dollars more, or put up with the hassle of multiple insurance bills, but you didn’t feel enough pain to motivate you to combine them.

That will likely change in 2012.

It’s only May, but 2012 has already brought big changes in Maine home and auto insurance. U.S. insurers have lost money on property insurance for several years in a row, due to natural disasters, broadened coverage, depressed pricing and increased reinsurance costs. With today’s low interest rates, insurance companies’ investment income is depressed as well. As a result, homeowners and Maine condo insurance prices are increasing significantly, and underwriters have become much more picky.

The single best personal property/casualty insurance move you can make right now?

Combine Your Property and Auto Insurance.

Here are 10 reasons why you should bundle your insurance today:

1) Save Hundreds of Dollars
Insurers are increasing the “package discount”, making it more attractive to insure your home and autos together. Many companies have increased the discount from 10% to 15%, 20% or even 30% discounts. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

2) Better Homeowners Rates and Coverage
Insurance underwriters (the people who choose whether to accept or reject your insurance application) have become VERY picky about home insurance. If you’re buying a home anywhere near the water, you might be quoted a premium nearly twice what the prior owner paid. You might also have a wind deductible of $5,000 or higher, when the prior owner had a $500 flat deductible.  If you only insure your home with that company, you have no leverage with the underwriter.  Bundling your coverage “sweetens the pot” for the insurance company, and levels the playing field a bit.

3) Avoid Non-Standard Insurance on Camp or Second Home
They don’t call Maine “Vacationland” for nothing. Maine has the highest ratio of secondary and seasonal homes to primary homes of any state in the US. Preferred insurance companies have willingly insured these homes for decades, even if they didn’t insure your primary home. In 2012’s tighter property underwriting environment, many insurers refuse to insure these properties unless they insure your primary home and auto. We still have access to insurers who will insure a Maine secondary or seasonal home; but, the rates are higher, and the terms less favorable than those of the preferred companies.

4) Reduced Risk of Non-Renewal
The more business you do with an insurance company, the more likely they will consider you a preferred customer. If you have multiple claims in a 3-year period, your name appears on an underwriter’s list of policies to review. Will they consider you “naughty” or “nice”? One factor they consider is the number of policies you have with the company. They’re more likely to cut some slack to a multi-policy customer than to one with a single policy.

5) Increased Convenience, Reduced Risk of Cancellation
If you have policies with different companies, you’re getting billed by each, and paying a billing charge to each. Most insurance companies can bill all of your policies in one bill. They call it “account billing”. It saves you money (billing fees and postage) and time, and reduces the chance of a late payment by at least 50%.

6) Preferred Umbrella Rates
Many financial advisors are shocked to find how little liability insurance many of their new clients have. Most advisors recommend that their clients buy a Maine personal umbrella policy, which provide liability insurance in excess of their home and auto insurance limits. Preferred umbrella insurers require that they insure all of the policies that their umbrella extends over (called “underlying policies”). We have access to companies that provide umbrella coverage without insuring all of your underlying policies, but they’re usually more expensive.

7) More Favorable Deductibles
Some insurance companies require a higher property deductible ($2,500 or more) if they don’t also insure your autos. They will allow a lower deductible if you have other policies with them.

8) Improved Service From Your Agent
An insurance agent’s worst nightmare isn’t losing you as a client; it’s seeing you suffer an uncovered loss that they could have helped you recover from. The more they insure for you, the better they can help you identify and close expensive coverage gaps.

Let’s say your company starts allowing you to work from home. You might tell your auto insurance company you’re no longer commuting, to get a break on your car insurance rates. But you might not think to tell your home insurance company. When your home is broken into and your work computer stolen, or when a business associate visiting your home slips and falls, you could be shocked to find that you have no coverage for that. If one company handles both, they have the full picture, and can better protect you.

9) Almost Free Renters Insurance
Most Portland Maine renters insurance policies start at about $100 a year. Most Maine car insurance policies are about $600 per year. If you get 15% off each by combining them, you’ve saved $105 a year – in essence getting your renters’ policy for free.

10) Smug Self-Satisfaction
Isn’t it satisfying to read one of these blog posts, and say “Already done that!” Yeah, we thought so.

If you would like a Maine auto insurance quote, or would like to discuss your insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

Buying Your First Home in Maine – Tips from 5 Real Estate Pros

Buying your first home is a big decision – probably the biggest financial move you’ve made so far. If you’re like most first-time buyers, you are on a tight budget; you may not be able to afford your “dream home” today. But, by focusing on the right factors, you may be surprised how close you can get.

To help improve your odds, it pays to consult an expert. In home-buying, that means a knowledgeable real estate agent who knows you and the area where you want to live. We recently asked some of our friends in the real estate business for their tips for first-time Maine home buyers. We think they’re worth keeping in mind as you look to buy a home.

Use Your Social Media Skills to Find The Right Real Estate Agent

Admit it…you cyberstalk other people, don’t you? Why not use social media to look for a compatible real estate agent? In addition to a web site, see if the agent and/or their real estate office has a page on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or even Pinterest.

Frankee Chapa of RE/MAX Alliance in Westbrook Maine says “social media is a great way to get a first impression and help you find an agent who will fit your personality, making the whole home buying process much more enjoyable! While browsing, you may also stumble across posts with photos of homes, details or spaces you like, for example: open floor plan, locations, wrap-around porches, lakeside dock access, large family rooms, etc. Mention these when you meet with your agent to help them get your search started.”

Look at the Big Picture

Choosing a home is kind of like that old Serenity Prayer. You have to know the difference between what you can and can’t change about a property, and be able to focus on the important things. Of course, you already know the 3 most important factors in real estate: location; location; and location.

Mary Jo Cross of Legacy Properties, Sotheby International Realty in Portland agrees. “Try to look beyond the furnishings, peeling paint and other imperfections when looking at houses because there are many wonderful opportunities that are missed because of cosmetic flaws”, she says.

“If the home is in a great location, try to have some vision as to what it could look like with some tweaking. Many buyers make the mistake of buying a fixed up home in a marginal location and that will greatly affect the resale in the future. You can change the house but not the location!!”

Don’t be Afraid of a Dated House

April Cohen of the Maine Real Estate Network at the Maine Real Estate Network in South Portland  says “so many first time buyers walk into a dated home, are scared of the project and walk right out. A dated home doesn’t mean the house is not livable or in bad shape, it just needs to be brought into the 21st Century. Tracy shares a few tips to deal with some common dated features and gain A TON of sweat equity:

  • Paneling: There is a special paint that you can buy to paint over paneling. Pick an earthy/beachy color to make your home feel like a beach cottage!
  • Wallpaper: Not as hard as you think to remove. Vinegar and fabric softener mixed with hot water have been used to help remove wall paper! GOOGLE IT!
  • Colored Bath Tubs: Most hardware stores carry painting kits to paint bathtubs and surrounds. You can turn that avacado green tub white in an afternoon!
  • Cabinets: Just because they look dated doesn’t mean they aren’t functional. Sand them down a bit and paint them the color of your dreams for a fresh, fun kitchen.

Consider Borrowing Money to Improve a “Fixer-Upper”

Janice Selig of Allen & Selig Realty in Freeport says “loan programs such as an FHA 203K or RD/MSH loans allow you to finance repairs and renovations into your loan.  This allows you to buy a distressed property, foreclosure or short sale, which often will give you more house for the money”.

“If you’re handy, you can do many of the renovations, or hire professionals to make the repairs and start with equity in the home.  Depending on the type of property you may be in for longer closing time as many short sales can take months to get bank approval”, Selig cautions.

Personalize Your Offer

So, you’ve found the perfect house, at a price you can afford. This is the one! You’re going to make an offer! How do you increase your chances of it being accepted? Brian Linscott of Linscott Real Estate in South Portland says that personalizing your offer can make the difference between getting the house you want and being just another bid.

“Write a short two paragraph letter to the owners and let them know who you are, why you love the home and why the home is great for your family. The owners will be able to differentiate you from other potential buyers and if yours is the only offer, the owners will see you as a family and not just as numbers on an offer”, Linscott says.

Sometimes, insurance questions arise in the home buying process. Which Maine insurance companies accept knob & tube wiring? How much does home insurance cost in Maine? Which are the best insurance companies for coastal homes in Maine? If you have questions about Greater Portland Maine home insurance, please contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We represent many insurance companies, and are happy to advise you.

 

 

“Can I Take My Spouse Off My Insurance?” How Divorce Affects Your Maine Insurance Policies

Divorce is a major life-change. It’s a complicated and emotional process that takes time to work through. It’s not surprising that it also can have a great effect on your personal insurance coverage. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about how divorce affects your auto and home insurance. You should discuss your individual situation with your agent and your attorney.

I Want to Take my Spouse Off My Auto Insurance

Until your divorce is final, your insurance agent should not remove anyone’s name from the policy without their written consent. An insurance policy is a contract. Your agent is responsible to BOTH parties to the contract. Each has the same rights under the policy. A professional agent will not only want to make sure that both parties remain covered; they are obligated to honor each person’s policy rights.

I Own One Vehicle, and My Spouse the Other; Can’t We Get Separate Insurance?

Maybe, but you should consult your attorney first. Maine “joint property” laws may render the registration immaterial. If the property is considered “joint property”, you both should maintain one policy until the divorce is final, and the property is separately owned. Your attorney can help you with this issue.

The Insurance Bills Go to My Spouse. Will My Policy Cancel if They Aren’t Paid? 

Yes. That’s why it’s important that your agent knows how to reach BOTH of you; you need to keep them updated. If payment of bills is a problem, discuss this with your attorney; they may be able to arrange for timely payment.

My Spouse Isn’t Reimbursing Me for Their Share of the Insurance. Why Should I Pay Their Part?

It’s important to keep your coverage in force. The best way to do that is to pay the premium that you are billed. Otherwise your policy could cancel – and you would both lose coverage. Don’t “cut off your nose to spite your face”. Talk to your attorney about evening out the financial details.

I’ve Moved Out. Does Our Homeowners Policy Still Cover My Stuff? 

It depends. It is very important that you contact your agent to discuss your individual situation.

My Spouse and I Can’t Seem to Agree on Anything.

Sometimes, it is best to let your attorney and theirs deal with these insurance issues. Have them contact your agent, and give your agent permission to talk with them.

If you are looking for a Greater Portland Maine insurance agency that understands how divorce affects your insurance, and can help you protect your assets going forward, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. Our agency represents several insurance companies, so we can offer one-stop insurance shopping.


 

Maine Insurance Dept.: ME Car Insurance Rates Remain Low

Maine drivers pay some of the best auto insurance rates in the U.S., according to this press release from the Maine Insurance Department. While the individual rankings seem to differ from study to study, it’s clear that Maine’s car insurance and motorcycle insurance rates are in the bottom 20%.

Why Are Maine Auto Insurance Rates Low?

A lot of factors go into the rates each of us pays for car insurance or motorcycle insurance. Your location, driving record, the type of vehicle you drive, your age and gender – even your credit score – all play a part. So, it’s impossible to generalize. But, based upon our experience as a Greater Portland Maine independent insurance agency, we have a theory why Mainers pay lower auto insurance rates. We think it has a lot to do with Maine’s culture of responsible behavior. Mainers are less litigious, and more likely to buy insurance themselves, than other Americans. That helps keep insurance rates low for all of us.

How Do Your Maine Auto Insurance Rates Compare?

Insurance companies change their rates and underwriting rules constantly. The only way to tell if you’re paying a good auto insurance rate or motorcycle insurance rate is to compare. Fortunately, we are an independent agency representing many different auto insurance companies. We also represent Progressive and Dairyland, some of the top motorcycle insurers in Maine. We do the shopping for you, and can present multiple quotes at one time. If you want to do your own research first, you can even get Maine car insurance quotes from 5 different companies at once on our web site. There’s no pressure or obligation to buy (although we’re always ready to answer any questions).

If you live in Greater Portland or elsewhere in Southern Maine and have insurance questions, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207.799.5541. An experienced local insurance agent is ready to provide personal service.