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.


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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.

We Own Separate Vehicles. 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. Why Should I Pay for Their Insurance?

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 how to settle 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 Agree on Anything.

Sometimes, it is best to let your attorneys deal with these insurance issues. Give your agent permission to talk with them. Have them contact your agent.

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 now and later, 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.

Should I Drop Collision Coverage?

Is it smart to drop collision insurance on an older vehicle?  Your decision depends on your own circumstances. Here are a few things to consider.

“The 3 Rules of  Tens”

It might be helpful to consider three things when evaluating the risk you take when you remove collision coverage from your Maine auto insurance policy:

  • TEN PERCENT When collision coverage costs more than 10% of the book value of your vehicle plus your collision deductible.  For example, if the book value of your vehicle is $3,000 and your collision deductible is $500, consider removing collision coverage if it costs more than $350 per year for that vehicle.
  • TEN YEARSIf your vehicle is more than 10 years old, it may no longer have enough value to warrant insuring.
  • TEN TIMES If you have 10 times your collision premium in a “rainy day fund”, you probably have enough of a cushion to put a sizable down payment on a replacement vehicle. If you pay $350 a year for collision insurance and your “rainy day fund” has at least $3500 in it, you might reasonably risk dropping collision coverage. If you don’t have that much saved, you would probably need the insurance proceeds to help you make a down payment on another vehicle.

The Risk of Removing Collision

If another driver hits you and is at fault, their insurance should pay to fix your car – even if you don’t have collision coverage. But remember that fault can be disputed, and not everyone has insurance.

If you remove collision, you’d have no coverage for things like:

  • Hitting someone when you are at fault – or partly at fault
  • Someone hits your car, and is at fault, but doesn’t have insurance
  • Someone hits your parked car and doesn’t leave a note
  • Running over debris in the road and damaging your car.

When Should You Keep Collision Coverage?

There are some times when you should definitely NOT drop collision coverage:

  • You have a loan or lease on the vehicle. Your loan or lease contract requires you to carry collision coverage for the length of the agreement.
  • You have only one vehicle. Most multi-car families can limp by on one car while one is in the body shop. But, if you’re a 1-car household, you’ll probably want coverage to rent another while yours is being repaired. Also, you’ll definitely need to buy rental car insurance on vacation if you don’t have collision coverage on at least one vehicle on your policy.
  • You’re worried about being hit by an uninsured driver.  If you have no collision coverage, someone hits you and it’s their fault, their insurance will pay. But, what if you are hit by an uninsured driver? Obviously, there’s no one else to pay; if you don’t have collision coverage, you’re on your own to repair your vehicle.  

    Maine’s ratio of uninsured drivers is 4%. That’s among the lowest in the country. But, we’re also inundated with drivers “from away” during tourist season. Other states have many more uninsured drivers.

Related Post: “Someone Hit My Parked Car!”

As you can see, there is no single answer to the question of when to insure collision or not. It depends on the vehicle, your financial situation, the cost of your coverage, and your own risk tolerance.

Questions about Maine Auto Insurance?

If you’re a client, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland for answers to your insurance questions. If you’re ready, you can request a policy change here.

If you live in Southern Maine and aren’t a client, call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s most preferred insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.


Pothole Damage
When a great car insurance quote isn't.

7 Ways to Trim Insurance Costs This Month

Thanks to Maine’s rural nature, mature population, low crime rates and high percentage of insured drivers, buyers of Maine auto insurance and home insurance pay some of the lowest insurance rates in the U.S. Still, there are ways to reduce your insurance costs. Avoiding accidents, tickets and homeowners claims is an obvious one. Here are some others.

Shop Around

Insurance is a very competitive business, as evidenced by the volume of advertising in the media, mail and internet.  Every insurance company sets their own rates, and evaluates people differently. If you bought your policy directly from an insurance company (like Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, etc.), they only offer rates from their company. You’ll have to shop on your own.

Consult a Maine independent insurance agent who represents many companies; they will do the shopping for you. Many of them even have web sites where you can compare Maine  home and auto insurance quotes from multiple companies.

The Best Time to Shop for Insurance

Your home and car insurance rates depend greatly upon your insurance score. That score is based on most of the same information as your credit score. The higher your score, the lower your car and home insurance rates. To get the best price, shop for insurance when your score is good.

In general, your insurance score decreases when you:

  • Make a late payment on any type of loan or bill.
  • Use a higher percentage of your available credit
  • Apply for a loan or credit card (applying for insurance does NOT affect your score).

The time to get the best insurance rates is BEFORE refinancing or buying a home or car, and when your credit card balances are low.

Package Your Policies

Most insurers offer a significant discount for buying more than one policy from them. If you insure your property and your autos, you can often save $200 or more per year. The same goes for boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles or other types of insurance. Some insurers can even combine your billing, to simplify your bill-paying process, and reduce the clutter in your life.

Don’t Let Your Insurance Lapse

Every month, thousands of people get insurance cancellation notices due to non-payment of premium. This happens for reasons ranging from inattention to bills, to being on vacation, to simply not having the money.

If your insurance lapses, the insurance company may choose not to reinstate your coverage – especially if you’re a frequent slow payer. Few insurance companies will accept you after you have had a lapse in coverage – and they charge higher premiums to account for the additional risk. An easy way to save $250 per year or more: don’t let your policy cancel in the first place.

Communicate with Your Agent – Get the Discounts You Deserve

Your agent knows more about insurance discounts and rules than you do. They know which companies offer auto insurance discounts for driving few miles, owning a hybrid car, or a child being on the honor roll; discounts on home insurance for installing a generator or an alarm system; and which ones have best rates for young drivers. Some companies even offer a discount if you have your policy delivered electronically instead of by mail.

Certain life events affect your insurance, like sending a child off to college, inheriting a vehicle or property, and a child getting their driver’s license. By talking regularly with your agent, you will get advice on the best rate and coverage for your current situation.

Adjust Your Coverage

Pay attention to your deductibles and coverage. When you first bought your home, you may not have had the cash reserves to pay a $1,000 bill for damage. Perhaps now you do. Increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save hundreds of dollars a year.

Likewise, your auto policy may still have collision coverage on a vehicle with a very low book value. Your agent can help you estimate the savings by removing unneeded coverages or increasing deductibles.

Pay Bills Automatically

Most insurers now allow you to pay your insurance  in monthly installments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Many charge very little – or nothing – for this option. Compared to the traditional “get a bill, write a check” method, this could save you $60 per year per policy. It also assures that your insurance continues without lapse, and improves your “on time payment” record, which helps your credit and insurance scores.

If you live in Southern Maine, and have questions about your insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541.

What is Auto Loan and Lease Gap Coverage?

Many auto dealers offer low down payment options to sell more vehicles. Vehicles depreciate quickly. Early in the loan term you may owe more money than the vehicle is worth. This can be a serious problem if your vehicle is totaled early in the loan or lease term.

An Example of Loan Gap Coverage

Auto insurance companies pay the “actual cash value” (similar to “book value”) of your vehicle. The value may be less than the amount you owe on the loan or lease. 

Say your dealer offers a sweet  “no money down” incentive on a $32,000 vehicle. You total it 3 months later in a crash. The book value is $28,000, but you owe $31,000 on the loan. The bank comes looking for $3,000. Uh-oh.

Luckily, you bought loan gap coverage. Instead of paying the book value the insurance company pays you the amount you owe. You can start over again with no debt. Not bad, huh?

Some Restrictions Apply

  • Most insurers only sell loan – lease gap coverage in the first few months you own the vehicle.
  • Coverage usually “drops off” after 36 months. By that time, hopefully your loan is no longer “upside down”.
  • Your vehicle has to be a total loss.
  • Of course, you have to buy collision coverage on the vehicle.
  • Loan-lease gap coverage usually costs an additional 6-8% of the physical damage coverage on the vehicle.

Our Maine insurance agency is ready with answers to your personal, business or professional liability insurance questions. For answers, or to get a Maine auto insurance quote, or Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541.

Real Claims: Is Your Property Insurance Ready?

In the last week of the year, everyone in the news, sports and entertainment world seems to present a “year in review”. We thought we would look at some of the claims our clients had in 2010. We’ll start with property insurance, in the hopes that it might help you manage risks and make decisions about your own Maine homeowners insurance or business property insurance.

When you report an insurance claim to Noyes Hall & Allen, we categorize them and engage your insurer for proper handling. Here’s a comparison of the property claims we initiated in the past 3 years. They give a good indication of the protection that your insurance provides.

Graph of property insurance claims for a Maine Insurance Agency

2010 – Four Strong Winds

If wind damaged your home, or tree limbs fell on your property last year, you were in good company. In a typical year, wind claims represent 10% of the total property claims reported to us. In 2010, it was 36%. From February to August to December, the coast of Maine was blasted by unusually strong winds.

2009 – The Water Was Wide

People usually think of fire insurance when they insure their property. But water damage is the most common property insurance claim in Maine. Normally, 35% of homeowners and business property claims report water damage. In 2009, it was almost double that amount. Frozen pipes, leaking pipes, ice dams, toilets, tubs and sinks overflowing – even burst washing machine hoses – are all covered by most Maine insurance policies. We saw them all in 2009. Fortunately, it was a quiet year for claims overall. The clear winter resulted in 15% fewer claims than usual.

2008 – Fire and Rain

Although 2008 brought a normal number of claims, we saw an unusual number of winter fires – typically the most expensive claims – and lightning damage from summer storms. Fire and lightning losses occurred at 3 times the usual rate.

What Deductible Should I Carry?

As these graphs show, property losses happen all too often. This means that you should choose a property deductible carefully. Pick the highest one that you can afford to pay out of pocket in case of a loss, in order to get the best insurance discounts available.

The table below shows the average cost of different types of insurance claims in our agency in 2010. Use this information to help you determine the best deductible for your budget.

Table of average property claims from Noyes Hall & Allen

For specific advice about your insurance situation, contact your Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.