Insurance Rates Rise in 2023. Here’s Why

Insurance rates will increase in 2023 for individuals and businesses. Insurance people increasingly expect what they call a “hard market”. Underwriting gets tighter. Insurance rates rise. Appetite for risk shrinks. It’s part of the natural insurance cycle. Here’s why we’re seeing it now.

Insurance Rates Rise in Uncertainty

Insurance companies use history and future expectations to set rates. When they feel confident in their claim predictions, rates are more stable. When confidence is lower, their risk of getting it wrong is higher. That means prudent insurance companies have to charge more “just in case”.

These are uncertain and risky times. Weather and natural disasters are more extreme and difficult to forecast. Moreover, economic signals are mixed. Supply channels are challenged. Even public health is in flux. All that uncertainty prompts insurers to set rates cautiously. They need make sure they’ll be able to pay claims.

Inflation Affects Insurance

We all feel the effects of inflation. Prices are higher for everything from groceries and gas to lumber and plumbers. Insurance companies feel it too. Medical expenses, auto repairs rental, used cars, building materials and costs all increased dramatically during and after COVID.

Some of those costs have settled, but none are where they were before. Meanwhile, insurance companies had to pay 2020 claims with premiums collected using 2019 rates – before anyone knew what was coming.

Insurance Rates Rise After Disasters

Wildfires, tropical storms, temperature extremes, droughts and floods and other disasters are more frequent. Insurance companies have paid billions in property claims. It makes no difference whether they believe these are trends or blips. Insurance companies need to prepare to collect enough premium to pay losses.

The Reinsurance Effect

You buy insurance to protect your family or business from disaster. Insurance companies do the same. They buy reinsurance each year to protect them from going bankrupt due to a catastrophe. Of course, reinsurers set their rates based on losses and projections, too. Now, the property reinsurance rates that insurance companies pay are rising by double-digits. Insurance companies pass that cost on to consumers as part of their rates.

In Maine, we’re fortunate not to have many of these disasters. But we still share in the losses of other regions through reinsurance rates. And, we have harsh weather, too – remember the Ice Storm?

Insurance Rates Vary – Choice is Important

Although insurance costs are higher across the board, each insurer sets their own rates. That’s why it’s important to compare coverage and price to find the best value. As an independent insurance agency in South Portland, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers a choice of several preferred insurance companies. Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent. We can help you compare and decide which is the best fit for you. We’re independent and committed to you.

Service Line Insurance in Maine

Service line insurance is a new coverage that some homeowners insurers offer. It covers property not included in “off the shelf” policies. What is it, and do you need it? Find out here.

Service Line Insurance – What is It?

Service line insurance pays for certain damage to some underground lines outside the foundation of your home. Most insurance companies define that as

  • Underground public utility water and sewer pipes between the street and your home.
  • Underground private water lines between your well head and your home.
  • Underground private septic lines between your home and your septic tank.
  • Underground electric, gas or telecommunication lines on your property.

What Kind of Damage Does Service Line Insurance Cover?

Many forms cover damage from:

  • Wear & tear
  • Rust, corrosion or deterioration
  • Damage from tree roots (some companies exclude tree root damage).
  • Collapse, except for sinkhole or subsidence.

What’s Not Covered?

These claims are typically excluded:

  • Swimming pools
  • Irrigation systems
  • Unclogging plumbing blockages
  • Some policies exclude damage from tree roots.

Is Service Line Insurance the Same as a Water District Plan?

No. Water district plans are usually service agreements, not insurance. Our website has more information about the difference between service line insurance and water district plans.

Service Line Insurance Covers More than Pipes

Service Line insurance covers replacement or repair of the damaged pipe. In addition, it covers excavation costs. Also, the cost to replace your excavated lawn or pavement. Some policies also cover costs for you to stay elsewhere while your home’s water or sewer system is not working.

How Much Service Line Coverage Can I Afford?

Service line coverage typically has a $10,000 limit. Most Maine service line policies have a $500 deductible. The cost is surprisingly reasonable: often less than $50 per year. Check with your agent to see what’s available to you.

Service Line Insurance Quotes

If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for a homeowners insurance quote that includes service line coverage. Call us at 207-799-5541 or get up to 5 insurance quotes online. As an independent insurance agency in South Portland, we offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home insurance companies. We can compare to find you the best insurance value. We’re independent and committed to you.

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.

Market Value and Building Cost – How Much Insurance do You Need?

Market value and building cost are important factors for property owners. But only one really matters when buying insurance. Knowing which one can help you avoid buying too much – or too little – insurance.

Market value and building cost are both important to property owners. But only one matters for insurance.

Market Value and Building Costs – Both are High

Market values of real estate are at an all-time high. That’s no secret to anyone buying or selling property. Whether you believe we’re in a bubble or not, 2022 is clearly a seller’s market. Due to low supply and high demand, buyers are offering above asking price and making other concessions to get properties.

Building costs are also high in 2022. Although lumber prices are lower after a huge COVID spike, they remain at a historically high level. So do contractors’ labor rates. Prices for petroleum-based building materials are also sky high.

Market Value – What is It?

Simply put, real estate market value is the going price. The one a willing buyer and seller agree upon. Many factors go into market price. Among them:

  • Location (location, location)
  • Inventory of similar properties for sale
  • Features of the buildings
  • Acreage
  • Landscaping and other improvements

Building Cost vs. Reconstruction Cost

Building cost is different from market value. It’s also different from reconstruction cost.

Building cost includes:

  • Building materials (“sticks and bricks”)
  • Design or architectural work
  • Contractor labor and use of equipment

Reconstruction cost per square foot is often higher than building new. Some reasons for that include:

  • Constraints of working around existing landscaping and structures
  • Matching existing materials, design, etc.
  • Reduced economies of scale. Contractors often build several new homes at a time. This distributes the cost of equipment, materials and labor. A reconstruction job at one home doesn’t permit this kind of scale.

Insurance Doesn’t Cover Market Value

Market value includes land, earth moving, landscaping and hardscape. Insurance doesn’t pay for any of those things. Market value also includes outbuildings, fences, pools and other structures. Insurance lists those separately from main buildings.

Insurance Covers Reconstruction Cost

Insurance covers the cost to rebuild. Even after a complete disaster, a contractor may be able to use the excavation or foundation that remains. That’s why in highly desirable areas, insurance values are often less than the price you would pay to buy the property.

Can A Lender Make You Insure the Purchase Price?

Lenders are always concerned about protecting their interest in your property. But your building insurance amount may not match your loan amount. That’s OK.

By law, lenders cannot require insurance in excess of rebuilding costs for 1-4 family dwellings in Maine. If your insurance agent can prove that your policy covers 100% of reconstruction costs, your lender cannot require more insurance.

Your Insurance Agent – Your Advocate

An insurance agent should work with you to estimate the proper rebuilding cost of your property. They should also provide proof of insurance to your lender. Finally, they should advocate on your behalf if the lender pushes for insurance above the fair rebuilding cost.

Do you need to insure property in Southern Maine? Whether it’s in Greater Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough or anywhere in Cumberland, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc or York County, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland or call 207-799-5541.

We offer a choice of many insurance companies so we can help you find the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

Home Insurance About to Renew? We Know South Portland and Can Help You Get the Best Value

From Ferry Village to Highland Avenue and Brick Hill to Meeting House Hill, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance has helped South Portland residents and businesses protect their properties since 1933.

Is your home insurance about to renew? Do you know if the price and coverage are competitive? Why not get a 2nd opinion? It’s totally free and no-obligation.

As a Trusted Choice Independent Agency, we offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home insurance companies. That allows us to find solutions that fit your budget and your needs.

We’re a locally owned business. Our team lives, works and plays here. We support South Portland organizations and non-profits. Put our local knowledge to work for you. You can get up to 5 home insurance quotes in 10 minutes here, or by clicking the button below.

Home Insurance About to Renew? We Know Scarborough and Can Help You Get the Best Value.

From Higgins Beach to Fogg Brook and Beech Ridge to Oak Hill, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance has helped Scarborough residents and businesses protect their properties since 1933.

Is your home insurance about to renew? Do you know if the price and coverage are competitive? Why not get a 2nd opinion? It’s totally free and no-obligation.

As a Trusted Choice Independent Agency, we offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home insurance companies. That allows us to find solutions that fit your budget and your needs.

We’re a locally owned business. Our team lives, works and plays here. Put our local knowledge to work for you. You can get up to 5 home insurance quotes in 10 minutes here, or by clicking the button below.

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.

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.