Access Your Maine Insurance Policy Info 24/7

We’re pleased to introduce a new feature for clients of Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance. Now, you can access policy documents and information from our secure web site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Lost your Maine auto insurance card? Want to check on your coverage at night or on the weekend?  You can log on easily and get the information you need in two minutes or less. Here’s how.

Step 1 – Visit NoyesHallAllen.com


Look for the “My Account” icon on the upper right of the page (or in the list on a mobile phone). It opens to a drop-down menu. Select an option.

 

Step 2 – Log In Using Your Email Address

You must use the email address that our agency has on file for you. This is usually the one that we have emailed correspondence to in the past. Let us know if we should use a different email address.

 

Step 3 – Log In With a Secure Verification Code 

This is sent instantly to your mobile device or your email address. This code helps keep your personal information in your hands alone. It expires after 5 minutes.

 

Step 4 – Choose the Policy or Documents You Want

The default view is “policies. This allows you to view the details of your coverage by clicking “view policy” below the snapshot.(click on the image for a larger version)

Note that there’s an option to switch to “documents” as well as the default “policies”.

 

If you want to download your insurance cards, choose “documents” click “download” on the right. You can print or save them to your device from there. By law, Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, city and town halls and law enforcement officers accept electronic proof of insurance. You aren’t required to produce a paper copy.

(click on the image for an enlarged verson)

 

We hope that you enjoy the convenience of 24/7 access to your insurance policy information.

Please note:
1) Most insurance companies share their information with us electronically in a compatible form with this feature. If your documents aren’t available, call us and we can send them to you.

2) The policy information on the Client Center is a very simplified recap of your policy. You may have purchased endorsements that the Client Center can’t show, so your coverage might be different. Your insurance policy is always the definitive document of your insurance coverage.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Portland Maine?

 

Most Portland Maine landlords require proof of renters insurance before you move in to your apartment, house or condo. That’s because the landlord’s insurance does NOT cover your belongings against water damage, theft, fire or other perils. They want to make sure that you have coverage for your own stuff. The same goes for your liability. If someone slips on an ice cube in your apartment, the landlord’s insurance will not pay for medical bills or lost work. But, your renters insurance will.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

The price depends on how much coverage you need. The minimum premium for many insurers is $150 to $200 per year. That usually buys you $300,000 of liability protection and $20,000 of personal property (contents) coverage. You can insure an engagement ring on the same policy for a few dollars a year. If you have a lot of stuff, you might spend $300 – $400 for $100,000 of contents. You may save money by bundling your car insurance and renters insurance.

How Long Does it Take to Buy Renters Insurance?

Most insurance agents can quote and bind renters insurance the same day – and often within the same hour. A local agent knows most of the apartment buildings in their area, and can quickly put together a cost-effective program to meet your lease requirement. They can also send proof of coverage to your landlord.

How Do I Provide Proof of Renters Insurance?

Your insurance agent can list your landlord as an “additional interest” so that your landlord automatically gets a copy of your renters insurance every year. This proof doesn’t cost any extra, and makes sure that you stay in good stead with your landlord.

If you’re renting a Portland Maine area apartment or condo, get a renters insurance quote from Noyes Hall & Allen.  We know every neighborhood from Willard Square to Westbrook, Oak Hill to the Old Port, the Eastern Prom to Eastern Village, and the Foreside to Bayside. We work with you and your landlord to make sure you’re protected quickly and properly, so you can focus on moving into your new place.

We’re independent and committed to YOU.

Should I Pay a Small Insurance Claim Myself, or Report It?

 

You clip your mirror on the garage door frame. Your daughter hits a golf ball through your neighbor’s window. Your shower drain leaks, staining your kitchen ceiling.  Should I file an insurance claim, or just pay it myself? How much will my insurance rates go up if I file a claim? Clients often ask us questions like this.

The answer may depend on your individual financial circumstances, insurance policy and who else was involved.

Definitely File an Insurance Claim If:

  • There’s even a CHANCE anyone was injured. Even if someone says at the scene that they’re “fine”, they can always claim that the injury wasn’t apparent until later. Sometimes, that’s the truth; other times it’s bogus. Insurance adjusters are experienced at weeding out legitimate claims from fraudulent ones. If you delay reporting the claim to your insurance company, you may jeopardize their ability to adjust the claim. They can refuse to honor your claim or defend you in that case.
  • The other party seems antagonistic or dishonest. Difficult people are hard to satisfy; and not everyone is as honest as you are. You may think that their damage or injury is minor, and offer to pay it, only to have them increase their demands. If you promise to pay something, and then turn it over to your insurer, you’ve taken away their ability to settle properly. You may find yourself on your own to pay.

Think BEFORE Reporting an Insurance Claim

Once you report a claim, it’s on your record – even if it ends up being uncovered, below your deductible, or you end up paying it yourself. And insurers consider claims when pricing your policy. Some insurance companies even charge you more for claims when nothing was paid. 

Wait…I get charged extra for saving the insurance company money by paying for my own damage? Is that fair? It sure seems wrong at first thought. Insurance companies might argue you’re more likely to have a claim if you’ve already had one. And the next one might not be so small. They need to collect more premium with the expectation of that future claim. You might say “what’s the point of having insurance in the first place?”

We’re not defending the insurance companies that charge for “no payment” claims. But, as independent insurance agents, we can advise you which companies DO charge, and how reporting a claim might affect you.

Here’s the thing: if you talk to an insurance company about a claim, they have a record of it. And, it may be used against you. If you buy your insurance directly from an insurance company (instead of an agent), you’re talking to an insurance company employee EVERY TIME you call, email or go onto their web site.


RELATED POST: What is Auto Insurance Accident Forgiveness, and Is It Worth It?


 

How Much Will My Insurance Go Up After a Claim?

It really depends. An accident surcharge is a percentage of your premium. So, if you’re paying higher rates (because of expensive vehicles, young drivers, prior accidents or violations, etc.), your increase will be bigger than someone with a lower rate. Every insurance company charges a different percentage, and for differing terms. We’ve seen increases as small as 5% for 3 years, and as high as 50% for 5 years. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t publish accident surcharge info, which would allow us to quote “what if” scenarios. But, we have enough experience to know which companies surcharge the most.


RELATED POST: Can An Insurance Company Charge Me for a Not-at-Fault Accident?


 

So, Do I Pay a Small Claim Myself, or Not?

That’s an individual decision, based upon your financial situation, risk tolerance and insurance status. You and your neighbor may make very different decisions. You might even make a different decision next year than this year. Your agent can provide as much information as they’re able, but the decision is ultimately yours.

If I’m Not Going to Put in a Small Insurance Claim, Should I Increase my Deductible?

Now you’re thinking. Higher deductibles even reduce the temptation to file a smaller claim. You also save money by choosing higher deductibles. Some companies offer larger savings than others. Your insurance agent can quote “what if” scenarios for you. Obviously, you don’t want to choose a higher deductible than you’re comfortable paying “out of pocket”. But, deductibles can be a useful risk financing tool.

Live in Southern Maine and have questions about your auto or home insurance? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click the chat button below. We represent many different insurers. We’re independent and committed to you.

Portland Maine Airbnb Landlords: New Law, Same Risks

 

The sharing economy creates opportunity and risk for Maine property owners. Many capitalize on the opportunity and create serious rental income. Mainers collected more than $26 million from 175,000 Airbnb guests in 2016. And that doesn’t include other services like HomeAway and VRBO.

Risks of Property Sharing and Short Term Rental

It’s important to consider the risks of short term rental of your property as well as the rewards. You can be liable for guests’ injuries, Guests can damage your property by abuse or negligence. You can run afoul of condo bylaws that prohibit or limit rental. Your neighbors may complain about the activities of your renters. You may jeopardize your homeowners insurance coverage by converting your home, apartment or condo into income property.

Plenty of Portland Maine area residents have those risks, whether they know it or not. More than 650 Airbnb units are actively offered for rent in the area. Owners hosted more than 50,000 guests in 2016, pocketing $7.1 million in revenue.

Portland Maine Regulation of Airbnb and Other Short Term Rental

Portland City Council has been concerned for years about the effect on housing affordability. Some investors have purchased condos and homes to rent them out short term. Portland area rents are at a historic high as the city becomes a trendy work and play destination. Short term rental of apartments and condos reduces the housing inventory for area residents and workers. City officials admit that they have no way to measure how many units are available short term rental.

That’s why City Council passed a law effective January 1, 2018 limiting short term rental activities on the mainland. Island properties are not affected by the new law. What does the law do? Can you still rent out your home or apartment as an Airbnb? Does it matter if you live in the unit you rent? What if you rent a room instead of the whole unit? Here’s a graphic showing how the new law applies to owner occupied principal residences, multi-family units and income property.

Portland Maine short term property rental laws as of January 1 2018

 

Do You Live in Greater Portland, Maine & Own Rental Property?

If you’re a Maine resident who owns income property, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207-799-5541, or request a quote online. You can’t afford to wonder whether your insurance will be there when you need it, to protect your property and other assets.

We can advise you about the local insurance market and help you evaluate your options. Whether you own a home Cape Elizabeth, apartments in Portland, a camp on Sebago Lake, a cottage in Boothbay Harbor or a Sugarloaf ski condo, we know the insurance market. We represent many different insurance companies, so we can survey the market to find the best fit and value.

We’re independent and committed to you.

What are the Highest Rated Insurance Companies in Maine?

 

If we recommend an insurance company you haven’t heard of, it’s natural to ask how good they are. Noyes Hall & Allen represents many insurance companies. Some are more well-known than others.

Because our companies sell through independent agencies, they advertise very little. By contrast, Geico, Allstate and State Farm advertise nationally to create brand awareness. Geico alone spends $1 BILLION on advertising – about 1 out of every 6 insurance advertising dollars in the U.S.

Good rates are important, but that’s only one reason for choosing an insurance company. Will they pay your claims? Are they easy to work with? At Noyes Hall & Allen, we’ve curated a group of insurance companies that we can stand behind. We work closely with them on behalf of our clients.

How to Choose a Good Insurance Company

There are three important considerations when you evaluate a potential insurer:

  • Financial solvency – Can the insurance company can pay claims, even in a disaster? Fortunately, A.M. Best studies insurance companies and rates each one for you. Noyes Hall & Allen only chooses insurers rated “A-” (Excellent) or better.
  • Customer Satisfaction – Feedback from other customers is helpful when evaluating a new insurer. Any company can have complaints; but those with repeatedly good reviews are a better bet to provide good service to you.  The J.D. Power national claims satisfaction survey compiles consumer claim feedback every year. But they focus on big national insurers. That excludes many regional insurance companies, which are so important in the Maine market.The Maine Bureau of Insurance indexes home and auto complaints by insurer. It includes Maine’s most important insurance companies. The drawback: the Bureau doesn’t get many complaints each year. That small sample can skew results. The Bureau weighs the ratio of complaints against each insurer to that company’s volume. This weighting levels the playing field. An insurer with an index below 1.00 is “better than average”. Anything above 1.00 is “worse than average”. We’ve included a chart with a recap of those scores below.
  • Fit with Your Situation – If you insure your beach house with an insurance company that has great financials and terrific reviews, but that company doesn’t like property close to the coast, it’s not going to end well. Some insurers specialize. Others are generalists. Some are comfortable insuring rental properties, or snowmobiles. Others focus on high risk drivers.

 

Complaint Index – 2016 – Maine Home and Auto Insurance

We compiled this table from data published by the Maine Bureau of Insurance. It shows the 2 year average of home and auto complaint indexes for the top 25 homeowners and auto insurance companies in Maine (by volume). We assigned a “green light” to the companies with ratings in the top 33%, yellow to the middle 33%, and red to the bottom third. Remember, customer satisfaction is only one way to evaluate an insurance company. The companies with the highest satisfaction may not write the kind of insurance you need.

 

source: Maine Bureau of Insurance. Compiled by Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance

How to Get Quotes from Many Insurance Companies at Once

Noyes Hall & Allen has access to the companies shaded in blue. That’s 11 out of 25, covering more than 50% of the volume in this list. The insurance companies we represent have a complaint index of 0.91 – much lower than the 1.00 average. By the way, insurance agencies have online reviews, too. We’re proud to show the reviews that our clients have left for our agency.

When you contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent, you’re checking 11 companies at once, backed by our knowledge of where each company excels. Your agent can customize advice to your situation, proposing a solution built just for you.

That’s what we mean we we say we’re “Independent and Committed to You”.  Request a Maine insurance quote today, or call us at 207-799-5541.

Avoid The Biggest Home or Auto Insurance Mistake

 

Auto and home insurance are necessary for most Mainers. That’s one reason why the Maine Bureau of Insurance enforces consumer protection laws. A Maine insurance company can only cancel your auto or home insurance for a few reasons. The most common is also the most avoidable – and the most damaging.


THE BIGGEST INSURANCE MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE:

Allow your policy to cancel for non-payment of premium.


 

Once your policy cancels, you have almost no legal protection. The insurance company may refuse to take you back for any reason at all. End of story. 

The moment your policy cancels, you lose ALL leverage with the insurance company. They hold all the cards. If you want to go back to them, they will pull out their magnifying glass to review your:

  • claim history (even small claims hurt);
  • payment history (are you often late?);
  • other business with the insurance company (if this was your only policy with them, they may not take you back);
  • credit score (if your score is a lot lower than it was when they insured you, they may decline);
  • the age, location, use and condition of your home (for homeowners insurance).

With a Lapsed Insurance Policy, You Have Few Options

Preferred insurers will consider you only if you’ve had insurance (no lapse) for at least 2 years. Some companies demand an even longer period of continuous insurance. If your preferred company won’t take you back, you may end up in the “non-standard or “specialty market. Expect much higher premiums, less broad coverage, and limited payment options.

Keep Your Leverage Against the Insurance Company

Keep your policy in force until YOU choose to cancel it.

Down to the wire? Most insurers now accept credit cards.
Down to the wire? Most insurers now accept credit cards.

4 WAYS TO MAKE SURE YOUR COVERAGE DOESN’T LAPSE

  • Set up automatic withdrawal of insurance premium (monthly, quarterly or annual);
  • Notify your agent right away of any changes in mortgage company or address;
  • Notify your agent if you change address or phone number;
  • Update Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles with any address changes.

If Your Maine Homeowners or Auto Policy Cancels

The insurance company may give you another chance IF:

  • you’re a long-term insurance company customer;
  • you caught your lapse very quickly; and
  • you have a good claim and payment history;Contact your agent right away. They’ll try use their leverage with the insurance company on your behalf. They don’t always win. If they do, the insurance company will need immediate payment and a signed “no loss statement”. Only then will they reinstate your coverage.

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.

Why Does My Landlord Require $100,000 of Renters Insurance in Portland Maine?

 

Maine Renters Insurance 101

Whether you’re renting an apartment, house or a condo, in Scarborough, South Portland or Portland, Maine renters insurance is usually required by landlords. Many leases require a minimum of $100,000 personal liability (renters) insurance. Buying renters insurance is a great idea. Buying $100,000 of liability insurance is a TERRIBLE idea. Read on to find out why.

What’s the Cost of $100,000 Renters Insurance in Maine?

This is the most common question our South Portland independent insurance agency gets from first time renters. They usually focus on the liability insurance requirement, which is only a small part of the cost (and benefit) of renters insurance. The short answer is that a first-time renter with minimal property to insure usually pays less than $150 a YEAR for insurance. If you’re insuring an engagement ring or other jewelry, expensive electronics or sports equipment, you might push $200.

Getting Renters Insurance (1)How to Get Renters Insurance in Portland, Maine

  1. Figure out how much your stuff is worth. Renters insurance prices are based upon how much you insure your belongings for. The minimum is often $20,000. This should be the cost to replace all your old stuff with new. That costs more than you think. A new phone, computer, TV, furniture, bike, everything in your drawers and closets – it adds up FAST!
  2. Don’t buy the minimium $100,000 liability insurance.  That may be what your lease requires, but liability insurance may be the only thing between you and a huge lawsuit. What if you burn the place down? Or, if a guest slips on an ice cube? Or your cute puppy bites a kid while you’re at the dog park? Liability insurance is cheap. You can buy $500,000 for about $10 more than the minimum $100,000. Do it.
  3. Find a good, Portland Maine area insurance agent. Preferably an insurance agent with great reviews from real clients.
  4. Call them or request a renters insurance quote online. The agent will ask you a few questions, and you’ll probably have your quote before you know it. It’s that easy!

Related: Moving to Portland Maine – An Insider’s Guide


Should I Combine Renters and Auto Insurance Together?

Many insurers offer a discount if you insure both renters and cars with them. Ask your agent about the discounts. Getting a Maine online car insurance quote is almost as easy as getting a renters insurance quote. You’ll need to provide information about yourself, your vehicles and your driving record. Even if you don’t end up bundling car insurance with your renters insurance, you’ll know whether or not your current insurance program is any good.

Can I Include My Roommate on My Renters Insurance?

If you and your roommate are unrelated, you each have to buy your own renters insurance. If you’re married, you and your spouse can buy one together. If you’re engaged, ask your agent. Insurance companies’ rules can vary.

For answers to questions about Maine renters insurance, moving to Portland Maine, insuring and registering a car in Maine, insuring an engagement ring, or other common questions, contact a friendly Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207.799.5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Insuring Your Engagement Ring

 

You’re engaged! The world is a happier place when you share your life with someone else. The most common symbol of that commitment is an engagement ring. As high as you feel when that ring is on your finger, you can feel equally sad and angry if the ring is lost or damaged.

Insurance can’t stop bad things from happening, but it can pay to repair or replace your precious engagement ring. We see it regularly in our South Portland, Maine insurance agency. Here are five things we’ve learned that most people don’t know about insuring their engagement ring.

Basic Home and Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover Theft of Expensive Jewelry

Most modern homeowners policies limit coverage for theft of jewelry to $1,500. Some have an even lower limit. Your policy also has a deductible – often $1,000.

If your $4,000 ring is stolen along with other things from your jewelry box and some small electronics, your insurance might only pay $1,000 or $1,500 for all of it.

Basic Insurance Doesn’t Cover Losing a Stone from Your Engagement Ring

Off-the-shelf homeowners or renters insurance covers your personal property (“stuff”) for 16 listed perils. Those perils are fine for most types of property, but not jewelry. If your jewelry is damaged by something outside of those 16 perils, you have no insurance coverage.

A gem falling out of a loose setting is not one of the 16 named perils. Neither is having to cut your ring off after an accident or injury to your hand. Or, dropping your engagement ring into the ocean while proposing, for that matter.

It’s Not Expensive to Insure Your Engagement Ring Properly

The proper way to insure jewelry in Maine is to “schedule” (list) it on your homeowners or renters insurance using a Scheduled Personal Property Form. This changes the insurance coverage on your jewelry from “named perils” to “open perils”. That sounds small, but it’s BIG.

Instead of the insurance listing perils that are COVERED, an “open perils” policy lists a few that are EXCLUDED. And those exclusions really are few. Things like wear & tear, intentional damage, and war.

Most insurance companies charge a rate of less than 1% for scheduled jewelry. It should cost less than $100 a year to insure your $10,000 diamond engagement ring.

graphic - cost to insure engagement ring in Maine

 

Insuring Your Engagement Ring Probably Protects Your Other Stuff

Most people in Maine insure their jewelry as a part of a renters or homeowners policy. It’s the most cost-effective way to insure jewelry. Bonus: your renters policy also covers your other belongings, and protects you against most general liability lawsuits for negligence.

Many couples don’t think to buy renters insurance until they get engaged, and suddenly have a very small and valuable asset: the engagement ring. Their renters policy also covers their furniture, electronics, bikes, clothing and other “stuff” – almost anywhere in the world.

Engagement Ring Insurance Usually Has No Deductible

Unlike the rest of your home or renters insurance policy, most jewelry insurance riders have no deductible. The insurance company covers 100% of the cost to replace or repair the damage to your engagement ring if you separately schedule it.

If you’re recently engaged…

you’re starting a new and wonderful path together. You’re combining your lives as never before, and making big plans together. It’s also a great time to think about saving money – and protecting yourselves better – by combining your insurance.

How does Maine auto insurance change when you’re engaged? What about renters insurance or homeowners insurance? If you live in the Southern Maine, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207.799.5541 for answers to your insurance questions. We’re especially convenient to the Portland peninsula, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough Maine. And, we’re independent and committed to you!

 

 

 

How Do Insurance Agents & Brokers Get Paid?

 

Insurance is a $1 trillion business in the U.S. The industry employs about 2.5 million Americans, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Life/health (L/H) insurers collect about $650B and property/casualty (P/C) insurers about $500B each year.

Noyes Hall & Allen specializes in property/casualty insurance. Before talking about how property/casualty agents are paid, let’s take a brief look at the P/C business.

Maine Property/Casualty Insurance Overview

P/C insurers provide auto, home and business insurance. There are 3 top distribution models for P/C insurance sales channels (1)insurance.

  1. Direct writers rely on advertising to generate the majority of their business.  When you call or respond to an advertising piece, you’re speaking with a company employee. They only offer products from one company. GEICO, USAA and esurance are direct writers. While they don’t pay agents to generate business, they spend a LOT of money on advertising. GEICO alone spends over $1B per year.
  2. Exclusive agents (sometimes called “captive agents”) also sell insurance only from one company. Unlike direct writers, they have local agents who sell and service their products. These companies also advertise a LOT to drive business to their retail agents. Allstate, State Farm and Liberty Mutual use the exclusive agent model.
  3. Independent agents (sometimes called IAs or Trusted Choice agents) are locally owned and operated. Each contracts with 5 to 15 insurers, thus offering their clients a choice of insurance companies. IAs can access an international network of brokers for unusual insurance needs. Insurers that contract with IAs advertise much less than other insurance companies. They are less likely to be household names. Many IA insurers specialize on one region or type of customer. Popular IA insurers in Maine include: Concord Group; Hanover Insurance; MMG Insurance and Vermont Mutual.
  4. Hybrid companies (ok, this makes 4 models, but not really). These insurers will write insurance using one or more different channels. These are usually large national insurers. Examples: Hartford; Liberty Mutual; Travelers; and Progressive.

How Maine P/C Insurance Agents Make Money

Both exclusive and IA insurance companies pay agents a percentage of the premium. Commission varies by policy type and whether the policy is new or renewal. Usually, commission is between 10 and 20 percent.

Exclusive agents often make a higher percentage commission on new business than renewals. Some exclusive companies even stop paying agents after several years. This incents the exclusive agent to focus on writing new policies.

Independent agents often make the same commission on both new and renewal policies. This allows the agent to provide  consistent customer service year after year. If you’re an existing client of an independent agent, you’re even more valuable than a new one. It takes an independent agent 3-5 years to recoup the cost of insuring a new customer.

Who Pays an Insurance Agent’s Commission?

The insurance company pays the agent’s commission out of the premium they collect. There is no specific surcharge on the premium that goes to the agent. Of course, the customer pays the agent’s commission – just not by a separate line item. Insurance premiums do not rise or fall with the agent’s commission percentage.

Can You Save on Insurance if  You “Cut Out the Middleman”?

No one sales channel is always the lowest cost. Claim costs and insurance company expenses all impact premiums. Some direct writers would have you believe that you save money by bypassing an agent. In reality, you might pay MORE without an agent to advocate for you. Of course, you could pay less, too.

Our Agents Speak English – And Insurance. If you don’t know the system, you can leave money on the table. We know to ask about certain discounts. Is your child on the honor roll or away at college without a car? Your local agent may know these things, or you might ask when you call in to do something else. If your agent is independent of the insurance company, they’re more likely to act on your behalf.

If you have a question about Maine home, auto, boat, motorcycle or business insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.