Andover Insurance Offers New Protection from Cyber Crime

Many of us are online more than ever. We can shop for everything from groceries to garden supplies. We can pay bills, communicate with doctors, connect with loved ones, and read news online.

This can all be really convenient. It can also expose your personal information to cyber criminals and other bad actors.

Up to now, insurance coverage against cyber crime frankly hasn’t been very good. It covered limited types of loss – mostly the kind that don’t occur often.

But Andover Companies recently introduced Cyber Protection coverage.

We like Andover’s Cyber Protection because it covers you against many common situations, including:

  • Cyber attack – someone attacks your computer, stealing information.
  • Data breach – your personal information is stolen or compromised from a vendor or service you use.
  • Online fraud – unauthorized use of accounts, identity theft, etc.
  • Cyber extortion – your computer is disabled by bad actors who promise to fix it – for a price.
  • Cyberbullying – harassment or attack via text, email or social media. 

Premium starts at $45 per year for $25,000 in protection. You can buy as much as $50,000 coverage for $55 per year. 

For years we’ve asked our insurance companies to introduce coverage like this. Andover Companies is one of the first one to make it broadly available to our clients. We recommend that our clients consider it.

Interested in learning more? Here is a link to our Blog Post about Cyber Insurance (5 minute read). 

If you’re a Noyes Hall & Allen client who would like to add cyber protection, or have any questions about your insurance, we’re happy to help with local, personalized service. Call us at 207-799-5541.

Individual Cyber Insurance – Protection Against Cybercrime

Individual Cyber Insurance protects against data breach, online fraud, cyber ransom and more. As our lives become more digital, we’re vulnerable. Identity theft, cyberbullying, phishing and ransom attacks are constant risks. Cyber insurance can help reduce your inconvenience and loss.

Individual cyber insurance protects against data breach, fraud, hacking, phishing, malware, ransomware and more.

What Does Individual Cyber Insurance Cover?

Cyber insurance for individuals is different than businesses cyber coverage. It pays to repair your online identity and reimburse for theft due to computer fraud. Coverage forms vary by insurance company. Some common examples of personal cyber liability coverage are:

Online Fraud and Identity Theft

Bad actors are everywhere on the internet. Spoofing. Phishing. Scamming. They’re looking for a quick buck or to capture your personal information or bank account info. A good cyber insurance policy reimburses you for fraudulent charges.

Ransomware or Cyber Extortion

Ransomware is malicious software that disables your computer or steals your data. The criminals then offer to fix the issue – for a price. Cyber insurance can pay for expert counsel to respond to the extortion.

Cyberbullying

Cyber crime isn’t always about money. Experts estimate that 1 in 6 teens have been bullied online or by text. Cyber Insurance can cover the cost of counseling, tutoring, and legal expenses.

Individual Cyber Insurance Against Data Breach

Every day, criminals hack companies and organizations and steal their clients’ personal information. Smart companies buy their own cyber insurance. That can help their customers. But personal cyber insurance can help, too. Cyber insurance can connect you with credit monitoring and identity restoration services. It can also pay for that professional help.

Identity Fraud Expense vs. Individual Cyber Insurance

Identity Fraud Expense coverage sounds good. But it’s much weaker than true Cyber Insurance for Individuals. Identity Fraud Expense reimburses you for costs to report and challenge identity theft. Examples include notarizing costs, loan re-application fees and some lost income for time spent meeting with credit agencies and lawyers. This is a fraction of the true damage of cyber crime.

Cyber Insurance also pays the costs of those extra services to help you fix things. But even more, it also repays money you lost to fraud or illegal activity. That’s much more valuable and meaningful insurance coverage.

Cyber Security Vendors (e.g. Lifelock) vs. Individual Cyber Insurance

Cyber security vendors provide a valuable service. They can help monitor your data and credit. They can also help with password protection and other loss prevention activities. In fact, insurance companies often partner with vendors to offer these services when you buy individual cyber insurance. But in addition, cyber insurance reimburses you after a covered cyber event. Some third party vendors don’t do that.

Where to Get Individual Cyber Insurance

Personal cyber insurance is usually bundled with homeowners or condo insurance instead of on its own. Few companies offer it in Maine as of Spring 2022. High-value home insurers like AIG and Chubb do.

Hanover Insurance offers cyber insurance to middle-to-upper income households as part of their bundle. Andover Companies do, too. We expect other Maine insurers will follow suit.

Get a Quote for Personal Cyber Insurance

Do you live in Maine? Interested in a quote for individual cyber insurance? Although options are limited now, the market is changing quickly.

Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. As an independent agency, we’re not limited to one insurance company. That means we can compare and offer options that are available. We’re independent and committed to you.

Maine Business Vehicle Insurance: Can GPS Reduce Costs?

If you operate a Maine business, vehicle insurance can be major expense. Business fleets are necessary tools for many businesses. They also create costs, liability and control issues. GPS fleet monitoring solutions are more widespread and less expensive than ever. Some Maine businesses are using them to track their fleet and reduce Maine business vehicle insurance costs at the same time. 

GPS fleet monitoring technology can help reduce Maine business vehicle insurance costs.

Control Personal Use to Reduce Maine Business Vehicle Insurance Costs

Many Maine businesses prohibit personal use of company cars and trucks. This reduces fuel and maintenance expense, and reduces the company’s liability exposure. GPS reporting and tracking discourages employees from using company vehicles for personal purposes.

Reducing Business Vehicle Theft with GPS

GPS Tracking systems can deter theft. They also increase the odds of recovering a stolen vehicle. It can take police a long time to recover a vehicle if it has no anti-theft system. Meanwhile, your business has to rent or buy a replacement.

Some stolen vehicles are never recovered. However, with GPS tracking, you can lead police to the exact location. This reduces recovery times and minimizes cost for everyone.

Promoting Safe Driving Reduces Maine Business Vehicle Insurance

Safe driving saves fuel and reduces insurance costs. Employees who know that their driving is being monitored operate with extra caution.

Nowadays, GPS devices can record incidents like heavy braking, rapid acceleration and speeding. Management can run reports to check driving. The business can use this data for training, driver screening or accident reconstruction.

Improving Job Accounting and Customer Service

GPS technology can even help Maine service businesses simplify accounting and improve customer service. For instance, GPS reports can track how long a service vehicle is parked at a job. Likewise, real-time reporting can verify that your technician arrived at the promised time and remained at the job.

In addition, GPS can improve customer service. For instance, GPS directions can help drivers find the fastest route to the job. Also, real-time traffic monitoring can suggest time-saving alternate routes. Moreover, with GPS monitoring, your business can text a customer about a delayed driver and provide a new ETA. 

Maine Business Vehicle Insurance Discounts for GPS Users

Insurance companies give preferred pricing to businesses that control their exposures well. At the same time, fleet GPS implementation helps insurance companies, too. Safer driving means fewer accidents. Fewer non-business miles reduces road exposure. GPS tracking can help recover a stolen business vehicle. 

In the future, insurance companies may use GPS data to customize rates for each business customer. Meanwhile, they’re happy to encourage their customers to use GPS to avoid or reduce losses. For instance, they may provide business vehicle insurance discounts.

Has Your Business Invested in Fleet GPS Monitoring? 

Your Maine business has invested in GPS vehicle fleet monitoring. Are you maximize your return on investment? Call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland.

We are a locally owned independent agency. That means we represent many of Maine’s preferred business auto insurance companies. Our agents can help you check the insurance market. In other words, they can help make sure you get the best value for your business insurance. At Noyes Hall & Allen, we’re independent and committed to you.  

Insurance for Low Mileage Maine Drivers

Many Mainers drive less than they did a year ago. By many accounts, we are logging about 30% fewer miles than this time last year. Should insurance companies reduce your car insurance rates as a result? Maybe. But it won’t happen automatically.

Here’s why.

2020 Driving Trends Affecting Car Insurance

Driving data indicates a dramatic change in behavior in Spring 2020. We all know why.

  • Fewer Miles Driven (but not by everyone).
    Many people are not working, or working from home. That means they’re driving less, and not as far. But essential workers and others continue to commute. Some people actually drive more than before, replacing lost income with new gigs.
  • What Rush Hour?
    With many offices closed, usual morning and evening congestion has almost disappeared. Those who are are driving do so at different times of day, spreading out road usage. That means less risky driving behavior such as hard stops and quick acceleration.
  • Increased Speeds
    With more open space on the road, average vehicle speed increased. Faster speeds and clearer roads can mean fewer but more serious crashes.

Is Your Car Insurance Priced Right?

You might deserve lower car insurance rates. But it won’t happen automatically.

Insurers probably won’t reduce rates across the board. That’s because they don’t know who’s driving less than before.

Car insurance often classifies usage into 3 categories:

  • Pleasure use – used around town and for personal errants. Not driven to work.
  • Commute – either short (less than 15 miles one way) or long (more than 15).
  • Business – such as a traveling sales person, trade contractor or other extensive use.

You may deserve lower car insurance rates.
But it won’t happen automatically.

Imagine two Scarborough neighbors. One commutes 7 miles on I-295 into their Portland office every day, parking on the street. The other drives 2 miles to teach at a local school, parking in the school lot. In the summer, the teacher doesn’t commute at all.

They’re rated the same, even though their drives are much different. The Portland worker pays too little, while the teacher overpays.

Customized Rating – Gaining Acceptance

New technology allow insurers to customize car insurance prices as never before. It’s called Usage Based Insurance, or UBI.

Using smartphones, customers share driving data with their insurance company. The insurer compares them to other customers. Safer drivers pay less; riskier ones might pay more. Insurance companies have their own brand for UBI: Progressive Snapshot; Safeco RightTrack; Travelers Intellidrive, and so on. Each one has slightly different features.

In prior years, consumers hesitated to share this data, often citing privacy concerns. That changed in 2020. Many are looking for ways to save money in this time of economic hardship and reduced driving. Almost 50% of people who responded to a JD Power 2020 survey were willing to try Usage Based Insurance (UBI).

Are Customized Insurance Rates Right For You?

Think you’re paying too much for Maine car insurance based on your driving? Interested in learning more about Usage Based Insurance? It’s not for everyone.

A Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent can help you decide if it’s right for you. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top auto insurers, with and without UBI. Call our team in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Test Drive: Auto Insurance Driving Monitor

I’ve been testing Travelers’ Intellidrive mobile app. It uses my smartphone to track the quantity, quality, timing and location of my driving. Several insurance companies offer similar apps, including Progressive Snapshot, Allstate and Safeco Right Track. Most offer an up-front discount to try it. They adjust your rates after 6 months to reflect your driving safety.

Travelers allowed me to install Intellidrive without association to an insurance policy. These apps, known as telematics, are becoming more widespread. Clients ask me about them. It’s easier to explain and advise clients if I’ve tried the app myself.

The COVID effect – Are We Driving Less?

Most of us are driving less during COVID time. Insurance companies should give us a break for that, right? Many of them did, with across-the-board refunds in April and May.

But we’re not all driving less. In larger cities, mass transit reductions have forced people to find other ways to get around. Some of us are back to work. Some are working from home; or not working at all. Others are driving even more than before, delivering food or passengers to pay the bills.

The COVID disruption was so fast and intense that insurance companies don’t have a lot of data to adjust rates. That’s why they love these driving monitoring devices.

How Telematics Works

Like most insurance company telematics apps, Travelers Intellidrive monitors:

  • Time of Day
  • Number of Miles Driven
  • Location of Driving
  • Acceleration, Hard Braking and Speed
  • Distracted Driving

It’s usually smart enough to know when you’re a driver vs. a passenger (you can re-classify a trip if the app goofed).

Hit all the targets, and you can earn up to a 20% rate cut with most insurers. High-risk driving will cost you a surcharge. The average rate effect for all drivers is minus 5%. Insurers say 70% of customers get some discount.

The app reports how you’re doing. If you don’t like the early results, you can opt out within 45 days without any penalty. You just lose the up-front discount.

Humans are Bad at Estimating Risk

Telematics are a great way to accurately price insurance to risk. Good drivers pay less. Most of us think we’re good drivers. But are we?

Humans tend to underestimate risk, and over-estimate their own driving skills. Memory is fleeting but data lives forever.

I often talk to people who say they “have a completely clean record”, but reports show otherwise. They’re not trying to lie; they just don’t remember. That time your car was hit in the parking lot? When the deer ran in front of you? Or you had a minor fender-bender but no damage? Those are all “incidents” to insurance companies. Like it or not, they indicate a higher chance of future losses.

What I Like About Telematics

  • I’d probably save money. I’m a low mileage driver. I use my bike for most errands and to commute. Intellidrive allows me to pay lower insurance premiums for reduced driving.
  • It gives good feedback. Intellidrive records “events” that adversely affect my rates. Those can be my fault, like speeding or rapid starts.
    Or they could have nothing to do with how I’m driving, but when. Driving very late or during rush hour is a higher risk.
    This knowledge can be helpful if you want to improve your driving safety. A parent could use it to keep eyes on a teen driver. The app has videos and other driver training tips, too.
  • I’m a data nerd. I like to monitor my sleep and exercise with a fitness tracker. Intellidrive is like a FitBit for my driving. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like telematics.

Downsides to an Insurance Company Monitoring App

  • It collects a lot of data – for an insurance company. It tracks where and when I drive. That’s useful in calculating a fair price for my insurance. It’s also valuable to others who might want to know about me.
    I know: my smartphone, smart speaker and my Fitbit already have a lot of data about me. I trade my privacy with those vendors in exchange for the utility of the product or service.  
  • The insurance company owns that data. I’m sure the insurance company says “we’ll never sell your data”. But they might sell anonymized data. And data can be hacked. Or used against me if I’m in a crash or legal proceeding.

The Long Term Effect of Telematics

Attitudes about trading data for discounts are changing. More people are choosing to let auto insurers monitor their driving. As insurers gather more data, I expect higher rates for drivers who don’t choose to be monitored. There are two reasons for this:

  • The risk of uncertainty. Insurers set rates based on experience. Telematics allow them to project your chances of loss, tied directly to your behavior. Without that data about you, insurers will want to charge a “risk premium.”
  • Adverse selection. Remember the “opt out” option? If your driving score projects a surcharge, you can bail out within the first 45 days, with no rate penalty. As telematics become more pervasive, underwriters may assume that people who decline monitoring are higher risk drivers – and warrant higher rates.

Would I Sign up for Telematics?

If I could own the data, I’d be all in. I’d like to see a driving app that I control. I want to own my driving data and decide who to share it with. I expect that would cost something. You know what they say: if it’s free, you’re the product.

If I owned the data and wanted to shop my insurance, I could export a report from my app to my agent. They could check prices and recommend coverage. The insurance companies could access my scores, but not my data. That’s the kind of telematics I would sign up for.

But I may do it anyway. Privacy is an illusion in our wired society. My smart speaker probably listens a lot more than I think it does. I share my location via smartphone for the utility of real-time maps, traffic data, and more. And auto insurance is a big-ticket item. Everyone likes to save money.

Are We At the Tipping Point?

Telematics will reach a point where the cost difference will be hard to ignore. It’s probably already there for someone who drives as little as I do. And it may be for you, too, during COVID time.

Do you live in Maine and have questions about low mileage auto insurance discounts? Want to know more about Progressive Snapshot, Travelers Intellidrive or Safeco RightTrack? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of preferred auto insurers to help you find the right fit. We’re independent and committed to you.

Doing Insurance Business Safely and Remotely

Right now, staying apart is staying safe. That includes when you buy insurance, file a claim, and repair vehicles or property.

Insurance is more necessary than ever. People value stability in uncertain times. Insurance delivers. You can do your insurance business in a low-contact, safe manner. You don’t have to sacrifice personal advice and service. Here’s how.

GET NO-TOUCH INSURANCE QUOTES

  • Get insurance quotes online. Most insurance agencies and companies offer online auto and home insurance quotes. Enter information about your vehicles and property and get quotes back. A good independent insurance agency can deliver several quotes at once. That helps you compare.
  • Get advice, not just quotes. It’s hard to know if you’re asking for the proper coverage online, or to compare the quotes you receive. That’s why most people prefer to consult an agent before they actually buy a policy. A tech-savvy insurance agent should be available by text, video or real-time chat as well as phone and email.

BUY INSURANCE REMOTELY

  • Read and sign documents electronically with e-mail, text and e-signature. These tools allow you to read and sign applications from anywhere. All you need is a computer or mobile device.
  • Use contactless payment. Most insurers accept credit cards or electronic checks using your bank account info. No need to leave home and go to the insurance office.

AVOID INSURANCE PEOPLE COMING TO YOUR HOME

Many insurers allow customers to complete a self-inspection. That usually involves answering questions about your home’s systems and emailing pictures.

In case of a claim, avoid an insurance company appraiser’s visit. Email or upload photos of your damage to the insurance adjuster.

CONTACT-FREE INSURANCE SERVICE and PAYMENTS

  • Use mobile apps. Most insurers have them. Download and use them to request changes, check on billing, make payments and file claims.
  • Don’t want to use an app? You can do many of the same things over the phone, email, video or text chat with your agent.

GET VIRTUAL INSURANCE COVERAGE REVIEWS

Modern tools allow you to meet virtually with your Insurance agent. They can even share documents with you by video. You can get personal service and answers to your questions quickly and safely, without leaving home.

DOWNLOAD INSURANCE DOCUMENTS

You don’t have to go into the insurance office to get policy documents. Here are some other ways:

  • Your insurance company’s app. Get documents on your mobile device.
  • Register for an insurance company account. Set one up and download the documents to your computer.
  • Use your agency account. Tech-forward insurance agencies offer online access. These allow you to view your policy information and download insurance documents.
  • Ask your agent to email or text your document to you.

FILE CLAIMS FROM THE SCENE

  1. Report online. Use your insurer’s mobile app to start a claim. Or register for a free account with your insurance company, and file online.
  2. Call the insurance company directly to report your claim.
  3. Call your agent who can explain your coverage, answer questions and help you file a claim.

DON’T SACRIFICE PERSONAL SERVICE

One advantage of having a local agent is that we know you and live where you do. That’s more important than ever in this era of physical separation.

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance is a forward-thinking agency. We’ve invested in tools and ideas to provide personal advice to you easily and safely. Do you prefer text, video, phone, or a combination of all? Any way, you can get a local agent’s trusted insurance advice without venturing to our office.

Are you looking for a Maine insurance agent who can serve you safely in uncertain times? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Or visit noyeshallallen.com.

Stay safe!

How to Reduce Car Insurance Costs for Maine Teen Drivers

Car insurance is expensive for teenagers in Maine and everywhere else. Parents worry about their kids’ driving. So do insurance companies. For good reason.

Statistics show that new drivers are the most likely to have an accident. Experience matters. Newly licensed teenagers often need more driving time to learn to anticipate and avoid hazards. Even after they gain experience, teens judge risk differently than adults.

Will my teenager be a good driver?

Some drivers are better than others. It’s hard to predict. Even responsible teens and honor roll students can be terrible drivers. We all know that being tentative on the road can be almost as dangerous as aggressive driving.

We know these factors increase the likelihood of crashes for all drivers:

  • distracted or tired driving; 
  • alcohol or drug use; 
  • late night driving; 
  • traveling in unfamiliar areas; 
  • quick stops and starts. 

How much will it cost to insure my teen driver?

Modern auto insurance pricing is sophisticated and secretive. You and your neighbor may be the same age. You may drive identical vehicles. Have similar commutes and accident records. You could still pay very different prices for car insurance. How much insurance you buy obviously affects the price you pay.

So do;

  • credit scores;
  • how long you’ve been a customer of that insurance company;
  • how long you’ve lived in your home;
  • whether you bundle your home and auto insurance.

Rate complexity makes it almost impossible to predict exactly how much your new driver will add to your insurance costs. Years ago, agents could easily do “what if” quotes. No longer. Today, they need detailed information about each driver and vehicle. Your agent may be able to estimate the cost close to the time you’re adding a new driver.

How can I tell if my teenager is driving safely?

A generation ago, parents relied on neighbors and friends to report if their teen drove recklessly around town. Now, mobile apps can track where, when and how your teen drives.

Your teen probably won’t be pleased to know that you monitor them. But driving data can also bring peace of mind to teens and parents. Because they track location, mobile apps can request roadside assistance or direct tow trucks or first responders.

Many telematics apps feature a scorecard so teens can compare their driving to their peers and improve. Some parents use these scorecards to coach their teens.

Can I assign drivers to certain vehicles on my car insurance?

Some insurance companies consider your teen to be a principal operator if you have a vehicle for every driver. If you have more drivers than cars, many insurers allow you to name one driver as an occasional operator. Principal drivers cost more than occasional ones. Makes sense. 

Some insurance companies let you assign drivers to vehicles. Others use a “blended rate” method. In a blended rate scenario, you can’t assign your 2018 Mercedes to you and your 2000 Honda to your child.

Whether your insurance company uses blended rates or not, more vehicles mean higher premiums.

Recently, a top Maine insurer introduced a new way for parents to save money on teenage car insurance. They let you designate vehicles that your child never drives. You pay a lower rate to insure those vehicles. But, if your child does drive one, you’ll pay a big deductible in case of a crash.

How can I reduce the cost of insuring my teenage driver?

Check with your agent. Each insurance company files their own rates with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. Some insurers charge more than others for young drivers. Some use blended rates, others assign vehicles. 

Discounts vary by insurer, too. Maine auto insurance companies commonly offer discounts for:

  • Honor roll or dean’s list students
  • Driver training classes
  • Students living away at school without a vehicle.
  • Monitoring via mobile app
  • Specialized online driving courses for teen drivers

Get Auto Insurance Quotes for Your Teenage Driver in Maine

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland offers a choice of many insurance companies. Get several quotes with one phone call to 207-799-5541. Or request a Maine auto insurance quote online. We can help you find the best value and fit for your family. We’re independent and committed to you.

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.

Are Drones Covered by Maine Homeowners or Business Insurance?

Flying Drone

Innovative Maine businesses use drones to literally get a new perspective on their operations.  Land owners survey lots and buildings. Engineers use photos from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in project work.  Photographers and videographers use drones to capture unique images and videos. Marketers use or hire them to create compelling and disruptive visual content. Even individual hobby fliers own drones now.

 

 

Drones: A Money Saving Investment

High quality drones and UAVs are not cheap. It’s easy to invest $15,000 or more in a good quality industrial setup, including cameras and software. Still, that can be a lot less expensive than renting an airplane or helicopter, and offers much more control and flexibility. It’s also safer than sending an employee up on a ladder or bucket to inspect facilities at height. The price of hobby drones has dropped a lot in the last few years. You can find them for less than $1500.

Legal Issues for Drones in Maine

The FAA requires registration of drones and UAVs weighing more than 0.55 lbs. The maximum weight permitted is 55 lbs. Permitted location and other rules vary between pleasure and business use. A remote pilot airman certificate is required as well.

Drone owners and operators face many of the same liability issues as other aircraft pilots. The low altitude operation of UAVs can also create privacy and property issues. Some examples:

  • Injuring someone, either directly, or by causing an auto accident
  • Damaging property by striking it
  • Invasion of privacy or trespass

Even if a claim against you is not valid, defending yourself can cost many thousands of dollars in legal fees in Maine.

Drones are NOT Covered by Standard Insurance Policies

Because drones are considered unmanned aircraft, and subject to FAA regulation, they are excluded from coverage on homeowners or business liability policies. The Maine Bureau of Insurance recommends that you buy separate insurance for your drone. We agree.

Up to now, few insurers have offered insurance on drones. One of our company partners, Acadia Insurance recently introduced a liability insurance plan for businesses that use drones as an incidental part of their ordinary operations.

If you or your Maine business uses a drone or other UAV, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207.799.5541. We’d love to hear how you’re using this innovative technology for fun or business. We can help you manage your risk. We’re independent and committed to you.

Rideshare Insurance for Uber & Lyft in Maine

 

Does Your Auto Insurance Protect You?

Many Maine drivers are thinking about making some extra cash by driving for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. They often ask us if how their personal auto insurance company would respond.

Personal Insurance Does NOT Cover Rideshare Driving

As soon as you turn on the app and make yourself available to pick up a guest, you turn OFF your Maine auto insurance policy – at least all of the policies we’re aware of. Your insurance company should deny any claim – collision, liability, uninsured motorist, medical payments, rental or towing – that occurred while you were available for hire or driving a customer.

Do Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies Protect Maine Drivers?

Knowing that personal insurance policies do not cover livery (driving for a fee), rideshare companies have obtained blanket insurance policies to cover their drivers. Most companies seem to be insured with James River Insurance, based in Richmond, VA, and rated A- by A.M. Best. These policies cover you pretty well when you’re carrying a customer – but not when you’re simply available and waiting for a customer request. This chart shows when coverage applies, and how much.

RideShare Insurance in Maine

 

What are the Risks of Being an Uber Driver?

As you can see from the chart above, the insurance provided by Uber, Lyft and similar companies leave important gaps that could cost you a lot – especially in Period One, when you have the app on and are awaiting a ride request.

DURING “PERIOD ONE”:

  • Injury from an uninsured or under-insured driver. If you are waiting for a ride request and someone rear-ends you at a stop light, their liability insurance should pay for the damage to your car, and your medical bills and lost wages. But, what if they have no insurance – or not enough? Uber and Lyft policies do not pay anything to repair your car. And, because their uninsured motorist coverage drops to state minimum limits during that time, you would have little or no coverage for your medical bills.
  • Liability to Others for Injury or Property Damage. Imagine you’re waiting for a ride request. You decide to stop for a coffee. When you pull in, you accidentally step on the gas instead of the brake, plowing into the front of the coffee shop. Your rideshare insurance will only cover state minimum liability limits for injuries to others or damage to property. Because your personal auto policy doesn’t cover you during this time, you’re out of luck if damages are higher. You’ll be responsible for paying for the damages. That could mean a lot of fares in your future just to repay the damage.
  • Damage to Your Car. Rideshare insurance policies don’t pay for damage to your car from crashes, vandalism, theft or fire. If you have a loan on your vehicle, you could find yourself making payments on a car you cannot drive. And you won’t be able to make more money via driving since your vehicle is out of commission.
  • Your Insurance Company Might Cancel Your Policy. Many drivers fail to notify their auto insurance company when they start to drive for a rideshare company. And for good reason: even  though they don’t cover your rideshare activities, insurance companies generally don’t like the idea. Your vehicle is on the road a lot more, possibly at odd hours and unfamiliar locations. Even if you’re driving a customer and have collision coverage under the Uber or Lyft insurance policy, they require you to first report it to your insurance company and be denied coverage. That can be an uncomfortable conversation, and it can attract the attention of the insurance company, which may then cancel your personal policy.

Know the Consequences Before You Become an Uber Driver in Maine

It’s tempting to make some extra money during your spare time. Just know that the opportunity comes with risks. Rideshare companies are eager to sign up new drivers, and may gloss over the risks and limitations of their insurance program. Make sure you understand them before you get behind the wheel for a rideshare company.

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