Navigating Maine Property Insurance in 2024

It’s clear that Maine property insurance is facing challenges in 2024. Homeowners are feeling the impact. Rising rates, policy cancellations and coverage cutbacks are common. It’s not just a coastal problem. People all over Maine are discovering that insurance underwriters hold the cards in this market. How and why is the insurance market so hard right now? Do you have any recourse? What can you do to control costs?

Maine property insurance is facing challenges in 2024

There are many reasons, but they all come down to cost. Insurance is designed to share costs and spread risk. Claims of the few are paid by the many through insurance premiums. Insurance companies are well-funded. They have reserves to pay out more than they collect in premiums for a short time. But those costs are then passed on. Otherwise, the system falls apart and everyone loses.

Insurance claim costs have spiked in many areas for various reasons. They include:

  • Inflation in materials – Rising costs for building materials, auto parts, and medical supplies contribute to higher claim expenses.
  • Increased claim severity – More frequent and severe weather events, changes in property use, and an increased number of seasonal and secondary properties lead to larger claims.
  • Rising labor prices – Worker shortages, wage increases, and legislative impacts affect repair costs.
  • Longer repair times – Shortages in parts, materials, and labor result in extended repair durations, impacting expenses for auto rentals, temporary housing, and commercial relocation.
  • Reinsurance costs – Insurance companies buy reinsurance to protect themselves from disasters. Shrinking reinsurance capacity since 2020 has led to price hikes for insurers.

Mainers often think that weather disasters happen “somewhere else”. But they do happen here. And lately they’ve been more frequent.

Verisk defines a catastrophe (“CAT”) as an event resulting in more than $25 million in insured losses. Regional insurers may see an average of 4-5 “CAT” events per year in Northern New England. In 2023 there were 8.

There aren’t just more catastrophes than normal. They’re bigger too. Their 2023 expected payout for damage from CAT claims was nearly 8X an average year. We don’t see signs of improvement right away. 2024 started with a major wind and rainstorm.

Maine property owners are seeing a lot of changes in their insurance. Most of it is not good news. Here are some things you might experience:

  • Increasing rates – Even homeowners with no claims experience are facing rising rates, with the current average increase around 17% in Maine.
  • Saying “no” -Moving to a different insurance company during this time can be risky, as many insurers decline to quote on properties they consider higher risk.
  • Tougher inspections – Insurers are inspecting properties more often and more closely. They’re focusing on roof condition and overhanging trees. Some are even using aerial photographs to spot hazards.
  • Bumping deductibles – Many coastal properties now have big wind deductibles. Some insurers are increasing deductibles across the board. Others are only increasing deductibles if you’ve had several claims.
  • Mandatory alarms – Insurers require owners of high value or secondary homes to install central alarm systems to warn against water leakage, low temperature, fire and burglary.
  • Required increases in insurance amount – Building material and labor cost increases mean higher costs to rebuild your home. Insurers review that cost periodically and require you to insure to the full rebuilding cost. (Although it costs more, it’s important to make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild – this is a benefit).
  • Cancellation or non-renewal – Insurers may cancel policies due to claims or if homeowners fail to make necessary improvements after an inspection.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance plays a crucial role in regulating insurance companies offering Maine property insurance. Here are some key points:

Rate Approval and Policy Changes

  • The Bureau approves rates for insurers authorized to do business in Maine.
  • They also permit cancellation or non-renewal for certain reasons. Those reasons include failure to comply with reasonable loss control recommendations or failure to permit inspection.
  • Insurers can make changes to policy terms, which is known as a “conditional renewal.”
  • If an insurer decides not to renew your policy, they must send you a “legal notice of non-renewal.”

Challenging a Non-Renewal

  • As a policyholder, you have the right to challenge non-renewal by appealing to the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
  • However, insurers typically adhere to non-renewal rules, making successful appeals less common.

Although you can’t completely avoid large market forces, you can do some things to control your Maine property insurance costs and protect your property.

  • Pro-actively protect your property – regularly trim trees and shrubs away from buildings. Install a generator or backup sump pump. Keep gutters clean. Use a low-temperature alarm if you’re often away from the property.
  • Keep up on maintenance – take care of peeling paint or moss or debris on your roof. Replace roof shingles before you get water damage (hint: like tires, shingles don’t usually last as long as the warranty may say).
  • Stay claim-free – Small insurance claims sit on your record for 5 years or more. Many insurance companies decline to insure new properties if they have multiple property claims.
  • Watch your credit score – insurers “score” policies to set rates. An insurance score is closely related to your credit score. The better your score, the lower your rate.
  • Choose a local insurance agent – Local knowledge can be the difference between getting property insurance and not. National insurers and 800 number agents don’t know your area like a local advocate.
  • Communicate with your insurance agent. Let them know if you make improvements, install alarms or generators, or pay off your mortgage. All of those might reduce your insurance premium.

If you own property in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. While we don’t control the market, we have a good perspective on current conditions. We can help you find the best fit and value for your property insurance.

We’re independent and committed to you.

Solar Panel Insurance for Maine Homes

If you have installed solar panels on your home, you may be wondering how to insure them against damage or theft. Solar panel insurance for Maine homes can help. Solar panels can reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint. However, they’re also expensive. And they expose you to risks that may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy.

solar panel insurance for Maine homes protects your investment against damage and loss.

Let’s look at how to insure your home solar panels and what factors to consider when choosing a policy.

What is solar panel insurance?

You’re looking coverage that protects solar panels from hazards like:

  • fire
  • hail
  • wind
  • vandalism
  • theft
  • power surges

Some insurance may also cover the cost to repair or replace solar panels that fail too soon.

How much does solar panel insurance cost?

The cost of solar panel insurance depends on several factors, such as:

  • Value of your solar panels and their installation cost
  • Type and size of your solar system
  • Location of your home and condition of your roof
  • Deductible and limit of your policy
  • Insurer and coverage level you choose

How to choose a solar panel insurance policy

When choosing solar panel insurance, consider the following aspects:

– Coverage: Make sure you understand what’s covered and excluded by your policy. For example, some policies may not cover damage caused by mechanical breakdown. Others might have a no or limited wind coverage.

– Limits: Does the policy have a separate limit for solar panels? Are they included in the total limit of your home insurance policy? Are solar panels subject to a depreciation clause that reduces the value over time?

– Deductible: This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible can lower your premium, but it also means you will have to pay more in case of a claim. Some policies have separate wind deductibles.

– Insurer: Compare different companies and policies to find the best value for your needs. Is local service most important to you? Lowest price? Experience and financial strength? By the way, an independent agent like Noyes Hall & Allen can compare for you. They offer a choice of several insurance companies.

FAQ about solar panel insurance

Do I need solar panel insurance?

If you own your solar panels, you are responsible for insuring them. If you lease or finance your solar panels, the lender will require insurance. So will a mortgage company.

Does my home insurance cover my solar panels?

Some home insurance policies may cover your solar panels as part of your dwelling or personal property coverage. However, you may need to increase your coverage to fully protect your investment. Check with your home insurer about their coverage for solar panels. They will be able to tell you how your policy applies and what else you may need.

How do I file a claim for my solar panels?

As with any property insurance claim, follow these steps:

  • Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and report the incident.
  • Document – take photos and videos of the damage.
  • Collect any relevant documents, such as receipts, invoices, warranties, etc.
  • Cooperate with your adjuster and provide them with any information they request.
  • Track your expenses and repairs until your claim is settled.

Need solar panel insurance in Maine?

Solar panels are a great way to save money and energy while helping the environment. However, they also come with risks that demand proper insurance coverage.

Do you live in Greater Portland and need solar panel insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of several insurance companies. We can help you compare and find the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

More information about solar initiatives in Maine


Maine Insurance Rates 1Q 2023 Home and Auto Update

Maine insurance rates are following national trends. Home and auto rates are up as insurers try to catch up with rising claim costs and construction values. Portland Maine area insurance buyers saw almost a 10% price increase in the 1st quarter of 2023. Even so, Maine insurance rates remain among the lowest in the US.

Maine Insurance Rates – Auto – January to March 2023

Between January and March 2023, Portland Maine area auto insurance rates jumped 6.8% on average at renewal, up from 3.7% last September. The average annual auto insurance policy in Cumberland County costs $1341 per year.

Maine insurance rates for auto rose 6.8% in 1Q 2023.

Insurers reported higher than expected losses as people drove more after COVID reductions. Body shops and mechanical repair shops charged higher prices due to supply chain and labor shortages. Used auto prices spiked during COVID and settled above pre-pandemic levels. Finally, auto rentals are much more expensive, and needed longer due to body shop delays. All of these factors, along with medical cost increases, put strong upward pressure on auto insurance rates in 1Q 2023.

Maine Insurance Rates – Home – January to March 2023

Maine home insurance rates increased even faster than auto insurance. The average home insurance premium was 10.9% higher than a year ago. That’s up from 9.6% in September. And we haven’t seen the end yet.

Maine insurance rates for homeowners rose 10.9% in 1Q 2023.

Many of the same inflationary pressures pushed home prices higher. Building materials and labor costs spiked dramatically during COVID and haven’t settled completely back. It’s been difficult and expensive to find contractors. That delays repairs and increases claim costs.

But reinsurance costs are probably the biggest driver of property insurance rates. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. It protects them against catastrophic losses from natural disasters like wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many insurance companies saw their reinsurance rates jump 30-50% this year. Insurance companies must pass on the cost of reinsurance to their customers.

Compare to Find the Best Value

Most financial advisors recommend comparing to get the best insurance 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.

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.  


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.

Reduced Driving and Insurance Rates

Reduced driving and insurance rates have been hot topics during COVID

During the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced driving and insurance costs have been a hot topic. Many Mainers are driving less. Why haven’t their car insurance rates dropped? It’s more complicated than you might think. But there are ways to keep your car insurance costs in check.

Why Maine Insurance Rates Haven’t Dropped

Insurance is Slow and Steady

We count on insurance companies to be dependable and stable. We need to know they’ll be able to pay claims in the future. So it’s no surprise that insurance companies aren’t built to react to fast trends. Especially those that may not last.

We want stable insurance prices. The whole purpose of insurance is to avoid a large loss by paying a small cost (premium). Some years, disasters cause insurance companies lose a lot of money. Other times, claims are low. Insurers bank our premiums in those times to pay for the bad ones.

Insurers Have No Experience with COVID

In insurance, data rules. Insurance companies charge premiums based on expected claims. They hire smart math nerds who use decades of data to find the proper rates. Consumers want the lowest possible price. Regulators and stakeholders want rates high enough to make a profit pay future claims.

Historical data didn’t help much during COVID. Americans drove less as people telecommuted and stayed close to home. Nothing was normal.

But overall mileage doesn’t tell the whole story. Essential workers continued to commute as usual (thank you, essential workers!). Law enforcement and highway construction crews noticed increased speeds due to less traffic. That led to more serious crashes and injuries.

COVID Auto Insurance Rebates in Maine

Remember how quiet the roads were in the early days of the pandemic? It was a very uncertain time for the economy. Many people were out of work, and small businesses feared that they’d have to close.

In response, most American auto insurance companies refunded some premium to policyholders in 2020. This was an unprecedented response by insurance companies. By law, rebating of premiums is illegal. But state insurance departments approved exceptions.

But it wasn’t easy. Insurance companies’ billing systems weren’t programmed to rebate money to customers. It was difficult for many of them to calculate and distribute the refunds.

Although the insurance industry returned $10 billion to US consumers, individual refunds were quite small. The public hardly noticed them. Between the underwhelming public response and the cost of the workarounds, insurers didn’t think the rebates were that valuable. We don’t expect rebates again anytime soon.

Reduce Your Auto Insurance Costs When Driving Less

OK, so car insurance companies aren’t slashing rates in response to COVID. And they’re probably not going to refund premium this year. You still have control over your own policy. Here are some adjustments you can make.

Be Sure You’re Properly Rated

Does your policy reflect your actual driving? If you’re working from home, retired or unemployed, maybe not. Check the drivers listed on your policy. Are any of them no longer at home? Do they now have their own insurance?

Check Your Collision Coverage

Do you have an older car that isn’t worth much? Is it rarely driven? Do you have a vehicle that’s completely off the road? Consider removing collision coverage, at least during COVID. Just remember to add it back if the situation changes.

Prove You’re Driving Less

Even “slow and steady” insurance is changing with the times. Several now offer “usage based insurance”. Commonly advertised brands include Progressive Snapshot, Travelers Intellidrive and Drivewise from Allstate.

With usage-based insurance, you allow the insurance company to customize your rate in exchange for an up-front discount. You’ll need a smartphone and the insurance company’s app. Your final price varies depending on how, how much and when you drive. It can be lower or higher than the initial discount.

Safeco Insurance offers a twist: a “low mileage discount” that doesn’t use a real-time monitor. You simply verify your previous year’s mileage to continue to earn their discount. Safeco also has a usage-based mobile app option.

Want to know more about these options? Ask a Noyes Hall & Allen agent.

Shop Your Auto Insurance

If those cost-saving measures don’t work for you, you can always compare rates with other insurance companies. Live in Greater Portland Maine? You can get up to 5 Maine auto insurance quotes in 10 minutes on our website. Or call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland for quotes at 207-799-5541.

We offer the choice of more than a dozen insurers, so we can search the market for the best value. We’re independent and committed to you.

Moving to Portland Maine? We Can Help

During the height of the COVID pandemic, many people were moving to Portland Maine. 2020 was a banner year for people relocating to the city and nearby towns. And the trend continues.

Looking for a safer place to live, work and play? A desirable place to raise a family? A slower pace? More affordable than larger Northeast cities? Portland offers all of this. So do nearby suburbs like South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Falmouth, Cumberland and Westbrook.

Moving to Portland Maine is a popular choice for people looking for a small, safe, outdoor foodie city.

Portland Maine is a Safe Area

Maine’s crime rates are among the lowest in the nation. Our roads are safer, too: traffic deaths are about 10% below national average. Portland suburbs are especially safe, with lower density and nightlife.

Maine earned high marks for low COVID death rates during the 2020 pandemic. Cumberland County had about 1/3 the infection rate of the rest of the country: 11,500 cases per million. Rural Maine had even lower rates. 

Moving to Portland Maine: Room to Spread Out

The Portland Maine MSA is home to about 250,000. That’s 390 people per square mile. Even Portland, the state’s largest city, only has about 3,000 people per square mile. Portland is the ideal size for a small city: about 70,000 people.

Like the outdoors? Sailing, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, cycling and beaches are all a short distance from home.

Prefer to be entertained? Portland has choices. Live music venues, theatres, professional sports teams, museums and more.

Portland Maine’s Foodie Culture

Portland has a national reputation for restaurants, breweries, distilleries and food. The proximity of local farms and seafood adds to its farm-to-table culture. Portland was Bon Appetit’s Restaurant City of the Year in 2018.

COVID restrictions limited indoor restaurant dining in 2020. But it was too much a part of Portland’s identity to disappear. The restaurant scene remains vibrant, and is spreading to other towns. South Portland, Yarmouth, Falmouth and Biddeford all have many great restaurant choices.

Moving to Portland Maine? We Can Help You Settle

Whether you’re buying a house or a condo or renting an apartment, our agents can help with insurance. We’ll send proof of renters or hazard insurance to your landlord or lender. We can provide you with the insurance card which you need to register your vehicles in Maine.

First time homebuyer? We make the insurance part easy. A 10-minute phone call is all it takes to start. Or, you can compare Maine insurance quotes online at our website. When you’re ready for help, Noyes Hall & Allen agents are known for responsiveness and knowledge. We’ve earned great customer reviews.

Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Adding Outside Dining to Your Portland Maine Restaurant

Portland and South Portland Maine recently passed ordinances expanding outdoor seating options for local restaurants. These respond to indications that coronavirus is less likely to spread outdoors. Soon, some local restaurants will be able to serve patrons :

  • on sidewalks
  • in parking lots or closed streets
  • in on-street parklets.

Transitioning a Restaurant to Outdoor Dining

Outdoor dining isn’t for every restaurant. Depending on your cuisine, location, formality and clientele, you may choose not to serve al fresco. If you do, here are some things to consider.

  1. Check city rules and resources. Portland and South Portland city web sites have the ordinances and applications for permits and street closures.
  2. Up your cleaning game. During the COVID threat, you’re already doing extra cleaning and disinfecting. Outside adds new cleaning challenges: pollen, dust, litter and even insects.
  3. Keep it light – and smooth. Make sure there’s enough light for employees and customers to see well. Paint or tape the edge of irregular surface levels. Avoid loose cords and other trip hazards.
  4. Watch the skies. That includes the sun. Plan your seating to avoid excessive sun exposure during meal service, if possible. Summer thunderstorms can develop fast. Have a plan to quickly evacuate your dining area and secure umbrellas and other furniture. That will help avoid injury and damage.
  5. Beware of vehicles. Create barriers between diners and vehicles – including bikes and scooters that might be on sidewalks.
  6. Watch outdoor flames. Keep propane heaters, cooking equipment and other heat sources away from flammables like fabrics and awnings.
  7. Check your insurance. Many liquor liability policies only cover you “on premises.” Does that extend to a parking lot or street? The same with property insurance for your outdoor seating and fixtures. Ask your agent about your insurance coverage.

Do you own a Portland Maine area restaurant, cafe, food truck, brewery or other food service business? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re local business owners, just like you. We offer a choice of Maine’s top business insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.