Maine Auto Insurance: What to Expect in 2017


Last Thursday, we met with executives from 7 different insurance companies, one after the other. Every December, we invite our key company partners to review the year and plan for the next.

It’s a full day spent discussing trends, challenges and opportunities in the insurance industry. We learn a lot from the executives’ lofty perspective. They learn just as much from our “front line” reports. By the end of the day, trends usually emerge.

This year, increasing frequency and cost of auto claims concerns almost every executive. Their companies are paying claims faster than they’re collecting premiums. They can’t afford to do that for long. We haven’t seen this trend yet in our agency’s fairly small sample of Maine’s drivers. But it’s clear: we should prepare for rising auto insurance rates in the next few years.

Four Reasons to Expect Higher Auto Insurance Rates in 2017

  1. Fierce Competition Depressed Car Insurance Rates

The Great Recession put extreme pressure on many household budgets. Many insurers focused their advertising message on reducing prices. GEICO spent more than $1 billion a year on advertising. State Farm spent about $800 million. This extreme competition caused prices to remain level for years. Total industry premiums remained flat from 2006 to 2009.

2. People Are Driving Again

While the economy was slow, driving decreased. Americans drove fewer miles 3 out of 4 years from 2008 to 2011, due to:

  • higher gas prices
  • higher unemployment
  • many younger people choosing to delay getting licensed

As the economy improved and gas prices dropped, Americans drove more. We now drive about 3.15 trillion miles per year, an increase of about 150 million miles since 2013.

3. Distracted Driving is a Big Bummer

Several execs shared their front-line adjusters’ stories about distracted driver crashes. Maine adjusters report that many claims involve drivers using mobile devices to text, talk or use social media. Keep in mind that all three are illegal in Maine.

National data reinforces these stories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 431,000 people injured in distracted driving accidents in 2014, the latest year available. More than 3,000 people were killed. And that was 2 years before Pokemon Go.

4. Crashes Are On the Rise

With the increases in mileage driven and distracted driving, you might expect crash rates to spike. They have. Personal auto insurance claims in the U.S. increased 37.1% between 2006 and 2015. Meanwhile, auto insurance premiums increased 20.9%.

Higher speed limits, increased road congestion and distracted driving seem to be causing increased crash activity. A December 1 Portland Press Herald article cited a 32% increase in accidents on Route 295 north of Portland between 2013 and 2015.

What You Can Do to Control Auto Insurance Expenses

  • Shop Around – Compare prices every 3-5 years, or if your rates change significantly. Independent agencies like Noyes Hall & Allen represent several insurers. We can compare coverage and prices for you, without changing agents.
  • Bundle Property & Auto Insurance – Many insurers discount your auto policy if they insure your home, condo or apartment, too.
  • Think About Dropping Physical Damage Coverage – One rule of thumb is: if you’re spending more than 10% of the book value of your car on your comprehensive and collision insurance, consider dropping or adjusting your coverage.

    Related: When Should I Drop Collision Coverage?

  • Consider Usage-Based Insurance – UBI involves installing a telematics device in your vehicle. This allows your insurer to track your mileage and driving behavior. Many insurers offer big discounts if you allow them to customize your premium to your driving habits.

    Related: Is Progressive Snapshot Right for You? 5 Questions to Ask

  • Protect Your Credit Score – Almost every insurer uses an “insurance score” to price your insurance. These scores are closely related to your credit score. The better your credit score, the lower your auto insurance rate.


More Accidents, Larger Claims Drive Costs Higher, Insurance Information Institute, October 2016 (.pdf)

Consumer Information, Maine Bureau of Insurance

Get Free Maine Auto Insurance Quotes in 10 Minutes, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance

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.


  • 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.


The Most Popular Vehicles in Portland Maine


As a Portland Maine insurance agent, we insure lots of homes, condos, vehicles and businesses. We thought it might be fun to share some facts about vehicles we insure. While our clients may not be a statistically accurate sample, we think they give a pretty good indication of what vehicles are most popular in the Portland Maine area. It’s also kind of interesting to see some trends by model year.

Top 10 Vehicle Brands in Portland Maine

If Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance clients currently are typical, the top 10 auto makers capture almost 75% of the market. The “big three” alone are 38%.

  1. TOYOTA – 15.2% market share
  2. FORD – 11.5%
  3. HONDA – 11.3%
  4. CHEVROLET – 9.1%
  5. SUBARU – 8.8%
  6. VOLVO – 4.0%
  7. NISSAN – 3.9%
  8. HYUNDAI – 3.4%
  9. VOLKSWAGEN – 3.3%
  10. JEEP – 3.3%

What are the Best-Selling Vehicles in Portland Maine?

This graphic shows which auto maker appears to have sold the most vehicles in each of the last 5 years, based on vehicles our clients own.

Favorite auto brands in Portland Maine

It’s interesting to note that Ford is the only auto maker always in the top 3. Toyota rode a wave of #1 but seems to be fading a bit. Subaru is off to a fast start with 2016 models. Will they sustain the momentum for the whole year?

How Long do Portland Maine People Keep their Vehicles?

The median model year of vehicles our clients own is 2008. So the average person keeps a car for about 8 years. Which side of average do you fall on?

0-4 YEARS OLD – 22.1%  (2013 to 2016 model year)
5-8 YEARS OLD – 30.1%  (2008 to 2012 model year)
8-12 YEARS OLD – 28.0% (2003 to 2007 model year)
Older than 12 YEARS – 15.8% (2002 model year and older).


When is the right time to drop collision coverage from your carClick on the link to read our blog post answering that question. 

The Most Popular Vehicle on the Road in Portland Maine

By IFCAR - Own work, Public Domain,
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain,


Despite being only the 5th most popular vehicle brand among our clients, Subaru has the top two models when you look at all vehicles on the road. The Subaru Outback is #1 by far, with the Subaru Forester #2. The Toyota Camry is right behind the Forester at #3. These top 3 vehicles represent more than 10% of the vehicles our clients own.

UPDATED: August 2017

The trends continue in 2017. Subaru seems to remain super popular in Portland Maine. Foreign models continue to dominate the top 5. So do 4X4 vehicles. Ford pickup sales appear to rise and fall, maybe with the economy or gas prices? The Nissan Rogue looked to be picking up steam in 2016, only to fall off the leader board in 2017.


Whatever you drive, if you live in the Portland Maine area and would like a review of your auto insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. You can even get 7 Maine auto insurance quotes online in 10 minutes. Of course we also insure homes, condos, apartments, boats, motorcycles, businesses and more. We offer a choice from Maine’s preferred insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Uber Comes to Portland Maine: Are Uber Drivers Insured?


Rideshare service Uber began operating in Portland Maine at noon on October 2. Uber and its top competitor Lyft are innovative, efficient, popular – and controversial. uber screenshotEverywhere Uber and Lyft pop up, local lawmakers scramble to address it. Taxi operators and other livery drivers rail against it. And insurance companies caution drivers who might think about joining the Uber fleet.

Are Uber Drivers Insured?

If they have a personal auto policy, their own insurance will not cover them while they’re driving someone for a fee. Period. Every PAP excludes coverage while a vehicle is being used as a “public livery or conveyance“, which basically means driving others for hire. An Uber driver in an accident shouldn’t count on their personal insurance helping out.

You can’t blame insurance companies for that. If you’re driving for Uber, you’re probably driving more miles and hours than you otherwise would. You might be in areas unfamiliar to you, under time constraints, and at hours with higher congestion or impaired operators on the road. All of those increase the likelihood you could have an accident.

The Good News
Uber’s web site says that the service provides a commercial insurance policy with a $1 million limit per incident, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. That’s more than 90% of drivers in Maine have. It also provides $50,000 of “contingent comprehensive and collision insurance”, which should pay for repairs to an Uber driver’s vehicle as a result of an accident during an Uber trip.

Not So Good News
Uber’s insurance drops to to $50,000 per person for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage “between trips” – the absolute minimum limits allowed in Maine. That’s inadequate for most people who want to protect their assets or future earnings from an expensive lawsuit.

Uber says that most auto insurance policies will provide coverage during the time that the driver is logged on available for hire  but between trips. Talk is cheap. Don’t count on an insurance company seeing it the same way. When presented with a claim, expect an insurance company to say you were engaged in livery, just not actively driving someone – and deny your claim.

What Kind of Insurance Should an Uber Driver Have?
The only type guaranteed to cover you is a business auto policy, rated as livery use. If you insure your car with Maine commercial vehicle insurance  and are upfront about your Uber driving, you should be covered.

 Is Uber Rideshare Service Safe to Use?
If you’re thinking of taking a ride from Uber, you can expect that the driver has insurance while you’re in the vehicle. That includes if you’re hit by someone with no insurance. If you have a personal auto policy, you also have Medical Payments coverage (usually $5,000 or less) for minor medical expenses.

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

Can I Replace Building Materials With Green Ones After an Insurance Claim?


Portland, Maine is a hotbed of green living. Maybe its our proximity to the sea and mountains. Or the people we attract from around the USA and the world. Whatever the reason, many Portlanders care about the environment, and make lifestyle choices accordingly.

Our farm-to-table game is strong. The cool kids here buy local, with Portland Buy Local and South Portland Cape Elizabeth Buy Local leading the charge. The cities of Portland and South Portland are converting landfills to solar farms. We have an award-winning private community composting service, Garbage to Garden. We even discuss green living over beer at Portland Greendrinks.

It’s only natural that many locals choose to repair or replace any damage to their home with “green” materials and technology. Now, they may be able to get help from their insurance companies. “Off the shelf” home or condo insurance won’t pay to replace your old oil boiler with super-efficient heat pumps. Or replace your water heater with a solar setup after a fire. Fortunately, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance represents  insurance companies that will.

Going Beyond What You Lost

Traditional homeowners or condo insurance is designed to put you in the same condition after a loss that you were before (“indemnity”, in legalese). Your insurance company promises to replace the items you lost with “like kind and quality”. If your home had green materials, the insurance company will replace them. If you didn’t have them before, you can upgrade at your own additional cost.

Upgrade to Green Materials After Your Home is Damaged

Say your home had traditional materials and technology, and you suffered a fire. You want to replace what you lost with greener options, like bamboo flooring, solar and geothermal heating, low-VOC paints, and high efficiency insulation. Some of these may save money in the long run, but initially cost more than their traditional counterparts. Basic insurance policies only pay to replace what you lost with “like kind and quality”. But there are options.

Two Insurers that Pay for Green Upgrades

In response to customer demand, Concord Group and Travelers, have introduced “green home insurance endorsements”. These provide an additional amount of coverage to replace with environmentally-friendly, non-toxic or energy efficient options. Usually, there is a maximum amount of additional coverage as well.

These endorsements are inexpensive – often $2-3 a month. 

Would You Choose to Rebuild or Repair “Green”?

We can help. For Greater Portland Maine home, condo or vacation home insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. Because we’re a locally-owned Trusted Choice Independent Insurance agency, we offer choice among many insurance companies.

We’ll help you find the best value for your individual circumstance. Of course, we also offer Maine auto, motorcycle and boat insurance and insurance for Maine businesses as well. We’re always happy to answer your insurance questions.

Contact your Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent  at 207-799-5541 for details. We’re independent and committed to you.

Marriage, Divorce and Maine Home + Auto Insurance

On November 6, 2012, Maine voters approved citizen initiative Question One, allowing same sex marriage. Yes on One proponents claimed that only marriage, granted LGBTQ couples equality with everyone else. No on One proponents were concerned that a change in the traditional definition of marriage as “one woman, one man” might affect many aspects of life.

How Important is Marriage in Insurance?

In a word, VERY.

Most people justifiably think medical insurance is the type most affected by marriage. That’s where most of the public discussion is, too. But Maine homeowners and auto insurance contracts also treat spouses very differently than other people.

How does being married affect your Maine home and auto insurance?  Let’s look at the most common insurance forms in Maine, ISO homeowners and auto policies. Although they are industry standards, your policy form may be different. Check with your own agent to be sure.

What Happens to Your Homeowners Insurance When you Get Married?

Spouses who reside in the same household are automatically defined as “YOU”. In insurance, it’s good to be YOU.

On most policies, an INSURED is defined as:

  • YOU;
  • your resident relatives;
  • full time students who are < 24 and your relatives, and lived with you prior to moving out; and
  • certain other minors in your care.

Are unmarried couples INSUREDS or not? To answer that, we have to ask the grammatically incorrect question, “who is YOU?”

“YOU” is defined as:

  • The Named Insured, as shown on the front page of the policy (called the Declarations);
  • That person’s spouse if they are a resident of the same household.
If both partners’ names appear on the policy they’re both YOU. But what if one unmarried partner’s name isn’t on the policy? They’re not an INSURED! What if your partner bought the house and you moved in later? Sorry, you’re not an insured. 

What if you were married instead?

Married couples are both YOUs as long as they live in the same household. Even if both names are not on the policy. Pretty important, don’t you think?
Let’s say you move in with someone who already owned a home. In this common situation, being married is the difference between having insurance for your property and protection from lawsuits and having none at all!
Of course, this example applies to any couples, straight or gay.

How Marriage Affects Auto Insurance

The definition of YOU in the auto policy is quite similar. It includes the Named Insured and a spouse who is a resident of the household. One additional benefit of being married: your interest in the policy transfers to a surviving resident spouse upon your death.


You probably noticed that a spouse must be a resident of the same household to have all of these benefits. If you separate, your status changes. Divorce affects your homeowners and auto insurance, too.

It’s important that you contact your Maine insurance agent to talk about these situations. They can help you make sure that you remain insured, one way or another.

If you live in Southern Maine and are looking for an Portland Maine area independent insurance agency that can answer these and other insurance  questions, call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799.-5541.

Insurance for a Maine Home with a Wood Pellet Stove or Wood Boiler


Wood and pellet stoves and boilers have long been a popular source of heat for Maine homes and businesses. However, the vast majority of Maine homes use oil as heating fuel. Recent increases in oil prices have led to greater interest in alternative heating fuels in Maine. This has inspired technological improvements in wood-burning appliances.

Graph of home heating fuels in Maine 2011Source: US Census Bureau, American FactFinder

Insurance companies are often slow to adapt to new technologies and changing behaviors. This is prudent, since they rely on empirical data and the law of large numbers to manage risk. Their risk is much greater in the early years of adoption.

Maine homeowners insurance companies have carefully accepted homes heated by wood, provided:

  • The wood or pellet stove or boiler is a secondary heat source.
  • The primary heat source is controlled by a thermostat.
  • The stove is UL approved and installed in accordance with fire codes.
  • The insured follows woodstove safety tips.

In 2012, one of the insurance companies we represent, announced that they would insure homes, farms and businesses with certain wood and pellet stoves and boilers as the primary source of heat. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Homes using pellet or wood stoves must have a thermostatically controlled backup heat source, such as oil, propane or electric.

In addition to the traditional requirements listed above, some insurers require the make and model of the wood stove or boiler, and require the appliance to be:

  • Professionally Installed;
  • Self igniting and thermostatically controlled;
  • Fed automatically by auger or gravity from a bulk storage hopper or silo (pellet fuel only);
  • Protected by a sprinkler head above the unit, if required by code.

For more information about insuring your Maine home or business, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Our Trusted Choice independent Maine insurance agency represents many insurance companies.


Protect Your Maine Retail Store From Theft

Organized Retail Crime is widespread and on the rise, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation. A record 96% of the 125 retail survey respondents reported being the victim of organized retail crime in the past year, and almost 88% said that Organized Retail Crime had increased in the past 3 years. The survey respondents cited special concerns in cargo theft, fraudulent returns or gift cards, and collusion.

Organized Retail Theft in Maine

Maine retail business insurance clients have not been immune. From the Maine Mall to Main Street, Portland to Maine’s most rural outpost, clothing shop to convenience store, business insurance claims for theft are filed every day.

Organized theft is a special problem says Curtis Picard, Executive Director of Maine Merchants Association. “These are not people stealing to feed their families; these are not crimes of convenience. These are groups or gangs purposely stealing specific items with the intent to resell them and they do hit Maine.”

Organized retail theives don’t target a specific store. They target specific items. They want higher value items that are widely used and easy to steal in quantity. Popular targets are baby formula, over the counter medications and believe it or not, Tide Laundry Detergent.

“The internet has made it so much easier to resell these items. Search Prilosec or Crest White Strips on a site like eBay; you will see numerous listings for these items featuring ‘new in box’ or ‘original packaging’. Chances are these items were stolen”, Picard says.

Employees of a well-known store in Kittery can sometimes spot vans unloading several individuals who spread out to hit multiple stores at once, Picard says. It doesn’t matter where your store is – only what you sell. If your store has the items they are looking for, you may be a target.

Retail Fraud in Maine

Theft of items is only one problem, according to Picard. “UPC Code swapping, fake receipts and gift card theft are other forms of Organized Retail Crime. Thankfully, Maine retailers and law enforcement maintain a good relationship and get together at various times during the year to share information about groups. That cooperation has lead to more arrests and better prevention.”

Maine Merchants’ web site has .pdf copies of Maine Police Intel Bulletin for Retail, that provide some examples, including:

  • Pharmacy thefts in Southern and Central Maine
  • Convenience store and credit union robberies in Portland
  • Burglary in Fort Kent
  • Electric motors stolen in Oxford County
  • Burglaries in Freeport, New Gloucester and other areas.

Unfortunately, the funding for that crime bulletin has dried up, according to Picard. Yet the risk to Maine retailers remains.

Protect Your Retail Business Against Crime

Educate Yourself and Your Employees – Thieves are constantly adapting and trying new techniques. Joining  an organization like Maine Merchants can help you keep on top of trends through newsletters, meetings and other communications.

Get Involved in Your Neighborhood – Membership in a neighborhood business association like Portland’s Downtown District, South Portland Buy Local or the South Portland Waterfront Market Association  opens a channel for you to communicate and collaborate with other businesses in the area. It’s a great way to stay on top of changes in your neighborhood, from street construction to crime trends.

Protect Your Business – Invest in an alarm system. Install video cameras in areas where cash or high-value inventory is kept. Improve the lighting around your premises. Move target items to visible areas where you can keep an eye on them. Better yet, lock them up. Establish a policy to assure that employees are visible and vigilant in your store.

Buy the Right Insurance – Fortunately for most Maine business, property insurance is widely available to cover the peril of theft. Most smaller Maine retailers  purchase a Businessowners policy, which provides a bundle of commonly-needed coverage to protect them against theft and other property and liability perils. Larger retailers usually purchase a Commercial Package Policy. These can provide  similar coverage, but are more customized to the individual business.

If you are a Maine business owner or manager and have questions about business insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541. We represent many different commercial insurance companies and can help you find the right fit for your business. We’re also a founding member of the Katahdin Alliance, a group of independent Maine insurance agents with offices from York to Augusta, Kennebunk to Carrabassett Valley. So, if your business extends beyond Greater Portland, we can support you.

How to Be an Instant Insurance Genius With 1 Easy Move

Did you buy home, condo or renters insurance from one company and auto insurance from another? You’re not alone. Maybe you bought a policy online to insure your first car. Then, when you bought your house or condo, you found a local agent who found you a good deal with another company. Each of your insurance companies has probably solicited you for the part they don’t insure.

Knowing that combining your home and auto insurance is smart is one thing; actually doing it is another. The good news is, it’s not that hard. Having separate insurance companies may not have hurt you too much so far. Sure, you might have paid a few dollars more, or put up with the hassle of multiple insurance bills, but you didn’t feel enough pain to motivate you to combine them.

That will likely change in 2012.

It’s only May, but 2012 has already brought big changes in Maine home and auto insurance. U.S. insurers have lost money on property insurance for several years in a row, due to natural disasters, broadened coverage, depressed pricing and increased reinsurance costs. With today’s low interest rates, insurance companies’ investment income is depressed as well. As a result, homeowners and Maine condo insurance prices are increasing significantly, and underwriters have become much more picky.

The single best personal property/casualty insurance move you can make right now?

Combine Your Property and Auto Insurance.

Here are 10 reasons why you should bundle your insurance today:

1) Save Hundreds of Dollars
Insurers are increasing the “package discount”, making it more attractive to insure your home and autos together. Many companies have increased the discount from 10% to 15%, 20% or even 30% discounts. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

2) Better Homeowners Rates and Coverage
Insurance underwriters (the people who choose whether to accept or reject your insurance application) have become VERY picky about home insurance. If you’re buying a home anywhere near the water, you might be quoted a premium nearly twice what the prior owner paid. You might also have a wind deductible of $5,000 or higher, when the prior owner had a $500 flat deductible.  If you only insure your home with that company, you have no leverage with the underwriter.  Bundling your coverage “sweetens the pot” for the insurance company, and levels the playing field a bit.

3) Avoid Non-Standard Insurance on Camp or Second Home
They don’t call Maine “Vacationland” for nothing. Maine has the highest ratio of secondary and seasonal homes to primary homes of any state in the US. Preferred insurance companies have willingly insured these homes for decades, even if they didn’t insure your primary home. In 2012’s tighter property underwriting environment, many insurers refuse to insure these properties unless they insure your primary home and auto. We still have access to insurers who will insure a Maine secondary or seasonal home; but, the rates are higher, and the terms less favorable than those of the preferred companies.

4) Reduced Risk of Non-Renewal
The more business you do with an insurance company, the more likely they will consider you a preferred customer. If you have multiple claims in a 3-year period, your name appears on an underwriter’s list of policies to review. Will they consider you “naughty” or “nice”? One factor they consider is the number of policies you have with the company. They’re more likely to cut some slack to a multi-policy customer than to one with a single policy.

5) Increased Convenience, Reduced Risk of Cancellation
If you have policies with different companies, you’re getting billed by each, and paying a billing charge to each. Most insurance companies can bill all of your policies in one bill. They call it “account billing”. It saves you money (billing fees and postage) and time, and reduces the chance of a late payment by at least 50%.

6) Preferred Umbrella Rates
Many financial advisors are shocked to find how little liability insurance many of their new clients have. Most advisors recommend that their clients buy a Maine personal umbrella policy, which provide liability insurance in excess of their home and auto insurance limits. Preferred umbrella insurers require that they insure all of the policies that their umbrella extends over (called “underlying policies”). We have access to companies that provide umbrella coverage without insuring all of your underlying policies, but they’re usually more expensive.

7) More Favorable Deductibles
Some insurance companies require a higher property deductible ($2,500 or more) if they don’t also insure your autos. They will allow a lower deductible if you have other policies with them.

8) Improved Service From Your Agent
An insurance agent’s worst nightmare isn’t losing you as a client; it’s seeing you suffer an uncovered loss that they could have helped you recover from. The more they insure for you, the better they can help you identify and close expensive coverage gaps.

Let’s say your company starts allowing you to work from home. You might tell your auto insurance company you’re no longer commuting, to get a break on your car insurance rates. But you might not think to tell your home insurance company. When your home is broken into and your work computer stolen, or when a business associate visiting your home slips and falls, you could be shocked to find that you have no coverage for that. If one company handles both, they have the full picture, and can better protect you.

9) Almost Free Renters Insurance
Most Portland Maine renters insurance policies start at about $100 a year. Most Maine car insurance policies are about $600 per year. If you get 15% off each by combining them, you’ve saved $105 a year – in essence getting your renters’ policy for free.

10) Smug Self-Satisfaction
Isn’t it satisfying to read one of these blog posts, and say “Already done that!” Yeah, we thought so.

If you would like a Maine auto insurance quote, or would like to discuss your insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

The Most Popular 2012 Vehicles in Portland, Maine (our corner, anyway)

The Portland Maine area economy shows signs of life this spring, including car sales. With roughly half of the model year behind us, we thought it might be fun to share which new vehicles our clients have chosen.

We don’t pretend that this is a scientific survey of which cars are the hottest selling, or that it reflects any trends beyond simply what our Portland Maine insurance agency‘s clients have chosen to buy or lease. However, we suspect it’s a reasonable cross-section of local consumer behavior.

It would be interesting to compare these results against prior years, when $4.00 per gallon gas was a distant threat instead of a reality. We do notice that the best-selling models lean mostly towards the fuel-efficient end of the spectrum.




Car Buyers’ Insurance Tips

If you’re thinking about buying or leasing a new vehicle, here are a few tips for saving money on insurance and making sure you have the proper coverage:

  • Check Insurance Prices – Vehicles that seem similar can have very different insurance costs. Call your agent for a quote, or get car insurance quotes from 5 different companies at once from our online quote service.
  • Consider Increasing Your Deductible – Generally, new cars cost more to insure than older ones. They’re worth more, and are more expensive to repair. To keep costs down, consider increasing your physical damage deductibles.
  • Get the Discounts You Deserve – Insurers offer car insurance discounts for all sorts of things, from air bags to being a non-smoker, anti-theft alarms to having a student on the honor roll. Some even offer special discounts for certain types of vehicles, such as hybrids. Contact your agent  and tell them about all of the features of your vehicle.
  • Don’t Buy Coverage You Don’t Need – Many vehicles come with a roadside assistance plan. If you purchased AAA or your insurance policy includes roadside assistance, consider whether you want to drop those. This can save you money. Just remember to add it back on when your new vehicle’s roadside assistance benefit stops.
  • Combine and Save – If you have your property and auto insurance with different companies,  now’s a good time to combine them. Insurers offer substantial insurance discounts when they insure both your property and vehicles.
  • Review Coverage on Your Other Vehicles – Maybe you have an older vehicle that’s not worth as much as it once was. When is it time to stop insuring collision and comprehensive coverage? That’s up to each individual’s risk tolerance, but it’s a good time to consider it, anyway.
  • Mind the Gap – New vehicles deteriorate rapidly at first. If you made a low down-payment, your loan or lease could be “upside down.”  If your vehicle  was declared a total loss, the insurance company would pay the “book value”, which may be less than what you owe the finance company. An inexpensive optional coverage called Loan/lease gap would pay the difference. Talk to your agent about this potentially important coverage.