Buying Portland Maine business insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. If you own a business, it’s important to protect your asset with commercial insurance. These policies can protect your building and vehicles against liability, theft, fire and more.
Whether you just started a business or need to upgrade your existing commercial insurance, the team at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance has put together this short list to help you get started.
1. Find a Reputable Business Insurance Agent
Working with a friendly and reputable local insurance agent takes the hassle out of buying a new commercial insurance. They will ask you some questions to get a better understanding of what coverage you need.
Many Maine people prefer to do business locally. A good local agent knows the area, and what Maine’s unique hazards and opportunities. They can help you compare quotes, understand your coverage and bundle your policies. Check their online reviews to help you choose.
2. Compare Several Quotes
It’s smart to compare three or more quotes during the commercial insurance buying process to find the right one. Go over each in detail with your reputable agent, asking questions for clarification as needed. Policies will differ on price and coverage so be sure to understand what you’re getting and for what price.
Fortunately, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers a choice of 10 of Maine’s top business insurance companies. That means we can do the shopping and comparison for you, with one stop.
3. Bundle Your Business Insurance Policies
If you need more than one type of insurance, consider bundling with one insurance company. For example, insuring your business vehicles and your property with the same company can simplify billing and save on your premiums.
Own a Portland Maine Area Business?
Have insurance questions? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many insurance companies and have served the local business community for almost 90 years. We’re independent and committed to you.
Does car insurance include roadside assistance in Maine? It’s a common question.
Off the shelf auto insurance policies do not include roadside assistance. But many insurance companies offer it as an option. Others offer towing coverage. Both are less expensive that auto club options.
Are Roadside Assistance and Towing Insurance the Same?
Insurance companies have offered towing coverage for years. Roadside assistance is newer. They’re not exactly the same thing.
Roadside assistance and towing cover many of the same things. Examples are: flat tire repair; jump starting; fuel delivery; and towing, of course. The difference is that towing coverage reimbursesyou after the service call. You have to arrange your own service provide. Coverage is limited to a flat dollar amount, often $75.
Roadside assistance is a service. You don’t usually pay at the scene. If you need assistance, you call a special number and provide your policy info. Some insurers have their own app that you can use to summon help. They dispatch a truck to come and help you. Some roadside plans have a dollar limit per disablement. Most use a towing distance limit – often 25 miles.
How Much Does Roadside Assistance Cost on an Auto Insurance Policy?
Each insurance company sets its own rates. In Maine, expect to pay between $10 and $20 per vehicle per year for roadside assistance. Towing coverage usually costs less than $10 per vehicle for a $75 limit.
Do You Need Roadside Assistance or Towing Coverage if You Have AAA or Onstar?
Most people choose not to have both. They either buy roadside assistance on their auto insurance, or another road service.
Some clients choose to buy towing insurance even though they have another service. For example, some subscription plans charge extra to tow more than 25 miles. If that happens, they pay the excess and submit the bill to their insurance under towing coverage.
Answers to Maine Auto Insurance Questions
Live in southern Maine? Have questions about roadside assistance or auto insurance? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s most popular insurance companies. Many of them offer optional roadside assistance coverage. We’ll help you find a solution that fits your needs and budget. We’re independent and committed to you.
“My insurance payment is late, and it’s not my fault!” It’s happening to a lot of people and businesses right now. You don’t get a bill, or it arrives late. You mail the payment to the insurance company, and it isn’t recorded for days. Between COVID era workarounds and USPS issues, insurance billing and payment processing is more unreliable than ever. But it’s still important.
On Time Insurance Payment is Critical
If you pay a credit card bill late, you get a late fee. But if your insurance company doesn’t get paid, you might have no insurance. That’s why it’s critical to make your insurance payments on time.
What if the delay is not your fault? You didn’t get a bill. Or you mailed the payment days ago, but the insurance company hasn’t recorded it. It may not matter. Your insurance can still be canceled if your payment is late, no matter the reason.
If your policy cancels, two bad things happen. First, you have no insurance. Second, you’ll pay more for insurance when you need to re-start coverage. So it’s very important to make sure your policy stays active.
Ways to Make Sure Your Insurance Payment is on Time
Businesses and people are finding ways to make sure their insurance payments are on time. Maybe one of these options will work for you:
Electronic billing – Sign up to have your bills emailed. That avoids delays in getting insurance bills.
Insurance company accounts – Register for an account with your insurance company. Connect via mobile app or computer. These give you access to proof of insurance, and payment and billing info. You can even file and track a claim online through your account.
Pay online – Most insurance companies have a way to pay your bill instantly online. You can pay by credit card, debit card or automatic bank account withdrawal. Noyes Hall & Allen clients can find their insurance company here to pay an insurance bill online.
Automatic Payments (EFT) – Allow the insurance company to withdraw payments directly from your bank account. This ensures that your policy payments are always up to date.
AVOID Bill Pay Services – Many banks offer online bill payment services. These don’t work well with insurance bills. They don’t include your payment slip, and must be manually processed. Also, you may have more than one policy. Without the ticket, the insurance company doesn’t know which one you’re paying.
Double check the insurance company’s address – Many insurance companies use payment processing services. These can be thousands of miles from the insurance company office. If you mail your payment to the insurance company, they will forward it to the payment service. This causes delays in recording payments.
Answers to Maine Insurance Billing Questions
If you have an app and an online account with your insurance company, you can answer simple billing questions yourself. But sometimes it’s hard to understand what you owe or why. That’s when an agent can help. They can explain and clarify your insurance billing. Many can even take a payment over the phone if you’re ready to pay.
Southern Maine families and businesses have trusted Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agents for more than 80 years. We can help you set up a company account or payment schedule. We can explain your bill, or even take your payment if you’re in a rush. We offer a choice of many insurance companies and billing plans. We’re independent and committed to you.
Replacing a car with a new one is an easy insurance transaction. Here’s the info your agent needs to do it:
3 Things Your Agent Needs:
VIN – The Vehicle ID Number for the new vehicle. It’s 17 digits long. That’s easy to transpose. And lots of letters and numbers sound alike, so they’re easy to get wrong. A photo of the VIN simplifies the process and reduces mistakes. Text it to your agent, or email it to them.
Finance Info – Did you buy the vehicle outright? Congratulations! Your agent doesn’t need anything. But if you lease it or take out a loan, they do. The name and address of the finance company will be on your title application. Email or text a photo to your agent. Or, you can call with the info.
Aftermarket Safety or Security Options – The VIN contains details about what’s on your vehicle when it comes off the assembly line. If you purchased add-ons at the dealership, let your agent know. That might include subscription items like OnStar. Or an after-market alarm system.
Contractors insurance audits are important. They help keep insurance costs predictable for all contractors. They also create important information for insurance rate setters. Accurate payroll and sales figures help them know how much premium they must charge to cover losses.
If your audit results in extra premium, it will be due within 30 days. You want to avoid that if possible. Tell your agent if your payroll, sales or subcontractor costs are much higher than the estimate on your policy.
Why Am I Getting an Insurance Audit?
Many contractors insurance policies in Maine are auditable. Contractors’ jobs, payroll and subcontractor costs vary each year. In slow work years, claims tend to be lower. In boom years, there are more claims. Insurance companies audit to “true up” premiums with the expected claims.
Types of Contractors Insurance Audits
Your insurance company might audit your results in several ways. The method can change year-to-year. It may depend on the size of your business and current conditions.
Online or Mailed Audit – You fill out your own audit on a form and send with quarterly 941 reports.
Phone Audit – An auditor will set an appointment to complete the audit by phone. They’ll tell you the information you’ll need. Commonly, quarterly 941 reports, payroll reports, and a list of officers and owners of your business.
Physical Audit – An auditor comes to your workplace by appointment. They examine your records in person. The auditor also checks that employees are properly classified based on the work they perform.
What Happens if I Don’t Complete My Contractors Insurance Audit?
Workers compensation insurers must report premiums and losses to NCCI. NCCI uses that information to set rates and experience mods. Insurers can incur penalties for slow or inadequate reporting. General liability insurance uses payroll info too. Your audit information is an important factor in insurance company rate-setting.
Insurers are not going to “go away” if you ignore the audit request. Your audit information is time sensitive, and collecting it is someone’s job.
If you fail to respond to audit requests, the insurance company will bill you for an estimated audit. You do not want an estimated audit. It increases your premium by 25% or more. And you’re contractually obligated to pay it.
Bite the bullet. Complete your audit. It’s not going to go away.
How Do I Prepare For an Insurance Audit?
Be ready. Your audit happens at the same time every year.
Keep good records throughout the year.
Get certificates of insurance for your subcontractors: general liability and workers compensation.
Tell your agent during the year about large payroll, sales or subcontractor cost changes, up or down.
Keep track of time and payroll for different kinds of work. This can lower your workers comp costs while still protecting you and your workers. Include overtime.
Remember that some owners or officers might have waived workers comp coverage.
If you have a physical audit, plan to be present and available. The auditor wants to finish their work quickly and thoroughly. The faster they have what they need, the sooner you can get back to work.
Completing Contractors Insurance Audits: Who Can Help?
Completing an online or mailed audit? The insurance company should send detailed instructions. If you’re stuck, you can call the insurance company’s audit department or your agent. Sometimes, your payroll company can assist, too.
What if I Disagree With the Audit Results?
You can dispute an audit if the payroll or classifications are wrong. You can’t dispute just because the premium is higher. Your agent may be able to help, but they don’t have the information unless you authorize the insurance company to share it with them.
Maine Contractors Insurance Answers
Are you a contractor in Southern Maine? Do you have questions about Maine business insurance? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We have decades of experience and offer a choice of Maine’s top contractors’ insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.
In Maine, boat insurance is a common purchase. We have more than 110,000 registered vessels. Boats are an investment and a responsibility. Boat owners need to protect themselves from damage to the vessel. But they also need liability protection.
What kind of boat insurance do you need? Most boat owners must purchase separate Maine boat insurance to properly protect their assets. Homeowners policies provide little or no protection for boats. Almost anything bigger than a canoe needs a separate policy.
All Boat Insurance is NOT Alike
When buying Maine boat insurance, pay attention to the details. Coverage varies a lot! Here are just a few examples how:
Damage to Your Boat
Valuation. Some insurers value your boat like a car (actual cash value). Others will replace your 3 year old boat with a brand new model (replacement cost).
On-water towing. Usually optional. Some work like a roadside assistance plan. Others reimburse you after you’ve been towed. Some policies provide $500 coverage, Others provide none at all.
Hurricane haul out. If a tropical storm’s on the way, some insurance will pay up to 50% of the cost to haul your vessel ashore. Many policies provide no coverage at all.
Mechanical failure. This coverage is rare, but can be valuable. Most policies have no coverage for mechanical breakdown. Some specialty policies actually cover wear and tear. That’s very rare in the insurance world.
Personal watercraft. Some insurance companies only insure propeller-driven boats. Others will insure jetskis, Seadoos and other personal watercraft.
Dinghys and tenders. Most yacht policies offer the option to include an inflatable or other dinghy or tender.
Boat trailers. Most boat policies allow you to insure damage to a boat trailer. You may also be able to insure this on an auto insurance policy. What about on-the-road liability coverage for a boat or trailer while it’s being towed? That always comes from the auto insurance policy for the vehicle towing it.
Liability and Injury
Marina liability coverage. Some marinas require proof of boat liability insurance to rent a slip or mooring. These requirements can be as high as $1 million. Some insurers provide higher liability limits required by marinas. Others don’t.
Wreckage removal and fuel spill. What if your boat leaks fuel or sinks? In Maine, you’re responsible for cleanup and raising. Some insurance policies cover this fully. Others simply write a check for the boat and walk away. They don’t cover fuel spill liability or wreckage removal.
Uninsured boaters coverage. If you’re hit by someone with little or no insurance, your medical bills can be expensive! Uninsured boaters coverage can pay your medical bills following a crash. Choose your limit wisely!
Maine Boat Insurance Made Easy
Do you own a boat in Maine? Have questions about what kind of insurance you need? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland for boat insurance at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of boat insurance companies. Chances are, we can find the one that fits your coverage needs and budget. We’re independent and committed to you.
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.
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.
Many Portland area renters think they don’t need Maine renters insurance. “Nothing I have is worth that much,” they’ll say, or “I don’t have a lot of stuff.”
Most people think of renter’s coverage as protection for stuff, and nothing more. After all, renters insurance is inexpensive and it doesn’t even cover the building you live in. So how important can it be, especially if you don’t think you have anything valuable to protect?
Stop Thinking Only about “Stuff”
You have more to protect than you realize. Luckily, renter’s insurance is a cost-effective way to bundle that protection. For example:
Temporary Living Expenses
What if a fire or other disaster forced you out of your place? You could stay with friends or family, but how long? How long would you want to? Portland Maine rents are expensive. And hotels are even more expensive. Loss of use coverage helps with those additional expenses.
If someone trips and injures themselves in your unit, they could sue you. If your dog bites someone at the park or the beach, they might file suit, too.
Yes, lawsuits happen, even among friends. Renter’s insurance can help cover legal expenses and even judgments against you. (Some dog breeds may disqualify you from renters insurance. Be sure to notify your agent of all dogs in the household.)
Wait, doesn’t this mean your stuff? Well, yes.
But really, this coverage protects your finances. Don’t think you have anything valuable? Mentally add up everything you own: electronics; clothing; musical instruments; and, yes, that old couch. Now imagine how much it would cost to replace it all with new stuff. It’s probably a higher number than you thought — and that’s why renter’s insurance is so important.
Some car dealers offer Maine car insurance at the time of purchase. This is good for dealers because it increases their closing rate and their profits.
Is it good for you? Maybe not.
If you already have insurance, making a snap decision to change when buying a new car at a dealership can be a bad choice. Here’s why.
What’s the Rush?
The salesperson may create a sense of urgency about insurance. However, there’s no rush. If you have an insurance policy with collision coverage on at least one vehicle, your policy probably automatically covers the new one until you can contact your insurance company or agent. Dealers know this; it’s been that way for decades.
Why Add Pressure?
Car buying is already a stress. Why add more? Most of us don’t make our best decisions under pressure. Moreover, you’re making a big financial commitment and choosing between expensive options on the fly. Don’t let the salesperson force you to make unnecessary snap decisions. That includes insurance.
A “Good Deal” May Not Be
First, many new cars have high-end safety features that help reduce insurance costs. Therefore, some don’t cost any more to insure than the ones they replace. So, if you get a quote at the dealer, and were pleased to see it wasn’t as much as you expected, it may still be more than your current insurance company would charge.
You Can Mess Up Your Other Insurance
Your current policy might have benefits you’ll lose. For instance, a home/auto bundle discount. Or a multi-vehicle discount. Or accident forgiveness, or some other perk. You could lose those if you make a snap decision to insure your new vehicle at the dealer. In conclusion, you might pay more – not less.
You Can End Up With Worse Insurance
First of all, most people don’t know what insurance they have. For example, the liability limits and deductibles on their policy. If they make snap insurance decisions at a dealership, they can end up with inadequate coverage.
In conclusion, if the insurance quote from your dealer is really a better value, that won’t change in a few days. Take your time. Make your insurance decisions on your schedule – not the salesperson’s. Above all, whether you switch insurance or not, you’ll have peace of mind that you made the right choice after a thoughtful decision.
Did you make home improvements to your house or condo this year? Many people did. After the project’s done, many clients ask “should I increase my home or condo insurance after a renovation”?
You depend on your homeowners insurance to pay to rebuild your home after a disaster. It’s important for insurance to keep up with inflation and changes in your home.
How can you tell if your project requires an insurance adjustment? Three questions should give you the answer. This assumes you had enough insurance before your project.
Did You Build Something?
Did you add living space to your home? Finish a basement or attic? Add a deck? If so, you should increase your Coverage A (Dwelling) insurance. How much? Probably by the full cost of the renovation.
Did you add a structure to the yard? A shed, fence, gazebo or swimming pool? Check your policy’s Coverage B (Other Structures) limit. Most homeowners policies cover Other Structures at 10% of Coverage A. If your home’s insured for $300,000, you likely have $30,000 Coverage B. Is that enough? Then you don’t need to adjust your insurance.
Update, or Upgrade?
Some home projects don’t affect property rebuilding cost. Most homeowners and condo insurance policies cover building items at replacement cost. That means “new for old”, without depreciation. If a fire damages your 20-year old roof or boiler, your insurance pays for a new one.
Did you replace your worn-out roof, flooring, kitchen or boiler? If the replacement is the same quality as the old, you may not need to adjust your insurance.
Did you upgrade laminate counters with stone? Linoleum with ceramic tile? Standard cabinets with custom? You should upgrade your Coverage A. How much?
Here’s a guide for what to include:
Demo and removal costs – not included
Design services – included
Materials – included, but only the upgrade differential.
Are Your Improvements Even Insured?
Home and Condo insurance doesn’t cover everything. Most landscaping and earthwork isn’t covered. Trees are covered only for a fraction of their replacement cost, and against limited perils.
Did you install solar panels or other green energy items? Off-the-shelf policies don’t cover breakdown or most power surge. Optional coverage may be available. You may want to update your insurance.
We can help determine the replacement cost of your home. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top insurers. We can check the market to find you the best value, and recommend coverage based on your needs. We’re independent and committed to you.