Comparing homeowners insurance among several companies is smart. When you only check one company, you don’t know if you’re getting a good value. Some insurers target higher value homes. Others focus more on the middle-market. Still others specialize in manufactured homes or hard-to-insure homes.
What’s the best way to shop for homeowners insurance?
Step 1: Gather Information About Your Home
Approximate age of updates to roof, plumbing, heating and electrical systems
Details about any claims in the last 5 years
Current coverage limits and deductibles (if you currently own the place you’re insuring).
Step 2: Decide Where to Get Quotes
You have 3 main options for getting insurance quotes:
DIY – go online or call an 800 number. You’ll get 1 quote at a time from companies like Progressive, GEICO, State Farm or Liberty Mutual. Plan to call a few places and repeat answers to the same questions to get quotes to compare.
Company Agent – State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual and others may have local offices near you. You’ll still only get 1 quote at a time. But unlike the DIY option, you’ll get advice and help from an agent.
Independent Agent – like Noyes Hall & Allen. Indie agents offer the convenience of several quotes at once. They also provide help and advice, like a company agent.
Step 3: Comparing Homeowners Insurance Quotes
Comparing homeowners insurance quotes can be challenging. Each company’s presentation looks different. Some may not offer the coverage you asked for. And they may not even tell you that it’s not the same.
The basic coverage limits and deductibles should be clear. You should be able to tell the difference by looking at the numbers. A policy that insures your home for $600,000 obviously has more coverage than one insuring it for $500,000. Of course that coverage costs something. Likewise, a higher deductible usually costs less than a lower one.
The other differences may not be easy to find. Here are a few things to look for:
Extra Replacement Limits – Base policies limit coverage to the amount on the face of the policy. If building materials or labor costs spike after you buy your policy, that may not be enough. Look for “additional amounts of insurance” or a similar clause to protect yourself.
Wind deductibles – Some insurers apply special wind deductibles to homes near the coast. This practice is very inconsistent between companies. Pay attention! Wind deductibles can be several times higher than your regular one.
Comparing Homeowners Insurance Quotes Since 1933
Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland Maine has helped generations of home and condo owners protect their assets. As an independent agency, we offer a choice of several insurance companies.
We’re sorry to hear about your loss. You’ve reported an insurance claim. What’s next?
After you report your claim to an insurance company, they assign it to an adjuster. The adjuster determines whether your policy covers this claim, and, if so, what it will pay.
The adjuster should contact you within 24 hours. It might be longer if you reported your claim on a holiday or a weekend. If you haven’t heard from the adjuster after a full day, or if your situation is urgent, contact the adjuster or your agent.
Your insurance policy is a contract. It requires you AND your insurance company to do certain things.
Prevent further damage to any property until it can be inspected and repaired.
Respond promptly to any claim communication. That helps speed the process.
Keep copies of any documents important to settling your claim. That might include: police reports; receipts; estimates; or notes of conversations.
Cooperate with the insurance company to settle the claim. That may include providing a list of your lost or damaged items.
Insurance Company’s Responsibilities
Investigate your claim thoroughly, promptly and fairly.
Pay or deny your claim within a reasonable time.
Provide a written explanation for any denial, referencing your insurance policy wording.
Fairly compensate you for a covered loss, according to the terms of your policy.
Your Insurance Agent’s Role
One reason you do business with Noyes Hall & Allen is assistance after a loss.
Most claims go faster if your agent doesn’t get involved. You and your adjuster work together to settle your claim quickly and fairly.
Sometimes you need more help. We’re here! Your agent can:
Explain any insurance terms, or how the process works.
Help get your claim back on track if communication falters during the process.
Call Noyes Hall & Allen if you need assistance with your claim: 207-799-5541.
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.
If you’re fortunate enough to have jewelry, you may wonder about jewelry insurance. Does a homeowners, condo or renters policy properly cover it? What kind of jewelry claims are covered by homeowners policies, and which aren’t?
Off the shelf homeowners policies do a good job of insuring everyday belongings. But to keep costs reasonable, they limit coverage on unusually valuable items. That includes jewelry, watches and similar items.
Therefore, many people choose to insure their jewelry specifically. The most common way is to list jewelry as Scheduled Personal Property on a homeowners policy.
5 Reasons to Separately Insure Your Jewelry
1. To Cover Jewelry Theft
Maine renters insurance policies only cover theft of jewelry up to $1,000 or $1,500. Maine condo insurance policies and homeowners policies have the same limitation. If you separately list your jewelry (called “scheduling”), it’s covered for theft up to the listed value.
2. Jewelry Insurance is Cheap
Maine jewelry insurance is inexpensive. Insuring a $5,000 ring often costs less than $50 a year on your homeowners policy.
3. To Avoid Arguing with Your Insurance Company about Value
After your jewelry is gone or damaged, it’s hard to prove what it was worth. What size and quality were the stones? What type and grade of metal was it? Scheduling more expensive pieces of jewelry requires an appraisal. When your jewelry is appraised and scheduled, you and the insurance company agree up-front what you have and how much it’s worth.
4. Jewelry Insurance Can Avoid a Deductible
Your homeowners policy has a property deductible. Often that’s $1,000 or more. If you lose a stone or a piece of jewelry, you’re less likely to replace it if you have to pay that kind of money. When you schedule your jewelry, there’s no deductible. That makes it more likely that you can replace or repair it.
5. Broader Coverage for Damage
Homeowners policies cover your belongings for 16 “named perils”. Those include everyday causes like fire, theft, etc. If you schedule your jewelry, it’s covered for “open perils”. In other words, if a cause of loss isn’t excluded in the policy, it’s covered. For example, losing a stone from a diamond ring is NOT covered on an unendorsed homeowners policy, but IS covered when the ring is scheduled.
Maine Jewelry Insurance Quotes
Do you live in Maine and own jewelry? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. As an independent agent, we offer a choice of Maine’s top insurance companies. That means we can compare price and coverage to help you find the best value. We’d be happy to compare options for your jewelry insurance and give advice.
In other words, we’re independent and committed to you.
Most Maine businesses have general liability insurance. However, if your business provides a service, you should have professional liability insurance (errors and omissions insurance) as well.
Professional Liability vs. General Liability Insurance
General liabilityinsurance is essential to protect your business assets. It’s also required to get larger jobs. But every business needs GL, from manufacturers to restaurants, contractors to service providers.
General liability protects against damages and legal defense for:
Injury to people
Damage to property
Personal Injury, such as invasion of privacy, slander or libel
Professional liabilityinsurance is designed for Maine service providers. It’s sometimes called Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, or “malpractice insurance”. Although professional liability insurance is required less often than general liability, it can be even more important.
Anyone who sells their expertise needs professional liability insurance. Whether you’re a tattoo artist, cosmetician, financial service or health care provider, professional liability insurance is for you.
Professional liability insurance protects your assets and your reputation against claims of substandard work. In addition to paying for damages, it also provides defense costs. Some examples of professional liability accusations include:
Work errors or omissions
Failure to complete work
Deadline or budget errors
Intellectual property infringement
Who Needs Professional Liability – Maine Examples
Almost every service provider has a professional liability risk.
Medical professionals, including pharmacists
Attorneys and accountants
Real estate and insurance brokers
Drafters, architects and engineers
Consultants of any kind
Hair stylists, tattoo artists, personal trainers and other personal service providers
Because we’re local and independent, we offer a choice of insurance companies. In other words, we can help you find the best value for your insurance protection. Moreover, we can help protect your assets and reputation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Liquor liability is a risk for Maine businesses and not-for-profits that provide alcohol. Whether your sell or serve, you can be liable under the Maine Liquor Liability Act. You can be responsible for property damage, injury or death caused by the alcohol you provide. Liquor liability insurance can help.
Do I Need Liquor Liability Insurance?
If you don’t SELL alcohol…
Regular business liability coverage may be all you need. Most business general liability policies include “host liquor liability” coverage. That covers you for providing alcohol at a social event where guests aren’t paying for it. For example an open house or special event where drinks are available. Granted, you can still be liable for the effects of alcohol you provide. But you may not need special insurance.
If your business or organization sells or serves alcohol…
You DO need separate liquor liability insurance. Typical examples include
Bars, pubs and taverns
Breweries and distilleries with tasting rooms
Restaurants and cafes
For instance, someone could claim the alcohol you sold caused injury or damage. While your general liability insurance will not respond, but liquor liability insurance would.
Possible Liquor Claim Examples
Auto accidents – a patron you serve gets behind the wheel and crashes, injuring someone. Or worse. The police test their BAC and find them over the legal limit.
Serving underage patrons, even by mistake.
Altercations or violence – an intoxicated patron (or two) gets into a fight. They injure others as a result. (Note, some liquor liability policies exclude assault and battery).
Serving someone excessively – you can be responsible for their injuries or death.
Serving an obviously intoxicated person – you can be responsible for resulting harm.
Are Damages for Maine Liquor Liability Capped?
The Maine Liquor Liability Act limits damages to $350,000 per incident. But that doesn’t include medical care or wrongful death. Medical care liability is unlimited. Even more, Maine’s Wrongful Death Statute allows up to an additional $750,000. In other words, serving liquor can get you in plenty of trouble. Protect your assets with Liquor Liability Insurance.
How Much Does Maine Liquor Liability Insurance Cost?
Costs vary greatly according to exposure. For example, the smallest liquor liability exposures can cost as little as $250 a year. On the other hand, businesses selling a lot of alcohol can spend several thousand dollars a year.
Cost factors include:
Alcohol sales revenue
Ratio of alcohol sales to other retail sales (stores)
On-premises consumption vs. take-away
Ratio of alcohol receipts to food (restaurants).
How to Reduce Insurance Costs
Meanwhile, controlling those factors are a good way to reduce insurance costs. For example:
Server education training for employees (TIPS, etc.)
Written policies and procedures for servers, with compliance monitored by management.
Strong ID checking procedures
Providing non-alcoholic beverages
“Ride home” alternatives for patrons who appear intoxicated
Keeping a log book of any incidents – or potential incidents
Part of Your Total Insurance Plan
Does your Maine business or organization sell or serve liquor? Talk to a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We can advise whether you need liquor liability insurance. If you do, we can help you incorporate it into your overall insurance program.
Because we’re locally owned and independent, we offer a choice of insurance companies. In other words, we can help you find the best value for your insurance protection. We’re independent and committed to you.
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.
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?
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.
Comprehensive and collision insurance is how most Maine people and businesses insure their vehicles. Though often lumped together, they’re really separate coverages. What’s the difference between them? Do you need both?
Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Cover Your Vehicle
Both comprehensive and collision insure damage to your vehicle. The insurance company pays up to the “actual cash value (ACV)” of the vehicle, less your deductible. ACV is usually close to market value. The insurance company may declare a vehicle a total loss if the damage exceeds 75% of its value.
Collision coverage applies when you strike a fixed object or another vehicle. For example,
You crash into another vehicle
Another vehicle crashes into you (even if you don’t know who did it)
You back into a post or building
You strike an object in the road
A runaway shopping cart scrapes your vehicle at the grocery store.
You damage your wheel in a pothole
Collision pays the cost to repair your vehicle, up to the Actual Cash Value (ACV).
Comprehensive Insurance Really Isn’t
Although commonly called “comprehensive” coverage, you won’t find that word in your insurance policy. Its official insurance name is “Other Than Collision”. Insurance nerds will correct you, lest you think that it really does cover everything.
But Other Than Collision coverage is pretty broad. It covers most other things that can damage your vehicle. For instance:
Glass breakage or cracking
Hitting an animal (that isn’t collision, believe it or not).
Tree branches, flying road debris and other falling objects
Should You Have a Special Glass Damage Deductible?
Glass damage is part of “other than collision” coverage. In fact, it’s the most common kind of comprehensive claim. Replacing a windshield may cost more than you think. That’s why many people choose a lower glass deductible. This allows them to save money with a higher deductible for other comprehensive claims, but not pay $1000 for a windshield.
Keep in mind that most insurance companies waive the deductible for glass repairs vs. replacement. Many cracks and chips can be repaired so well that it’s hard to detect afterwards.
If you live or own a business in Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for prompt, professional insurance answers. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top business insurers. In other words, we can help you find the best fit and value for your insurance. Because we’re independent and committed to you.