Buying a Condo in Portland Maine – What You Need to Know About Insurance

Are you buying your first condo? Downsizing from a single family home to a condominium? Moving to Portland Maine and buying a condo? Your insurance will be completely different in a condo. Insurance needs vary a lot from one Portland Maine condo association to another. Insuring a sleek new unit on Newbury St. is different than a historic condo in a 3 unit building in the West End. A good insurance agent knows the difference. You should, too.

Check Your Association’s Setup

What does the association’s master insurance policy cover? What are you responsible for insuring? Condominium associations’ bylaws and declarations answer these questions. Share copies of these documents with a knowledgeable insurance agent. They can help you determine what you’re responsible for insuring. Don’t rely on your neighbor’s word. Current owners can be improperly insured if their agent didn’t review the condo documents.

Some associations define a unit as “studs in.” Owners must insure subfloors and flooring, woodwork, cabinets, carpeting and other building items. Other associations are “all in”. The master policy may insure everything except your contents and improvements.

What is Your Association’s Insurance Deductible?

Many condo associations have increased property deductibles to control costs. Deductibles of $5,000 or higher are now common. Your policy should dovetail with the association’s deductible. A good insurance agent can help you decide on the right limits and deductibles.

Cover Your Own Stuff

Your Maine condo unit owners policy covers your belongings and appliances against loss or damage. It also covers your personal liability and the cost to live elsewhere if you can’t stay there after a loss. Associations may assess owners for a loss that exceeds their master policy insurance limit. Your policy can pay for some or all of that assessment. Your agent can help you choose the right limits.

Insuring Condo Improvements

Even “all in” associations may only include what was in the condominium when it was built. Did you or a prior owner upgrade countertops, flooring or fixtures? Insuring them may be your responsibility. Fortunately, upgrading your condo building insurance is easy and inexpensive. Tell your insurance agent about upgrades to your unit.

Insuring a Portland Maine Condo as Income Property

Do you own a condo and rent it to others? You’ll need a special kind of coverage. You’re still responsible for the unit like other owners, but have the added liability of a landlord.  Your insurance agent can quote the proper coverage for condos rented to others.

How to Find a Good Condo Insurance Agent in Portland Maine

If your agent doesn’t ask to see your condo association documents, find another agent. It’s impossible to know you have the right coverage without them. Look for an agent who offers a choice of several insurance companies. That way, when your insurer raises your rates you can shop without repeating the entire process.

If you’re buying a condominium in Portland Maine and are looking for condo insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland. We offer a choice from Maine’s top condominium insurance companies. Unlike insurance company employees who only sell one product, we’re independent and committed to you. Click here to get a condo quote or call us at 207-799-5541.

Do Hurricanes and Wildfires In Other States Affect Maine Insurance Rates?     

Insurance companies pool risk. They collect money from many people to pay the losses of a few who have claims. Everyone’s rates go up or down, depending on the insurance company’s experience. More claims paid = higher rates.


You may be wondering:

  • How much do hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters affect insurance rates?
  • Do disasters in other states affect my insurance rates in Maine?

It’s helpful to understand how insurance companies price their product. Insurance rates are recommended by insurance company actuaries. They project how much money the insurance company must collect to pay claims and make a profit. This requires complex modeling and formulas. Actuaries recommend rate changes to a special committee of company executives. The committee compares the actuary’s recommendation to the company’s profitability and growth targets. They agree on a proposed rate change, and submit it to Maine insurance regulators.

The regulator’s job is to make sure that insurance rates are:

  • Adequate to pay claims
  • Not excessive
  • Not unfairly discriminatory.

Regulators may approve or deny the rate change, or ask for more information.

What Factors Affect Insurance Rates?

At its simplest, insurance is “money in…money out.”

Money In = Premium Collected

Cheap insurance rates may leave the insurance company with insufficient money to pay claims and make a profit. Rates that are too high may send customers fleeing to other insurers.

Money Out = Losses 

The most important determinant of insurance rates. More losses than expected puts pressure for the insurance company to raise rates. Fewer losses puts downward pressure on rates.

But here’s the rest of the story:

Insurance Company Financial Strength – Well-managed insurance companies keep adequate reserves to pay claims on a rainy day. Insurers with strong financials can weather a bad year without huge rate increases. Weaker ones need more frequent rate adjustments. The best way to learn the financial condition of an insurance company? A.M. Best tests the financial strength of insurers and assigns them a letter grade.

Type of Insurance Company – Mutual insurance companies are owned by their customers. After they pay claims, mutuals store their profits to pay future claims. Other insurance companies are stockholder owned. Stockholders expect a return on their investment. Investors pressure executives of publicly held companies to improve profits every quarter. This can lead to larger or more frequent rate increases to stay ahead of current losses.

Reinsurance – Almost every insurance company is also an insurance consumer. They buy insurance against “the big one”. This is called reinsurance. Most companies reinsure against annual total losses exceeding a certain amount. This dampens the impact of multiple hurricanes, fires or other disasters in one year.

Generally, larger insurers buy less reinsurance than smaller ones. Smaller insurers have less surplus, and thus are more vulnerable to catastrophic losses.

Of course, reinsurers are also insurance companies. They must collect more premium if they suffer unexpectedly large claims. Insurance companies pay different reinsurance rates based on their individual loss experience.

Do Disasters in Other States Affect My Insurance Rates?

Probably not as much as you think. Maine insurance regulators only allow insurers to file rates based upon Maine premium and losses. Claims that a company pays in California or Florida are not baked into Maine insurance rates.

BUT…

Insurance companies factor nationwide overhead costs into Maine rates. Cost like advertising, salaries – and reinsurance. Since events outside Maine influence reinsurance costs, they influence Maine customers’ rates. Just less than you might expect.

Contractors Liability Insurance in Maine – What does it Cost?

If you’re a contractor or subcontractor in Greater Portland Maine, you will have to show proof of liability insurance to get preferred jobs. Whether you’re a Maine carpenter, plumber, electrician or other trade contractor, people or businesses who hire you want to know that you’ll be able to pay for any damage or injury caused by your work. A certificate of insurance shows proof of liability insurance.

 

How Much Does Contractors Liability Insurance Cost in Maine?

The cost of your insurance depends on several factors:

  • What kind of work you do (type, number and size of jobs)
  • How much experience you have
  • How much liability insurance you buy
  • Whether you’re insured now, and how long you’ve been insured
  • Your insurance claims experience

 

My Job Requires $1 Million of Contractors General Liability Insurance. Isn’t That Too Much?

One million is a common requirement, even for smaller jobs. It seems like a lot of money, but it’s not when you consider how much damage or injury you could cause in a worst-case scenario. Many contracts for larger jobs require even higher limits. Fortunately, insurance companies readily provide these limits. The prices are probably lower than you think.

 

Can I Get Contractors Liability Insurance Today?

If you currently have insurance, have a proven track record of work and few or no claims, many insurance companies want your business. You can get insurance right away. If you’re new in business, or have never had insurance, it may take longer.

 

I’m Starting a Maine Contracting Business. Can I Get Insurance?

Congratulations on your big leap! Do you have lots of experience as a supervisor? Are you going out on your own after years of working for someone else? Many insurance companies will take you on as a new business with that kind of experience.

 

How Long Does it Take to Get Proof of Insurance in Maine?

Once your coverage is bound, your insurance agent can send insurance certificates to anyone who’s requesting one.

 

Do I Need to Get Certificates of Insurance from Maine Subcontractors?

Yes! Without proof that your subs have their own insurance, you may be responsible for injuries to them or damage they cause. Always collect and keep certificates of insurance from subs you hire. Otherwise, your insurance company will increase your rates at the end of your policy for your added responsibility.

 

What Other Insurance Does a Maine Contractor Need?

In addition to general liability, you may want to protect your tools and equipment against theft or damage. If you have a business vehicle, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance. And if you hire employees, you must provide workers compensation insurance. Fortunately, insurance companies can bundle some of these with your general liability policy. This reduces cost and confusion from multiple bills and policies.

 

How to Get Maine Contractors General Liability Insurance

If you have a contracting business in Scarborough, South Portland, Westbrook or elsewhere in Greater Portland, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, or click the “get a quote” button below. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, including MMG Insurance, Concord Group, Hanover, Liberty Mutual, Acadia Insurance and more. We’re independent and committed to you.

 

What to do if You Have an Accident

Car crashes can be a devastating event, leaving you feeling shocked and confused. Having the right information before you ever have an accident can give a better grip on the situation. The Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland, ME have experts that can provide you with information about auto insurance and what to do if you have an accident.

Assess Any Injuries

When you are first struck by another vehicle, you may feel a little disoriented. If the accident is a minor fender bender and you have neck or back pain, it is crucial that you don’t move until you are seen by a registered EMT or paramedic. You can cause further injury if you delay medical treatment. Check to make sure that your passengers are also uninjured.

Move Over Safely

If it is at all possible, move your vehicle to a safe location out of the way of moving traffic. If your car is too damaged, turn on your hazard lights and then call 911. If you are not injured, safely look at the damage to your car and the other vehicles involved. Many people take photos of the damage with their cellphones. This can be helpful in the claim process.

Get Information from Others

Gather your insurance card and driver’s license. Get the same information from the other drivers involved as well as their license plate numbers and type of vehicles. Try to do this before the police come, if it’s safe to do so. Although the police will gather this info and create a police report, these can take days to be available. It is essential to document everything you can. Over time, your memory from a traumatic event is less reliable than photos.

Have Enough Auto Insurance

Before you are ever in an auto accident, make sure your insurance is up to date. In Portland, ME, the professionals at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance can help you stay safe with the right kind of coverage for your vehicle. Contact us to get a quote.

Maine Drone Insurance

Maine businesses are using drones to create unique video, capture aerial shots, and check locations that would otherwise be hazardous or difficult to access. Photographers and videographers capture unique images and videos. Marketers use drones to create compelling and  content. Real estate agents and developers use drones to show the attractiveness and potential of properties.

New Drone Insurance Program in Maine

Acadia Insurance Drone coverageWe were excited to learn today about Acadia Insurance‘s new drone insurance program.  Until today, our clients have had to insure their drones in Maine with specialty insurance programs. That meant separate billing, coverage and claims. Sometimes, it’s even meant that they had to work directly with the insurance company, with no agent to help. Insurance company financial stability isn’t a given for these programs.

The Acadia program allows Maine businesses to insure their drone with the rest of their property and liability. One bill, one claim adjuster, one agent. Acadia is based in Westbrook, Maine and already insures thousands of Maine businesses. They’ve introduced special programs inspired by iconic and growing Maine businesses, from breweries to artisans and contractors.


related post: Are Drones Covered by Maine Homeowners or Business Insurance?


Do you use a drone in your Maine business? Have you bought insurance from a specialty program or an insurance company you’ve never heard of? Do you wonder if they’ll be able to pay claims? Do you struggle to speak to a human at your insurance company? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re eager to see if Acadia Insurance can help Maine businesses insure their drones with a Maine insurance company.

Commercial Insurance for Maine Small Business

Maine small businesses face many of the same hazards as their larger counterparts. They are also unique, and as such, they have unique insurance needs. For businesses in the Portland, South Portland and Scarborough, ME area, the agents with Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance can help you to find the right insurance policy to protect their unique operations.

Maine small businesses are not legally required to carry property or liability insurance. If your business has employees, you must carry Workers Compensation insurance, though. Smart business owners know that insurance is a cost-effective way to protect their investment in property such as inventory, fixtures and equipment. They also know that business liability insurance will protect them from lawsuits alleging negligence that causes injury or property damage.

Many business contracts require proof of insurance. These include rental agreements and leases, equipment leases, and independent contractor agreements.  A Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent can help you determine what kind of insurance you need and how much. They’ll help work within your budget so you don’t buy too much – or too little – insurance. For those in the Greater Portland, ME area, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers the choice of several of Maine’s preferred insurers. We’re independent and committed to you. Call us at 207-799-5541.

Maine Business Insurance – How Much Does it Cost?

If you’re starting or running a business in Maine, your budget includes insurance. How much fire, auto or liability insurance do you need, and what will it cost? The answer varies, depending on what your business does. Restaurants pay more for fire insurance because of open flames and heat. Web designers pay more for professional insurance due to copyright infringement hazards. Breweries and other manufacturers spend more for product liability insurance. Contractors and food trucks pay more for auto insurance because they have a lot of equipment on the road.

Your business location affects your insurance costs, too. Business insurance in Portland or Southern Maine may cost more due to more congested roads, exposure to out-of-state travel and more a more litigious environment. But, business fire insurance may cost less in Portland, South Portland, Scarborough or nearby southern Maine towns due to strong fire protection.

Average Costs for Small Business Insurance in Portland Maine

The business clients of Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, an independent agency in South Portland Maine, pay an average of:

  • $3600 for all their commercial vehicles
  • $4500 for workers compensation
  • $1400 for business property insurance
  • $2600 for business liability insurance
  • $2750 for professional liability (Errors & Omissions) insurance

Those figures include all business clients, large and small. Some clients only need business liability coverage; others need all the insurances.

What Would It Cost to Insure Your Maine Business or Idea?

If you own a business or a startup business in Maine, we can help you find out. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred business insurance companies, so we can survey the market. We’re independent and committed to you.  Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland Maine, or click “get a quote” above. In the end, you’ll know how much to budget for insurance, and what kind of business insurance you need.

Homeowners Insurance and Accidents on Your Property in Maine

Having the right home, condo or renters insurance policy is an essential step toward protecting your most valuable asset. It’s an important tool that will protect you and your family financially should a disaster occur. Home insurance policies allow you to recover following events such as fires, weather damage, theft or vandalism. They can also help with the replacement of structures on your property if they are destroyed. The coverage you need depends on your situation. That is why it is important to get to know your agent at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance. They serve the Portland, ME area, so they understand the challenges that Maine homeowners face.

Liability Insurance Protects Your Assets

One aspect of home insurance to address with your agent is the amount and type of liability insurance that your policy provides. If someone is injured  and you are found to be at fault or negligent, you could be held responsible for their medical expense and legal fees if they decide to sue.  Injury can be caused by a dog bite, slip and fall, swimming pool accident or even a rock thrown from a lawn mower. This can financially ruin many homeowners. Having the appropriate amount of insurance can prevent this unfortunate situation and help you recover financially. You want to take care of your obligations. An adequate home insurance policy can help you achieve these goals.

Questions About Insurance and Your Personal Liability?

Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Our knowledgeable staff has worked for a long time with clients throughout Portland and the southern Maine area, so we understand the needs that you, as a homeowner, have. Just checking prices for now? You can get up to 5 instant Maine home insurance quotes by clicking the “get a quote” button above. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred insurance companies, so we can compare options for you. We’re independent and committed to you. Contact us and get the protection and coverage you need today!

What’s the Difference Between a Homeowners Policy and Dwelling Fire Policy?

Two types of hazard insurance commonly cover Maine homes and property: a homeowners policy and a dwelling fire policy. Each can satisfy your mortgage company’s hazard insurance requirements. Homeowners and dwelling fire policies provide different coverage. Here are some of the major differences.

Homeowners – Broader Coverage, More Limited Eligibility than Dwelling Fire

Maine homeowners insurance policies are designed for owner-occupied properties, usually one- or two-family homes. Insurance companies look to write homeowners policies on well-maintained year-round homes with good claim history.

Homeowners policies provide coverage for more classes of property than dwelling fire policies. Dwelling fire policies usually provide little or no contents coverage, while homeowners policies aim to cover most of your belongings. You can tailor a homeowners policy for special types of property like jewelry, art or firearms. These aren’t well covered by off-the-shelf homeowners policies or dwelling fire policies.

Dwelling Fire Policy – A La Carte Coverage for Unique Properties

Dwelling Fire policies are designed to cover only the things you or the insurance company want to. Is your roof is in poor shape? Your insurance company might exclude damage for water leaks. Own a Maine camp with no plumbing? You don’t need insurance for damage from frozen pipes.  Dwelling fire policies allow you to customize your policy by choosing from the basic DP-1 form, the broader DP-2 form, or the broadest DP-3 form.

Liability coverage on a dwelling fire policy is limited to the premises. Homeowners liability coverage follows you worldwide. Dwelling fire policies also don’t cover theft of contents. These characteristics make dwelling fire policies ideal for insuring tenant-occupied homes or income properties in Maine.

Comparing Homeowners and Dwelling Fire Policies

comparing homeowners and dwelling fire policy coverage - Noyes Hall & Allen

Get Hazard Insurance in the Portland Maine Area

Do you live in Portland or the southern Maine area? Do you own rental or income property? We’re happy to answer your questions about hazard insurance for your mortgage lender, homeowners insurance or dwelling fire insurance. We can explain the difference between various policies. We offer a choice of several insurance companies, so we can shop and compare insurance for you, and help you choose the proper insurance to meet your needs. We’re independent and committed to you. Call Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541, or click the “get a quote” link above.

What’s the Cost to Add and Insure a Teenage Driver in Maine?

 

Do you need to add a new driver to your insurance policy? How much will it cost? Does Maine car insurance cost more for boys than girls? How can you reduce the auto insurance cost of a Maine teenager? These are common questions for parents of newly licensed drivers.

What Influences Teen Driver Insurance Costs?

Experience – Teenage drivers cost more to insure until they prove themselves.

Savings tip: Every year the driver remains accident-free and violation-free, the cost decreases.

Gender – Boys do cost more to insure than girls. The gap isn’t as large as it once was, but it remains. That’s because boys’ auto insurance claim experience is worse than girls.

Access to Vehicles – If the number of drivers and vehicles are equal, the insurance company assumes that your teen driver has regular access to a vehicle. That’s called a “principal operator” in insurance lingo. Insurance companies charge more for that regular access than occasional use of the vehicle. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Savings tip: If your teen driver lives at school more than 100 miles from home, without a vehicle, you’ll pay reduced insurance rates. This insurance discount is again based on limited access to vehicles.

Education – Many insurance companies offer discounted auto insurance rates to young drivers who:

  • – have passed a driver education course.
  • – are on the honor roll or dean’s list
  • – earned a high school diploma, are enrolled full-time in college, or have a college degree.

 

Vehicle Driven – Insurance companies base their rates on individual vehicle characteristics.  High performance, high value or highly damageable vehicles cost more to insure.

Savings tip: Standard vehicles with widely available and inexpensive replacement parts are cheaper to insure.

Coverage Purchased – By law, every vehicle registered in Maine must have liability, uninsured motorist and medical payments insurance. The higher the limits you buy (and, you should), the more it costs. If you choose to insure it against collision and other damage, be aware that it costs more for younger drivers.

Savings tip:  If you own a vehicle outright, you may choose not to purchase physical damage. Just make sure you can afford to pay to fix the car if it gets in a wreck.

Insurance Company Rates – Each car insurance company files its own rates with the State of Maine. The insurance company that had the best rates for 2 adults and 2 cars may not be the best value when you add a young driver. The only way to know for sure is to check rates.

Savings tip: As an independent agency, Noyes Hall & Allen can compare rates from several insurance companies at one time. That allows you to save money by changing insurers without having to start a whole new insurance relationship.

The Rest of the Family – If your policy has a surcharge for accidents, it will cost more to add a young driver. If you have a clean record and preferred rates on your current policy, young drivers often cost less to add.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Teen Driver in Maine?

As you can see from the 8 factors listed above, the cost of adding a driver to your insurance in Maine varies widely. But, let’s ballpark it at $800 per year for an occasional operator with a clean record. Double that if you’re adding a vehicle with liability only, so that they’ll be a primary operator. If you add collision and comprehensive coverage, it will be even more.

Do you live in Southern Maine or the Portland Maine area, and want to compare car insurance rates to add a new driver? Click the “get a quote” button to check prices with 5 different insurance companies in 10 minutes. Prefer to work with a human? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.