Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Maine

Posted in Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

If you are a Maine resident who rides a motorcycle registered in the state, you must prove you can cover the cost of damages (either property or injury) in the case of an accident. To show proof that you ensure financial responsibility, you must carry liability motorcycle insurance, uninsured motorists coverage, and medical payments coverage.   Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility Although other states offer a few options to establish financial responsibility, Maine only allows its resident riders to purchase motorcycle insurance. If your specific situation does not afford you the ability to purchase a policy, look into the state’s assigned risk initiative. Read below for the state’s minimum motorcycle insurance requirements; they are no different than what is required for automobiles.   Assigned Risk The Maine Automobile Insurance Plan can assist you if you cannot obtain coverage through regular means. That is because the state requires all insurance companies who sell insurance policies in Maine to contribute to this shared market.   Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined Not all vehicles must be registered or insured in the state, so if you are not sure whether your vehicle requires registration or insurance coverage, contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) at (207) 624-9000, ext. 52149. Here’s how the state defines motorcycles, mopeds, and motorized scooters: Motorcycle―A motor vehicle with a seat or a saddle to accommodate a rider. It has either an electric motor (not less than 1,500 watts) or an engine with more than 50 cc, and is meant to travel on the ground with only 2 or 3 wheels (10 inches or larger in diameter). Moped―A motorized device with fully operative pedals for human-powered propulsion. It is designed for ground travel using only 2 or 3 wheels (10 inches or larger in diameter), and has either an electric motor (less than 1,500 watts) or a liquid-fuel motor not exceeding 50 cc. For more specifics on mopeds, the Maine Exam Manual. Motorized Scooter―Note that these do not include electric personal assistive mobility devices. Instead they are motor-powered scooters having a maximum piston displacement of less than 25 cc or an electric motor with a capacity not exceeding 750 watts. They travel on the ground using 2 or 3 wheels fewer than 10 inches in diameter.   Maine Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles As stated above you must purchase liability motorcycle insurance, uninsured motorists coverage, and medical payments coverage from an auto insurance provider. Here are the motorcycle minimums to satisfy the financial responsibility law: $50,000 for the injury/death to any one person $100,000 for one accident resulting in injury/death of more than one person $25,000 for property damage As you are getting motorcycle insurance quotes, do some research on the types of coverage that...

Read More

Why Does Your Credit Score Affect What You Pay for Auto Insurance?

Posted in Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

There used to be a time when auto insurance carriers did not consider your credit score when quoting auto insurance rates.  Though for the past 20 years or so, it has become common practice for insurance carriers to pull your credit score as part of the evaluation for providing an auto insurance quote. If you have ever wondered why you are not alone.  Many have asked the question, why does credit score affect the cost of auto insurance?  Here is a brief look into credit scoring and why it affects what you pay.   Credit Score in a Nutshell A credit score is an indicator of your financial wellbeing that falls somewhere between 500 and 900. Financial institutions and companies use this number to determine how likely you are to repay your debts based on past credit history, among other factors. When creditors look at your credit score, they’re assessing whether you are a low-risk or high-risk borrower.  A low-risk borrower is someone who most likely would repay their loans, while a high-risk borrower is someone who most likely will be unable to repay their loans on time.  Traditionally, high-risk borrowers are charged higher interest rates because creditors are taking on a greater risk of losing their money.    Credit Scoring and Auto Insurance  A car insurance carrier considers many factors when evaluating the risk of insuring a new customer that can include: age, gender, location, vehicle type, marital status, accident history, driving record, annual mileage and credit score. Insurance companies have found a statistical correlation between credit score and how likely a driver is to file a claim.  They have found that those with poor credit scores are more likely to file a claim than one with the good or better rating.  Insurance companies also perceive that having a low credit score could be an indication that the person has missed payments or has the habit of making late payments on credit accounts and thus believe that they are more likely to follow this pattern.  In essence, insurance carriers think that a good score reflects a customer’s ability to make on-time payments as well as maintain safe driving habits which can lead to fewer claims in the future.  Because there is a lower risk of claims, the customer is more likely to receive a discounted rate.    Need Insurance Options? Equinox Can Help  Equinox represents a wide variety of insurance carriers which helps us to offer many options for our customers.  As an insurance agency, we don’t set the pricing, claims procedures, underwriting guidelines or discounts.  Each insurance company we work with establishes their own rates and rules for doing business with them.  Equinox works as a trusted advisor...

Read More

Auto leasing vs. buying: What’s best for you?

Posted in News, Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

If you are in the market for a new set of wheels, you’re probably wondering if you should lease or buy. Though 80 percent of Americans financed their cars at a dealership in 2016, leases hit an all-time high of 4.3 million that same year, according to the “Lease Market Report” from edmunds.com.   What’s right for you? There are pros and cons to leasing and buying a car, but deciding what works best for you depends on your needs and more importantly, your finances. First, consider your budget, calculating how much car you can afford, including a down payment and monthly costs. Next, factor in your primary use for the car, be it commuting, weekend cruising, or both. Finally, start the comparison process.   A closer look at leasing. More car for “less”? Here are four things to keep in mind about leasing: Cost: The average new car loan came in at more than $30,000, according to a 2017 auto market finance study from Experian. Leases typically have lower upfront costs, as well as lower monthly payments, making it more attractive to some buyers. On the flip side, when you lease, you have a permanent car payment and when the lease ends, will have nothing to show for it—no car to drive, trade in, or sell. Choice and maintenance: With leasing, you can drive a new or almost-new car without a long-term commitment. In addition, repairs will likely be rare or non-existent and maintenance will be mostly oil changes, tires, and brakes. Finally, if you want to keep up with the technology, leasing could be a good option since you can upgrade when the lease ends. Mileage: Even the most affordable leasing deals can severely limit how much you can drive. The typical mileage limit is 12,000 per year, though some lenders will let you go up to 100,000 miles, says Edmunds. However, if you pick a lower-mileage lease and go over your limit, you’ll pay a surcharge for additional miles, around 10 cents to 25 cents per mile. With nearly 25 percent of U.S. workers commuting more than 42 miles per day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, extra mileage costs can quickly add up, making leasing far less of a bargain. Depreciation: While you’ll pay less sales tax with a purchase, leases are more expensive over time, partly because you’re always making a car payment. Another cost factor is depreciation. Once you drive a new car off the dealer lot, its status goes to “used” instantly, and so does its value. Translation: you pay for that decrease with each new lease. While new-car buyers also take the initial depreciation hit, driving the car for more years lessens the total cost. The...

Read More

Maine Continues to Rank Among Most Affordable States for Personal Auto and Homeowners Insurance

Posted in News, Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

February 8, 2018 – Maine Government News | Maine.gov Professional & Financial Regulation – Insurance    “Thanks to a competitive market, Maine consumers are paying less for auto and home insurance than consumers in nearly every other state,” Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa stated. For the fifth consecutive year, Maine ranked 3rd nationally for lowest average auto insurance premiums, and for the third year in a row the state ranked 10th nationally for lowest average homeowners premiums, according to recently released reports by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Maine continues to have the lowest average homeowners premiums in New England. The NAIC’s Auto Insurance Database Report provides the average costs associated with personal automobile insurance and includes state-by-state auto insurance data and analysis for insurance regulators, consumers and lawmakers. The types of auto insurance coverage included in the report are bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist, medical payment, collision, and comprehensive. The NAIC’s Homeowners Insurance Report provides data on market distribution and average cost by policy form and amount of insurance. Data is collected from insurance statistical agents or reported directly to the NAIC and includes national and state-specific premium and exposure information for homeowners policies, as well as non-commercial dwelling fire insurance policies. “Maine has coverage requirements that exceed those in most other states, yet Maine continues to have consistently low average auto premiums,” Superintendent Cioppa said. According to the Insurance Research Council, Maine also now has the lowest percentage of uninsured motorists, at 4.5% (followed by New York at 6.1% and Massachusetts at 6.2%). More information is available from the NAIC (www.naic.org). Maine consumers and business owners with questions about auto, home, business or other lines of insurance are encouraged to visit the Bureau of Insurance website at maine.gov/insurance or call 800-300-5000, or email Insurance.PFR@maine.gov. The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound business practices through oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous occupations....

Read More

How to Avoid the Top Three Auto Claims of Winter

Posted in Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

It comes as no surprise that the top three claims we see during the winter are weather-related. When road conditions change, drivers face new challenges.   1. Prepare your vehicle Check your tires.  If your tires are worn out, consider replacing them. If you live in an area that is impacted by snow, you may want to invest in a good set of snow tires. Learn more: The best time to buy tires for winter on Consumer Reports. Keep your gas tank at least half full. Condensation can form on the inside wall of your empty gas tank. As temperatures drop at night, the condensation turns to ice. Ice can crack your tank. Plus, as temperatures return to normal during the day, the ice can melt and drip down into your low gas supply. If water finds its way into your fuel lines, that can lead to costly repairs. Learn more: Car winterizing tips on How Stuff Works. Clear off your car completely.  It’s not enough to clear one small section of the windshield, you need to clear the entire vehicle. Have you ever driven behind someone that did not clear off the top of their car? It’s very dangerous; snow blows off of their roof and compromises your vision and your grip on the road. Some states issue fines for drivers that fail to clear the top of the car and the license plate.  Do not lift your windshield wipers up before an impending snowstorm. Strong winds, hail and ice can break the wiper and even crack your windshield. It’s better to leave those wipers safely tucked down and use your defrosters in the morning. Learn more: Not clearing the snow off your car could cost you on NPR.   2. Prepare for the worst You can make your own emergency kit. Some of the items you may already have around the house: flashlight, batteries, blanket, bottled water, matches, candles, snacks, sand or litter, etc. Learn more: emergency kit checklist  Charge your cell phone and call a friend. Leave the house with a full battery in case you end up stranded and need to call for help. It’s good to let a friend know where you are going and when you should arrive, in case you end up stranded with no cell reception. You should never operate a mobile device while driving, especially in icy conditions. Have a plan in case you break down. Who do you call? Make sure you have some emergency contact numbers memorized or written down, in case you skipped the last tip and forgot to charge your phone! Do you know how to use everything in your kit? Make sure you know how to change a flat or jump-start a cold battery. If you’re...

Read More

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

Posted in News, Tip Of The Month | 0 comments

September 8, 2017 | by Seena Gressin Published by the Federal Trade Commission  Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.   There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.) Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection anytime you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach. Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until January 31, 2018 to enroll. You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.   Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach: Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do. Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize. If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. File your taxes early — as soon...

Read More