A home is a sanctuary and a resting place – with so much of our lives wrapped up in our homes, purchasing home insurance that can protect it from damage and disaster is vital. And luckily for homeowners in Maine, the state is among the most affordable for buying home insurance, coupled with a low risk of experiencing natural disasters from things like tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. So what makes for a good Maine home insurance policy? By learning more about the average prices and coverage of Maine home insurance, you can find out.
- Fun fact: 90% of the lobster supply in the USA comes from Maine
Average Rates in Maine
In 2017, the Insurance Information Institute ranked the average premium prices of all 50 states from most to least expensive. In this ranking, Maine was 42nd, placing it amongst the top ten cheapest states for home insurance with average premiums at $882. This is far below the national average for premium prices of $1,211, and puts Maine amongst other cheap states for home insurance like Vermont ($918 average annual premiums) and Ohio ($862 average premiums).
Renter’s insurance in Maine is also cheap. As with homeowner’s insurance, it is placed 42nd, with average premiums of $149 – the same average premiums as in New Hampshire! Even though renter’s insurance is comparatively inexpensive in Maine, the overall savings aren’t huge, as it falls just $31 below the national renter’s premium of $180.
Maine Legal Insurance Requirements
Other than protecting your home and possessions, the number one reason to get home insurance is to satisfy your mortgage or lender. Though the government doesn’t require home insurance, your mortgage lender most likely will, and can force you onto their preferred, and often more expensive home insurance if you don’t get your own.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance outlines standard home insurance coverage as including:
- Damage to Dwelling – which pays for both damage to the structure of your house, attached structures (like a garage) and also to plumbing, wiring, and heating systems. Your total coverage is based on a percentage of the calculated value of your home – and different policies have different limits on what that percentage is.
- Other structures – As with damage to dwelling, this will insure structures not physically attached to your home, like fencing, work sheds, barns, and unattached garages and buildings.
- Personal Property – This coverage will repair and replace possessions within the home, like furniture, clothing, tools, and appliances. Even if the possessions are damaged or lost outside of the home (like in a college dorm, or the airport) the coverage still applies. Keep in mind that there is little to no coverage for luxury items or things like antiques or jewelry, for which you may need to purchase additional insurance.
- Loss of Use – If you are unable to live in your home for a period of time while it’s being repaired or replaced due to damage your insurance covers, this will help pay for living expenses.
- Personal Liability – If someone is injured on your property, or their possessions damaged, and they decide to sue you for it, this coverage will help you pay for legal expenses from a lawsuit.
- Medical Expense – Whether or not a person holds you responsible, if a person besides you or your family is injured on your property, this insurance helps pay for medical fees.
- This kind of insurance is offered in various “forms,” which cover a range of “perils” or damaging events to property. Among these forms are:
- Basic Form – which in Kentucky covers at minimum fire and lightning damage. An additional premium must be paid to get coverage from more perils, such as windstorms/hail, explosions, riots and civil commotion, vehicles and aircraft, smoke, vandalism, and volcanic eruption
- Broad Form – This policy protects against all Basic Form perils, with the addition of theft, damage from falling objects, weight of ice or snow, and damage from the freezing of pipes within the home.
- Special Form – The most common kind of insurance policy, this will protect your home against everything not specifically excluded by your insurance policy (most commonly floods and earthquakes, though damage from vermin infestations is also a common exclusion)
- Renter’s Form – Unlike the previous forms, this does not insure the physical structure of a property from perils, but only the personal possessions of the tenant. The landlord will obtain their own insurance for the structure of the home
- Condo Owner’s Form – As a middle ground between standard home insurance and renter’s insurance, this will cover the same perils of a Broad Form for the possessions of your condo as well as the portion of the physical structure of the condo that you own, rather than the entire complex.
Common Risk Factors in Maine
Maine is relatively protected from damaging earthquakes and the most severe effects from hurricanes. Due to Maine’s ecology, the main threats it faces are from wildfires and flooding.
Maine’s Emergency Management Agency has identified wildfires as one of the primary risks to Maine properties. While some wildfires are caused by lightning strikes, the vast majority are started by humans – in a state with 89% forest cover, drought conditions can make a tinderbox for wildfires. Luckily, fire insurance is provided by even the most basic home insurance coverage offered by Maine’s FAIR program.
Damage from flooding isn’t covered by standard home insurance. Maine is a state riddled with rivers, streams, and brooks – not to mention 6,000 ponds and lakes, as well as 3,500 miles of coast. Maine is also a rainy state, and flooding is common in the spring. The last major flood in Maine – the 2007 Patriot’s Day Storm – caused damages in excess of $45 million across the state, according to the National Weather Service. To get flood insurance in Maine, you must purchase it separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. In Maine, all lenders that are federally regulated must evaluate if your home is located in a floodplain and require you to purchase flood insurance along with your home insurance. Considering that roughly a quarter of flood insurance claims come from areas of low or moderate risk of flooding, it may be in your best interest to purchase flood insurance even if your lender doesn’t require it of you.
Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Maine
Are you as a homeowner likely to make an insurance claim? How much coverage would be needed for an insurance claim in your home? These are questions that insurers keep in mind when they’re calculating the amount you pay for insurance policies, and they’re useful questions for consumers to consider as well, to get an idea of what information may affect the pricing of a standard policy.
Your Home’s Value
This is the base measurement for most of your home insurance – a percentage amount of your dwelling coverage often determines your personal property coverage, and so forth. Home value is calculated either in terms of replacement cost or actual cash value. While replacement cost refers to the amount of money it takes to rebuild a home from scratch, using similar materials and with current labor costs, actual cash value refers to the replacement cost minus any damage or depreciation. In other words, actual cash value reflects more the market value of a home or item.
The average home value in Maine is $249,550 – very close to the national average of $248,857 However, the replacement cost of a home in Maine may not match this value exactly. Included within the market value of a home is the value of the land that comes with the home. Insurance companies only concern themselves with the replacement cost of the actual dwelling when determining replacement cost.
Local Crime Rates
Lower crime rates can mean lower premiums – after all, since home insurance is meant to protect against property crime, it would be more expensive for an insurance company to offer policies in areas of high crime. In Maine, there is a property crime rate (exempting auto theft) of 1.30%, which falls beneath the national property crime rate of 1.97%, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program. This may translate into savings when buying Maine home insurance!
Your Income and Education
Often personal characteristics like high incomes, good credit, and a college education can be advantageous when purchasing insurance, as these are populations considered to have a lower overall tendency to file insurance claims. Whether or not it factors into your insurance price, having a high income makes meeting insurance payments easier. In Maine, the average home income is $55,602, according to 2018 information from the Census Bureau.
People in Maine may be earning less than the national average household income of $62,179, but educational attainment rates are someone closer to the national mean. The percentage of people above the age of 25 who have earned at least a bachelors’ degree is 30.9%, compared with the national rate of 32.06%.
Where To Purchase Home Insurance in Maine
Knowledge is power when it comes to selecting great home insurance. The more companies and policies you can compare, the better deals you can find, and Agilerates.com can provide accurate quotes for the insurers in your area. Comparing insurance companies is a wise decision even if you already have a home insurance plan. According to the Pulse Whitepaper from iii.org, only 44% of homeowners compare prices of different insurers at renewal time, and only 17% do so online. That means more than half of all homeowners are leaving money on the table at renewal time. Use Agilerates.com online form to get matched with a local agent, get free quotes, and shop around!