Ask the Experts: How to Save on Insurance

Allen Insurance and Financial agent Cale Pickford on how to get the most out of your insurance coverage.

Cale Pickford, Director, Compass Group, Allen Insurance and Financial
Cale Pickford, Director, Compass Group, Allen Insurance and Financial. Photograph by Benjamin Williamson
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Between the pandemic, supply-chain woes, and political upheaval, our collective understanding of “worst-case scenarios” has been redefined during the last two years, and these new realities have had a trickle-down effect on home and auto insurance. The good news is that any kind of insurance is very likely to be more available and less expensive in Maine than most other places, says Cale Pickford, AAI, who sells business and personal-property insurance for Allen Insurance and Financial. The Maine market is unique, and if you’re moving here from away, buying a second home, or working remotely for a company that’s based out of state, it may be challenging to find a plan that meets your needs. Here are some tips from Pickford on how to get the most out of your coverage.

Play it safe when buying a home.

Waiving the home inspection is becoming increasingly common in this crazy real-estate market, but it’s not a good idea. The inspection is going to provide information that can be really important to underwriting insurance. If you didn’t have one when you applied for insurance, problems may come back to haunt you. If you find out after you’ve bought the house how old the roof or the heating system or the wiring is, for example, your home insurance may be costly. And even if cost isn’t an issue, it can be difficult to find a contractor, like an electrician, plumber, and roofer, because they’re in such high demand right now.

Don’t scrimp on car insurance.

Disruptions in the supply chain have made it hard to find a new car, more expensive and time consuming to repair the car you have, and even difficult to find a rental car while your car is in the shop. Given all those challenges, I advise clients to purchase a more robust auto policy, with higher per-day and total limits for renting a substitute car. And given how hard Maine winters can be on a car, I recommend policies that provide full, zero-deductible coverage for services like cracked-windshield repair and roadside assistance.

Go with a local pro.

It’s important to work with an independent insurance advisor so that you can evaluate multiple plans offered by a variety of carriers and find a solution that can be tailored to fit your needs. Shopping for insurance yourself online can lead to a lot of confusion, usually because you make a decision based on price. You won’t know that it doesn’t meet your needs until something bad happens — say you get sick, there’s a major damage to your house, or there’s an accident. It’s also important to work with someone who understands the unique challenges of living in Maine and what kinds of insurance needs you’ll have.

34 Elm St., Camden, ME 04843. 800-439-4311.