Vic Alemania explains the importance of having an inventory of your personal property before you need to make an insurance claim.
By Lorie Ham
According to an NBC News article in July of 2021, as prices of precious metals spiked,thefts of catalytic converters skyrocketed from an average of 108 per month in 2018 to 2,347 in December 2020.
Recently, one of Mennonite Insurance’s customers experienced such a theft. We will call him John for the sake of this article. John woke up one morning to go to work and heard a roar when he started his car. He soon realized the cause was that his catalytic converter had been stolen. Though he didn’t hear anything during the night, he knew it had to have been stolen then. John’s car had been parked on the street, and based on security camera videos it appeared that they had jacked up one side and cut out the converter in just about two minutes time.
Since he hasn’t yet heard back from the claims department, John doesn’t know how much his out of pocket cost will be to replace it, but he does know how much the overall cost was. “It was $674, but my mechanic said it can vary greatly from one vehicle to another. I’ve heard of repairs costing over $2,000.”
Thankfully, John has comprehensive coverage instead of just liability coverage. “If you just have auto liability coverage, you are out the several thousand dollars to replace the converter,” says Jerry Linscheid, Chief Executive Officer with Mennonite Aid Plan/Mennonite Insurance Services.
“In auto insurance, we often think of the property and liability coverages independently,” continues Jerry. “The state requires minimum liability coverage. The liability coverage is the amount the insurance company would pay to someone who you injure or whose property you damage.”
However, the property coverage is the amount the insurance company would pay to you to fix your car. The state does not require that you carry property coverage, but if you have a loan, your lender will require it. “Property coverage has two components: collision (when you run into another car) and comprehensive (other than collision, like theft, hail, etc.) You will almost always have a deductible for comprehensive and collision coverages.”
Hopefully, you will never experience this kind of theft, but if you do, John says that it is important to contact [your insurance claims department] before you get it repaired. “And be sure to take photos to document the damage.”
The City of Garden Grove, one of many cities that have recently noticed a rise in the theft of catalytic converters, shares tips on their website of things you can do to help prevent such a theft, such as parking in a well-lit area, parking in a garage where possible, and attaching a security device to the converter.
If you are unsure of what your auto coverage is, we highly recommend finding out so you aren’t caught unprepared if something like this happens to you. Mennonite Insurance writes auto insurance and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
While Mennonite Insurance is the actual company (pays the claims) for homeowners coverage, they are just the agent for auto insurance. “We would be able to write for companies like Personal Express, Safeco, Travelers, and others,” shares Jerry.
You can contact Mennonite Insurance by calling 559-638-2327. If you have experienced this kind of theft, we would like to hear about your experiences and if there is any wisdom you can share from the experience. Feel free to share on our Facebook page.
By Lorie Ham
It’s that time of year again when we are surrounded by pumpkin everything! Pumpkin spice latte, pies, breads, yogurt, bagels, and even Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. According to Adweek, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL, is now the most popular seasonal beverage in the chain’s history, with north of 200 million cups sold.
But what if you are tired of pumpkin? Or, maybe you are one of the few who don’t like Pumpkin Spice anything? WebstaurantStore blog lists many other classic fall flavors that can get people into the spirit of the season, no pumpkin needed. They have a list of 10 other autumn flavors that are not only great in baked goods and creative entrees, but also as coffee flavors and holiday drinks! One of those flavors is ginger. Sadly, Starbucks no longer sells their Gingerbread Latte, but there are many other ways to enjoy the great flavor of ginger, including making your own latte!
Wikipedia states that ginger originated from Maritime Southeast Asia. In 2018, global production of ginger was 2.8 million metric tons. It is a popular spice used worldwide to spice up meals, and even as medicine. According to the McCormick Science Institute, ginger is one of the most used spices in the world! Ginger, along with green onion and garlic, is considered part of the “holy trinity” of Chinese cooking.
If you are looking for ways to use ginger, on the Kitchn website you can find 10 late fall recipes with ginger that include Pear and Ginger Upside-Down Cake, Coconut Ginger Candy Drops, and Double Ginger Scones. Cooking Light shares 101 ways to cook with ginger.
One of the most popular sweets using ginger are gingerbread cookies, of which there are many different varieties. They are not only popular at Christmas time, but all throughout the year. If you would like a new gingerbread recipe to try this fall, mystery author Cleo Coyle, whose books feature the owner of a coffee shop and include many wonderful recipes for sweets and coffees, has a fun recipe for iced gingerbread cookie sticks, which are elegant, edible coffee stirrers. You can find even more recipes on her website, and in the back of her books, which make for a perfect read while enjoying your gingerbread latte and cookies!
Makes about 4-5 dozen cookie sticks, depending on size
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (or 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
- 2⁄3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup molasses (unsulphured, not blackstrap)
- 1⁄3 whole milk (or brewed coffee)*
- Vanilla Glaze (see recipe below) and
- Coarse finishing sugar (about 1/4 cup)
*Note: To make this recipe dairy free replace butter with non-dairy margarine and the whole milk with coffee or almond milk.
What is your favorite fall or holiday spice that isn’t pumpkin? Do you have a favorite recipe using ginger? We would love it if you would share some of those with us on our Facebook page.
Vic Alemania looks at 5 aspects of home businesses where losses may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If you do anything for compensation from home, please contact your insurance agent before a loss, so you know what would be covered and what might not.
By Lorie Ham
Another fall is upon us, which for some, means sending our kids off to college. If they are living away from home, it can bring a lot of changes to your life—an emptier house, less food to cook, and perhaps some extra quiet time. It can also bring other changes that need to be considered—such as, does your insurance need to change?
Mennonite Insurance agent Michelle Heinrichs faced those same questions recently. The first thing they did was review their contents and liability coverage under their renter’s policy to make sure that the policy coverage would extend to their son while in the dorms.
”We confirmed that while he considers our home his primary home—comes home at Christmas and Summer vacations—he can be considered an insured under the policy until he is 25. When he moves into an apartment at the beginning of the next school year, most companies would consider him on his own and this will not allow him to fall under our policy. So, we plan to get him his own contents policy then.”
So what if your student is living in an apartment already? Mennonite Aid Plan offers a Renter’s policy if the student lives in a home. If a student needs coverage for living in an apartment, they can offer them coverage through their agency side. “Just note that coverage is for the named insured and not the roommate,” continues Michelle. “A common misunderstanding is that the policy coverage extends to all residents of the home/apartment. These policies are not able to be written that way. Each roommate would need their own coverage for their own risk exposures.”
Another insurance question may come up if the student has their own car. Michelle’s son does have his own car, and he took it with him to school. What they did in this instance was to update their auto policy to show the new “garaging address.” According to Michelle, all vehicles should have an accurate garaging location. “There are possibly different risks depending on locations.”
However, many kids do not take a car to college with them. In trying to save on their premium, their parents might choose to remove them from the policy while they are away at college. “If there is ANY chance a student might drive a friend’s car, the exposure is still there, and it is best to not exclude them from the policy,” shares Michelle. “If an accident occurs while the student is driving, it could be catastrophic if no coverage is in place on their behalf. If you are wondering, review this with your own insurance agency.”
So make sure that you do your homework so your college student has all of the coverage they need. If you have questions about any of these situations, feel free to reach out to Mennonite Insurance Services and they will be happy to help. Mennonite Insurance offers coverage for all of these needs. Be sure to visit their website, and give them a call with any questions at (559) 638-2327.
By Lorie Lewis Ham
Due to the pandemic, many people are out of work and getting creative about earning money. One popular choice is to become a driver for one of the food delivery businesses, like Doordash, Instacart, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. However, have you thought about what using your car for business might mean for your auto insurance?
Let’s say you are out delivering groceries for Instacart and you get into an accident. There is damage to your car and the person in the other car is hurt—will your insurance cover all of this? Would you be surprised if the delivery company denies any responsibility?
Delivery Side Gig
“The contract you sign to become a driver for these companies says that you are an independent contractor and not their employee,” shares Jerry Linscheid, General Manager for Mennonite Aid Plan/Mennonite Insurance Services. (This may be changing in CA in the future) Because of that, no payroll taxes will be withheld, and there won’t be any worker’s compensation or liability (auto or general) insurance provided.
However, you may be thinking, I have insurance. Your car is insured and your homeowner or renters policy includes liability coverage. “Those policies are designed for personal use, not business exposure,” continues Jerry. “Many personal policies exclude coverage for business exposure. Using your car for Instacart deliveries is a business exposure. Don’t rely on personal insurance for business.”
Or perhaps you have decided to become a part of the Airbnb craze. Let’s say you are renting out your home while you are gone on business trips, or “hosting” as they call it. You have a nice home with a great kitchen but the family staying there leaves the dinner they are cooking on your stove unattended and a fire starts. They catch it in time to avoid calling the fire department. But there is significant damage to the ceiling and walls in your kitchen. Will your homeowner’s policy cover that?
According to Jerry, the guests caused the damage and should be responsible for the repairs. The contract with Airbnb says that Airbnb is not responsible for anything other than connecting the host and the guest and collecting money. There are, however, some insurance coverages available through Airbnb, both for damage to the host’s property and injury to guests.
AirBnB Side Gig
“Let’s say that for some reason, neither the guests nor Airbnb will pay for the repairs, and you have to file a claim on your homeowner policy,” states Jerry. “All homeowner policies cover loss due to fire. While the business use of your home might be a problem for liability coverage, it likely will not prevent coverage for the damage to your kitchen.”
Yard Work Side Gig
What if your son decides to use your brand-new lawnmower to make some extra money during the summer? Your elderly neighbor hires him to mow his extremely neglected back yard, but because the grass is so tall. Your son accidentally runs over a spigot in the yard and it needs to be replaced. Will your insurance cover this? Will your neighbor’s insurance cover this? Or will your son have to pay for it out of his summer earnings?
First off, Jerry asks, “On what planet is it okay to take your father’s brand-new lawnmower and mistreat it? Was the mower damaged?” Back to insurance. According to Jerry, the neighbor’s policy might cover the damage, subject to the deductible on his policy. $500-$1,000 is a normal deductible. But it seems unlikely that a broken pipe and spigot would cost close to that amount, including labor.
“Your homeowner liability coverage usually doesn’t have a deductible. There are often allowances for business activities that are occasional, typically performed by minors, or earn less than $2,000/ year. You should check your policy for what business activity is allowed.”
So how do you avoid all of these situations? The important thing is to find all of this out BEFORE you start working as a gig driver, Airbnb host, or let your child become a teenage entrepreneur. Contact Mennonite Insurance and they would be happy to help! 559-638-2327.