Recently Mennonite Aid Plan has received a number of claims from people in the Fresno/Sanger/Reedley area for smoke damage from the Creek Fire last year. Smoke is a covered cause of loss, but there has to be actual damage for us to pay a claim. What will happen if you file a claim is that we will schedule a smoke detection company to assess whether there is smoke damage. They will take samples from inside and outside your home and send them to a laboratory for testing. If the tests and photos show nominal amounts of smoke and dust, there is no damage and therefore nothing to pay. This will be a claim on your policy. Our advice is that if you believe you have smoke damage, turn in a claim. If you are being encouraged to turn in a claim from an outside source and hadn’t noticed anything before, you might reconsider.
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.
Vic Alemania explains why your Homeowner’s Insurance contains a Workers Compensation section and who it covers.
By Lorie Ham
The cost of everything seems to have gone up during the pandemic. According to an NBC News Consumer article in March of 2021, Price Index data for the month of January found that the cost of food eaten at home rose 3.7 percent from a year ago — more than double the 1.4 percent year-over-year increase in the prices of all goods included in the Consumer Price Index.
Everywhere you go now you see higher prices—whether it be at the fast food drive through, picking up groceries and other supplies, or getting take-out from your local restaurant. A shortage in workers, a shortage in products due to temporary shutdowns of businesses, and a higher demand for some products due to a change in lifestyle caused by the pandemic, are just some of the many reasons for the spike in costs.
Another area that has seen a significant price hike is in building or repairing a home. The cost of lumber alone has gone up significantly. According to the Trading Economics website, since last spring lumber prices have risen more than 180% as the stay-at-home lifestyle has encouraged homeowners to expand or remodel their existing dwellings, and low mortgage rates exacerbated the home-building spree. The sustained rush of lumber buying caught sawmills and wholesalers by surprise at a time when Covid-19 restrained production, pushing prices up to record levels.
According to an article on the e2Value website, the pandemic has brought about an increased demand for home improvements/remodeling and a focus on outdoor areas of the home. Because people have been traveling less, they are spending less so they have more money to do these improvements. They also have more time to do the work themselves rather than bring contractors into their homes.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) produces a quarterly Remodeling Market Index to assess remodeling activity among its members. The 2020 Q4 results showed significant increases over the 2020 Q1 results.
Chuck Bohn, one of the owners of Reedley Lumber, has seen this all first hand. “The building material that by far has increased the most has been lumber. The price of lumber overall has tripled in about 14 months. Lumber prices are based on supply and demand and the pandemic hurt the supply side in several ways, mill shutdowns, trucking shortages, etc. The demand increased, more homes being built because of low inventories of existing homes, [and] do it yourself home and yard projects increased greatly.”
Other building supplies have gone up in price as well. “If you leave lumber out of the equation I would estimate a 15-20% increase on hardware and other building materials,” continues Bohn. “Steel products have gone up considerably but maybe not all pandemic related. We saw a lot of steel price increases due to trade issues before the pandemic started.”
Unfortunately, the rising costs aren’t a trend that will be changing any time soon, even though more things are opening up. To be prepared for the high costs of repairing your home due to an emergency, make sure you have the insurance coverage that you need. Give Mennonite Insurance a call and we will be glad to help 559-638-2327. Or find out more information about what types of insurance you may need.
Vic Alemania of Mennonite Aid Plan explains how coinsurance affects the settlement amount on a loss. Vic also notes that coinsurance for property policies is completely different from coinsurance in health insurance policies.
To obtain the full policy benefits, your policy coverage limits must be at least the percentage (typically 80%, 90% or 100%) of the full replacement cost required by the coinsurance clause of your policy. The example in the video below is the easiest way to understand coinsurance.