Vic Alemania explains why your Homeowner’s Insurance contains a Workers Compensation section and who it covers.
By Jerry Linscheid
Some pieces of jewelry are priceless, like that macaroni necklace your kindergartener made for you. Sentimental value is real, but it is hard to quantify.
I recently spoke with a gemologist I know well, Liz Linscheid. While watching kids play in the park, our conversation drifted to jewelry appraisals. What follows is the gist of our conversation between telling the kids to be careful.
You have a ring that you think might be valuable, so you take it to a jeweler to get it appraised. One of the first questions you should ask the appraiser is “Are you a certified gemologist?” Assuming the answer is “yes,” you can continue. If not, do some more research to find a jeweler with a gemologist on staff. “Why,” you might ask, “is using a gemologist important?” A gemologist is trained to determine:
- the type of gemstone,
- whether it is a natural gemstone, lab created, or treated to improve the appearance of a stone,
- its weight, cut, color and clarity.
They will also provide a detailed analysis of each gem as well as an appraisal of the metal in the ring.
One of the first questions the appraiser will ask you is “What is the purpose of the appraisal?” There are at least three types of appraisals and they may go by different names. An insurance or replacement cost appraisal will give the highest value. This is what it would cost to buy an identical piece of jewelry from a retail jeweler or have it made from scratch. If you have a piece that you intend to keep for a long time, this is the type of appraisal to get. If you schedule the ring on your homeowner policy, your insurance company will ask for this appraisal and a high- quality photo for their records.
The next lower level of appraisal might be called estate value. This can be thought of as similar to the wholesale value of the ring. When jewelry is part of an estate and the family is trying to divide the estate fairly, this valuation would be close to the amount you could sell the ring on the open market.
The lowest level of appraisal would be liquidation or scrap value. This would be the value of the gems not in a setting and the weight of the metal in the ring. You would be able to pawn the ring for something close to this appraisal.
What is the cost of an appraisal? It depends on how complicated the piece of jewelry is and the level of the appraisal. Does the jewelry have many gems or different kinds of gems? An average appraisal cost for replacement value could be around $250. The appraisal should itemize each significant gem.
How often to reappraise? A rule of thumb has been every 5 years. However, the price of gold has fluctuated a lot recently (i.e. gone up in price). Every 3 years is not too often in these situations. If you take your jewelry to the same gemologist, the costs for reappraisals can be less than the original.
Generally, there are limits on jewelry coverage under your homeowners insurance policy. If you wonder if you have enough coverage, please contact our office at 559-638-2327 or email us at email@example.com.
So, if that macaroni necklace becomes water damaged, we can try to send instructions and photos to help your child to recreate it. You could help others by posting a picture of your macaroni necklace on our Facebook page at MennoniteInsurance.
By Lorie Ham
Summer is here, and in much of the country, that can mean very hot temperatures. When it is that hot, no one wants to heat up the house even more by turning on the oven. So, what can you do? There are many options. You can use a crockpot, BBQ outdoors, make salads, or even use stovetop recipes.
Spoon University has a list of 21 recipes that don’t use the oven or stovetop. Some of the ones included are Yogurt Parfaits, Overnight Oats, Tuna Tartare, and a multitude of interesting and unusual salads.
Thrifty Frugal Mom offers 45 different no-oven dinner ideas and recipes for your summer eating. The article includes several crockpot recipes such as Creamy Crockpot Mexican Chicken and Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas. They also include many Instant Pot recipes like Smothered Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy, as well as stovetop and grill recipes, and ones for salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
If you want to do some BBQing this summer, Delish.com has a list of 45 BBQ recipes including ones for fish tacos, loaded grilled cauliflower, cabbage steaks, Balsamic Grilled Mushrooms, and more traditional grilling fair like burgers, chicken, and steak. Also on Delish.com, you can find 62 recipes for summer salads.
On Don’t Waste the Crumbs, they recommend cooking ahead before it gets really hot, and then heating the food up in the microwave at dinner time. They also suggest batch cooking, and approaching the idea of meals a bit differently.
If you are wondering how to pick the right slow cooker, the Food Network has a great list of product reviews. If you are looking to buy your first outdoor grill, cnet has some good advice. Picking the right grill for you means deciding on fuel type, size, price, style and extra features.
For some cool summer cooking suggestions that you won’t find by doing a Google search, we chatted with some mystery authors who feature cooking and recipes in their books to see what they would recommend.
Victoria Hamilton, who writes the Merry Muffin Mysteries, prefers cooking ahead of time in the cool of the morning or evening. “I usually have bean salad in the fridge (here’s where you can find Victoria’s recipe for bean salad). I loathed bean salad as a kid. Couldn’t even look at it. And now it’s my go-to vegetable side dish! And so simple. It will keep for up to three weeks in the fridge! I store it in glass Mason jars. Other make aheads can be a whole chicken cooked, or a ham, and a pasta or potato salad. Pasta salad—such as a tortellini salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing and cherry tomatoes—tastes even better the next day.”
Author Edith Maxwell, who writes the County Store Mysteries, likes to use a lot of fresh vegetables. “I like lots of salads, cold soups, and grilled foods.”
She also suggests using the microwave more. “Want potato salad? Cook the potatoes in the microwave. Steam corn on the cob in the microwave. Boil water in the microwave. You can even cook bacon for your BLT in the microwave.” You can find two of her favorite summer time recipes—Cucumber Dill Salad and Pell’s Yogurt-Honey Fruit Salad Dressing, here.
Peg Cochran, who writes the Farmer’s Daughter Mystery Series, prefers grilling. “I love grilling because there are no pans to wash afterwards and I get to stand outside on the deck in the nice weather! Also, everything tastes better grilled. Throw a steak, chicken, burgers, or fish on the grill, make a big salad, cook some corn on the cob in the microwave, and dinner is done without creating a heat wave in the kitchen.”
One of her favorite things to grill is Chicken Satay. “Thread strips of chicken breast on skewers and grill. Serve with peanut sauce, some basmati rice, and cucumber salad or Asian slaw. I also love to do shrimp on the grill—marinate in some olive oil, oregano, and garlic (lots!) for a few minutes, put on skewers and grill—they’re done in no time.”
Peg also suggests using an air fryer, or serving up a casual “antipasto” dinner of cheeses, dried salami, prosciutto, roasted peppers, olives and whatever else suits your fancy!
Here is Peg’s recipe for Peanut Dipping Sauce:
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons red chili paste like sriracha
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ cup hot water.
Combine all of the above except for the hot water in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add enough hot water to thin sauce to dipping consistency. Enjoy with grilled chicken.
If you are also a mystery reader, you can find even more recipes in the author’s books!
To find fresh fruit and vegetables for your summer meals, be sure to check out fruit stands and farmer’s markets. If you live in the Fresno County area of California, you can find a great list on the Fresno County Fruit Trail website. Wherever you live in the United States, check out Local Farm Markets to find a guide to your local farmer’s markets.
We would love it if you would share some of your summer beat-the-heat meals with us on our Facebook page!
Vic Alemania of Mennonite Aid Plan explains the consequences of turning in a claim and the things to consider before turning in a claim.
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.
By Lorie Ham
Paying for college can be a challenge these days. While many students may qualify for financial aid, it doesn’t always cover everything, and some students don’t qualify even if they aren’t able to pay for college themselves. There are always school loans, but those can take a lifetime to pay off. Thankfully, there are scholarships out there to help.
One such scholarship is offered by Mennonite Insurance Services and was started in 2011. As to what inspired the creation of this scholarship, Mennonite Insurance Services General Manager Jerry Linscheid shared this, “Well before the scholarship program, we supported institutions that did work we agreed with. By its nature, there is not a personal connection between us and the people we helped. The scholarships allow a more personal connection. We see the applicants’ goals and dreams. In the early days, we even saw their handwriting on the applications. Sometimes a board or staff member will know them or their family. And it is entirely possible to see them several years down the road when their schooling is over and they are starting their careers.”
It is widely believed that a college education can make a difference in your quality of life. According to EducationCorner.com, studies show that college graduates earn significantly more throughout their lifetime than those with only a high school education. In an article in early 2020 in The Edge, Georgetown University Center on Education predicted that by 2027 seventy percent of all jobs will require some education beyond high school, with only thirty percent of jobs still available to those without it.
“A college education is important,” states Linscheid. “A well-educated person is prone to critical thinking. A well-educated person is likely to find a job that pays a living wage. An education is expensive. If we can help a few students along in that process, I think society will be better for it.”
The deadline to apply for the scholarship from Mennonite Insurance is July 1, 2021. To be eligible to apply you must meet the following criteria:
- A member or regular attender of a Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ or Missionary church in AZ, CA, OR or WA (West Coast)
- Enrolled in a 4-year college, university or graduate school on the West Coast
- At least a college junior with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
Scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded to up to five applicants each year. Applicants may apply multiple years. Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received the scholarship. To obtain more information, and to apply, go to mennoniteinsurance.com/scholarships.
If you have received one of these scholarships in the past, Mennonite Insurance would love to hear how your college education helped you in your life. Please consider sharing on their Facebook page. “I think it would be great to hear the success in their careers after college,” says Claudia Fletes, who is in charge of the scholarships for Mennonite Insurance. “I sometimes wonder where their paths will lead them after reading their essays.”