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.
Vic Alemania explains how to check your water supply lines to help prevent them from wear and tear causing leaks that would lead to water damage in your home.
Mennonite Insurance Services is excited to announce the recipient of the 2021 Scholarship.
Students must be members of an Anabaptist church, be at least a junior at a West Coast college or university, and have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
The scholarship recipient is Robert Ross from Madera Avenue Bible, Madera CA. He attends Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary. Ross states, “My eventual goal is to become an executive/lead pastor at some point of a church. This is something that God has been working on me for the past 10 years, ever since I fully committed my life to Him.”
“It’s great to be able to help our recipients reach their educational goals. It’s very rewarding for us to have small role in their success,” said Claudia Fletes, scholarship administrator.
Mennonite Insurance Services and its parent, Mennonite Aid Plan, provide property insurance to churches and their members on the West Coast.
By Lorie Ham
According to a recent article on CNN’s website, more than 95 percent of the West is in some level of drought, with nearly two-thirds in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst categories. As we find ourselves once again in a drought on much of the West Coast, what can we do to make a difference? Most towns have watering schedules, so sticking to those are a good first step, but what else can we do?
“One thing we have implemented is to use the washing machine water on our lawn,” shares Jerry Linscheid, Chief Executive Officer at Mennonite Aid Plan/Mennonite Insurance Services.
Mennonite Insurance board member Janine Bergdahl suggests that we don’t need to flush the toilet after each use. You can also put in low flow toilets that use less water.
Board member LeAnne Quenzer has a number of things that her family does to conserve water. “We put in all drought-tolerant plants with drip line only in our large front yard this year. Drip line circles the two trees in front also.” She also keeps a basin in the utility sink in their laundry room and the water from washing hands and rinsing items off is collected in the basin. They use that collected water, and water from leftover water cups, to water their plants.
Most of us are familiar with ideas like not running the water while you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers, but you can also place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water, and that too can be used to water plants. On Love Your Landscape.org, you can find more tips on conserving water in your yard and garden. Their tips include obvious things like eliminating leaks, along with things we may not have thought of like mowing high, which helps shade the soil and prevent excessive evaporation. An article from 2015 on the ABC News website provides some more creative tips like spray-painting your lawn.
A simple Google search will bring you even more interesting and unique ideas. At a time like this, we all need to do what we can. Do you have an interesting tip to share? If so, we would love it if you would share with us on our Facebook page.