Two weeks before Thanksgiving, a vehicle parked in the driveway of a duplex in Enid, Oklahoma caught fire. The fire spread to some leaves below the car, which blew onto the house, quickly engulfing the home. Both units of the property were completely destroyed, leaving two residents with nothing but the pajamas they were wearing. According to Enid News, the landlord of the property, Jack Rich said he “just felt so sorry for them.” He knew that his insurance would cover the building, but his tenants had lost everything. The story reports that the landlord owns several properties in Oklahoma, but had previously never gone through a fire. He said that he never really thought about renters insurance before that day. Tragically, his tenant joined a growing group of Americans that also only learn the importance of renter’s insurance when it is already too late.
According to the US Fire Administration, in 2011 there were nearly 1.4 million fires in the United States. That means that a fire started, on average, every 23 seconds. In the past, Americans have relied on homeowner’s insurance to help them through the difficult recovery process that follows events such as fires. However, people all across the country are seeing the value and convenience of renting and transitioning away from home-ownership, but leaving their insurance behind when they do. Many people choose to do this because of beliefs like their landlord’s insurance will protect them, their belonging are not valuable enough to protect, or that it will just be too expensive. Unfortunately, these beliefs are held in error and can produce catastrophic results.
The myths that are preventing people from getting renter’s insurance need to be dispelled. We each need to recognize that our belongings have value. Without insurance, few families could afford to replace even all of their necessary items like clothing, coats, schoolbooks, or work supplies. This list doesn’t include seemingly luxurious items like computers, cell phones, or even a bed. Moreover, the value of what we each own seems tremendous when compared to the $187 that it costs annually for the average renter’s policy. Beyond just the security that renter’s insurance can provide in the event of theft or destruction of property, it can also provide protection in the event that a guest sues the renter. This is important for everyone, but doubly so for parents that host playdates for young children.
These events may seem rare, but they happen every day. In addition, while it may be impossible to prevent every accident, it is completely possible for each of us to financially protect ourselves. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly two-thirds of renters are still not covered. That is why we are joining the ranks to spread the word. While you are renting a beautiful apartment in Waukesha, having renter’s insurance will give you additional peace of mind.