Not certain you can afford renter's insurance?
Think again. I spoke with my friend Delilha (not her real name) about what happened to her when her apartment building caught fire a few years ago. Renter's insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. When you hear her horrors, I'm sure you'll agree!
Remember: depending on your coverage renter's insurance can protect your belongings from theft, too.
Delilha, where did you live?
I lived in an old rental apartment building in New York City. Due to the tenants' out-of-court settlement, I can't give you too many specifics. But I will say that my former apartment appeared to be in decent condition, safety-wise.
An electrical fire broke out in the walls and rapidly spread. I wasn't home at the time. Luckily no people or pets were injured, but, there was significant damage from water and smoke to the entire building. Basically, everything I owned that was in my apartment was ruined by water used to put out the fire, or from the fire's smoke. When I got back I had to be escorted into my own place, and I couldn't salvage anything!
It was. I was away when the fire happened. So, when I returned a few days later mold had already started eating away at my clothes, bed linens, books, photographs... everything. I was told to take what I wanted but literally everything was ruined.
Worse, I couldn't afford to take time off to look for a new place to live. I didn't have enough cash for a deposit on a new apartment, either. I ended up staying with a friend and eventually moving in with her for several months. Everyone in the building was in the same position and needed to find a new place to live immediately. It was really stressful and emotional. I was angry about it for a long time.
How could renter's insurance have helped?
Looking back it would have saved me a lot of stress. Some things you simply can't replace, but, it would have been helpful to have some immediate cash to use towards a new place or new belongings. For a few weeks I literally had just what I happened to pack for myself when I went away the weekend of the fire. My friends and family helped a lot but it was such a shock.
Three years later I was awarded damages for my belongings. I got a small amount! It was equal to about two month's rent. I was angry about the whole thing all over again.
Do you have renter's insurance now?
Oh, yes. Some people have suggested I should just save my money. They reason the chances of something like the fire happening again are small. Maybe so, but when you live through something like that, renter's insurance is peace of mind.