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Recent Fires Highlight Need For Rental Insurance

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Earlier this month, Raleigh residents rushed from their apartments after a suspicious fire erupted in a complex near Avent Ferry Road and Gorman Street. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt and the damage was minimal.

This weekend, firefighters evacuated several units after a fire at a duplex in the 1500 block of Gorman Street. Again, no one was seriously hurt, but investigators still don't know what caused that fire.

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    Sometimes the damage is severe. All 20 units in thr Woodlands at Wakefield Apartment building were either damaged or destroyed. The fire displaced 19 families. Some lost everything they owned, just days before Christmas.

    The generosity of strangers replaced what the fire took away. But renters' insurance is an inexpensive option that could save money and heartache.

    "You don't think about these things coming in," said Woodlands resident Deborah Pine. "You think everything is covered."

    For some people forced out of their homes by this fire, renters' insurance is a matter of policy.

    "I heard from one of my neighbors -- she had a fire in her kitchen here and that she was liable for $6,000 because she didn't have renter's insurance," said Pine. "That very next day, I went out and got the insurance."

    Most apartment complexes advise their new tenants to get renters insurance. It costs anywhere from $150-$200 a year. That breaks down to about $12-$16 a month. That's for $30,000 in personal property and another $100,000 in liability coverage.

    "In a situation like this, it's priceless," said former Woodlands resident Brent Drendall. "Obviously, in the event of something like this, you protect yourself in case of fire, vandalism and theft."

    "I've called and called and called [the insurance company,]" said Pine. "They tell me it's going to be 4-7 business days. Absolutely ridiculous."

    While the Pines' experience proves renter's insurance isn't without its frustrations, the couple said the fact that they have it gives them peace of mind.


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