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Why All Renters Should Buy Insurance
The Red Cross says 68 apartments were lost to an overnight fire in far Northwest Austin Thursday morning. That means families living at the International Residence Apartments, at 9811 Copper Creek Drive, not only have to find a new place to live they also have to replace just about everything they own.
The Red Cross says having renter's insurance gives fire victims hope. It can be the one comforting thing that reinforces they can come back from losing everything
Garrett Scrutchens says he's lived at the apartment complex for two years and that it requires renter's insurance.
"Well it's in the lease. You got to have at least $100,000 and when you re-sign your lease they check and make sure you have that. So that means everybody there should have insurance," said Scrutchens.
Everyone, except Erick Rodriguez and his brother and sister.
"I had been waiting to renew it with my next pay check, so it expired," said Rodriguez.
Two weeks without insurance and now on his road to recovery Rodriguez is facing a steeper climb.
"Well, I'm a musician and I also build computers, so I lost my computers and I lost my instruments," said Rodriguez.
He only got out with some clothes, his wallet and important papers. But, instead of letting this fire put a chokehold on his Christmas, he's focusing on the fact he and his siblings are safe.
"Material things are just that, they're material, they can be replaced," said Rodriguez.
A recent survey shows only 31 percent of renters buy renter's insurance. That’s despite the fact the average policy, nationwide, costs $184 a year. In Austin, insurance is even less expensive with some policies around $125 a year.
"Renter's insurance is relatively inexpensive. For as little as $10 a month you can protect all of the personal belongings in your apartment or that home that you're renting," said Ricky Gentry with the Insurance Council of Texas. He says most people don't realize how much stuff they've accumulated until they lose it. His advice, do a thorough inventory of what you own.
"It's also good to write these things down and take photographs of them. That way in case you have a loss, and it might be a burglary or a fire, you'll be able to work with your insurance adjustor and tell them these are the items I have and this is what needs to be replaced," said Gentry.
Also keep receipts for big ticket items like TV's, computers, cameras, and phones.
By Bettie Cross