A message from Sedalia Fire Chief Greg Harrell:

“I wanted to take this opportunity as we move in to the season where  we see more structure fires occur, to discuss Renters Insurance. We all know that homeowners with a mortgage are required to have insurance but renters have no such requirement. Many renters are either young families or families with limited income. When a fire strikes they may lose everything they own, and these are the people who are least likely to be able to financially recover from this loss.  Renters insurance is something that can help and is pretty inexpensive even if you have a small amount of coverage.

"I want to state that the City of Sedalia nor the Sedalia Fire Department is involved in any insurance sales or profit from this, but we see the loss and the hurt and feel that part of our fire safety education needs to extend to after the fire and recovery. . The following fact sheet was put together by Capt. Shaw, who is oversees our Fire Prevention and Inspection group.”

Do you have renters insurance?

After multiple structure fires in the last couple months we have been reminded of a very common problem.

“According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 37 percent of renters buy renters insurance, while 97 percent of homeowners carry homeowners insurance. You, like many tenants, might believe that your belongings are protected by your landlord's property and liability insurer.

You would be wrong.

Renters insurance policies are designed to reimburse policyholders for damages caused by most common threats to tenants – fire, theft, and vandalism, for example.” Insurance.com

A fire in a home, no matter how small, causes damage in many ways. Everyone understands the fire damage, but rarely does anyone think about the, heat, smoke, and water damage. In many cases even a small fire on the stove will cause smoke damage throughout the entire house and this is a smell that is nearly impossible to get out of clothes, furniture, curtains, carpets, and everything else in the house. When the fire department arrives and extinguishes the fire they unfortunately have to use a large amount of water in some cases. Although they attempt to minimize as much damage as possible, there tends to be some water damage that occurs.

This means that, not only is the tenant having the worst of days, but without renters insurance they potentially lose everything, and must start over without anything or anyone to help. The fire department sees this far too often in Sedalia, and hopes to eliminate the misconception that the landlord’s homeowner’s policy will provide the tenant coverage for their belongings.

Although every case is different when it comes to insurance, we had the following numbers provided to us. A policy with $20,000 contents coverage, $500 deductible, and $100,000 liability coverage will cost a renter around $13 a month or $164 a year. If we leave everything else the same and increase it to $40,000 contents coverage a renter would pay $16 a month or $190 a year. More options are available, but these are 2 examples to show what type of investment it would take to ensure that a bad day doesn’t turn into a bad year.

--Submitted.

Randy Kirby