Fire at the Opera House Lofts – OR – you should buy renter’s insurance

Fire at the Opera House Lofts – OR – you should buy renter’s insurance

I was sitting at Little Skips, my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, when the barista behind the counter said, “Yeah, I just got a text that yoga class is canceled because there was a fire at the Opera House Lofts.”

“Wait, what? Did you say fire at the OHL?”

He nodded. “Yup.”

I spent the next 15 minutes on the same page in my insurance textbook, trying to decide if I could get through this chapter because it’s probably nothing or if I should just run over and make sure it’s nothing. My boyfriend and his dog live at the OHL and I knew he was in a tech rehearsal for nine hours.

The insurance book closes at minute 16 and I wave goodbye to the barista and tell him I just have to go make sure the OHL is still standing.

As I turn the corner, I see a fire truck and an ambulance in the near-distance, right at the cross street of the apartment complex. I walk faster as I search for billowing smoke in the sky and am a bit relieved when I notice it is billow-less.

I finally arrive at the right block and there are about 4 fire trucks, a crowd of people across the street from the building, and a crowd of people and pets sitting in the courtyard. I attempt to cross the threshold of the gate and am met my fire fighters dragging a hose back from the fourth floor. My eyes search for gray-black fur amidst the people, leashes, and cages. I see the dog I’m looking for and I am relieved. One of his roommates brought her out.

An apartment at the top caught on fire and the sprinklers went off. And the fire department hosed it down. And it was on the fourth floor. Sprinklers + fire hose + top floor + old building meant literally every single apartment below it ended up filled with water in some capacity. Mattresses and electronics were in peril. I walked in to see one of my boyfriend’s roommates ringing out pairs of jeans.

My next thought after, “Thank goodness the dog is okay” was “man, I hope these guys have renter’s insurance.”

It’s a not-often considered expense when you look at all the other bills you have to pay, but it’s the first thing you’re glad you did buy when something like this happens. It’s funny when you think about the concept of insurance because you’re basically paying for something that you hope you never have to use.

Here’s the deal though – at the end of the day, renter’s insurance is CHEAP. I pay $25 per month for about $36,000 worth of personal property coverage with a $500 deductible (I have to pay up to $500 of losses and then the insurance will kick in). I don’t know many people who are single and around my age (I’m 26) who have that much stuff. Imagine what a policy would cost if you insurance $20,000 or even $10,000 worth of your belongings. And they will cover everything, right down to the food that was in your freezer and the hotel you will need to stay in for the night (the hotel part is called Loss of Use. Make sure there is a part of your coverage that has this).

My agency is Total Insurance Brokerage. They are the guys we use for the high-net-worth clients at my firm. They’re an independent brokerage firm, which means that unlike State Farm or Allstate, which just sells State Farm or Allstate insurance, these guys can use any insurance carrier that fits my needs the best. And if I have to put in a claim, they will do all the work for me so I will just be able to start putting things back together.

I highly recommend looking into taking out a small policy if you have $10 or $15 a month lying around. Set yourself up for monthly auto-withdrawals and I promise you won’t even notice it’s gone. It’s literally a small price to pay for some serious peace of mind.

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