Harrisonville fire has apartment dwellers considering importance of renter’s insurance

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- Folks in Harrisonville are still recovering from a devastating apartment fire that left about 120 people without homes.

That fire now has others looking to protect their possessions.

Nicole Pritchett enjoys the pastime of coloring with her two daughters, on a cozy night indoors -- special moments like that were put in jeopardy the 15th of December, when flames gutted an apartment building near Twin Oaks and Mission Road in Harrisonville.

“We were sitting in the car just across the street and just watching the firemen with their axes up on the roof,” said Pritchett.

She wasn’t living in the building that is now completely destroyed, but flames did spread to her building’s roof.

As of Wednesday, there was still a tarp covering it. Fortunately Pritchett’s apartment didn’t sustain any smoke, fire, nor water damage, but what if it had?

“I was worried about my things that were in here,” said Pritchett. “It’s not that we have anything that’s huge substantial, but that piece of mind knowing that if you were to lose everything in a fire that you would at least be able to get yourself some furniture, the basics that you would need to have a normal day.”

She says the incident now has her looking into renter's insurance.

Shawnee, Kan. Allstate agent Tim Waltrip said renter's insurance can save the day, in more ways than you might know.

“Fire, vandalism, theft, water, if it’s not flood, so if you have a pipe burst,” said Waltrip.

He said for less than $15, renter's insurance can cover things like temporary housing, personal possession, liability (meaning damages that are your fault), and even guest medical coverage.

“If you have a friend over and you put together a dinner and they cut their finger, and they need to go to the hospital and get a couple of stitches, your medical coverage under your renter’s policy will cover that,” said Waltrip.

“Most of the families that I talked to who lived in the building that was a total loss, most of them didn’t have renter’s insurance,’ said Pritchett.

Even if your landlord has the dwelling you live in insured, you’re on your own when it comes to covering your personal items inside.

That means you have to purchase renter's insurance for yourself. Your items are not covered under the landlord’s insurance.

Waltrip said renter’s insurance can be added in about 15 minutes time. Just call your insurance agent.