What happens to tenants after a fire destroys their apartment?

Over the past three weeks, there have been three apartment fires in Lincoln. In the aftermath of an apartment fire, residents are often left to pick up the pieces.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Over the past three weeks, there have been three apartment fires in Lincoln. In the aftermath, residents are often left to pick up the pieces.

“I’ve been investigating fires a long time and a lot of times, especially in multi-use facilities, people do not have renter’s insurance, and that’s just a true travesty because a fire event happens and they lose everything,” Lincoln Chief Fire Inspector Bill Moody said.

Moody says in Lincoln and across the country, the leading causes of apartment fires are cooking fires, smoking materials, and electrical fires.

In the event of an apartment fire, the property owner’s insurance policy covers damage to the building structure. That leaves the tenant responsible for their own personal property. Insurance agent Monte Eastin of American Family Insurance suggests that some people opt not to get renter’s insurance because they don’t think their personal belongings are worth much.

“I’ve seen people on TV when there’s been a bad loss, a bad fire, and they soon realize what it’s going to cost them to replace everything, even though they don’t think what they have in personal property is very valuable,” he said. “When you think about having to go out and start from scratch again, that is costly.”

While renter’s insurance covers your own personal property, Eastin says that’s not the only reason it’s important.

“Let’s say a tenant accidentally forget something on the stove, and they caused the fire, they can be held liable for that,” Eastin said. “The property owner of the apartment building, their insurance typically will cover the loss initially. If they find out that it was accidentally started by a tenant, they can hold them liable.”

Renter’s insurance is required by many property owners before you can sign a lease. Eastin says prices range from $15 to $20 a month and policies can cover upwards of $20,000 in personal loss and in the neighborhood of $300,000 in terms of liability protection.

Moody says renter’s insurance is an important  yourself and your family and ask questions later.

“If alarms go off, gather your family and exit the building,” Moody said. “Don’t try to stay, don’t try to fight the fire. Get yourself out and notify others as you’re leaving that there’s an issue inside the building.”

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