Tenants Who Lost Almost Everything In Winston-Salem Fire Didn't Have Insurance

11:22 PM, Jun 15, 2011   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- It's been one week since at least a dozen people were displaced by a fire at the Sherwood Ridges apartment complex.

Fire investigators ruled the fire was started by an electrical short to a portable box fan. That fan was in the apartment of Ramona Routh Spencer and her husband.

Routh Spencer was able to salvage a few precious items, but lost just about everything, including her dog.

"I remember watching it and it's almost like an out of body experience, it's like, 'That's not my place. There's just no way that's my apartment.'"

She and her husband were among the tenants who didn't have renters insurance.

She said, "I thought, you got to be kidding, not us. I mean, you know, that's why we didn't have insurance 'cause we thought it happened to everybody else but us."

It did happen, though, and now they're thankful for generous donations. However, not everyone may be as lucky to have a strong support system.

State Farm insurance agent Susanna Nunn said, "I always tell my customers, 'I do not want to see you on TV with the Red Cross wrapping a blanket around you because you didn't have coverage.'"

Nunn said renters insurance is too inexpensive not to have it.

"A $20,000 policy is maybe like $8, $9 a month," she said. "A lot of times the discount it can give you on your auto sometimes will even cover the cost in renters insurance policy."

"It covers their personal property, their stuff. Their TVs, linens, dishes, furniture, clothes. You'd be amazed how much clothes would cost if you had to go out tomorrow and buy them," Nunn added.

Routh Spencer and her husband have moved into a new apartment, and got down to business right away.

"We signed our lease yesterday at 2 and I got renters insurance this morning at 9," she said.

Nunn pointed out other benefits. She said, "Renters insurance is replacement cost and it covers not only their stuff but it gives them liability as well so if they were the ones who left the candle burning or left something on the stove causing the fire then it would pay for the other people in the buildings' belongings."

It also cover water damage and theft, and can even cover the cost to put you up in a hotel for a few nights.

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