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Are You Insured? (My building caught fire)
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Salty
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Jun 3, 2012, 09:25 PM
 
Hey all, so I just wanted to remind anyone living in an apartment or house, you should really make sure your stuff is insured. This Wednesday I woke up to the sound of fire alarms in my building, I thought it was just a drill until I got outside and saw smoke.

Thankfully I have my MacBook Pro with me as well as my iPhone and iPad. However it turns out I have a lot of valuable stuff, so I had to leave inside my Thunderbolt Monitor, 40 inch LED TV (with Apple TV), Wacom tablet, etc.

Thankfully my suite didn't go up in smoke or get soaked by the water. (The suite beside it did.) I'd have been screwed if it had because despite talking with my mom about getting insurance, and trying to connect with the company they do their insurance with, I'd already owned tons of expensive stuff for months before the fire, and I'm still not actually insured. (Don't worry it's one of the first things I plan to do at my new place.)
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 3, 2012, 09:32 PM
 
We have house insurance, but I did have apt insurance back in the day. One of my roommates had been robbed (TV, MacSE, etc) while previously uninsured and that was a lesson to us.

Glad the fire didn't get to your stuff!
     
Salty  (op)
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Jun 3, 2012, 09:45 PM
 
Me too! I'd have been super sad if my thunderbolt monitor went up in smoke. I convinced the land lord to let me go in and get it. But all my other stuff is still in there. Thankfully nothing else that I'd sob about losing is in there.
     
turtle777
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Jun 3, 2012, 09:57 PM
 
Most places I was renting at required insurance as a condition for the lease. I think it's pretty standard in the US.

-t
     
Athens
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Jun 4, 2012, 12:14 AM
 
I've maintain tenant insurance for years now. Wouldn't go with out it.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
Face Ache
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Jun 4, 2012, 01:55 AM
 
I used to live on the top floor of a three storey block of units with under-block parking.

Waking up at 2am one morning to the smell of smoke, I opened the bedroom door to investigate and saw this...



"Hmm. Where's my hallway?" my half-awake mind thought. It was a wall of smoke that had build up behind the door. Weirdest thing I've ever seen. Grabbed trousers and girlfriend, raced downstairs, banging on doors all the way down. Got all the neighbours out and waited for the fire brigade to douse the fire that was started in my neighbours' car (which was parked next to ours).

The smoke had traveled up the wall, hit the eaves, and funneled into the open windows of our top floor unit, which suffered heavy smoke damage.

The week before our neighbour had his car windows smashed and his tyres slashed, so it was 99% surely deliberately lit. Under the building. Jenoiuses.

Melted our car. Ruined our carpets. Gave everything we owned that burnt car smell.
( Last edited by Face Ache; Jun 4, 2012 at 02:03 AM. )
     
ghporter
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Jun 4, 2012, 06:40 AM
 
I've had either renters' or home owners' insurance for decades. And when we finally had a reason to file a claim on our home insurance (in 2011 we came home from a short vacation to find a pipe leak had destroyed a wall and the carpet in one room), we found out that it's a good thing to understand the coverage limits and deductibles. For a loss the adjuster rated at about $2800, we got a $600 pay out because the insurance company used some sort of voodoo to value our home at something like 30% over market value, which made our 1% deductible $2200. Once the claim was closed, we changed insurers and wound up saving money with better coverage and a much more realistic deductible.

Get insurance, but pay at least as much attention to the details as you would for car insurance or any other large-ticket item.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
BadKosh
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Jun 4, 2012, 08:18 AM
 
If you have lots of collectibles etc you may also want close-up detailed photos of the objects.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 4, 2012, 09:22 AM
 
I have to have buildings insurance as a condition of the mortgage. I got a deal for adding contents insurance to it.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
tightsocks
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Jun 4, 2012, 10:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
Waking up at 2am one morning to the smell of smoke, I opened the bedroom door to investigate and saw this...


Had time to snap a photo
     
andi*pandi
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Jun 4, 2012, 11:25 AM
 
"This scene has been re-enacted for entertainment purposes. "

Also, photoshop something something pixels.
     
OAW
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Jun 4, 2012, 12:14 PM
 
Always had renter's insurance back in the days before I purchased a house. It's so inexpensive there's really no reason not to have it.

OAW
     
Face Ache
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Jun 4, 2012, 07:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by tightsocks View Post
Had time to snap a photo
No, but I had time to do a quick Photoshop.

⌘-N. 300x530. Fill black. Filter>Render>Clouds. Fade. Save as jpg. Drag to imgur uploader script. Paste URL in browser.


Hmm... it took me longer to write this post.




I might add: Always have an escape plan in case of fire. Train your kids to get out fast.
     
tightsocks
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Jun 4, 2012, 08:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
No, but I had time to do a quick Photoshop.
Now I understand - You made the Photoshop of the smoke before you escaped since you couldn't find your camera.
     
Athens
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Jun 5, 2012, 12:13 PM
 
Something in the Vancouver Sun today which I never thought about. People that put secondary suites into a house and don't update that to the insurance company fine they are not covered for anything. Food for thought for any one that has a basement suite in the home.

Landlords who don’t declare secondary suites not covered by insurance

Insurance companies are pretty standard everywhere so this probably applies to US homes too.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
Atheist
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Jun 5, 2012, 12:34 PM
 
They sell insurance here in the DR but odds are against you that the insurance companies will ever honor it. They typically invent some story as to how you invalidated your policy. They do the same thing with health and car insurance too. And as a gringo, you really have no recourse. The corruption is so rampant you'll never find a court that would rule in your favor. Ah... the joys of living in 'paradise'.
     
boy8cookie
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Jun 5, 2012, 03:58 PM
 
I tried to get renter's insurance through my car insurance company (Progressive). They refused to even give me a quote because I live within a mile of the ocean. I'm not sure how many people don't live within a mile of the ocean in Hawaii... but it's definitely the minority.
     
Eug
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:16 PM
 
I've always had insurance on a rental, even though it's been optional. Good thing too, since my apt. was broken into and they stole my VCR and thousands of dollars worth my CDs. (Yes, this was in the 90s.)

As for Hawaii, they won't provide insurance above the tsunami warning line? Cuz on a steep hill, the tsunami safe areas may very well be within a mile of the shore, depending upon the geography of your area. Just wondering.

For secondary suites, you must declare them to the city, which people don't because it means slightly higher taxes. But it's stupid not to declare them, because if you rent them out illegally, your insurance will invalidate your policy. The house becomes a multi-family dwelling actually in this context, and the fire code is different. For example, if you have a second suite in the basement and your furnace is there too and shared between the suites, your entire furnace room might need to be drywalled, including for the ceiling. Also, for the walls, the drywall must be a certain thickness to act as a fire barrier. You also need the requisite number of accessible exits, etc.

I learned this the hard way because I wanted to put a kitchen in my basement but not a second suite. However, in my area it's illegal to put a second kitchen in a house, unless it's a second suite. So essentially they wanted to force me to declare it a multi-family dwelling and pay even higher taxes, even though we were not going to rent anything out. We'd only have occasional guests for a week or two at a time (in-laws). Finally, I got the city to make zoning exception just for my house, so I didn't have to declare it a multi-family dwelling, but still told the insurance company.
     
boy8cookie
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:20 PM
 
I live 24 floors up in an apartment building, I don't think I need to worry about tsunamis.
     
Eug
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
I live 24 floors up in an apartment building, I don't think I need to worry about tsunamis.
Car contents?
     
reader50
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Good thing too, since my apt. was broken into and they stole my VCR and thousands of dollars worth of my CDs. (Yes, this was in the 90s.)
It's a pity this didn't happen recently. You could thank them for getting rid of those things for you. On the plus side ... maybe they're still stuck with them and you get the last laugh.
     
Eug
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
It's a pity this didn't happen recently. You could thank them for getting rid of those things for you. On the plus side ... maybe they're still stuck with them and you get the last laugh.
I still buy CDs occasionally, and then just rip them myself. In some cases it actually ends up cheaper than iTunes. I have less incentive to do that now though, since Apple stopped forcing those 128 Kbps files on us, and there is no DRM either anymore.
( Last edited by Eug; Jun 5, 2012 at 05:02 PM. )
     
turtle777
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Jun 5, 2012, 04:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
I tried to get renter's insurance through my car insurance company (Progressive). They refused to even give me a quote because I live within a mile of the ocean. I'm not sure how many people don't live within a mile of the ocean in Hawaii... but it's definitely the minority.
What kind of stupid reason is that ?

I'm sure there are other insurance companies that would want your business.

-t
     
idontlikelionosx
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Jun 5, 2012, 07:28 PM
 
I have renter's insurance. I think it's like $12/month.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jul 19, 2012, 04:06 AM
 
I also have a rug pad and insurance. I will post a photo for you later today.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
shifuimam
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Jul 19, 2012, 07:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
I might add: Always have an escape plan in case of fire. Train your kids to get out fast.
This is something that I think a lot of people - including myself - forget about.

We have two dogs and two cats, not to mention plenty of valuables. We still need to sit down and talk about our disaster plans for flood, fire, tornado/hurricane, etc.

Also - remember, your insurance isn't supposed to be a safety net when you spill Coke on your MBP. It's supposed to be used when serious shit goes down and you lose everything. I've seen way too much stuff all over the Internet recommending people claim anything and everything on homeowner's/renter's insurance every single time something happens to their stuff. If you're that concerned, get personal property insurance for your individual valuables. I have $2k in PP coverage through USAA for my jewelry, and it was a nominal increase to my insurance bill.
Sell or send me your vintage Mac things if you don't want them.
     
Athens
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Jul 19, 2012, 10:49 AM
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd05PDqiCVc

From when the fire started, the the call being placed to the first truck arriving was about 7 minutes. It went from a small flame along one beam to the entire front of the suite in that short of a time.

I have a escape plan for most of my animals, there is just one pet that would be left behind in evacuation.

The 1 Cat, the Hedgehogs get tossed into the rat cage which is actually a dog carrier cage for a big dog. Can fit them all nicely. The dog just gets leashed up and away you go. The other cat on the other hand likes to hide, is near impossible to find unless she wants to come out and is also a danger to the rodents.

The Rats, Hedgehogs and the one cat can co-habitat for a little while, they are mostly friendly to each other. The couple practice drills done so far seems to allow for 30 minutes of tolerance before the Rats start getting pissy that there is a cat and hedgehogs in there cage. 1 Cat cage is stored in the car but I need to add 2 small cages for the hedgehogs for long term homing in a long evacuation.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
   
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