Renter's Insurance: Don't Get 'Burned'


SILVERDALE, Wash. -- Members of Naval Base Kitsap Bangor Fire Department were able to extinguish a fire in the kitchen of a family housing unit Jan. 1.

No one was injured in the fire, which caused smoke damage throughout the apartment. After the residents of the unit and surrounding homes evacuated safely, several organizations helped those families find temporary lodging.

"The first organization a family can turn to is Red Cross," said Kathy Phillips, director of Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Bangor. "They can help cover the initial lodging fees, then, we come in and can fill in the blanks after."

Though renter's insurance is not necessary for NMCRS to aid the family, it is highly recommended. For on-base housing, a coverage plan is included with the rent.

"Even though we do provide renter's insurance for up to $10,000 personal property and $100,000 structural damage, we still recommend families acquire their own renter's insurance," said Lori Huff, of American Eagle Housing. "If it is a large fire, it can easily go over that amount."

Phillips explained how quickly the dollars can add up when totaling damaged personal property. Clothes need to be replaced because of smoke damage. "To replace a complete sea bag costs more than $1,000," added Phillips.

NMCRS can also give the family a nudge in the right direction to replace damaged items.

"We also refer the family to organizations that can help them get back on their feet. Abraham's house is a great place," said Phillips. "They offer free furniture, such as couches." Another organization the family can turn to is their command. In special cases, the sailor may be able to receive advance BAH to cover the costs of moving into a new home.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class Wayde Silva, Concept Group 9 Force Protection Det. 1 said there are several preventive measures sailors can take. "It's a good idea to check where anything flammable is," said Silva. "Any papers should be away from the heaters, and firewood should be far away from the house."

Silva also said it's good to have a plan in case of a fire. Escape routes should be mapped out ahead of time. "We have three or four exits in our house," said Silva. "Though there is only one exit from the second story, there are windows to where we can get on the roof."

Renters insurance can help you protect your personal property. Are you interested in learning more? Check out your options for renters insurance today.

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