“A discarded cigarette butt was the cause of an early morning fire at an apartment building in the North University neighborhood. This left all 32 residents, most of them renters from the University of Texas, scrambling to find new homes just 48 hours before classes began”…
– Austin American-Statesman
The latest available information from the investigation shows that “improperly discarded smoking materials” was the cause. It appears that this presumption was made by the American- Statesman staff, not as part of the fire marshal’s proclamation. However, it doesn’t matter what was being smoked. What does matter is that someone’s negligence has left 32 people searching desperately for new apartments just hours before classes begin.
Damages From Walnut Run Austin Apartment Fire
Damages are estimated at $375,000, which is split approximately between 2/3 to the building and 1/3 to the contents. These students are left with nothing.
What makes this situation worse is that because this is a college apartment fire, most of the residents are likely to have cosigners or guarantors. It is unrealistic to try and chase down a college student for a $25,000 commercial property insurance deductible that they cannot afford. However, a more realistic next step would be taking the same actions towards a co-signer. This is important to think about before you co-sign or guarantee your college student’s lease. You’re not just assuming responsibility for the rent payments, you’re also assuming responsibility for damage to the building and the contents of others. Considering that you don’t live in the apartment, and you didn’t personally incur the liability, your homeowners insurance is likely to balk at the liability claim. Where does that leave you?
University of Texas Renters Insurance
Housing offices of colleges and universities nationwide, including UT Austin, strongly suggest that all college student residents have renters insurance. Some apartments require it, which is becoming more common. What good would University of Texas renters insurance have done in this situation?
University of Texas Renters Insurance – Additional Living Expenses
A properly written University of Texas renters insurance policy for college students would offer coverage for additional living expenses pertaining to the fire. It’s great that the property is returning security deposits, but that money then has to go towards hotels and other living expenses. Renters insurance has coverage for those additional living expenses after a covered claim.
University Of Texas Renters Insurance – Personal Property
Personal property, or contents coverage, protects the resident’s belongings from perils like fire, regardless of who started it. This means that college student renters insurance will give you the replacement cost you need, in order to buy replacements of the lost property that are similar in kind and quality. Replacement cost is a very important element because you don’t want the actual cash value of your television, you want a new TV that is equivalent to the old one.
University of Texas Renters Insurance – Liability
Liability insurance is perhaps the most important coverage of all because it protects whomever was responsible for the fire from having to pay for the damage to other’s property, as well as to the building. University of Texas renters insurance liability coverage makes sure that property damage like this is covered. This benefits students by preventing future wage garnishment from the judgment. It also benefits co-signers and guarantors because it doesn’t have to come out of their pocket. This Walnut Run apartment fire is a strong reminder of why college students need Austin renters insurance.
Where can you get renters insurance in Texas? Contact Effective Coverage at (800)892-4308. Renters insurance is the driving force behind Effective Coverage, and plans are available for college students. You can even get renters insurance with college roommates! It takes just minutes, and only costs a few dollars a month.