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Jacksonville's EF2 Tornado has people thinking about renters' rights

5:55 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
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  • Photo sent in by Nathan Deremer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There is a clear picture of damage from Thursday's tornado in the daylight.

For quite a few people, the question of insurance comes up. What can renters do? What rights do you have when catastrophe strikes?

Sadie Powell, of Jacksonville, has rented a townhouse near Monument Road with her family for about a year and a half.

"I seen a lot of wind blowing across the thing," she said.

Powell said she couldn't believe that an EF2 tornado tore through the city, damaging several of her neighbors homes just steps away from her front door.

"I feel sorry for them," she said.

Powell does not have renters insurance.

"Thank God that it didn't do nothing to here," she said, speaking about the tornado.

But, several of her neighbors homes are now damaged and condemned. One of them belongs to Rene Basile, who is thankful she has homeowners insurance.

"It's kind of scary," Basile said. "It's kind of scary."

Seth Rothstein is a real estate attorney in Jacksonville.

"Renters insurance can be very important for the renters themselves because the owner of the property oftentimes has insurance on the structure itself," he explained. "But, that only protects the landlord and not the renter."

Some rentals require tenants to have renters insurance, while others do not.

If you do have renters insurance, Rothstein recommends that you review your policy

"You would expect generally, with a renters insurance policy, that a renters insurance policy would cover fire damage," He began to explain. "Theft, vandalism as well as damages caused by storms."

If catastrophe strikes and you don't have renters insurance, Rothstein said you would not be compensated for damages.

Powell said her family is making changes.

"Me any my daughter were talking last night," Powell said. "She was talking about getting us some renters insurance."

On Your Side: Take a look at what you have inside your home. So you have an idea of how much coverage you might need. Also, keep in mind flooding may not be covered by renters insurance.

Rothstein recommends:

1) Ask an agent about a renters insurance policy

2) Look at a policy closely to see what it covers and how much it costs.

3) Be protected no matter what.

First Coast News

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