Last week’s fire in an older Langley City apartment building has left tenants in six units out of their homes for an unknown length of time.
The most important thing, of course, is that nobody was injured or killed when the northeast corner of the wood frame building went up in flames last Wednesday morning.
But once the smoke (quite literally) cleared, it quickly became apparent that at least two units — and likely more — suffered heavy damage, meaning residents will have to make other living arrangements for the foreseeable future.
For some, that accommodation is going to come at a cost beyond their means. That’s before any consideration is given to replacing possessions lost to fire, smoke or water damage.
According to Langley’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator only one unit in the building was covered by tenant insurance, and it was not affected by the fire.
The cost of insurance is the obvious reason many renters choose to risk going without, when groceries, clothing, transportation, toiletries — all must-have items with relatively high price tags — necessarily take precedence over “what-ifs.”
A quick scan of a few websites shows the cost of content insurance can range anywhere from $15 to $30 per month.
That will depend on the provider and the value of the items being insured. No doubt there are other factors at play as well.
Seen as a lump sum — $180 to $360 per year — the numbers are probably daunting to someone on a fixed income. But broken down to 50 cents or $1 per day, it suddenly seems like a fairly small price for some peace of mind.
None of this is an attempt to kick people when they’re down, but the misfortune of these residents should serve as a stark reminder for the rest of us that disaster can strike in a moment.
And it doesn’t care if you’ve got insurance.