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Apartment Fire Sparks Questions Over Insurance

Tenants try to recover from a fire with and without renter's insurance.
HOT SPRINGS, AR--Dozens of Hot Springs families forced out of their burning apartment building are now focusing on rebuilding their lives and finding homes. Many say they're also learning a big lesson about insurance and policies that actually protect your family versus your apartment complex.

Last week a fire destroyed 24 apartments at village square in Hot Springs. Families lived in 22 of those units and while most had insurance management confirms some did not.

Some tenants also seemed confused about how their policies actually work.

"These were the clothes he was able to get out of the dryer," says Antonian Adams.

Along with her family Adams saved few other items from the fire. Five days later she's unable to recover anything else from her second floor unit but plans to use her insurance to replace what she can.

"Every single day my son is two and he tells everyone my house burned," says Adams.

Her neighbors are even less fortunate.

"Baby pictures, scrap books. My mother's china in my china cabinet my grandmother's ring," says Amy Humphrey. "We didn't have any when we moved in. Nothing was said about having insurance, they just started having it."

Amy Humphrey moved in weeks before Village square started requiring tenants buy property liability policies between $100,000 and $300,000 to cover damaged apartments.

Management does not require tenants carry renter's insurance to cover their own belongings.

"It's hard for everybody having to pick up and start all over," says Humphrey.

Managers say three out of 22 units lack coverage. To help strangers continue stacking donations for families that lost everything.

"I'm very grateful for the people," says Humphrey.

Thankful for their lives, many of the displaced say they're learning a big lesson about protecting their property.

Insurance agents and the spokesperson for the state insurance department say above liability insurance to cover the apartment, tenants need to purchase adequate renter's insurance to cover the cost of the contents in an apartment.

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