|By David P. Willis, Asbury Park Press, N.J.|
"Everything I ever had, pretty much," said West, 36, describing the scope of the loss. "The only thing I had was the stuff in my car. Everything else is gone, so you start all over."
Somewhere among the ashes and debris was West's furniture and clothes. His girlfriend's belongings were destroyed too. Other losses include three pieces of property belonging to Comcast Cable: a high-definition digital video recorder box, a digital cable box and a cable modem.
Now West, a bartender, has a
In a telephone interview,
West said there has to be a way in which Comcast doesn't charge the full price for the cable boxes. "It's an accident that happened," he said.
"It's not that I shouldn't pay for it, because I should, I guess," West said. "I don't feel like I should have to pay
Press on Your Side reached out to Comcast. Typically, Comcast's customers are charged a monthly rental fee for the equipment in their home and are responsible when it's lost, destroyed or stolen. The policy is in the company's annual notice to customers and in its price schedule.
"Customers are responsible for equipment in the home but we fully understand that the period following a fire can be very trying for those affected," Comcast spokesman
"Loss of equipment is generally covered by insurance, but it's not uncommon for us to make individual accommodations for a customer."
Comcast stopped billing for service on the day of the fire, but West will have to pay for the equipment even if payments are spread out, the company said. "In this case, we will provide a grace period so
"Also, should he be ready in the future to transfer services to a new address, we will install the service free of charge -- no installation, activation or setup fees," Alexander said.
West was disappointed. "I didn't expect them to be like, 'It's going to be
Still, the ability to pay over time will help, he said.
After the fire, West and his girlfriend moved into an apartment on
"Everyone tried to pitch in as much as they could," West said. The couple also had money saved.
They've had to buy clothes, furniture, a bed. "Anything you can think of that you have in your house that you still even to this day might not even think about," West said.
For instance, one day they wanted toast for breakfast, but no longer had a toaster.
Also, West now has renter's insurance.
Even if you rent an apartment or house, you should have insurance.
"As a renter, you have the same concerns about your physical possessions. Why not protect them?" said
Typically, coverage starts around
"It's not just the cable box and your clothes and furniture. It's also the liability (coverage) you have for a variety of things," such as a slip-and-fall accident in the home, Auerbach said. "If that happens in your apartment, that is a huge exposure."
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