Don't Get Caught Without Code Upgrade Coverage

6:07 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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LAUREL, Md., (WUSA) -- "I'll show you where the fire started," says Bob Austin.

The Laurel homeowner is thankful he lived through the fire that ravaged his home last year.

"All of a sudden there was a big boom," he says.

It was the night before Thanksgiving when an explosion blew off the glass doors to the deck where his daughter was smoking a turkey.

Austin says, "Everything was on fire.  We lost a good 80 percent of our home, and it's contents."

His insurance covered the cost to rebuild, but it wasn't enough to bring the house up to code.

"If your house sustains damage, like his did, whatever the current codes are required by the local jurisdiction, they have to meet," says City of Laurel Fire Marshall Dave Cope.

In Bob's case, he would have to pay $2500 to retrofit his historic home with a sprinkler system, required by the city of Laurel.

Cope came to Bob Austin's rescue and got Jenson, a local fire protection company, to install a system for free.

"It was a matter of a few minutes and he lost his house.  And, even though the fire was outside, if he'd had a sprinkler system in his kitchen, it would've contained it," says Cope.

The chances of surviving a fire with just a smoke detector are 50/50.  But, the fire marshall tells us if you've got a sprinkler system, in connection with that smoke detector, it virtually guarantees you'll get out alive.

And, Bob Austin says he and his family will have more peace of mind when they finally move back into their home.

So that you will not end up like the Austin family, when it's time to renew your policy, review it and beef up your coverage, every three to five years.

Also, ask your agent about new building codes, and what you would need if you had to rebuild parts of your home.


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