MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alice Tyus lost her Montgomery home of nearly 30 years, along with almost all of her belongings, when flames encompassed her home on Labor Day.
"It hurts," Tyus said. "It hurts so much. It's not because there was anything expensive in there, but it's my home."
Tyus said she was not home during the fire and doesn't know the cause, but she was told it started from the back of the house. She said the flames destroyed the back and sides of the house, and the living room and kitchen were damaged by the water firefights had to use to extinguish the flames.
Tyus said she is not emotionally ready to enter her destroyed home yet, but she feels hopeful because she has renters insurance.
"I put my claim in on Tuesday," Tyus said. "I'm just waiting to hear back."
Experts with the American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance said that situations like these highlight the importance of having renters insurance.
Ken Bishop, a local State Farm insurance agent, said he actually heard about the fire that destroyed Tyus' home when a friend of his, who also lives in her neighborhood, posted a video of the house fire via Facebook Live. Bishop said he was relieved to learn that Tyus has renters insurance.
"Renters insurance is for someone who does not own the dwelling or home that they live in," Bishop said. "It provides coverage for their personal property, not only in their home but anywhere they go in the United States; traveling or whatnot."
Bishop said that he often hears potential clients say they don't think they need renter's insurance because their landlords' have it.
"In those cases, property owners and landlords will have insurance to protect their property," Bishop said. "That won't protect your personal belongings."
Bishop also said that State Farm's average policies cover up to $100,000 in personal liability if a client were to be sued for injuring another person or damaging property, whether or not the incident occurred within the residence. He added that the average price of renters insurance is $12 a month for up to $30,000 in personal property coverage.
For Tyus, the focus now is solely about moving forward and being thankful for the blessings she has at hand.
"I have been so supported by my friends and family," Tyus said. "They sat out in front of my house with me in the heat and just wanted to sit and be with me."
Tyus said she has felt nothing but love from her siblings, 8 children, and nearly 60 grandchildren. She said, for now, she is focused on finding a new place to live.