Homeowners know that trouble can strike from a clear sky without warning. On Saturday, September 17th, it did.

A small airplane delivering skydivers to Gilbert, Arizona’s annual “Constitution Fair” caught fire just as it reached the jump site. The Fair’s attendees witnessed the divers and the pilot jump, and the airplane burst into a ball of fire, streaking towards a residential area not far away.

I’m sure the second thought many witnesses had (just after, “I hope everyone got out safely”) was “please not my house”. A falling aircraft engulfed in flames can do a lot of damage, and once it’s in freefall, it can’t be stopped or redirected. What could have destroyed several houses and taken many lives ended up crashing squarely into one home without injuring anyone. This was a miracle, especially because two people were in the home that was struck by the plane!!!

Miracle or not, that house and the family who lived there were innocent victims of a tragedy. In addition to losing their home, they likely lost

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Photo albums
  • Electronics
  • Decorations
  • Clothing
  • Valuables

Everything that makes a house a home.

After the feeling of relief washes over them that only their home was destroyed and no lives were lost, they’ll have to ask the hard questions, “Now what?”

Then, “Who’s to blame?”

The pilot, despite the flames, who stayed aboard until all his passengers were safely out then jumped out of the plane for his own safety? He didn’t cause the fire, he didn’t even own the plane.

The Airplane owners? Could they have done something to prevent the catastrophe mid-air if they had been more careful with their maintenance?

The City of Gilbert for hiring a low flying aircraft after dark over a residential area?

But the question behind all of these is: “How on earth are we going to get our lives back in order?’

When tragedy strikes your home, one of the first calls you need to make is to your insurance company. Your insurance will cover your home, your lost possessions, and clothes. Your insurer’s job is to try and replace everything that can be replaced. Having proper homeowners or renters insurance, with riders added for specific valuable items is important, regardless of what happens. Having insurance will usually mean that you don’t have to find the person, company or whoever responsible for your tragedy, your insurance will make things right for you and they will go after the responsible party (if there is one) for reimbursement.

Do you have adequate home or renter’s insurance? What might you be risking without it?