What the Cranicks’ house fire can teach you about the importance of protection

the roof of a house burning

In 2010 in a small town called South Fulton, Tennessee, Paulette and Gene Cranick watched their entire home burn to the ground.

A fire started by the couples’ grandson in a burn barrel in their backyard quickly licked its way onto the roof of a garden shed, before spreading to the family home. The house burnt down, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, and claiming the lives of the Cranicks’ three dogs and their cat.

The fire quickly became a prominent news story in the US at the time. Yet, while it may be a hugely unfortunate and sad event, a house burning down isn’t anything particularly extraordinary.

So why did this one make headlines in the US? And what can it teach you about the importance of having protection in place? Find out why.

The Cranicks hadn’t paid the $75 fee for fire service

The entire story of the Cranicks revolves around an unpaid $75 fire service fee.

The Cranicks’ home lay in a rural part of the county, outside of the city limits. Residents living here at the time had to pay a fee of $75 to South Fulton Fire Department to be covered in the event that they needed to make a 911 call because of fire.

However, Gene Cranick had reportedly forgotten to pay this fee, meaning the fire department simply refused to come.

Mr Cranick desperately pleaded for the department to send the fire engines out, even offering to pay whatever it cost for them to come and save his home. They refused.

A strange, grim irony of the story is that the Cranicks’ neighbours had paid the fire department’s fee. So, as the fire endangered the bordering field, the department were called and arrived to put out the spreading flames.

While the fire department doused the hedges next door to prevent them from setting alight, they left the Cranicks’ home to burn down to the ground. The family lost everything they owned.

Pay the fee before the fire starts

What happened to the Cranicks is, by any metric, a tragedy. And, in reality, a human response from the fire brigade would have been to douse the flames regardless of the fee, and figured out a solution afterwards.

But this story also shows the importance of putting protection in place before you need to rely on it. By paying the fee before the fire starts, you can have the reassurance that the proverbial fire brigade will turn their hoses on the flames.

For you, that means investing in adequate protection that covers you and your family in the event that something terrible happens.

Three kinds of protection you should consider having are:

  • Life cover
  • Critical illness cover
  • Income protection

Find out more about each of these options below.

Life cover

Having life cover in place is a simple but sensible choice you can make to ensure that your family will be financially stable if you were to pass away.

This money could help your loved ones pay bills in your absence, something that may be particularly important if you provide the main source of income.

It can also be used to pay off any existing mortgage you have on your home. That means you can be totally reassured that your family won’t lose their home if the worst were to happen to you.

Critical illness cover

Critical illness cover works by paying out a lump sum to you and your family in the event that you are diagnosed with a critical illness listed under the policy. This might include conditions such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke.

This money could be invaluable while you and your family come to terms with an illness that could be life-changing.

Income protection

Of course, being diagnosed with a serious disease or dying are not the only tragedies that may befall you and leave you in a financially difficult position.

Ask yourself: what would you do if you lost your job without it being your fault, or you couldn’t work due to injury or illness? Could you and your family afford to live your lifestyle without your income?

If your answer to these questions is no, you should consider income protection. This type of cover will typically pay out about two-thirds of your income while you find a new job or get well enough to return to work.

This money could provide vital income during a period that would already be highly stressful for you and your loved ones.

By preparing for these unfortunate outcomes in advance, you can at least have the peace of mind that you and your family won’t be left watching your home burn to the ground.

Work with us

At Sovereign, we’ll help you find the right protection for you and your family to give you the peace of mind that you’re covered in the worst-case scenario.

Email or call us on 01454 416653 to speak to us today.

Please note

Note that life insurance plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

What do our clients have to say?