Hello, all. Sorry to start your awesome Friday (that happens to be the beginning of a long weekend- yes!) on a somber note. But I figure since disaster can strike at any moment, this is as good a day as any to share this with you.

This is my parents’ rental house. It caught fire the night before last when a gas heater malfunctioned. The fire was big enough that the tenants evacuated and spent the night elsewhere, and the fire department came and put the fire out.

But somehow, at 6:00 the next morning the fire reignited and totally demolished the house. Nothing was salvageable.

This picture makes me really sad, with that quilt. You can see that it’s blackened and smoky and may not even be worth keeping.

When I talked to my parents, they were strangely calm about it. My mom just kept saying that she was so glad it didn’t happen in the middle of the night, because they might not have woken up in time to get out. They have two little girls and everyone is just so glad that no one was hurt.

But while it’s overwhelmingly wonderful that no one was hurt, it’s really sad to think about how these people will re-start their lives. They didn’t have any insurance. Thinking about all of the stuff they will have to buy to get a new home up and running is enough to make my head spin- especially since it’s a family. Couches, kitchen table and chairs, beds, dressers, food, dishes, computers, decorations, artwork, linens, towels… it’s thousands of dollars. (Unfortunately for renters, their belongings are not covered by the landlord’s policy.)

And I’m definitely not trying to preach, because the thought of renters’ insurance didn’t really cross my mind until I was getting ready to buy a house. And even then, I thought “Well my bed was free, the couch was free… the most expensive thing I own is my computer.” Looking back, that’s pretty naive, because just because I hadn’t spent a lot of money on those things in the first place doesn’t mean that their replacements would necessarily be cheap.

I know a disaster like this is a long shot, but any of you who have suffered a fire (and I know some of you have) know that- well, it’s not really that long of a shot. I remember thinking that renters’ insurance wasn’t really all that expensive when I looked, so do yourself a favor and look into it. (Or you may decide to forgo insurance and just keep an emergency fund for something like this. There are options, so make sure you give yourself one.)

I guess I’m just asking everyone (myself included) to evaluate or re-evaluate our game plans in case of disaster.

Now call an insurance agent (or designate a disaster fund), quit being depressed, and go have a wonderful long weekend!

I don't know why I chose this picture to go with having a good weekend.

But one last thing- since I’m curious, will you tell me- What is your disaster game plan? How many renters out there have insurance? Any other out-of-the box preparations?