Get Insurance Before Your House Burns Down


Money, Home / Friday, February 1st, 2019
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It was a beautiful warm evening in the middle of September, which considering I live in Calgary where it can snow in the middle of August if the weather really wants, was a treat. I was headed back from late night happy hour with one of my best friends when I learned the real reason why adulting means you need to buy insurance.

Late night un-happy hour

Late night happy hour happens after 9 p.m. around these parts, and my friend and I were having a nice evening out at a local Earls (the one on Stephen Avenue for those of you that live in the area). It was so nice out that we actually opted to sit on the bar-height tables out on the patio to enjoy our discount appys while we chatted away and people watched.

I only lived a few blocks from the restaurant so I had left home a few minutes before we met. With me, I had only a handful of things in my bag: my wallet, keys, iPad and maybe a notebook. My adorable pug, Benjamin “Pugsy” Siegel, was at home sprawled out on the couch (don’t worry, there are no dead pugs in this story, Scout’s honour).

Our dinner ended just over an hour or so later, we’d had our fill of appys (basically one of everything off the menu) and a few drinks before I walked home. For some reason, I decided to take a different route that I normally do opting to walk up the back stairs of the terrace that my building shared with the surrounding business towers. It was September 13, I know this because I stopped to take a photo of the stairs with the caption “One at a time #onestepatatime #lifeisbeautiful #justkeepswimming #future #life #steps” – which, looking back on it seems a little ominous.

When I approached the building, something felt off. And as I walked into the building the fire alarms were blaring. I momentarily ran through my options – do I run upstairs and get Ben or do I wait out the 20 minutes to find out it’s a false alarm. I opted for the latter, false alarms happened in the building all the time. That’s what happens when you live in a building with so many people. I backed out of the alarm ridden building and headed around the side stairs around to the front, only to be met with chaos and fire trucks strewn about the place. The roads were closed off. The building was roped off. It wasn’t a drill.

It was no pizza fire

At first, I figured it was one of the restaurants on the ground floor – fire broke out in a pizza oven, it was a nuisance but it would be up and running in a short while. That is until I was sitting across the street observing the building and noticed black smoke billowing out of one of the floors. I tried to will myself calm as I counted the floors but… it was my floor that was on fire.

buy insurance
Like I said, there are no dead pugs in this story.

As soon as I figured that out, I ran to a fireman who was standing about (probably doing something important, but I was a tad bit irrational at the time) and told them I needed my dog. He told me that my dog was fine and the fire was contained to the 22nd floor… he was on the 22nd floor. Then I called my mom – because that’s what real adults do in these types of situations.

We were sitting in her car watching the scene in front of us when my mom convinced me to go inquire about my dog again, considering I was sitting there panicking about it. I walked up to a pair of firefighters and told them my dog had been in the apartment.

It turns out they had already gotten him from my apartment when they were doing the apartment checks to make sure everyone was out of the building and the fire hadn’t spread. I found Ben tucked in the arms of a, particularly good-looking firefighter. Bow chica woow woow.

Unfortunately, this isn’t also a love story but it could totally be the beginning of a kick-ass rom-com.

You Seriously Need to Buy Insurance

This story isn’t about Ben (though he is the most adorable subject) nor is it about the hot firefighter that saved my baby. No, it’s about why you need to buy insurance.

You see, while the fire wasn’t that bad – the majority of my things never made it to my new home due to fire damage – the real lesson here is that I was the only person on my floor who had thought to buy insurance. Which means I was the only person that had a safety net when things got rough. And if you find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly without insurance, things can get real rough.

Having insurance meant

  • Having access to funds so I had somewhere to stay – I was lucky because I ended up just saying at my parent’s house but I had the option
  • Getting the items in my house cleaned professionally at no cost to me, the things that could be cleaned anyway
  • Being able to buy new clothes for work when I wasn’t allowed back in the building at the time
  • Having access to professional movers to move me into my new building
  • Having the cost of all of my damaged items paid back to me

Insurance is one of those if situations. You get it for if you need it. But most people never actually need it. But when you do, oh man, it’s a lifesaver. I was the only person on my floor that didn’t have to live in the building while they were fixing it, I was covered.

The worst part about this story is that the person who caused the fire didn’t have insurance. So they’re now on the hook for a lot a lot of damages. In total, three of thee apartments were affected by the fire enough that they had to be rebuilt, the hallway has to be re-finished and all of the other apartments had to be cleaned of the smoke.

Insurance seems like a waste of money… until you need it. And I, for one, will never be without it!