Arizona City family learns the hard way about the importance of home insurance

An Arizona man is sharing his story about losing his house in a fire and how to avoid an insurance nightmare.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 10:07 PM MST
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ARIZONA CITY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Imagine heading out of town, only to get a call that a fire has destroyed your home. You and your family have to start over from practically nothing. That’s what happened to Arizona City’s Mike Brashier, and now he’s hoping others will avoid the insurance nightmare that has followed.

Brashier didn’t expect that a fire would ever burn down his home. He’s a retired firefighter, so that’s saying something. “When I went in the first time, that’s when it really hit home that I’ve lost almost anything,” he said.

Mike and his wife Paula were in Kansas when the fire started Sunday morning. By Sunday night, they were back in Arizona. Their son Connor and the family’s two dogs were able to make it safely out of the burning home. As Brashier and his family come to terms with all that was lost, they’ve also had to come to terms with their outdated rental policy. It covered around $36,000 worth of damage, which Brashier says is far too little.

“Any of the restoration, photos, clothing, anything like that,” he said. “That’s going to eat that up very quickly when you look into this being a four-bedroom house.”

Brashier says he purchased his policy about 5-10 years ago. QuoteWizard senior research analyst Nick VinZant says what might have been sufficient then isn’t now. “We have seen a huge increase in the cost of replacing homes, and the cost of homes, so people’s own insurance policies are not going to cover them moving forward,” VinZant said. “So you have to update the coverage limits.”

VinZant says homeowners and renters should now be updating their policies every year. He says it’s also crucial to speak with your insurance agent about what’s included in that policy and what isn’t. “Questions are: Is my valuable personal property covered under this kind of home insurance?” Vinzant said. “Is fire covered? Is my house covered if my neighbor’s house catches on fire and spreads over to my house?”

As for Brashier, he says he’s learned a valuable lesson. And he’s glad that amidst all the damage, the ashes of his son Ryan, who tragically died a few years ago in an accident, are somehow still intact. “They were untouched by the fire.” he said. “I think he’s the one that woke my other son up.”

There’s no word at this time on what started the fire. The family has started a GoFundMe to help them get back on their feet as they try to figure out their next steps.