We understand that you may not need your insurance every day, but the day you need it—the moment you need it—it must be there.
It’s something Louis and Linda Miller understand. Their fire alarm sounded early one Saturday morning at 4:00 AM, but they didn’t hear the noise because the bedroom door was shut. The sound of shattering glass—due to the heat from a downstairs fire caused by an electrical short—awakened them.
When Linda opened the bedroom door, the smoke was so thick they had to exit the house by the bedroom window and call the fire department with Louis’s cell phone. The short had killed the phones, and the fire was so intense it was a safer move to get out and make the call. In fact, firefighters would later say that if their bedroom door had been open, they may not have survived the smoke and heat.
Linda’s brother, Buddy, called Farm Bureau agent Carey Copeland a little before 5:30 AM. It was the first day of hunting season and Copeland had planned to hunt with his sons. Instead, he drove the 30 miles to the Miller’s home and arrived before 8:00 AM, with the Miller's policy in his hand, ready to help them through the process of recovery.
In fact, Copeland responded more quickly than that. On the phone call, he instructed Buddy to start looking for a trailer to use as a temporary home. By the description Copeland had of the scene, the house would be unlivable, and the first thing the Millers would need was to secure is a place to live. Once on scene, Copeland helped the Millers with what to do next.
The fire burned close to 50% of the home and there were indeed structural damages that required fixing. It was a little more than a year before the Millers could get back into the home, but they were taken care of by their Farm Bureau agent within the first hours of a disastrous fire.
As a side note, getting the trailer was a significant first step. Copeland drew upon his experience to realize that security is an overlooked, but important, factor in the recovery process. He says he’s seen people enter burned structures for every reason from curiosity to full theft of property. With someone still living on the property, the risk of theft and a second claim is greatly reduced—those are losses that never occur and savings that can be passed along to our members.