Independence family loses everything in house fire just one day after insurance expires

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An Independence family lost everything in a fire, only to discover their insurance policy expired the day before.

In fact, they were trying to come up with the money needed to renew it after premiums went up. Now, they struggling through a hard-learned lesson.

“It was unbelievable. It went from a fire we could probably put out or deal with. You think 'OK, maybe it's just the garage, maybe it's localized.' You just see it keep going, then realize everything is gone,” Tim Franklin said.

Franklin, his wife, their three kids and seven pets all escaped from their Independence home after a fire started around 3 a.m. Saturday.

“The inspector went out today and determined it was on the verge of a full loss,” Franklin said. “All of our sentimental stuff, all of our clothes, all of our electronics -- everything is gone. We literally have nothing.”

The fire started in the garage and spread. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused it.

“It's our luck. It's unreal. It's just heartbreaking. It really is,” Franklin said.

The metro father said premiums had gone up, and they were trying to come up with the money to renew their insurance policy.

“We were told it was fine, so I called in the actual claim, and the person I submitted the claim with said it was fine, took all the information, passed it on. And not until the actual fire claims representative called me back did we find out that it had expired at midnight on the 20th,” Franklin said. “It would just be nice if there was a little compassion. I know big companies become machines, and they have very strict rules, but it would be nice if there was a little human compassion element to the story. Maybe we could cut you a break.”

Insurance companies recommend checking your policies regularly to make sure everything is up to date. It's also the perfect time to see if you have the right coverage for your home and belongings -- and even ask for a price reduction if you think you're paying too much.

The Franklins are staying with family and friends as they try to start over. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family financially.