As an insured homeowner, if you get displaced from your home as a result of damage sustained in a hurricane, storm or other casualty event, the “additional living expense” clause in your insurance policy is designed to help cover the costs you incur as a result of relocating to temporary housing. But, insurance companies will often attempt to deny coverage or pay less than the full amount to which policyholders are entitled; and, as a result, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your right to “ALE” coverage.
1. Uninhabitable Residence
In order to claim additional living expense coverage under your homeowner’s insurance policy, your home must generally be considered “uninhabitable.” Living through the repair process may be uncomfortable and inconvenient; but, if you can still make use of your home, your insurer may deny ALE coverage based upon habitability. Lack of electricity or running water will generally make a home “uninhabitable,” as will substantial damage that results in exposure to the elements.
If your homeowner’s insurance company denies ALE coverage by claiming that your home is habitable, a public adjuster may be able to help demonstrate that it is unreasonable (or potentially unsafe) for you and your family to remain in your home.
2. Standard of Living
When you pay for ALE coverage, you are entitled to maintain your standard of living during the time that you are displaced from your home. If you live in an updated single-family home, your insurance company cannot force you to move into a small apartment or extended-stay hotel. Likewise, your insurance company cannot deny reimbursement of any expenses you incur as a result of being displaced, even if they would not be considered “necessary” expenses in the traditional sense.
3. Reimbursement Coverage
A key aspect of additional living expense coverage is that it provides coverage on a reimbursement basis. This means that your insurance company will only pay for expenses you actually incur. As a result, it is very important to keep copies of all statements and receipts, and using a credit card can help you keep a running tally of your transactions.
4. Additional Living Expenses
Finally, as its name suggests, ALE insurance only covers additional expenses you incur as a result of being displaced. If you are not paying for utilities or cable at your home, then you will still generally be responsible for these costs at your temporary residence. However, ALE coverage can still be used to cover many expenses that most people wouldn’t expect to be covered. For example, along with rent, additional living expense coverage may also pay for:
- Additional mileage due to living further from work or school
- Credit check fees for temporary residence approval
- Moving and storage costs
- Set-up costs and activation fees for utilities, cable and internet
- Meals purchased while dealing with rebuilding-related tasks
- Laundry costs
- Pet boarding
- Move-out expenses for your temporary residence (i.e. cleaning fees)
Speak With a Broward County Insurance Claim Lawyer
The insurance claim lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin represent homeowners in all aspects of insurance claims and denials. If you are struggling to obtain reimbursement for additional living expenses from your insurance company or dealing with any other insurance-related dispute, we encourage you to call 954-767-6333 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.