Hurricane victims are often forced out of their homes, leaving families to live in hotel rooms or rental homes until it is safe to return.
If the damage from Hurricane Harvey (or another natural disaster) has made your home uninhabitable, forcing you to see temporary living accommodations, examine your homeowner insurance policy.
This can be pivotal to understanding if (or the extent to which) you have coverage for the expenses associated with living in a temporary home.
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Coverage for Additional Living Expenses: What Is (& Is Not) Covered
Many homeowners’ insurance policies include a section that covers “additional living expenses” (“ALE”). If your homeowner’s insurance policy does contain such a provision:
- Your insurance company will typically cover living expenses incurred while you are forced out of your home – Although advanced payments are sometimes available, most companies require you to show that you have incurred actual expenses before providing payment. Effectively, this means that insurance companies reimburse additional living expenses after they have been incurred.
- You may also have coverage for the basis on which you are away from home – If so, your insurance company should pay for the actual, reasonable and necessary increase in living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. This means that your insurer should cover hotel bills or apartment rent, as well as the cost of food, even if it increases a reasonable amount due to the circumstances caused by the hurricane.
- Your standard living expenses will NOT be covered – An ALE clause does NOT include payment for your mortgage or regular expenses. It only covers those expenses incurred if not for the hurricane. In other words, immediately after a hurricane, individuals are still responsible for their mortgage and other regular expenses associated with the home.
- You will need to provide the insurance company with proper documentation regarding your ALE – This documentation typically refers to any and all receipts for the expenses associated with new/temporary housing, food and other costs you have had to pay due to the hurricane. These receipts can be essential to establishing the extent of your ALE and getting fully reimbursed for these costs.
A Word about “Reasonable” Expenses
It is important to remember that the amount covered by an ALE provision must be reasonable. This pertains to expenses associated with:
- Food – For instance, if you typically spend around $600 per month on groceries and you are unable to purchase groceries following the Hurricane, your insurer will cover restaurant expenses, provided they are a reasonable amount, when compared to your normal grocery expenses.
- Housing – The same goes for housing. If, for instance, you own a modest two-bedroom house, your insurer will likely not pay for you to live at a 5-star resort while your home is being repaired.
- Other needs – Additional expenses that may be covered can include storage fees, pet boarding costs, and other expenses you are required to pay above the amount you would typically pay if not for the hurricane.
Experiencing the losses from a hurricane is a traumatic event that is sure to put financial pressure on many affected families. To help alleviate some of this pressure:
- Read and understand your homeowner insurance policy so you are aware of whether your insurer will cover alternative living expenses.
- Keep all receipts and records of the expenses you incurred while you were forced out of your home. This is one way to help ensure you and your family are not liable for the extra costs of finding a new place to live (as well as other expenses).
Get Important Answers & Advice about Your Hurricane Harvey Claim: Contact an Insurance Attorney at the Amaro Law Firm
An insurance attorney at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to advocate your rights and help you position your Hurricane Harvey claim for the maximum recovery.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE Consultation. Taking this one step can be the key to protecting your rights and the value of your claim as you move forward.
The Amaro Law Firm’s record of outstanding representation and success in hurricane damage claims has earned us glowing testimonials from former clients, as well as 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.