When your home is damaged by a hurricane, windstorm, fire or other peril, your first concern typically will be having the damage repaired so that your home is restored to its pre-loss condition. While this is certainly an important priority, there may be other costs incurred that are incidental to the damage to your home. These costs can strain your finances because they mount quickly if you are forced to move out until the damage to your home has been rectified. Some homeowners do not realize that they have coverage for such losses under their residential insurance policy.
This form of coverage, referred to as “Additional Living Expense” (ALE), provides compensation for costs that result because your dwelling is damaged, which causes you to secure alternative living arrangements. If you must move into a local hotel until your home is sufficiently repaired after a fire or hurricane, the cost of the hotel may be covered under the ALE portion of your homeowner policy. If the hotel you use for temporary lodging does not allow pets, ALE coverage also will cover kenneling your pets. There are a range of other incidental expenses that might be covered such as additional commute mileage because you are further from work or higher food costs because you are forced to eat out. The cost of storing personal property that cannot be safely left in the home also might be covered.
While ALE coverage can provide an indispensable financial supplement to defray the costs that naturally occur from temporary relocation, you must comply with appropriate procedures to obtain this form of compensation. This form of insurance coverage is classified as an “as incurred” expense. This type of expense is paid only for the out of pocket costs that you actually incur, so you will need to keep receipts to document the full amount of your expenses.
Many policyholders do not spend much time considering this type of loss from a hurricane or fire. If you do not know how much ALE coverage your policy provides, you might wish to review your policy. When your home suffers severe damage from fire or a hurricane, you might be displaced from your home for a year or longer. This possibility is worth considering when you contemplate the amount of ALE coverage you need under your homeowner policy.
If your home has suffered catastrophic damage that requires you to leave your home until repairs are made, you insurance company might deny, delay or undervalue your claim under the ALE coverage potion of your policy or other parts of the policy. If you have suffered damage to your home and you are frustrated with your insurance company’s lack of cooperation in settling your claim, an experienced Florida homeowner insurance claims attorney might be able to help. Miami property damage claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and explain your rights. Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles disputed claims in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.