What Happens if Repairs Make Your Home Temporarily Unlivable?
When your property is destroyed to the point that it is no longer inhabitable, you may have immediate concerns about how long it will take to get your property repaired, and the cost of getting everything replaced. This makes it easy to overlook a very important expense: additional living expenses, or ALEs.
What are ALEs?
ALEs are expenses paid to you that may be necessary if your home is not able to be lived in while repairs are being made to it. This may be because the home is so severely destroyed that it cannot be lived in.
However, you may need ALEs from your insurance company even if there is no major damage. In some cases, a repair company may use certain materials or chemicals that make remaining in the home impossible. Sometimes, damage is minor, but repairs make a vital part of the home unusable—for example, damage and repairs to the bathroom in a one-bathroom condominium.
What do ALEs Cover?
Expenses related to your having to live somewhere else are called ALEs. The benefits available vary depending on your policy, but they generally will cover any kind of expense that is related to you having to live away from home.
For example, ALEs may cover the cost of a hotel, including the expenses related to having to eat every meal in restaurants while you are living without a kitchen. If additional travel is necessary for you to get to work, those expenses may be covered. Sometimes, boarding of animals may be covered.
What Won’t ALEs Cover?
ALEs will not cover expenses that you would have had anyway, had you been living at home. So, for example, if you have a hotel room with a kitchen, insurance will not pay for groceries which you would have had to buy anyway.
Additionally, the insurance company will not pay over and above what is necessary. A 4-bedroom penthouse hotel room will likely not be covered, nor will the expense of fine dining.
In some cases the insurance company will deny ALEs completely, if they are not necessary. For example, having a 4-person family live in a property with no bathroom while repairs go on is impossible. However, having all 4 people share 1 bathroom may be reasonable, at least for a short period of time, meaning insurance companies will try to deny you ALEs.
Use Your Best Judgment
Do not take the word of a contractor who may be working for the insurance company. Many of them will say that your property will be inhabitable or inhabitable during repairs. You will then find, once it’s too late, that you have no kitchen, no running water and 1 bathroom while repairs are going on. Use your best judgment and insist on ALEs if they are in your policy and if you feel repairs make your home uninhabitable for you or your family.
Make sure you have help if your insurance company tries to deny you homeowners’ insurance benefits that you are entitled to. Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today with any questions you may have.