When damage or disaster deems your home uninhabitable, the last thing you need is added stress and confusion about what comes next. There are potential hotel expenses, meals out, pet boarding expenses, and more that you simply might not be prepared for. Fortunately, that’s where Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage comes in!
ALE promises to cover the financial burden of temporary housing and essential living costs that occur when you are displaced from your home. However, there’s a side to ALE that insurance companies often don’t openly discuss. In this blog, we’ll explore the details of what might be missed when initially faced with ALE.
1) Be Mindful of Eligibility Criteria
Insurance policies often have eligibility criteria that must be met for ALE coverage to kick in. If your insurance company determines that the damage to your home could have been avoided or that you’re not taking reasonable steps to mitigate expenses, they might deny your ALE claim. This underscores the importance of proper documentation and communication with your insurer throughout the process.
2) Document, Document, Document
Navigating the ALE claims process can be a paperwork-intensive process. You’ll likely need to submit receipts for expenses, detailed lists of your belongings, and regular updates on your living situation. Failure to provide accurate and timely documentation can result in claim denials or delays.
Make sure to save physical receipts and other relevant documentation in a folder, as well as, take pictures of them or scan them into an online platform like Google Docs or Dropbox.
3) The Limits of Coverage
It’s easy to assume that your ALE coverage will cover all your expenses while you’re displaced from your home. But here’s the catch: insurance companies often set a limit on the amount they’re willing to pay for ALE.
This limit might not always match the actual costs of living in your area. If you’re living in a high-cost city or need specialized accommodations due to unique circumstances, you might find yourself footing the bill for the difference. Make sure to thoroughly read through and discuss your coverage with the insurance company. Additionally, seek further financial assistance through the insurance company for specialized situations.
4) Time Limits Apply
ALE coverage isn’t a never-ending source of financial support. Insurance companies set time limits on how long they’ll cover your additional living expenses. While the timeframe varies, it’s typically based on a reasonable estimate of how long it would take to repair or rebuild your home. However, these estimates might not align with reality. If unforeseen delays occur during the restoration process, you could find yourself left without coverage sooner than expected.
5) You Can Ask for a Cash Advance
Although the concept of providing a cash advance for ALE costs is not (traditionally) included in your policy, some insurance providers do provide advances to alleviate policyholder discomfort. Your insurance adjuster may accurately believe that you have the financial means to pay ALE items out of pocket, but you shouldn’t have to. If your adjuster lacks the authorization to provide you with a cash advance, request the name and phone number of someone who does.
6) There Are Other Options Besides Hotels
Hotels are the number one choice when it comes to home displacement but it doesn’t mean it has to be your only option. Whatever temporary housing option you choose, you are eligible for reimbursement if you incur additional costs.
You could choose temporary accommodation in an Airbnb, hostel, or even another relative/friend’s place. For example, if you prefer to stay with a relative and compensate them for the stay, the insurance company should be willing to pay for these expenses. This is a cost-effective option for a hotel that will lower the overall cost of your claim.
7) Negotiation is Possible
Insurance companies might not openly offer higher ALE settlements, assuming you’ll accept their initial assessment. However, you have the right to negotiate for a better settlement if you can provide evidence that your costs are higher than they’re willing to cover. Be prepared to advocate for yourself, especially if you’re facing unique circumstances that warrant additional financial support.
Alternatively, you don’t have to go through this process alone. You are entitled to work with a public adjuster to help ease your mind. A professional public adjuster can assist you in obtaining fair compensation from your insurance company and navigating the claims procedure. They can also manage the paperwork, negotiate with the insurance company, and offer expert advice, which may be extremely helpful during this difficult time.
Fortitude Public Adjusters guarantees that you will receive the coverage and payout that you are entitled to. Don’t let insurance companies get away with what’s best for them. Request your FREE consultation with Fortitude Public Adjusters to learn how we can assist you with your ALE claims process.