When a home is damaged to the point of being uninhabitable, the insurance company is usually responsible for paying the homeowner’s expenses to live somewhere else. Under most policies, the insurance company must pay for the homeowner to live in a similar (type and quality) home to the insured property that was damaged or destroyed. Usually these expenses should be paid while the damage claim is being adjusted and repairs are being made.
In addition to covering temporary housing, many insurance policies cover additional living expenses, or loss of use. These costs can include rent, housing, food, and storage. If our home is covered by homeowner’s insurance and is severely damaged by some accident or disaster, we should not need to worry about sleeping on someone’s couch while we wait for our home to be repaired. Many times, the insurance adjustor will simply ask if we have a place to stay while our home is uninhabitable. If we tell them we are staying with a relative or a friend, the adjustor, in an effort to save the insurance company money, may not mention available coverage for additional living expenses. However, it’s important to ensure that we receive the full coverage we paid for after our home is damaged, whether we stay with a relative or not.
The following are a few tips to remember when considering what additional living expenses should be covered by your insurance company:
- Know the policy limits, as there is typically a cap for additional living expenses. There will also usually be a limited time period for how long additional living expenses will be covered.
- Look for comparable accommodations. Staying in a hotel might be nice, but can get old quickly. It is usually better to find a rental property that’s comparable to our damaged home.
- Document all extra expenses; this includes meals/groceries, storage, laundry, mileage and even pet boarding. Remember the key word is “additional”, so paying for our mortgage or for our children’s swim lessons will not be included as additional costs.
- Keep all receipts. These may be necessary to collect money from the insurance company for additional costs.
Although many insurance companies may try to avoid paying for additional living expenses, understanding our insurance policy rights can make a significant impact throughout the aftermath of an accident or disaster. Sometimes, it is necessary to have a professional intervene on the insured’s behalf. If you feel you or a loved one has been misrepresented or treated unfairly by an insurance company, call Christopher C. Van Cleave, an experienced Mississippi Insurance Bad Faith attorney at Van Cleave Law. Our experienced legal team has the necessary experience to take on insurance companies and make them provide full coverage under the homeowner’s insurance policies they sell.