Last Thursday, October 26, 2017, I had the privilege to be on KSRO 1350 AM/103.5 FM, Sonoma County’s News Talk Radio Morning News, to discuss the wildfire aftermath as communities are looking to begin rebuilding their lives with their insurance proceeds.
This last Friday, November 3, 2017, I joined the Morning Show hosts at KSVY 91.3 FM “The Valley of the Moon” in Sonoma Valley to discuss the same. Click here to listen to the latest broadcast. In the past I have blogged and fielded many questions regarding additional living expenses and what insureds are entitled to under their insurance policies after they have suffered a loss that does not allow them to stay in their homes. As Californians began rebuilding and putting in claims after the Tubbs and Atlas wildfires, it’s important to remember that additional living expenses are an important part of every insureds insurance policy.
In such instances as these wildfire total losses, many insurance companies are providing a certain amount of additional living expense (“ALE”) upfront. However, insureds must be reminded that under ALE, they are entitled to like kind and quality housing. For example, seeking housing of the same or similar square footage and renting furniture is expected and covered under many insureds insurance policy. However, if an insured lives in a 2 bedroom 1000 square foot condominium, the insurance company may dispute a 3,000 square foot home rental to house the family after the loss.
What insureds should remember when looking for ALE policy proceeds: keep receipts. Without proper documentation, the insurance company may question the validity of ALE expenses such as extra gas purchased due to mileage, extra meals out due to not having a kitchen when living in a hotel without cooking facilities the first few weeks after a loss, or receipts for out of the normal ordinary expenses due to the new living expenses, such as temporary furniture rentals. Documenting your ALE claim properly with receipts and utilizations of credit cards versus cash can help form a proper trail of documents which the insurance company will find easier to scrutinize and substantiate for payment under the insurance policy.
ALE is extremely important and a necessary part of the lives of the many insured Californians impacted by these terrible wildfires. Getting back to everyday life after a total loss from a wildfire is crucial and expensive. Documenting your ALE claim helps to assure you maximize the ALE covered under the policy and avoid the possibility of non-payment of ALE proceeds by the insurer.