If you lose your home or business, or you simply cannot use the premises until repairs are done, your property insurance policy likely pays a benefit to cover the cost of temporary placement. These “Loss of Use” benefits typically come in two forms, Fair Rental Value and Loss of Use. The former generally pays the fair market rental value based on similar comparisons in your area, while the latter pays only the actual amounts expended to maintain a homeowner’s or renter’s standard of living. Loss of Use benefits are usually paid subject to time and monetary limits – in other words, the carrier pays on a rolling basis until it hits the maximum dollar amount (if there is one) or the maximum time limit, whichever is first.
Continue Reading Is Your Insurance Company Threatening to Prematurely Terminate Loss of Use Benefits?

This updates new California legislation in anticipation of another season of devastating wildfires. California is in drought once again. Summer has just begun and there has already been record-setting heat. Although California has been spared so far, wildfires are expected to continue to run rampant through California as it continues to heat up and dry out. The anticipated wildfires are expected to bring an influx of for out-of-state insurance adjusters into California to handle the insurance claim volume. It is safe to assume that out of state adjusters will not be up to speed with 2021 changes in California insurance law. As a policyholder advocate, you can add value to any claim by simply staying current on the rapidly changing California Insurance Code and applying it to your claim representation.
Continue Reading 2021 California Legislative Update: Senate Bill 872

A common theme I have noticed lately is the tendency of homeowners, having just weathered a major natural disaster, to compare their ability to recover insurance proceeds to that of their neighbors. Wondering if you can recover alternative living expenses? Curious to know if you can recover for your sewage back-up claim? Rather than looking to your neighbor’s recovery for answers, make sure to check your homeowners insurance policy.
Continue Reading My neighbor had coverage, so why was I denied?

We recently had a request for a blog topic discussing additional living expenses (“ALE”) options following the loss of a home and subsequent evacuation. Under many insurance policies, not only is your real and personal property covered, but you may be entitled to additional living expenses, meaning food and housing costs, relocation, storage, meals when there’s no access to a kitchen, furniture rentals, and additional transportation expenses.
Continue Reading What Are Your Temporary Housing and Additional Living Expenses Options Following a Devastating Property Loss In California?

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.
Continue Reading California Wildfires Bring the Need for Additional Living Expense Payments of Insurance Policy Proceeds

In this unreported New York decision,1 Steven Hirth filed suit for breach of contract on a homeowner’s insurance policy after American Insurance Company (AIC) denied coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). On August 12, 2012 Hirth’s apartment sustained water damage when another apartment in his building had a water issue that damaged Mr. Hirth’s apartment so severely, he and his family were forced to evacuate and arrange for lodging elsewhere. AIC paid him $208,108.63 for damage to the apartment and for contents. AIC also paid an additional $10,725.38 in ALE for the Hirth’s hotel stay from August 26 through September 1, 2012. AIC also offered to pay for a comparable hotel in New York City for an additional four months (the period of restoration). Hirth disagreed with AIC’s estimate of the cost of the hotel and instead entered into a short-term sublease at $22,500 per month (AIC originally offered $40,000 per month). The repairs to his apartment took almost two years, and the apartment could not be occupied until July 1, 2014. Hirth declined to provide certain documents to AIC without a confidentiality agreement and AIC declined any further payment for ALE. Hirth filed suit on February 24, 2015.

Continue Reading What is the Date of Loss for Additional Living Expenses

Most people understand that insurance policies are drafted by insurance companies. There is little to no negotiation of terms between a potential policyholder and the insurance company, so if language is ambiguous it is construed against the drafter—the insurance company. Below you will find details about a recent case out of the Western District of Missouri written by an esteemed panel of Judges. It is also a good refresher from elementary school –when a teacher asks you to define a word, you should not then use that word in the definition. American Family forgot this and it is an expensive lesson to learn.

Continue Reading Replacement Cost With Like Kind and Quality and ALE During Construction Awarded: Ambiguous Policy Language is Construed Against the Insurance Company

As we near the end of this Additional Living Expenses (ALE) blog series, we can reflect back at past case law and point out there are not only negative exceptions that impact an insured. Sometimes exceptions reflect positively that aid the insured on recovery where ALE is owed to the insured due to an uninhabitable residence after a loss.

Continue Reading The Road to ALE, From Loss to Being Incurred, Part 7 — The Exceptions that Support Recovery”

In this series of ALE blogs, I’ve come to realize that the incurring of Additional Living Expenses (ALE) is probably the most disputed part of ALE and the definitive factor of whether ALE is paid by the insurance company. It’s probably the most controversial part, as the whole concept of ALE “incurred” is based upon the definition and interpretation of “incurred” and this interpretation differs by state. Overall, there is little case law on ALE as compared to other areas of property insurance law. Generally, most states interpret “incurred” to be some sort of liability to pay, such as entering into a lease above and beyond normal rent or mortgage may trigger the payment of ALE. Remember, we must still look at the whole picture of when an ALE payment may be due from the insurance company. Before ALE payments are triggered, there must be:

  1. a covered loss;
  2. uninhabitable home; and
  3. incurred ALE expense.


Continue Reading The Road to ALE, from Loss to Being Incurred, Part 4 – ALE: the Definition of Incurred