Adjuster won’t approve 1 year rental lease for ALE joe.hilly asked 7 months ago
Adjuster won’t approve 1 year rental lease for ALE

Our New Jersey home was destroyed in a house fire the week after Christmas. We are a family of 6 that lived in a 5 bedroom single family home. We have 24 months of ALE coverage. Given the time of year and lack of rental inventory, we were only able to find a 3 Bedroom Townhouse.

The insurance company, Allstate, approved a 6 month lease and payments are being made directly to the apartment complex by a 3rd party company (THD) that Allstate authorized. That lease is approaching its end and we’d like to move into a larger rental home that can accommodate our family and similar to our previous home.

Since then we’ve been keeping an eye out for a larger home to rent. We finally found one but the carrier says they will not approve a lease greater than 6 months unless we decided to rebuild our house. However, 4 or 5 bedroom home owners do not want to lease for less than 1 year.

We’re in the process of exploring the build process and simultaneously looking at purchasing a new house but the market is crazy for both.

Question: Can the insurer be allowed to not approve a lease for 12 months on the basis that I am still undecided on buy vs re-build? Also – it seems they are forcing me to have the lease preapproved by them prior to me signing the lease.

2 Answers
Answer for Adjuster won’t approve 1 year rental lease for ALE United Policyholders Staff answered 6 months ago

There is no way you’d be able to do a complete rebuild in less than 12 months from now, regardless – so they should approve that. It’s a reasonable ask and they are legally obligated to be reasonable in the way they handle your claim. https://uphelp.org/claim-guidance-publications/insurance-claim-rules-in-new-jersey/ As long as you’re documenting (in writing in a claim journal and in emails or letters to the insurer) that you’re being diligent in trying to replace your home by finding a suitable replacement home to buy or an available builder and a rebuild plan that works with your budget, your insurer should be approving the lease so you can settle in accommodations that are equivalent to the home you lost. If you can’t get them to move, we suggest seeking help from the NJ DOI or a policyholder helper professional. https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/consumer.htm#insurance

Answer for Adjuster won’t approve 1 year rental lease for ALE Michael Miller Expert answered 6 months ago

I’m sorry to hear that your family is having a hard time getting Allstate to follow through and do the right thing by approving a 12-month lease after your home was destroyed by fire…but not surprised. I have been dealing with Allstate for many years and have rarely come across an Allstate homeowner policy that provides ALE coverage for 24 months. So…you’re fortunate to have the coverage , but handcuffed because the right rental property has been next to impossible to secure. I know first hand how difficult it is to find suitable housing in NJ . The inventory of homes for sale is at historic lows, let alone , clean desirable, updated single family homes in decent neighborhoods. Allstate, till recently sold countless homeowner policies in NJ with only NINE MONTHS (9) of additional living expense coverage. That’s a travesty. Large losses can take 3-6 months or more to adjust to the insureds satisfaction and 8-10 months to rebuild only after a building permit is issued. Factor in lender participation, architect approvals, delays in the permitting process and the clock keeps ticking.

Not sure whether you retained a public adjuster, who as your authorized representative would aggressively advocate for your right to rent a comparable residence in the mode in which you are accustomed to living. He or she would broaden their search outside of your community to tap into all known contacts to find housing that works best for your family and lifestyle.

It sounds like the third party vendor could not provide viable options for you to slide into a 2nd rental for the desired time frame. The fact that you found a larger home and Allstate waffled is totally unacceptable. Had you considered speaking with an insurance litigator and put the carrier on formal notice that despite your best efforts to work with and be transparent with Allstate, another 6 month lease won’t cut it. Has your Allstate agent picked up the phone and touched base to see how you and your family are doing since the date of loss or offer claims support?

He or she can pick up the phone and make some noise with the claims department to step up and extend themselves in these difficult times to accommodate a loyal policy holder in their family’s time of need.

Finally, after six months post loss, it’s time to convey your decision to rebuild or not rebuild to Allstate. However, in my opinion the carrier owes you and your family a stable and suitable living arrangement which should not impact your right to present an additional 12-month lease, for consideration. The truth is most carriers approve a single lease and are out of their comfort zone if asked to consider a longer term the second time around.

Hopefully by now you have spoken with contractors and or buyers of distressed property to determine what works best for your family. I concur the market is crazy, everywhere. Good luck and be well.