ALE expenses ran out- Still living without kitchen Morgan Malone asked 4 months ago
ALE expenses ran out- Still living without kitchen

Hi there,

First off, thanks so much for providing guidance on these topics!

I had a slab leak in my condo about 3 months ago now. The company my insurance hired to coordinate the abatement process miscommunicated to their contractors, and they had to re-do the abatement process 3 times before they finally removed all affected walls and floors in my condo. This of course delayed the process by 2 months. Meanwhile, the housing company my insurance connected me with, put me in a very expensive hotel–exhausting my ALE coverage in only 30 days. Around day 15 when I noticed my money would run out before repairs would be done, I asked to switch to a cheaper option. That was denied by my insurance for some reason.

I then had to move back into my house, with no useable kitchen, appliances, nails still sticking out of the ripped out floor, etc. (Basically I can just sleep here and that’s it.) My insurer told me my ALE coverage ran out and there is nothing they can do now. The company that coordinated the abatement, is also coordinating my repairs are moving at a snail’s pace. Even with me calling almost everyday to check on what can be done. I’ve been told it can and likely will take another 2-3 months for repairs to be done because of delay in materials, custom cabinets that need to be replaced, etc.

I’ve communicated this to my insurance and asked multiple times if I can extend my ALE coverage because of this unusual circumstance, or if they can move money from another part of my insurance coverage, so I can at least cook in a kitchen and live (somewhat similar) to how I was before the slab leak. But they are super strict, and deny me every time I ask.

Is there anything else I can ask for or do in this situation? Or am I stuck living in a gutted condo with all of my appliances in some storage facility I am not even allowed in?

Thanks so much!!

1 Answers
Daniel Veroff Daniel Veroff Expert answered 4 months ago

Hi Morgan,

I am sorry to hear this. This is an uphill battle. You will need to demonstrate to the insurance company that it faces enough risk if it does not extend your ALE. An insurance company can face risk through a variety of ways, such as a through a lawsuit or a Request for Assistance to the California Department of Insurance. The insurance company may face risk in these scenarios if the insurance company engaged in conduct that is unreasonable and below the industry standard and/or violates California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations.

Here are some ideas to help:

Determine if the insurance company diligently investigated your claim or if its delays resulted in unnecessary time out of the home. Look for long periods of delays in getting adjusters assigned, inspections scheduled, estimates prepared, work orders approved, etc.

Determine if the insurance company gave you all the information you needed to know about your ALE coverage, including the average nightly cost of the hotel. The insurer has a duty to provide that to you, but also has a duty to pay for housing that maintains your standard of living.

Determine if the insurance company misled you as to the length of time you would be out of the condo for work to be completed. It sounds like you actually needed month-to-month housing, which tends to be much cheaper. Ask the insurer why they did not give you that option, if they in fact did not.

Determine if the insurance company has responsibility for the negligence of the coordinator/investigator. Ask the insurer if they agree that 10 Cal. Code Regs. s 2695.7(c) applies

  • (c) No insurer shall suggest or recommend that the insured have the property repaired by a specific individual or entity unless:
    • (1) the referral is expressly requested by the claimant; or
    • (2) the claimant has been informed in writing of the right to select a repair individual or entity and, if the claimant accepts the suggestion or recommendation, the insurer shall cause the damaged property to be restored to no less than its condition prior to the loss and repaired in a manner which meets accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction at no additional cost to the claimant other than as stated in the policy or as otherwise allowed by these regulations.

I hope this helps!

Dan Veroff

Attorney and Board Member