We had a water leak and there are going to be pretty major repairs going on for at least 3 months. They have to replace all the flooring, sheetrock, and the entire kitchen is unusable. We asked insurance about loss of use and they said it doesn’t apply to us. Doesn’t seem right as the house isn’t safe to live in now, much less when the construction begins. Does this not qualify under being unsafe?
This will depend on the verbiage in your policy regarding A.L.E.
Additional Living Expense (A.L.E.) coverage is a standard part of MOST homeowners’ insurance policies. It will cover your additional living expenses, such as food or staying at a hotel, while your home is temporarily uninhabitable after a covered property damage loss.
Without seeing the job, I don’t know what would qualify it being unsafe to live in. Open walls do not necessarily mean it is unsafe. However, if you cannot use your kitchen to make meals that will fall under A.L.E. if you have that coverage. You will need to save your receipts and when you eat out, submit those to your carrier. Some carriers will not relocate you to another residence or hotel unless you do not have a full working bathroom, or this city or county has tagged your house unhabitable.
It’s a terrible situation. I’m sorry to hear about it. The common sense argument is that your house is unlivable as there is no functioning kitchen and the conditions are unsafe during the rebuild so the carrier should owe Additional Living Expenses (ALE); therefore ALE should apply. However, not all carriers will agree and some will claim your house is livable and that you can order your meals in and they would pay for meals under the ALE provision of the policy.
I suggest you have someone review the ALE provision in your policy to see the exact language. Some new policies are using this language of reasonableness versus having a like kind and quality to maintain your standard of living. The truth of the matter is the question of if your home is “inhabitable”. Therefore you should check the local building authority to see their rules on habitability. For example, Orange County requires a functioning bathroom on every level of the home and a working kitchen to be habitable. If these requirements exist by local codes you can utilize it with the carrier for ALE purposes.