Standard insurance for homeowners and tenants includes extra cost of living (ALE). ALE pays the cost of living away from home – in addition to your usual expenses – if you are unable to live at home due to damage caused by an insured event that makes the home temporarily uninhabitable.
What expenses are usually covered by ALE?
ALE covers the cost of living for you so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living. These expenses may include:
Food or restaurant bills
Transport (eg if your temporary home requires longer commuting)
Pet boarding house
Your homeowner’s policy ALE coverage is usually equal to 20 percent of your home’s insured value – a home insured for $ 200,000, for example, may have ALE coverage of up to $ 40,000 – or limited to a specific time frame (e.g. maximum 12 months).
What about damage from Hurricane Ida?
Standard ALE coverage should be triggered if damage from a covered hazard (eg wind and rain) caused the home to be uninhabitable. In addition, some companies provide ALE coverage when policyholders leave their home or apartment due to mandatory evacuation orders. Policyholders should talk to insurance staff to confirm if their insurance provides ALE coverage for their situation.
As a reminder, regular homeowners insurance policies usually do not provide coverage for flood damage. The National flood insurance program (NFIP) covers physical damage from flooding but does not include ALE. Some privately sold flood policies offer ALE after flood losses.
What other help is available?
Federal assistance has been made available through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On September 2, FEMA announced that it will cover hotel costs for Hurricane Ida survivors with damaged homes or homes in 25 congregations in southeastern Louisiana.
The program, known as Transitional Sheltering Assistance, will provide survivors of short-term housing free of charge when they recover from the Category 4 storm. Survivors must first register with FEMA at disasterassistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who want to take advantage of the program must find and book their own hotel rooms. Participating hotels are listed on www.femaevachotels.com.