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What if you have to leave your home due to a claim?

With the devastating floods occurring recently in our region, many people have been forced out of their homes with whatever they were able to grab on the way out.  People are displaced, exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure of what their first steps should be to get through this crisis.

We want to be sure that if you are ever in a situation like this you know about a form of coverage that is automatically included in most comprehensive residential insurance policies (for homes, condominiums, and tenant policies) called additional living expenses or extra expense after a loss. This coverage is intended to help people during the immediate aftermath of a claim; people that cannot return to their homes safely to collect their belongings or in some cases for people that have lost their home and/or belongings due to the peril being claimed.

Most major insurers include this type of coverage to cover the cost of reasonable expenses like food, rental home charges, hotels, clothing or other expenses you wouldn’t normally face if the claim had not occurred. Most policies also include fair rental value coverage in this section as well, meaning if you rent out a portion of your home you may be reimbursed for lost rental income while your tenant is unable to safely live in the dwelling. It’s important to note that the tenant should still carry their own insurance as your policy won’t compensate them for their own expenses or damages, it is their responsibility to purchase coverage for their own protection.  This coverage can also respond if you are forced out of your home due to an emergency happening in your immediate area (I.E. your neighbor’s home is on fire and threatening your safety) or if you are issued a mass evacuation notice.

There are usually specific limits on this type of coverage, with most insurance companies it is a set percentage of your dwelling limit.  When looking to understand what this coverage responds to, it’s important to understand that the goal of the insurance company is to maintain a reasonable standard of living after your home becomes inhabitable due to an insured loss. This means that the coverage is designed to respond to expenses like a hotel near your home, not a hotel on a beach in Cuba. If you are temporarily relocated to a hotel that is not equipped with a kitchen you may be eligible for restaurant expenses, if your temporary lodging includes a kitchen you would not be indemnified for the cost of groceries because  this is an expense you would have if you were living in your home.

As always, we hope this is never a situation any of you face but it’s important to us that you have the information you need to act quickly in the event of an emergency.  Clients of Rozon Insurance can always contact our emergency claim number outside of office hours by dialing 1-800-722-9556.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, we would be happy to help you with your policy or offer you a no-obligation quotation if you aren’t a client at Rozon Insurance.

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