Fire Damage Claims and Additional Living ExpensesPosted January 25, 2018
Unfortunately, fires cause tremendous property loss in communities all across the United States. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fires cause nearly $15 billion of property damage in our country annually. Beyond the direct property loss, fires can completely destroy homes or make them temporarily uninhabitable.
Of course, this means that the victims will need to find another place to live while repairs are made or a replacement home is obtained. This can be very expensive. The good news is that most property insurance policies provide compensation for additional living expenses (ALEs), those being expenses that occurred as a direct consequence of the covered property loss. Here, our top-rated Oklahoma City fire claims attorneys highlight some of the most important things that homeowners need to know about additional living expenses.
What Expenses Can Be Claimed as ALEs?
Fire damage victims can make a claim for the gap in their living costs. In the most simple terms, this means that the victim can recover extra money that was required to spend as a reasonable consequence of their home being uninhabitable. For reference, some of the most common examples of expenses that are covered include:
- Hotel accommodations;
- Long-term rental costs for a temporary home or apartment;
- Increased food costs due to restaurant meals;
- Travel mileage;
- Increased utility costs;
- Pet-related costs; and
- Storage facility expenses.
Ultimately, you will need to consult the specific language of your property insurance policy to find out exactly what additional living expenses are covered.
When Will Additional Living Expenses Be Paid?
Under Oklahoma’s insurance regulations, insurance companies have a duty to use good faith settlement practices. This includes paying out ALE claims without any unreasonable delay. Many insurance companies operate under a system that is known as ‘project and pay’ to handle these types of claims. Since not all families have enough liquidity to deal with increased living costs, it is imperative that insurance companies do not drag their feet. If you are having trouble getting the ALE compensation that you deserve, you should consult with an experienced Oklahoma City fire damage claims lawyer.
Do Not Sign Away Your Rights: Get Legal Help
Policyholders should always carefully review any documents they get from the insurance company before signing them. In some cases, insurance companies will attempt to get policyholders to give up some rights in exchange for getting their additional living expense compensation. To ensure that your legal rights and financial interests are fully protected, it is highly recommended that you consult with a bad faith insurance lawyer.
Contact Our Oklahoma City Fire Damage Insurance Attorneys Today
At The Bennett Law Firm, our property insurance attorneys have extensive experience handling complex fire damage cases. If your claim for additional living expenses was denied by your insurance company, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. We represent property owners in Oklahoma City and throughout the surrounding communities.