Tens of thousands of residents of New Jersey and New York were ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Sandy. Many of those people had no nearby family to go to, and have found themselves living in hotels for days as they wait for permission to return home after the storm. What you may not realize if you’ve been affected by mandatory evacuation orders is that your homeowners’ insurance policy probably covers your bills under an “additional living expenses” clause. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, you may be able to get these expenses reimbursed.
Homeowners’ Insurance Pays “Additional Living Expenses”
After Hurricane Sandy, many people are now finding that they didn’t have flood insurance and the damage from the storm isn’t going to be covered. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, though, you may be able to get reimbursed for a mandatory evacuation. Most homeowners’ insurance policies have “additional living expenses” clauses that will cover your costs if you’re ordered to leave your home. If you’ve been living in a hotel for days, keep track of all of your expenses and submit a claim to your insurer.
Power Outages Don’t Count
Unfortunately, power outages don’t cost to be eligible for “additional living expense” reimbursement. If you’ve chosen to go to a hotel because your power is out, you won’t have the benefit of being able to submit this as a claim. You’ll only get reimbursed for a mandatory evacuation order. If you left because of a mandatory evacuation order, but stayed away because the power was out or your home was damaged or destroyed, you may only be eligible to claim expenses for the time until the evacuation order was lifted. Consult your insurance policy for details.
If you DO have flood insurance, you may be eligible to get extended reimbursement for evacuation due to flooding of the home - basically, until your home is livable again, or up to the limit specified by your policy.
Consult your policy for details, or call Bill Voss for a full explanation of your benefits.