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? [1
- Temporary housing
- Moving costs
- Food or restaurant bills
- Storage costs
- Cleaning costs
- Transport (eg if your temporary home requires longer commuting)  Parking fees
- Pet pension
Your homeowner's policy ALE coverage is usually equal to 20 percent of your home's insured value – a home insured for $ 200,000 may, for example, have ALE coverage of up to $ 40,000 – or limited to a certain time frame (eg 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 their insurance staff to confirm if their insurance provides ALE coverage for their situation.
As a reminder, standard homeowners insurance does not usually cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) covers physical damage from floods 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 the 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 Transition Assistance, will provide survivors of short-term accommodation 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 available at www.femaevachotels.com.