Additional Living Expenses (ALE) is coverage you may have purchased as an endorsement to the TWIA policy for your primary residence. ALE is not automatically included in TWIA policies, and is not available for secondary residences.
If you are not able to live in your house because of a covered loss, ALE reimburses you for additional necessary and reasonable costs for housing and other needs, helping you maintain a normal standard of living.
ALE can only provide coverage when all of the following occur:
- Your primary residence is wholly or partially uninhabitable due to a covered loss;
- This results in necessary and reasonable increases above your normal living expenses;
- You have documentation of living expenses at your primary residence from before the loss; and
- You save all receipts for additional expenses after the loss.
Some common expenses that qualify for ALE coverage include:
- Temporary housing
- Utility costs above normal pre-storm costs and utility setup at temporary housing
- Additional costs for food above normal costs while displaced
- Some additional travel costs, such as mileage for a longer commute
- Laundry costs above normal costs, such as at a washateria
Make sure you save ALL receipts to document expenses and get reimbursed. TWIA can not provide ALE payments without documentation.
How to Identify if You Have ALE Coverage
Review your policy declarations page and look for endorsement TWIA-311, along with the limit of available coverage, or ask your agent or TWIA claims examiner for help.
How to Start the ALE Process
- Talk with a claims examiner as soon as possible to see if you are covered for ALE payments
- Save receipts for all living expenses until your claim is resolved
- Gather documentation of your living expenses from before your loss
Typically, you will need to pay your additional living expenses and then submit receipts and other documentation to TWIA for reimbursement. TWIA may also consider making advance payments to assist you until all the receipts for covered expenses can be submitted.
How TWIA Calculates ALE Payments
When determining your ALE payment amount, we calculate necessary and reasonable living expenses after the loss and then deduct your pre-loss normal living expenses.
For example, your documented monthly food costs total $1,000 before a loss, but after a loss your total food costs are now $1,500 from your family eating out every meal due to living in temporary housing without a kitchen. TWIA subtracts the normal pre-loss monthly costs from the increased post-loss amount for an ALE payment of $500.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does TWIA consider a reasonable additional living expense?
ALE coverage reimburses you for the additional costs you spend to maintain your normal standard of living. TWIA will gather information from you to ensure the expenses you submit are consistent with your normal standard of living.
An example of reasonable temporary housing would be locating the same size home near the insured property. If you have a 1,500 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, a reasonable temporary home would be of similar size and number of bedrooms as close to the insured property as possible.
If you have concerns about being reimbursed for costs that might be considered unreasonable, please discuss the details with a claim examiner in advance.
How do I submit my expenses?
Scan all receipts and documents and submit them to TWIA as they become available. Hold on to the originals in case the scanned copy is not readable. In some cases, TWIA will ask for the original receipt or document. If you do submit originals, please keep a copy for your records.
TWIA can provide you with a spreadsheet to help you put together your ALE request.
What does TWIA consider uninhabitable?
ALE endorsements apply to both partially and wholly uninhabitable properties.
- Partially uninhabitable: A property is considered partially uninhabitable if you can still live there, but some of the rooms are damaged and cannot be used. For example, if the kitchen is the only room that suffers significant, direct damage from wind or hail, but the others are fine. In this situation, it may be necessary to eat out at a greater cost. The endorsement covers the reasonable expense of eating out, minus normal expenses from when the kitchen was usable.
- Wholly uninhabitable: A property is considered wholly uninhabitable if the damage is significant enough to make it unreasonable to live there until repairs are completed to the extent that it is again inhabitable.
What if flooding made my property uninhabitable but I also have some wind damage to the exterior of my home?
The reason the home is uninhabitable is important. A covered loss (i.e. direct damages from wind or hail) must be the reason the home is uninhabitable for ALE coverage to apply. In this scenario, when flooding is the reason you can’t live in the property, there is no coverage for the additional living expenses under the TWIA policy.
Can TWIA help me find temporary housing?
Yes. TWIA can help you find short- and long-term housing in hotels, RVs, apartments, rental homes, and similar. The vendors we work with to provide this service do charge a fee; however, they can typically find properties more quickly, get preferred rates, and directly bill TWIA. Talk with a TWIA claim examiner if you are interested in finding out more about this service.
What if I can’t find temporary housing and must stay with family?
Many things qualify for ALE coverage that you may not expect. For example, any additional mileage from a family member’s home to your place of work would be covered as an additional living expense. Save receipts and talk with a claim examiner to help ensure you are reimbursed for any qualifying expenses.
Are storage costs part of my ALE coverage?
The cost of renting a storage space and moving items into the storage space is included in the TWIA policy. You would not need an ALE endorsement to cover this cost. However, the cost of moving personal property to a temporary housing location would be considered part of ALE coverage.
Is food spoilage part of ALE coverage?
No. Food that spoiled from lack of electricity or damage to the home is not an additional living expense. However, it can be covered through the personal property coverage of your TWIA policy or as part of the consequential loss coverage under endorsements TWIA-310, TWIA-320, TWIA-330, or TWIA-331.
Whether or not you have coverage for spoiled food, remove all food from refrigerators and freezers if you anticipate a long period without electricity. Damage to these appliances because of smell may have only limited coverage under a TWIA policy.
If the property is a rental, can I get reimbursed for the loss of rental income?
No. Here’s why:
- ALE coverage is only available for your primary residence. Even if the endorsement was added to the TWIA policy associated with the rental property, it will not apply.
- Income from a rental property is not considered an additional living expense and would not be covered by the endorsement.
Can I get reimbursed for my evacuation costs?
Maybe. A TWIA ALE endorsement does not generally cover evacuations. However, the coverage might apply if:
- there is covered damage to your primary residence,
- it is wholly or partially uninhabitable, and
- the timing of your evacuation overlaps with the time the damage occurred to your home.
Evacuation coverage starts at the estimated time damage makes the home uninhabitable. For example, if you evacuate a week before a hurricane, the cost to evacuate would not be covered because you completed your evacuation before the hurricane damaged your home. Save all your receipts either way and discuss your options with a TWIA claim examiner.
What does TWIA consider a reasonable time period to make repairs?
Many factors go into property repairs. TWIA will work with you to set reasonable expectations on the time needed, and will look for progress consistent with those expectations. Contact your claim examiner if outside factors delay the time to complete repairs. Open communication can help avoid issues that may impact your claim payments.
How long will this coverage apply after a loss?
There is no time limit associated with the coverage. However, there is a financial limit. This is your policy limit and is listed on your policy Declarations page.
For More Information
Please contact your insurance agent if you have any questions about your policy and the coverages it provides. If you have a TWIA claim you would like to discuss, contact us through the Policyholder Portal or by calling (800) 788-8247.