Loss of use coverage is part of your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. It helps homeowners pay for the cost of temporarily or permanently relocating after a natural disaster or other event makes their home uninhabitable.
Filing for loss of use coverage and other benefits can be stressful, especially if the insurer denies your claim. An Atlanta property damage lawyer in your area can provide legal help throughout your case if you want it.
When Does Loss of Use Coverage Pay Out?
An insurer should honor your claim if they see proof that the damage done to your property is the result of a covered event and that your home is now unsafe to live in. For example:
- If your house was damaged deliberately by vandals, you must make sure that your policy covers vandalism-related damages.
- If you have fire insurance, you have to show that the fire damage is so severe (e.g., the building could collapse at any time) that you cannot stay there.
- If your house was flooded but you do not have flood insurance, you cannot receive loss of use coverage.
How Much Your Loss of Use Coverage Is Worth
The amount of loss of use coverage you have access to depends on your home’s overall value. Usually, it is calculated as a percentage of your home’s total worth.
There may also be a “time limit” on how long you can collect this type of insurance. Your lawyer or insurance agent can help you understand these and other policy limits.
Finding Proof That You Deserve Loss of Use Coverage
An attorney can help you collect the information you need to prove your case and even deal with the insurance company’s representatives for you. Your case may require you to:
- Sit for a deposition with the insurance adjuster (your lawyer can prepare you for this and even stay with you throughout the interview)
- Send the insurer proof that your home is unlivable, such as photos of the damage
- Send the insurer proof of your additional expenses, such as copies of bills that you would like them to cover
- Allow the insurance adjuster to come to your house and collect whatever evidence they feel is necessary to evaluate your claim
What Does Loss of Use Cover?
You can use your loss of use coverage up to the coverage limit to help you pay for things like:
- Hotel bills
- The extra gasoline you spend getting to and from work if your job is farther away from your current location than from your home
- The cost of storing possessions, such as furniture
- Any grocery bills, laundry bills, or other living costs that exceed what you normally spend
- Loss of rental revenue if you rented the house to someone else and will lose their rent payments while the house is being repaired
What Loss of Use Does Not Cover
Loss of use coverage may not apply to extra expenses, such as additional living expenses you incur because of the property damage. It will not cover the things you would have had to pay for anyway. For example:
- Say that your normal rent is $2500 a month, and the rent at your temporary apartment is $2600. Your policy will only cover the $100 difference between the two rents, not the whole amount.
- Say that you normally do your laundry at home, but now you must visit a laundromat because there are no washing or drying machines in your temporary residence. Your policy may reimburse you for the total cost of laundry expenses since this is not a normal living expense.
- You cannot be reimbursed for childcare costs under loss of use. You can, however, be paid for the cost of boarding your dog or cat somewhere else if your temporary home has a no-pets policy.
- Loss of use policies do not cover the repairs necessary to make your home safe again. That falls under a different part of your policy.
A lawyer can look into the types of coverage you have in your homeowner’s policy and file your insurance claim.
Do You Have Loss of Use Coverage?
Loss of use is part of most, if not all, homeowners insurance policies. For example, the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety (OCI) lists “additional costs to live somewhere else” as one of the things that insurance policies in the state usually cover.
You can double-check your policy to make sure you are covered, or you can have your attorney or insurance agent check for you.
Issues With Loss of Use Claims
Even if you are covered, your claim may run into problems if the insurer:
- Believes that your home was damaged in an event not covered by your policy
- Decides that you miscalculated your claim’s worth
- Says that the expenses you have incurred are not covered under your loss of use policy
Legal Help With Loss of Use Coverage Claims
A property damage attorney can help you with all aspects of your claim. This can be useful even if the insurer offers no resistance since filing a claim on your own is one more stressor that you do not need after a catastrophic event. Your law firm can:
- Gather the evidence you need to make your claim strong and convincing
- File your claim on your behalf so you do not have to worry about whether or not you got the paperwork right
- Speak to the insurer for updates on your case and to get a feel for whether they will pay what you need promptly
- Appeal claim denials and meet with the insurer’s representatives to smooth out misunderstandings or differences of opinion
Be honest and forthcoming with your lawyer during all interactions, and they can make the claims process much less mysterious and challenging for your family.
Learn More About Loss of Use Coverage From Us
Attorney Evan Kaine and the entire team at Kaine Law want to make sure that all homeowners receive the compensation they need after a catastrophic event. Contact us today to get started. Our attorneys would be glad to explain what loss of use coverage is and to fight for that coverage if the insurer is reluctant to pay.