California Wildfires – What to Do If You’re Forced to Evacuate From Your Home Or Business?

Additional Living Expense (ALE) Claims


Over the past few years, wildfires in the Western United States have been horrendous, displacing tens of thousands of people from their homes and businesses, and causing billions of dollars in fire damages. But what happens when the local authorities force you to evaluate when fire gets too close?

There’s coverage in the ALE portion of the policy! I promise that the insurance companies are not running radio and TV ads, alerting their policyholders about THIS coverage!

Here’s a exact quote from the ISO homeowners policy:

“If a civil authority prohibits you from use of the “residence premises” as a result of direct damage to neighboring premises by a Peril Insured Against in this policy, We cover the Additional Living Expense and Fair Rental Value loss…..for no more than two weeks.” (1)

In a Homeowner insurance policy, you’ll usually see ALE coverage listed as Coverage D. Sometimes, it’s called Loss of Use.

Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is just what you might think it is. When you have a covered loss that makes the place you reside unfit to live in, and it forces you to spend more on normal operating costs than you usually spend, ALE coverage pays.

Your policy probably reads just like the following: “Additional Living Expense, meaning any necessary increases in living expenses incurred by you so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.”

ALE covers things like:

a. Temporary housing, like in a hotel, an apartment or rental house. If you lived in a modest home, don’t expect the insurance company to pay for the finest hotel room in town. But on the other hand, if you lived in an expensive home, you should EXPECT AND DEMAND that the insurance company pay for temporary accommodations of like kind and quality. Remember, if you had a mortgage on your home, you still have to pay the mortgage payment while the home is being repaired. Lots of times the loss is severe and the adjuster knows you’ll be out of your home for weeks or months. The insurance company will save money if it places your family in an extended stay hotel, or in a short term apartment or house lease. In addition to saving money on rent, the insurance company can pay advances on Contents, and if you’re in an apartment or house, you’ll have a place to store your new contents, like furniture, clothing and kitchenware.

b. Laundry and dry cleaning. If you had laundry facilities at your residence, it will cost you more to get your clothes cleaned. The extra cost you incur is covered.

c. Meals. This is where many people misunderstand their claim. Certainly, if you cannot buy and prepare your own meals, you’ll incur higher food prices. But insurance companies won’t usually pay for costly steak dinners and high bar tabs. You’re going to have to be able to explain your meal purchases, so don’t go overboard. You’ll have to make an accurate estimate of what your family normally spends per month on food. That can certainly include restaurant meals that you normally buy. Just remember that ALE is paying for items OVER your normal standard of living. Keep METICULOUS RECORDS of your food purchases. If the insurance company places you into a temporary apartment or efficiency hotel that has a kitchen, they’ll stop paying for most extra meals.

d. Boarding costs for pets. Someone has to take care of your pets while you cannot live in your home. This is covered.

e. Increased transportation costs for all your vehicles. Do you have to drive your children to school, since your temporary accommodations are not in the old school district? That’s covered. Do you have to drive further to and from work? Covered. Do you have further to drive to doctors, dentists, ballet classes, soccer games, etc.? The increased cost is covered. Did I say KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS? Most office supply stores have automobile expense logbooks for sale for a dollar or two. Stop by and pick up one for each car you drive, and write down EVERY TRIP. Keep all receipts for every penny you spend on transportation.

f. Furniture rental for a temporary residence. You have to have chairs and beds and other stuff…even pots and pans, dishes and temporary electronics. However, don’t try to get them to pay for a 60″ plasma flat screen TV rental if you had a 27″ color TV at home.

g. Relocation and storage expenses. Perhaps some of your personal property was not damaged. Perhaps some was damaged, but the restoration contractor is cleaning and repairing it. Once it’s cleaned and repaired, it’s got to be stored somewhere until you can move back home. Covered.

h. Costs of telephone or utility installation at your temporary residence. This would include deposits that the utility companies might require. Don’t forget garbage pickup at your temporary place. It’s all covered. Even cable TV hookups would be covered if you had cable at home prior to the loss.

What if you stayed with relatives, and did not incur increased rent, and many of the other expenses shown above? Another scenario is that you just simply do not want to go through the process of documenting all of your extra expenses. The policy gives you the option to be paid “Fair Rental Value”, which is: “the fair rental value of that part of the ‘residence premises’ where you reside less any expenses that do not continue while the premises is not fit to live in.”

How much would your house rent for? That’s the question.

You’ll need to make a comparison between your residence, like it was before the loss, and properties in the neighborhood that are comparable to yours. A good real estate broker can be very helpful in substantiating these comparable properties and the monthly costs of them. Once you determine the Fair Rental Value of your home, you must subtract expenses that do not continue during the restoration period, such as some utilities, garbage pickup, landscaping services or maid services.

Some insurance companies will still pay for extra transportation costs, relocation expenses, storage of contents and utilities in addition to Fair Rental Value. Some will make you choose either ALE or Fair Rental Value. Find out from your insurance company what they are going to do, and make your decision.

Go to the website listed in the Resource Box below and find the Resources tab. Download the ALE worksheet and make as many copies as you need. Use it as your guide to record and submit your ALE claim.

If your records and receipts were damaged in your loss, contact your utility companies, credit card companies and other creditors and get copies of the last couple months’ bills. You’ll need these records to confirm your normal operating expenses.

Finally: Don’t be surprised if your adjuster or claims examiner tries to disqualify some of your legitimate expenses. Don’t just accept what the adjuster says. If it’s a truly legitimate expense, FIGHT FOR IT! Go over the adjuster’s head to his supervisor. Keep fighting. Send them a letter that insists that they give you written denial of any legitimate expenses. Once you have that in your possession, call your state Department of Insurance (DOI) and register a written complaint. You never know what impact a DOI complaint will have on your claim.

(1) Insurance Service Office, Inc., “CPCU Handbook of Insurance Policies,” 2005.

Copyright 2008 by Russell D. Longcore

Harnessing The Power Of The Internet Network Marketing From The Comfort Of Your Home

The birth of the Internet has led to many revolutionary changes and has even nurtured a burgeoning industry, the infamous Dot Com industry.It is an industry that has allowed many ordinary individuals to become millionaires; however, it has also caused the downfall of many when the Dot Com bubble burst.

More and more businesses have expanded into the Internet and it is no surprise that network marketing companies are also looking to operate online. In a nutshell, network marketing is basically a new business model that bypasses the middle man in the distribution chain where the cost savings goes to the distributors and/or the customers.

In addition, existing distributors are able to sponsor others to help them, operating in a way similar to franchises, thus earning the term “human franchise”.

A big question still remains.

“Can a perfect synergy between the Internet and Network Marketing be achieved?”

Judging by past examples of Ebay,, and other online businesses, there appears to be vast potential for a home based network marketing business through the Internet. There are already countless online business opportunities, many applying systems or compensation plans based on conventional network marketing.

“How can one be a successful network marketer online? Is it possible to build an active organization online that will bring you residual income?”

This article will not delve deep into the intricate workings of networking online, however, a 4 step guide to operating a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) business online would be provided instead to provide beginners with a general idea on how to build a successful home-based Network Marketing business.

Step 1: Get out and Start recruiting

MLM is also known as network marketing and for a very good reason. To be successful in the network marketing industry, one has to “network with people” and “market products or services”. This is also why network marketing is also called word-of-mouth marketing or viral marketing . The bottom line is you have to get out and sponsor like-minded individuals into your organization, be it housewives who want to earn extra income or people who are looking to achieve financial freedom.


And the answer is leverage.

What is leverage?

Perhaps a simple illustration will allow you to get the picture. Think of Bill Gates. While he is sleeping, the other half of the globe is actually working for him. How is this possible? This is because Bill Gates receives royalties from every sale of a Microsoft product and the products are being sold across the entire globe. Bill Gates does not need to be physically selling his products; instead, he has others do it for him and receives a small cut from the sale.

The same effect occurs when you recruit or sponsor someone into your network marketing business. From the moment you sponsor your first person, you have obtained leverage. This is because you have 48 hours to work with now instead of 24 hours when you work alone.

Leverage is exponential. After you have sponsored your first person, this person would also want to expand his organization by sponsoring others who is also in turn part of your organization.

Using some arbitrary numbers, you can see the exponential effect for yourself. You should also aim to sponsor “business partners” and not “employees”. It’s important to get the correct mindset that network marketing is not a job but a business which is why one should not evaluate it just like how you would evaluate a normal job.

In the network marketing industry, people you have sponsored are called your “downlines” and you are their “upline”. Network marketing is a people business, trying to do it alone, superstar salesman style will defeat the purpose of the business model. Do it smart by duplicating more of yourself to increase your income potential.

Step 2: Monitor the sales volume of your organization

As more and more people become a part of your organization, it is important to keep track of their individual sales record as well as statistics on the organization’s sales volume as a whole. Operating an online home-based network marketing business provides some advantages in this case as many online network marketing companies provide their members with an online portal where they can view their sales volume anytime.

Keeping track of the personal sales volume of each individual in your organization will allow you to identify who is having problems so you can focus your efforts on them. It also allows you to identify who are the potential high flyers that you can groom into future leaders in your organization.

Step 3: Monitor your inventory

Once you have accomplished step 2, step 3 becomes natural as it is important to ensure a steady supply of products to the customer to ensure customer satisfaction. Always anticipate the level of demand for the month and stock up enough products to prevent lags in meeting demand. If your products are electronic, you will not have to worry that you have lack of products supply.

Step 4: Train the members of your organization

Network marketing is a people-helping-people business. You cannot succeed if your downlines don’t succeed. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your downlines are as good as or better than you are. A newcomer into the network marketing industry will usually face obstacles in their early stages and it is vital that mentorship is provided for them to tide over this initial stage.

Important knowledge such as network marketing know-how, sales techniques, communication skills, speech craft are all important to a network marketer. A newcomer would not be able to obtain the skill set necessary for him or her to succeed within the shortest time without a supportive mentor.

Thus, it is important that you, as an upline, pass on as much of the skills and techniques that have allowed you to succeed to your downlines. This process is called duplication. You are actually creating more “yous” to boost your income potential. One superstar salesman can earn $6k a month, duplicating this superstars salesman will double the monthly income to $12k and so on.

Training needs to be both progressive and consistent. The end result is to groom each of your downlines into future leaders for your organization so that you can enjoy financial freedom by earning a large passive income when you organization goes on “autopilot”. In addition, it is also important to upgrade yourself so that the whole organization learns and improves together.

All in all, network marketing works on relationships and is a people business. It is important to learn to help others in this business. Now that you have a general idea on how to go about starting your own network marketing business.

It is time to take action! As Brian Tracy has said, “Setting Goals And Having Ambitions And Dreams Are Naught Without Action”.

Therefore, start today and take one step closer to financial freedom!