Will My Home Insurance Cover Me If I Need Alternative Accommodation?

Caeva O'Callaghan | June 26th, 2020

When your house is damaged, in order to make an insurance claim, you’ll likely need somewhere else to live. But will your home insurance cover it?

The good news is: yes, your home insurance will cover you for alternative accommodation while your house is being fixed. If you can’t live in your home because of substantial damage, your insurance provider will compensate you for expenses.

In this article, we’ll answer such questions as:

  • Will my home insurance pay for a hotel after a fire?
  • My house is flooded – am I covered for a hotel?
  • Will my insurance give me alternative accommodation for my pets after a fire?

Finding another place to live can be stressful. That’s on top of the considerable trauma caused by a fire, flood or other home calamity. Your home insurance provider will step in to make sure you can soon get back on your feet.

When alternative accommodation is necessary

When your home becomes uninhabitable, you’ll need to find somewhere else to live while repairs are made. In rare cases, it might be possible to shut off the damaged portion from the rest of the house. This may be an option if the structure is sound, but it doesn’t happen often.

In most cases, however, fire and flood can ruin entire floors, if not the whole house. This means living there becomes impossible. Storms can also destroy roofs, and if yours is partially or entirely torn off it will mean living in your house is no longer safe.

In these scenarios, not only do you need to find alternative accommodation, you also need to think about your pets’ needs and where to store your belongings. As early as you can, research local self-storage facilities and moving vans (if needed) to transport your affected belongings to a place of safety while construction work goes on.

As for yourself, you’ll likely need a hotel, bed and breakfast, or short-term lodgings – such as a short-term let or an Airbnb. Putting up an entire family can be very expensive, but luckily your home insurance will cover it.

Home insurance and short-term accommodation

Insurers recognise the great amount of stress homeowners feel when faced with a disaster big enough to put them out of their homes. This is why alternative accommodation is always a priority, and generously provided for.

Typically, the maximum an insurance company will pay towards accommodation arrangements is 20% of the buildings sum insured. This means that if your house is worth €200,000, the maximum you’ll be able to claim for hotel bills and other costs will be €40,000. So a six-month stay at a luxury five-star spa hotel may be off the cards, but it’s reasonable to say even a large family will be able to find a comfortable place to recover for that long.

Another option is a short-term lease, if you can find one. Moving into a new home, even temporarily, can help you process what’s happened. Many people feel more comfortable in a domestic environment, surrounded by their belongings and some semblance of normal life after a traumatic event.

You’d be surprised how quickly the novelty of hotel living will wear away when you don’t have access to your own kitchen – even if you have a tea station that gets magically re-stocked with those delicious individually wrapped biscuits every morning.

It also helps if you can find one close by to your house, so you can oversee repairs and renovation work and avoid uprooting children from school.

Alternative accommodation for pets

It’s worth mentioning that if you have pets, most home insurance policies will include them in alternative accommodation claims. However, this isn’t true in every case, so make sure to check your policy’s wording carefully.

Of course, the more pets you have and the more resources they need, the bigger the challenge for everybody to find them a new home. You might find you’re more comfortable letting your pets stay with friends. In the event of livestock such as chickens or goats, you may have to reach out to a shelter organisation or local network of similar pet owners who can help. But the good news is that if you find a hotel that will accommodate your pets, your insurance will consider that more important, no matter if it’s more expensive.

If you have any queries regarding alternative accommodation and your home insurance, talk to us today.

If you are unsure about anything related to the level of cover offered for alternative accommodation, pick up the phone and talk to our insurance agents and they will advise you of what exactly is and isn’t covered. You can phone us anytime between 8.30am and 5.30pm Mon-Fri on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If your insurance is up for renewal, we offer an instant home insurance quote facility from QuoteMe.ie. We compare house insurance from 12 of the leading providers in Ireland to help find you the right cover for your needs. It’s also worth remembering that 45.4% of our customers got a cheaper quote when they called us directly. We look forward to hearing from you.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.