Some wine country fire insurers extend alternative living expense coverage

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a list of 26 insurance companies that have now agreed to extend Additional Living Expense, so called A-L-E coverage, for customers who have not yet been able to complete the rebuilding of their homes lost in the 2017 fire storms.

This pays for customers' rents and living expenses while their homes are completed.

So far, only 20% of the homes have been completed in the light of many delays caused by lack of contractors and other factors.

The 26 insurers represent a majority of the losses of the 2017 fires.

Five insurers, namely Farmers, AAA, Liberty Mutual/Safeco, Travelers and USAA had already granted extensions for coverage.

"For instance, if you have an extenuating circumstance that was something that the company would then extend your Additional Living Expense. That' a decision that's made between the company and the claimant," said Janet Ruiz of the Insurance Information Institute.

But three big carriers, State Farm, Nationwide and Grange Insurance will not extend coverage.

Another ten carriers, including Allstate, did not even respond to the Commissioner's requests.

"I don't make anything of that because I feel that it is an individual claim situation and the companies are willing to work with their claimants," said Ruiz.

In a statement, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said, “I urge policyholders who lost access to ALE benefits to contact my Department for further assistance, including if they believe their insurance company played any role in causing a delay.”

The Commissioner says an example of a delay includes an insurance company taking an extensive amount of time before approving a contractor's final rebuilding estimate.