Choosing the right temporary home after an insurance claim
By Nathan Guss|9 min|November 2022
Consider these important aspects when seeking a short-term rental after making an insurance claim.
Needing to relocate after home damages can be stressful. But sifting through the dizzying assortment of short-term accommodations doesn’t need to be yet another source of stress. If you take a moment to sit back and consider what you need to maintain your quality of life, you can streamline your search.
A broad array of housing solutions is available. Here are some criteria that will help you make the right choice.
Begin by setting a budget. This figure will be helpful when you’re searching on housing platforms that allow you to filter your results with a price range. That way, you’ll save time and avoid choosing an appealing option that breaks the bank.
If you have home insurance, call your carrier. You probably have an additional living expense (ALE) clause in your policy that pays for the extra costs incurred when your home is uninhabitable. Ask your claims adjuster about how much rent and other housing-related expenses it covers. This information will help you figure out your spending limit.
How much room does your household need? Here are some spaces to consider:
- Full and half bathrooms
- Storage and closet space
- Places at the dinner table
If you will be living out of a suitcase during a two- or three-day stay, closet and storage space are unimportant. But it’s a different story if you’re going to live in a temporary home for weeks or months.
Where is the best location for your short- or medium-term home? In a downtown well served by public transportation? Near your place of work? Within walking distance of or on a bus route to your children’s schools? Close by or on your property so that you can keep tabs on the construction work?
Here are some key services to consider:
- Public transportation, bike paths or bike lanes
- Supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, convenience stores
- Childcare centre and schools
- Bank or ATM
- Parks, libraries and leisure activities
What amenities do you need to maintain the quality of your everyday life? Are there some that are crucial for keeping up family morale in a trying time? Which ones can you do without to avoid financial strain?
Here are some common amenities:
- Cable television
- Wireless internet
- Towels and bedding
- Cook stove
- Kitchen appliances and cookware
- Housekeeping service
The length of your rental will give more or less weight to certain amenities. For a short two- to three-night stay, having breakfast included can be handy when you’re away from home. For medium- or long-term situations, a fully equipped kitchen can save money and allow you to cook healthier meals for your household. If a family member works or attends classes remotely, be sure the internet speed is adequate.
Determine the amenities you truly need and stay within your budget.
Some accommodations have rules against children or pets. Many types of housing don’t allow you to extend your stay. If your chosen option lacks this flexibility and the repair work on your home takes longer than expected, you’ll need to find other accommodations.
Before you make a reservation, carefully read the rules to be sure you won’t end up with any unpleasant surprises.
Explore your options
Once you’ve made a list of your criteria, you can explore the different kinds of housing available. Some temporary accommodations will mesh better with your list than others. To find the right type, it helps to know what’s out there.
Here are the main kinds of short- and medium-term housing.
Some businesses, such as Sinistar, specialize in insurance housing. They provide fully equipped and furnished homes to displaced policyholders. Their services are designed for your situation: for example, you can extend your stay as needed.
Another advantage is that insurance housing companies often have agreements with insurers. This means you generally don’t need to make a large upfront payment for your reservation and then wait for reimbursement from your insurer. You simply sign an “assignment of claim,” and your carrier takes care of the payments.
Tourist accommodations can be an attractive option, especially for short-term rentals. Offerings vary widely. Rental platforms offer rooms and entire residences and run the gamut from urban apartments to rural cottages. You’ll have a good chance of finding housing tailored to your family’s needs.
However, given the unpredictable timetables of construction work, the lack of flexibility with this type of housing can be a problem. On home-sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, other clients may have reserved your temporary home after your scheduled stay. The high initial payments required when you make a reservation can also be an issue for some families.
For very short periods, a hotel room can be the right choice. As you wait for your home to be ready, you’ll enjoy the convenience of concierge, room, and housekeeping services. Plus, many hotels have a gym and provide complimentary breakfast. But relocating to a hotel room for longer stays will leave you with a hefty bill.
Bed and breakfasts and motels
B and Bs and motels are a more affordable choice. But the lack of a kitchen or washer and dryer quickly becomes a downside after a few days. At some B and Bs, you’ll have to share a bathroom with other guests, which can be an annoyance.
Some universities have housing services that are open to the public, particularly during the summer break. They can be an affordable furnished option. That said, amenities vary greatly from one set of accommodations to another. Some are run-of-the-mill furnished apartments whereas others have shared kitchens and bathrooms. Check to see what type of housing is available.
If you enjoy the outdoors and have the gear, you can pitch a tent or park your RV at a local campground. A campsite is a cheap option. Many have showers, laundry rooms, common rooms, vending machines and even pools (but you probably already know that if you are considering this choice). Of course, campsites are only available during the warmer seasons in Canada.
RV on your property
If you have enough room on your property, you can camp out in your backyard. Some people purchase an RV and live beside their house. Being on-site during major repairs to make decisions and supervise the work is helpful in some cases. You can save money by selling the RV once you move back into your home. Some may find that residing in an RV is not quite as comfortable and a bit more complicated than living in a fully furnished, equipped residence, especially during colder months.
Make the right choice for your family
Here are some things to consider when seeking temporary accommodations:
- Your budget
- Space requirements
- Your ideal location
- Desired amenities
- Openness to children or pets
- Your time frame for repairs
To organize your thoughts, you can make a list of your criteria in the order of their importance. It may also be helpful to jot down pros and cons for each type of accommodation or housing option. Once you’ve decided which kind of home best meets your family’s needs, you’ll be ready to begin the search process.
Best of luck with your search!
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