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Finding a temporary home after a disaster: tips and tricks

By Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin|4 min|October 2021

Do you have to leave your home because of a disaster? Follow these tips to find the perfect temporary accommodation.

There are many reasons why disaster victims may have to relocate. For example, renovation work that blocks access to important rooms (kitchen, bathroom, etc.). Or damage that threatens your health or safety.

When it comes to finding temporary accommodation, knowing your options helps you make good choices. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process.

Check with your insurer

If you have home insurance, it should cover relocation costs. In general, the insurer won't point you to a specific temporary home. You can pick whichever one you like: hotel room, flat, chalet, house, caravan, etc. But you have to do your own research.

Before renting a temporary accommodation, call your insurer to ask about your options and get recommendations. Insurance companies often have special deals with accommodation providers. This can be a quick and easy way to find what you're looking for.

For an overview of the different types of temporary accommodation available on the market, click here.

If you decide to stay with relatives instead, you will receive a lump sum from your insurer. The amount is specified in your home insurance policy.

Tenants

If you're a tenant and have home insurance, continue to pay your rent. This is true even if your landlord or the Régie du logement agrees to delay your payments.

Why should you do this? Most home insurance policies include coverage for additional living expenses. For your insurer to reimburse the cost of your temporary accommodation, it must be an additional cost to your rent. If it replaces it, it's not covered. To qualify for a refund, you need to continue paying your rent.

Use the right search tools

You have chosen the type of temporary accommodation that best suits your needs. Now you need to find the ideal place. To do this, take a look at temporary rental platforms. Here are a few to explore.

Relocation platform for disaster victims

In Quebec, the largest one is Sinistar. It allows you to choose from dozens of fully furnished and equipped accommodations in your area.

They are offered by friendly local hosts who understand your needs well.

Tourist accommodation platforms

Lease rental platforms

If possible, sign an assignment of debt

When you rent on a tourist platform such as Airbnb or Vrbo, you have to front the money. In other words, you have to pay the rental amount yourself and then send the bill to your insurer so they can reimburse you.

However, temporary rental costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Many disaster victims find it difficult to absorb these costs, even for just a few days.

Fortunately, some providers offer an alternative. If you're staying in a hotel or with a Sinistar host, for example, you can assign your "debt" to your insurer. The insurance company then becomes responsible for paying the housing provider. This is called an 'assignment of debt'.

To do this, you must sign a form. Ask your insurer for more information.

In summary

Relocating after a disaster can be stressful and financially difficult. But it doesn't have to be! There are plenty of alternatives that can help make things easier for you.

If you need to find temporary accommodation for your family, remember to:

  • Check with your insurer for recommendations
  • Continue to pay your rent if you're a tenant
  • Search on specialist or tourist platforms
  • Sign an assignment of debt to avoid having to front the money

Good luck with your search!

Find a temporary accommodation in your area

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