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Follow Us:         
help@unitedpublicadjusters.com 1-800-718-5677

Impact of the New York Nonessential Construction Halt on Insurance Claims

man holding out his hand like a stop sign

The recent New York ban of nonessential construction amid the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our clients and associates tremendously. The majority of our client’s residential and commercial properties have suffered devastating losses from fires, water damage, building collapses, and other perils that are not related to COVID-19 business disruptions. These losses are not simply cosmetic, these are total losses with extreme damage. Whether a business owner or a homeowner, our clients are anxious to get back to normalcy and with the halt of construction, a new level of complexity has plagued their progress. 


Extensive property damage can make homes non-livable for a period of time and place the homeowner in the position to seek alternate housing. Our firm works with the insured to find quality housing that matches their needs. This additional coverage within the policy is known as ALE (Additional Living Expense) or Loss of Use which typically has a dollar or time limit. Our residential clients who were in the middle of a renovation or just signed a lease agreement for a short-term rental are now faced with many questions and concerns, including:

  • My lease agreement ends next month, construction was deemed non-essential, and my insurance coverage for temporary housing was maxed out, what are my options?
  • My policy limit for temporary housing is 12 months, but with the government ban, I will need 16 months of housing.
  • My insurance company stated the period of restoration was 6 months, but I need 12 months. What should I do?
  • Our landlord of the temporary home thought we were leaving at the end of the month so they marketed the home and signed lease agreements with the new tenants, where do I live while my home is being fixed? 
  • If we are forced to find another temporary home, will the insurance company cover our expenses for a 2ndbroker fee and moving arrangements?
  • Is living in the temporary house rental while the property undergoes restoration with a set number of days allotted? (typically temporary rentals have maximum coverage of six months)

Managing the expectation for both tenants and landlords is difficult and the bigger issue is that insurance companies may find ways to not cover these additional hardships once limits are exhausted.


After experiencing a property damage claim, business interruption usually follows. After an agreement is made with the insurance company as it relates to the building repair scope and price, a negotiated period of restoration is made which begins immediately after the loss and ends when the property is repaired and ready for tenant occupancy. The last thing a Commercial or Multi-Family Residential Apartment building owner wants to hear is a delay in the re-construction as placing their investments on hold impacts their chances of bringing back good-paying tenants as well as profitability. While a period of restoration is not set in stone, and circumstances beyond the control of the insured result in permit delays, limited construction materials, and a lack of contractors in the immediate area, it’s important to document and discuss these hardships with the insurance company. 

In addition, for clients who have purchased a Builders Risk policy, many roadblocks come into play as construction halts. For example, some policies, will not cover vandalism, sprinkler leakage, building glass damage, water damage, theft or attempted theft if there is no property construction activity within 60 consecutive days before the loss or damage occurs. With the current COVID-19 projected timelines, things are not expected to improve until August, well past 60 days. This is a major issue because these customers are now at real risk of not having coverage to protect their assets.


Construction contractors and developers execute extensively planned out schedules for projects so that no two-project conflict and are completed as intended. The halt of construction backs the projects up beyond an acceptable timeline. To add to the delay, since operations are halted, the best-skilled employees are let go and the logistics and quality of future projects are impacted. If contractors continue to work, they can incur a fine $10k per violation! This negative impact is magnified as contractors can’t meet the owner’s expectations and sparks begin to fly. 


United Public Adjusters and Appraisers Inc. is well acquainted with the complexities of the present situation and we are focusing on damage control of all possible foreseen issues. We continue to inform our client’s respective insurance companies of the work stoppages and the associated expenses that are currently being incurred or will be in the future if the stoppage continues.

Based on what we learned from handling over $100 million in property damages claims after Hurricane Sandy and Irma, we predict that many businesses and homeowners will likely see an increase in construction pricing and delayed construction projects. Our job is to present the facts and claim support for additional damages to ensure our clients are fully compensated for their covered damages. By making sure that the insurance companies are familiar with the new norm and the additional insurance funds that will be necessary to make our clients whole, we aim to reduce future claim delays and financial hardship. This proactive approach makes the United difference. 

United Public Adjusters & Appraisers Inc. is here to guide you with a strategy that is personalized to your needs. We manage all aspects of property damage claims including Inspection, Valuation, Negotiation & Settlement.  In keeping the safety of our team and customers a top priority, we are currently offering Remote Claim Assessment & Claim Management Services. Our approach is very straight forward:  We offer a no-obligation, free policy, and claim review.  NO PRESSURE. NO FALSE HOPE. NO RECOVERY, NO FEE! Contact us today for immediate help!

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