Your Home’s Replacement Cost vs. its Market Value

Your home is one of your biggest assets. Therefore, it’s imperative to make sure you are protecting it with the proper amount of coverage in the event you find yourself forced to rebuild from the ground up because of a catastrophic event. 

Selecting the amount of dwelling coverage can be tricky. There are many different approaches to valuing a property, depending on your focus. Two common valuation methods are market value and replacement cost. A big misconception is that a house should be insured for the value it was purchased for. Market value is simply an agreement between a buyer and a seller for what a property is worth. It is typically the amount the market demands based on the location, schools, local crime statistics, and availability of similar homes in the same area. The value of the land is also factored into the market value.

Replacement cost, on the other hand, ensures that in the event of a loss, your home will be rebuilt using modern materials, current methods of construction and installation, and today’s pricing for labor. The land value is not a factor when determining replacement cost. As an example, a home purchased 30 years ago for $200,000 may cost $300,000 to rebuild today given the rising price of construction materials and labor. While it may be attractive to insure an older home for the market value, it could be a huge financial burden during the rebuild process. The cost for rebuilding or restoring hardwood floors, ornate woodwork, masonry, and plastering to their original condition may be much higher than the home’s purchase price. Conversely, a home situated on a 5-acre lot near the water might sell for $500,000 due to the location and lot size but the replacement cost of the house house itself may only be $200,000. In this case, insuring the home for market value is most certainly setting you up for disappointment in the event of a claim, not to mention the unnecessary premium dollars spent!

Due to the ever-changing nature of the construction industry, it’s important to review your homeowner policy at every renewal to make sure your home is valued properly. If you have done upgrades or added additional living space, your insurance company needs to know so your coverage can be adjusted accordingly.

Our team at Bouchard can help. We have tools to help calculate replacement cost based on your home characteristics. Whatever you decide, understand there is a clear difference between replacement cost and market value. It’s similar to comparing apples and oranges.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DeeDee Simpkins is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. DeeDee is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.