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Homeowner's Insurance Valuation

When you purchase homeowner's insurance, you have some options when it comes to choosing how you want your policy to respond when you file a claim. One of the options you have is choosing how your home and contents will be valued at the time of the loss. The options you have to choose from are often referred to as "replacement cost" and "actual cash value". You should choose the option that best suits your individual circumstances. Here is a brief explanation:

Replacement Cost

When you choose to purchase a replacement cost policy, you're choosing to insure your home for the full cost it would take you to rebuild your home with the same construction in the same location. With construction costs changing over time, you should evaluate the limit you carry on your policy periodically to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. Most policies also have an inflationary adjustment that is made every year that increases the coverage by a small percentage in order to keep up with inflation. Many people assume that they need to insure their home for the amount that they could get for it if they were to sell it on the real estate market. Often the market value and the replacement cost are two very different numbers.

Actual Cash Value

This valuation method calculates the value of your home with depreciation for age and condition of your home. This type of policy is generally less desirable and often more expensive than a replacement cost policy. However, for certain circumstances it may make better sense or be the only available option.

A Startling Fact

In 2007, 66 percent of homeowners in the U.S. were underinsured (by an average of 18 percent). When there is a total loss, meaning that the home is completely destroyed, a homeowner will not get enough insurance reimbursement to replace their home if they do not carry a high enough limit. For this reason, it's important to insure your home to its full replacement value (for a replacement cost policy). When you make changes to your home, make sure that you adjust the limit of insurance accordingly. Renovations such as building a garage or porch, adding an addition, or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can add a measurable amount to the replacement cost of your home.

Stan Steele Insurance
Stan Steele Agency, Inc.
55 State Street
Bloomfield, NY 14469