Understanding your home's "replacement cost"

Here's a statistic that may surprise you: more than half of homes in the U.S. are underinsured*. This may be because home insurance policies are often believed to provide coverage based on a home's market value, as opposed to its replacement cost. Understanding the difference between these two concepts is a key factor in making sure your coverage is up to the high standards of your home.

Replacement cost versus market value

When you think of what your home is worth, you tend to think of either what you paid for it, or the price you can sell it for on the open market. This may be affected by factors beyond the size and features of your home, such as its neighborhood, school system, market demand and many other external considerations.

But insurance carriers are more concerned with the replacement cost of your home. This is essentially the amount it would take to rebuild your home from scratch in the event of a total loss. There are many factors that go into determining this figure, and as a result, a home's replacement cost often (and sometimes greatly) differs from its market value.

Here's an example (for illustration purposes only). Let's say you purchased your home for $225,000, and you opt to insure it for this amount. But then, unfortunately, a fire destroys your home completely, and the cost to rebuild it, factoring parts and labor, comes to $280,000. You would be underinsured for $55,000 – which means you may not have enough funds to rebuild your home the way it was.

Some factors that go into replacement cost

  • Roof and shingle style and quality, which can vary widely from home to home
  • Exterior features like porches, decks, and breezeways
  • The age and quality of your heating and cooling systems
  • The materials used in your kitchen and/or bath
  • The style of your garage, and whether it is attached
  • Present-day costs of building materials and labor
  • The costs of debris removal, which are not included in new home construction

Coverage A-OK

Replacement costs can change during the life of your home. That's why it's important to make sure you have the coverage you truly need should you ever suffer a total loss. Contact The Hanover and your independent insurance agent, who have the tools and expertise that can help you determine the right replacement cost for your home.

* Marshall & Swift/Boeckh

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.