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Colorado Insurance Blog

Why is the Estimated Replacement Cost of my Home Different Than the Home’s Value?

The cost to rebuild a home is often very different than the market value of the home. A home’s value is based on what someone is willing to spend to buy that home, and largely depends on the area the home is located. A home in a desirable neighborhood may cost the same amount to build as an identical house in a less desirable neighborhood, even though it would sell for more.

Insurance doesn’t cover the the price you paid for your home, the taxable value, or even the potential sale price. The purpose of homeowners insurance is to indemnify you in the event of a loss. In other words, insurance is designed to make you whole again. When it comes to your home, that means insurance will pay to rebuild your home with like-quality materials.

Over the course of your homeownership, both the replacement cost and the market value of your home can fluctuate. At some point, they might be similar values, and other times the replacement cost could be higher or lower than the market value. It all depends on what is happening with the economy and housing market.

Here’s a breakdown of some important factors that can impact the replacement cost and/or market value of your home:

Impactful FactorsReplacement CostMarket Value
Age of HomeXX
Size of HomeXX
Home Features and FinishesXX
Labor CostsX
Cost of MaterialsX
Houses on the MarketX
Land Value X
Desirability of Area (Schools, Safety, Etc.)X

As you can see, things like cost of labor and materials impacts the replacement cost of your home, but not the market value. That’s because when someone is looking for a house to buy, the amount it would cost to build the home isn’t a huge factor since the house is already constructed. Once you own the house, the cost of building materials and labor matters more because you have to insure the house for what it would cost to rebuild it if you suffered a total loss.

While the quality of the schools, parks, and safety of your neighborhood certainly impact the price you could sell your house for, it doesn’t effect the cost to repair or rebuild your home if you had a loss. The same goes for the number of houses on the market and the land value. Whether there are 100 or 1000 houses for sale in your area, it would cost the same amount to rebuild it. Insurance doesn’t cover the value of the land since the land would still exist even if the house was destroyed, so the land value doesn’t factor into the estimated rebuilding costs.

There are some factors that impact both the reconstruction cost and the market value of a home. Specifically, the age, size and features of the home. A home that is 1000 square feet would cost less to build and sell for less than a comparable home with 2000 square feet. Similarly, if you update your kitchen to have custom finishes, that increases the cost to rebuild as well as the resale value of the home. That’s why it’s important to talk to your agent and make sure your home has adequate insurance anytime you make improvements or additions.

If you have questions about how the replacement cost of your home was determined, give us a call. We’re happy to help you decide if the coverage you have is appropriate for your home.

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