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Replacement Cost vs. Market Value: What’s the Difference?

By December 16, 2022December 20th, 2022Insurance

If you were asked to describe the state of the housing market over the past few years, it could be summarized in one word: unpredictable.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many experts predicted a looming housing crash. But instead of heading into a real estate meltdown, U.S. home prices increased an astounding 37 percent in the two years between March 2020 and March 2022.

In fact, a recent study from Moody’s Analytics found home prices are currently “overvalued” by nearly 25 percent. With this massive fluctuation in real estate values, you may be wondering if your homeowners insurance is still providing the right level of protection.

The answer, of course, will depend on your specific homeowners policy. But there’s one factor that can make a big difference in the event of a major claim — whether your home is insured using market value or replacement cost.

What is Market Value?

The market value of your home is based on what your house and land would sell for on the real estate market. It’s essentially an appraisal of how much your home would be worth if you had to buy it from a realtor today.

A home’s market value is based, in part, on the size and condition of the house. But it’s also influenced by a number of other factors — including your neighborhood, school district and the overall real estate market in your area.

What is Replacement Cost?

A homeowners policy based on replacement cost means your home is insured using an estimate of what it would cost to repair or rebuild your home with materials of like kind and quality in the event of a total loss. Unlike your home’s market value, the replacement cost will not vary because of where you live or what similar homes are selling for. Instead, replacement cost is calculated on factors like the cost of building materials and construction contractors.

What’s the Difference Between Market Value and Replacement Cost?

Here’s an example to help you understand how these two types of coverages would play out in the event of a claim.

Let’s say your home has a market value of $250,000. But at the current rates of construction and materials, it would cost $300,000 to rebuild it in the event of a total loss — like a fire or natural disaster.

If your home was insured using its market value, you’d be left with a $50,000 coverage gap. In this case, your options would be to build a smaller, less expensive home, or pay out-of-pocket for the difference. 

We understand that it’s a lot to take in and understand. Call us! It’s what we are here for!


Article Courtesy of Erie