How to Value Your Home for Insurance Purposes

When you are considering a new homeowners insurance policy, there are plenty of documents to prepare and questions to consider.

Do you know what the application process will entail? Are you using the right insurance company to meet your needs? And are you getting enough insurance coverage to protect your property, as well as your family’s possessions? Finding the answers to these questions is made much easier by determining the value of your home. This figure, also known as the replacement cost, is the amount of money that it would take to reconstruct your home if it were to be destroyed due to some kind of peril, such as a fire or hurricane.

Why Your Home’s Value is Important

There are many reasons why knowing your home’s value can be helpful. From knowing how much money you could get by selling it to understanding the property tax that you are being charged, your home’s value is a relevant figure that you should always keep in mind. But perhaps the biggest reason why knowing your home’s replacement cost is important is that it can determine how much money you are eligible to receive if something bad happens to it while you are filing claims for items and structures covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

This figure is extremely complex, and important to get exactly right. If you are to put all of your trust into your insurance company’s assessors to determine the value of your home, there is a decent possibility that they may come up with an incorrect figure by missing an important detail, or otherwise not fully knowing the significance of a particular aspect of your home. So, taking steps to determine this number for yourself can be an excellent tool for homeowners insurance customers.

What goes into a home’s overall value?

In order to determine how much your home and property are worth in total, it is first crucial to understand what aspects important and valuable in a home. No matter where you choose to go or what size you go with, buying a home is an investment. You are not only paying for the physical structure of your home, but also for the land under and around it. And while the overall value of your home itself will naturally depreciate over time, the overall value of your land will likely only go up due to increased demand for space. After all, there is a reason why property values in densely-packed areas such as New York City are so high. It is not that the land there is particularly fertile, or that it is a uniquely special environment, but instead, millions of people have migrated to the area for work and desire to have living arrangements as close to the center of the action as possible. The same principle applies to your home, in that as the population increases and more people need to find homes, the value of your land will naturally go up over time.

Your home’s value is not only judged by the land that it is on, however. Additionally, it is important to consider the actual structures that are on the land, whether they are the main body of your home, or add-ons such as garages, sheds, gardens and more. While the actual land is generally considered to be a more important factor in determining a property’s worth, these physical structures should not be completely overlooked. A home can slowly appreciate in value only if it is properly maintained or improved over time. If a home is neglected, on the other hand, it can actually damage the value of the property as a whole since it will make future buyers less inclined to take on the project of renovating it. Thus, it is almost just as crucial to be aware of how a home looks as it is to factor in where it is located.

How can I determine my home’s replacement cost for my insurance?

Once you are aware of what to look for, finding your own home replacement cost is a challenging, yet rewarding activity to take part in. As previously mentioned, getting the correct figure that represents your home’s value is critical, as it determines how much money you will be receiving in case of a devastating peril. To avoid being shortchanged by a potentially ignorant or even dishonest home assessor, it is highly preferred that you come up with your own value numbers, and compare them with the ones produced by your insurance company.

In order to actually go about making these determinations, you might choose to do the following:

  • Consider whether or not your home can be practically rebuilt: Finding the replacement cost for certain aspects of your home may be tricky, especially if it includes features that cannot be easily replaced. Older homes with historical artifacts or custom-built amenities may end up being far more expensive to replicate than the market value of the home itself.
  • Get specific estimates from specialists: When your insurance company sends an assessor to come up with a replacement cost for your home, they are usually taking average trade figures and compiling them together. Instead of just relying on such an imprecise science, have each of the aspects of your home estimated by professionals, such as quotes from flooring companies, roofing and siding companies and window companies.
  • Keep an inventory of all of your belongings: While this can seem like overkill to some, having a detailed list of all of your possessions will save you a lot of hassle when trying to tell your homeowners insurance company about everything that you may have lost in a fire or other event. Because personal belongings and appliances make up a huge percentage of your home’s overall value, knowing exactly what you need insured is a great way to get as much of that money back in an emergency as you can.

You can make estimates of the overall cost of your home by compiling this information together, which can be done more easily by using one of the many existing online insurance calculators. Doing this will give you a much better frame of reference regarding how much your home is worth, which you can use in your meeting with your insurance company’s assessor.

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