3 Misconceptions That Can Put Your Home at Risk

Understanding Cost to Rebuild

An Independent Agent Explains:

Cost to Rebuild Coverage

This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on Safeco.com showcasing the expertise of independent insurance agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverages and issues.


The neighborhood, the amenities, the square footage – you carefully considered everything about your home before purchasing it. So carefully that perhaps your insurance policy was just an afterthought.

However, a home is one of the most valuable purchases you’ll make in life, so it only makes sense to protect it with adequate insurance coverage. But, what exactly is adequate for your home and why? The general rule of thumb is this: You insure your home for what it would cost to rebuild at today’s prices, using today’s building codes and standards.

In the insurance world, we generally refer to this as the “cost to rebuild,” and it’s essential to understand why it’s important. I’ve addressed three insurance misconceptions that should help.

  • Misconception 1: You should always insure your home for the market value.
    The cost of labor, materials and other expenses oftentimes make it more expensive to build a house than to buy one that already exists. And, that’s why you typically insure your home for more than what you purchased it. A home you buy for $200,000 may require $500,000 of insurance to completely rebuild it. Then again, if you pay a premium for the location of your home, you may need to insure your home for less than the market value. For example, you may pay $1.5 million for an oceanfront property and be able to rebuild the home for $750,000. Your home insurance policy would reflect only the cost to rebuild, without factoring in the high value of the land.
  • Misconception 2: Homeowners coverage should stay the same – or even decrease – over time.
    Your homeowners coverage shouldn’t decrease as your mortgage decreases. Just because you owe less on the home doesn’t mean it would cost less to rebuild. If you think about it, the cost of milk right now is far different than it was 20 years ago. Labor and materials go up in price as well, so your insurance shouldn’t fall behind. As you maintain and update your home, such as remodeling the kitchen or adding a deck, you should reassess your insurance coverage, too.
  • Misconception 3: You’re covered if your home needs to be brought up to code during a claim.
    Not necessarily – it depends on your policy. In some instances, you may need to purchase optional coverage to handle the increased cost of bringing your home up to code or complying with local ordinances.

The last thing any property owner wants is for their insurance policy to fall short when they need it. That’s exactly what might happen if you buy into any of these insurance misconceptions.

Instead, work with an independent insurance agent to help ensure you get the home coverage you want – not too little and not too much. An estimate of what it would cost to rebuild your home from a contractor or builder in your area may help, but it’s not necessary. Your agent will talk to you about the square footage, upgrades, special features and other aspects of your home to build the policy you want.

Remember, your insurance doesn’t buy you a house. It repairs or rebuilds the one you’ve got. So, be sure your homeowners coverage reflects the true cost to rebuild.


Erin Eudy, Independent Insurance Agent

About Erin Eudy and Riskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc.
Erin Eudy is an insurance agent with Riskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc., an independent agency that delivers custom-tailored insurance and risk management solutions in California and neighboring states. She works closely with clients to understand their needs and provide coverage that fits the whole picture, making sure they’re protected at home, on the road and beyond. Choice is essential to delivering the well-rounded coverage her clients want. As an independent agency, Riskguard Insurance Solutions has access to an array of highly acclaimed insurance companies. The family corporation has more than 85 years of accumulated experience in the insurance industry.

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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.