I always promised myself that I would write about rebuild values and what insurance carriers were doing about old home reconstruction after a loss, and now is that time. The coverage differences between carriers are astonishing when it comes to older homes. In recent years some national carriers have just refused to write a home pre-1960. The truth is the materials in older homes cost way more today than modern traditional built homes. Think about it, those lovely homes you've seen with chair moldings for miles, crown molding, solid wood doors, pocket doors, and don't get me started on plaster walls. Truth be told, when I was a claims adjuster older homes were my favorite. They are simply built better and have actual craftmanship to show it. Trades like plaster workers are hard to come by these days and this is a serious craftsman trade. Apprenticeship and everything to work with plaster. And master carpenters to recreate mantels and moldings. That drives the cost of something as simple as plaster vs. drywall through the roof. Pre-cut trim for a finish carpenter vs. the use of a master carpenter.

For this reason, insurance companies have handled older homes differently throughout the years and are still changing all the time. This is a consumer be super aware story. The most common issue I see on older homes particularly pre-1960's is most carriers will only offer functional replacement cost meaning they are going back with lower grade materials if you have a loss. You've got plaster, you're getting only drywall allowance. You will go out of pocket way more if you have functional replacement cost settlement. They will also sometimes not put it on a homeowner's policy but a dwelling policy, which is not all bad but not as comprehensive and you should know that. Carriers who let you choose vintage vs. standard replacement will charge more for vintage and don't be surprised if it raises your rebuild value on your home. You want to make sure you have replacement cost on your dwelling at all times regardless of age and there are carriers out there still doing it well with older homes.

I've stood next to a family who lost most of their home to fire. Knowing the rebuilding process is going to be what you want it to be is so important. These are good things to know, and I'll always keep you in the loop.

Make it a great week!


Heather Harris

Heather Harris

I’m Heather Gibson Harris, owner of Brookson Insurance, which I started in 2009 after a career as a claims adjuster for personal home and commercial insureds. My career has been my passion for many years, especially my time in catastrophe claim work.

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