Calculate the cost of rebuilding: it's easy!

ANDREW GUNN
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2013
house insurance
SUM INSURED: It is now the homeowner's job to estimate how much it will cost to rebuild their home.

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OPINION: Dear Homeowners, good news!

For many of you it's time to renew the insurance policy that protects your dwelling, and because your satisfaction is important to us we have a great new deal for you. Previously you paid us a wad of money and in return, we rebuilt your house if it burned down. Now you pay us more money, and we don't.

Instead we promise to pay you a "default sum". You can be assured that the default sum is almost certainly not enough to rebuild your house, unless your idea of a new kitchen is a trestle table, a bucket and a barbecue from Bunnings. It's up to you to decide how much your house would really cost to rebuild. That's where your decades of experience in the construction industry will pay dividends.

But in the unlikely event that you're totally clueless about the price of framing, grouting and lagging, this handy easy-to-understand calculator will help. Answer all questions as precisely as possible:

1) Is your home built on flat land or sloping land? (A: Flat land B: Sloping land C: The land is flat but the house is sloping). If you answered "Sloping land" do us both a favour and engage a quantity surveyor right now. It'll just save time later when it comes to the court case.

2) If your house is multi-level what portion (as a percentage) of the ground floor is covered by the upstairs roof? (To calculate this accurately we advise abseiling from a second-storey window with a tape measure, calculator and sextant. Come on granddad, it'll do you good.)

3) What is the total area of your home in square metres? (Do not include garages, carports, decks, verandas, belfries or dovecots unless they adjacently conjoin the main dwelling by at least 78 per cent or are covalently contiguous with the recession plane. This does not apply to lineal soffits and architraves built before 1973.)

4) What are the exterior walls of your home made of? (A: Brick with cracks that were already there - mate, I'm surprised you didn't notice them when you bought the place B: Timber that wasn't going to last much longer so really you can't expect us to pay out on it.)

5) How many bedrooms does your house have? Really? Perhaps if you were a little less disorganised you wouldn't need all that extra space.

Once you have entered all data press the button ironically labelled "SUBMIT". The calculator will provide you with an estimate of the true cost of rebuilding your house. But remember, it is still only an estimate.

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You could engage a quantity surveyor to give you an exact figure, but that might cost you thousands. How about just you whack on another 25 or 30 per cent just to be safe.

Of course we'll have to put your premiums up again, but on the upside you'll have a much better chance of being completely covered - just like you used to be. It's a win-win!

- The Press

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