Rebuild costs go online

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 11/05/2013
insurance
BE PREPARED: Home insurance changes are on the way.

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The online calculator many homeowners will use to work out the cost of rebuilding their home has undergone "pretty robust testing".

The need2know website calculator was put together by Australian rebuilding costs experts Cordell, for IAG, the company which owns NZI, AMI and State insurance companies.


What do you want to know about changes to your home insurance? Some answers will be online at need2know.org.nz. If the answers to your questions are not there send them to rhonda.markby@timaruherald.co.nz or phone her on Monday on 03 687-1344 and we'll attempt to get answers for you.


"We are aware that people will have diverse views and opinions about the rebuild cost of their homes and the tools provided to help them consider an appropriate amount to insure their homes for," an IAG spokeswoman said.

"We recognise it's an important consideration, given that the sum insured amount will be the maximum amount that can be claimed in event of a home being destroyed."

The calculator met the specific criteria IAG had required, and following "some pretty robust testing" by staff, customers and the public, IAG was satisfied with the accuracy of the rebuilding costs it was providing.

"Like any estimating service the calculator on our need2know.org.nz site relies on the accuracy of the information being inputted into it."

The Herald's experience of the calculator has provided some figures which were clearly incorrect. The rebuild cost for our case study home in Elmsdale Tce, based on the owner's information, was $625,000. A 250sqm 1920s two-storey character home in central Timaru had a rebuild estimate of $905,000.

Valuer Roger Carter put the Elmsdale Tce home through both the need2know and Cordell online calculators, coming up with sums of $373,400 and $335,200 respectively. His own valuation for rebuilding the home was $341,200.

IAG's calculator did take into account the location of the home as labour costs and the fees charged by territorial authorities differed. It will be updated quarterly.

The calculator gave the client an "appropriate benchmark" on which to base their replacement sum insured decision, the IAG spokeswoman said.

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"We are not seeking to inflate rebuild costs and are only seeking, through the need2know.org.nz site, to help customers understand the full range of factors that go into rebuilding a home."

The sum insured is based on the house and any specifically listed recreational or special features, such as a tennis court or retaining walls, but not the land itself.

- The Timaru Herald

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