Things to consider

Every house is different and there are many factors that may affect how much it costs to rebuild. 

We've listed some of these below to get you started.
Just be aware that these are only suggestions and not a definitive list. If you’re at all unsure about what the rebuild value of your home is, or would like further advice, we suggest talking to a professional.

House insurance is changing

To help you understand some of the things you should consider when working out your rebuild value, check out our short video. We've got a registered valuer, quantity surveyor and a representative from G.J. Gardner walking through some New Zealand homes and pointing out some of the features that can add cost or complexity when building.

When determining your sum insured some of the things you will want to consider include:

  • The type of land your home is built on. Is it flat, sloping or steep ground?
  • Is your land easy to access or in a remote or difficult to access area?
  • How many levels does your home have?
  • The construction material, e.g. is your home a weatherboard or brick house?
  • Whether your home is a villa, bungalow or a contemporary design.
  • Is the finishing in your home average, quality or prestige?
  • Other structures that are on your property, e.g. do you have a freestanding garage, a swimming pool, fences, retaining walls or a deck?
  • The number of bathrooms in your home.
  • What type of windows you have, e.g. are they made out of aluminum, timber or both?
  • If your home stands alone or has walls, floors or ceilings shared with another building.

You may also want to consider:

If you have a period house think about the details that set it apart

  • Ceiling height – a higher ceiling will mean your home needs more framing, plasterboard and will require more labour to rebuild
  • Ceiling features and skirting boards – timber batons, ornate ceilings and higher skirting boards may require a specialised craftsman
  • Native timbers and woodwork – a lot of native timber is costly, and some is no longer available. Also consider any ‘fret work’ on the outside of your home
  • Period fittings – such as light switches, help retain the feel of a period home. Don’t forget to account for these in your rebuild cost.

Custom built homes often include higher end fittings and features

  • Flooring materials used – native timbers, polished concrete etc
  • Full automation of household lighting, music, heating and alarms
  • Expensive building materials such as schist or marble
  • Extensive use of glass
  • Custom designs, such as oversized doors or rounded walls.

Multi-level homes

Multi-level homes will also have a higher rebuild cost – not only because there are more materials used, but because the construction can become more complex. For example rebuilding a two story house can add $200-$300+ per square metre to the build costs.

If you share ownership of a feature you should allow for your portion of it

You will also want to consider any features that you co-own with your neighbours. This could include common driveways, boundary fences and retaining walls. Usually there will be some responsibility on each neighbour to bear a proportion of the cost to repair and maintain shared property. You will need to understand the extent of your responsibility and allow for this in your sum insured.

You'll also need to consider sustainable building features

If you’ve renovated or built your home in recent years, there’s a chance you’ve included some sustainable features. Remember to consider these in your rebuild cost. Common sustainable features include:

  • Water tanks and rainwater collection
  • Permanently installed heat pumps
  • Sustainably sourced materials
  • Low toxicity materials and paints
  • Solar panels

You’ll also need to make sure you include costs for any demolition, site clearing and preparation that may be required before a new build or repairs can commence. Remember, if something happened to your home that required rebuilding then you’ll also need to be building to the current building code. For many older houses, this means building some features to a higher standard than they would have initially. Factor in an allowance for these costs – such as double glazing for windows.

You need to be confident that the sum insured value you provide to TOWER Insurance will adequately cover your house. The Cordell calculator can help with estimating this amount, as can professionals such as a valuer or quantity surveyor. If you’re at all unsure about your rebuild value, we recommend getting in touch with one of these professionals.

Calculate your sum insured

The Cordell calculator uses general building information to estimate your sum insured, based on the information you provide.

Find out more

Change your sum insured

If you want to change your sum insured you can complete our online form.

Change your sum insured