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RCV vs ACV: Understanding Property Damage Claims

RCV vs ACV: Understanding Property Damage Claims

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Having insurance coverage from an insurance company is absolutely essential in case of any accidents or calamities that could result in damaged property.

Instead of fully paying for repairs or replacements for a loss out-of-pocket, you’ll be able to use your insurance claims to reimburse these huge costs.

However, which policy is better: Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV)?

Read through this guide to determine the right insurance policy for you!

Also, if you are starting your roofing company soon and want to specialize in insurance claims, I can’t stress enough about how important this.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

The insurance term, Actual Cash Value, indicates the current worth of your property. Because ACV takes into account depreciation, your item will be worth much less than when you originally bought it.

Depreciation covers how much value was lost due to natural wear and tear over time. Basically, it quantitatively measures how useful your item is at a certain point in time.

You should know that different materials incur different depreciation costs.

For example, while a roof, plumbing, and cabinets made of high-quality materials have lower depreciation rates, cars and electronics typically have much higher ones.

This means they lose market value quicker, and you’ll get a smaller payment from your insurance policy.

To Compute Actual Cash Value:

Total ACV Coverage = Property Damage Value – Depreciation – Insurance Deductible

Replacement Cost Value (RCV)

On the other hand, Replacement Cost Value represents how much you’ll need at present to replace the damaged property with an item of like kind and quality.

This means that your insurance claim will most likely cover the total cost of repairs or of a brand new item.

Unlike ACV, RCV doesn’t take into account the age or useful life of the loss/property damage, so you’ll get more cash value from your insurance provider. However, RCV insurance policies cost more money too.

Another thing to note is that Replacement Cost Value has a longer property damage claim process because insurance companies want to make sure that policyholders are actually putting the money into construction.

Upon filing the insurance claim, you usually get just the depreciated amount first.

Only after completing the necessary repairs to your home or property will the remaining replacement cost coverage be released to you.

To Compute Replacement Cost Value:

Total RCV Coverage = Property Damage Value – Insurance Deductible

ACV vs RCV: Which Is Better for Home Insurance?

You may be wondering which policy is better for homeowners insurance.

Since a home is prone to many damages and other weather hazards over its lifetime, you should expect to shell out quite a bit of money for proper maintenance.

With that said, a home usually has Replacement Cost insurance in case of any accidents that necessitate major repairs.

Although you’ll have to pay more for this, homeowners insurance claims are a lot higher, as they don’t take into account depreciation and pay the entire value replacement cost.

In the long run, you may find that you save a larger amount on this insurance policy.

Because a 50-year-old roof has pretty much maxed out its useful life, one roof repair on even just a 10-year-old roof could set you back thousands of dollars if you were on Actual Cash Value coverage.

What more if you’re trying to fix one that’s more than 10 years old?

Individual items or contents within your property, however, are usually insured on Actual Cash Value coverage.

Furniture and other belongings that are lower in value may not be worth paying high annual premiums for.

If you’d prefer Replacement Cost insurance coverage for added safety, though, you can easily purchase it from your local homeowners insurance policy companies.

Always do your research so you know you’re purchasing from a dependable brand that has a proven track record in the field.

ACV vs RCV: Which Is Better for Car Insurance?

Unlike a roof or other materials for your home, cars can depreciate even more quickly.

Did you know that a brand new car loses 9-11% of its actual cash value right after purchase? Meanwhile, a five-year-old car will have lost around 60% of its value at that point.

Because of this, insurers don’t often offer RCV coverage to consumers—and if they do, it’s at a really high cost.

While you may get a lower insurance claim with ACV, it’s a lot better than not having any coverage at all.

In this tricky situation, it’s important to stick with an insurance company that you trust to prevent a big loss on your part.

Reliable insurance companies will accurately value your insurance claim as much as possible, so you won’t have to shoulder such exorbitant repair costs.

Purchasing Extended Replacement Coverage

If you want to be extra safe, one option is to purchase extended replacement coverage for your property.

This will cost the most money over time, but it will also give you the highest amount in insurance claims.

Insurers allow homeowners to increase the amount covered up to a specific percentage, so you’re protected even when the cost of materials and labor increases immensely.

These terms allow you to claim a higher value than your property’s historical or current worth, so you won’t be at a loss.

If you want to make sure your home or property is safeguarded against any risks, this option is great for you.

Some companies may even offer guaranteed replacement coverages that go up to 20-25% higher than your property’s declared value!

What Else Do You Need to Know?

Insurance companies’ policies sound like the best solutions to your problems, but sometimes, their terms are not to your advantage.

For example, let’s say your car’s replacement cost value is $22,000. You get the initial payment of $10,000 (because it was bought years ago and has already depreciated), but you only spend $20,000 on a replacement.

Your insurance company will only pay you an additional $10,000 instead of $12,000.

Additionally, because there’s no set depreciation rate for some items, determining this can sometimes be up to the discretion of the insurer. To profit, he may use unjust methods to lower the overall value of your claim.

Unfortunately, these little things add up, and you may find that a big chunk of your money goes to the insurance company instead.

Should I Hire a Public Adjuster?

If you don’t have much experience and/or expertise in this field, it may be wise to hire a public adjuster.

Business owners, who have a great deal of assets to protect, should consider this option as well.

Public adjusters conduct a claim review to make sure the insurance company is following a just process and that the contents of its policy are fair for all parties.

They legally represent your interests and negotiate with the insurance company on issues with depreciation rates, claim settlements, etc.

Because they have the most experience, public adjusters can often get you a much better deal than if you attempted to cut one on your own.

Usually, they only get a percentage of your successful claims, so if you don’t receive any money, they don’t get paid at all!

With that said, you should definitely discuss your policies with a reputable public adjuster before making a purchase, especially if you are insuring something high in value.

It may take a lot of work now, but it will be worth it for improved financial security later on.


Losing the contents of your home or your property may be a costly—not to mention, traumatizing—experience, but if you’re well-versed in how insurance works, you can easily prevent big losses.

Use your knowledge on ACV and RCV to get the best insurance policy, and keep you and your family safe and secure always!

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