How to calculate house rebuilding costs

You need to tell us the rebuild cost of your home to get home insurance quotes - so here’s how to work it out.

Amy Smith

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Calculating the rebuilding costs of your house for insurance

Calculating the rebuild cost of your home is a necessary part of getting a home insurance quote.

The rebuild cost is the amount of money required to reconstruct your home from the foundations up, if your property was damaged or destroyed, in a fire or flood for example.

It can be broken down into two main factors:

  • The cost of materials
  • The associated cost of labour

The rebuild cost is usually lower than the market value because it doesn’t include the cost of the land your home is built on.

Key points

  • Rebuild value isn’t the same as market value - it’s usually lower
  • The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) has a rebuild calculator you can use to find the rebuild value
  • Rebuild costs don’t fluctuate as often as a property’s market value, but it will change over time

What is the rebuild cost of my house?

It’s how much you’d pay to completely rebuild your home, including the cost of materials and labour. You can usually find the rebuild value in:

  • Your mortgage valuation report
  • The deeds to your home
  • A surveyor’s report
  • Your buildings insurance renewal documents
  • We can help you calculate your house rebuild cost using the BCIS service when you compare buildings insurance

Rebuild costs can change over time, so if you’re not sure you have an accurate valuation you can use the Building Cost Information Service’s (BCIS) rebuild calculator, commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Alternatively, you can hire a chartered surveyor to evaluate your home and prepare a Rebuilding Cost Assessment. That could cost a few hundred pounds, but it’s worthwhile for the accuracy of the information it contains.

Your insurer might have a specific way of assessing the rebuild cost of your home, so check the terms and conditions.

If you’ve added an extension to your home, then you’ll need to re-evaluate its rebuild cost and consult your insurer.

What factors affect the rebuild cost?

  • The price of labour
  • The cost of materials used to build a house identical to yours
  • Type of property - whether you live in a house, bungalow, purpose built flat or conversion flat
  • Style of property - semi-detached, terraced, detached and so on
  • Size of property - external floor area, the number of floors, bedrooms and bathrooms, and if there’s a garage and cellar
  • Age of your property

What happens if I don’t get the value right?

Underestimate

If you underestimate the value of your home, your insurer might not pay the full cost of repairs if you need to make a claim.

For example, say you’ve told your insurer the rebuild value of your home is £100,000, but when it comes to claiming you discover the rebuild will actually cost £150,000.

Unfortunately, your insurer will only pay out the £100,000 figure you told them - so you’ll end up losing out.

Overestimate

Don’t over-estimate the rebuild value of your home - you’ll end up paying too much for cover you don’t need.

“Overvaluing the rebuild cost of your property could mean that you’re paying more money than you should be for you home insurance, as your insurer will only ever pay the cost of the rebuild regardless,” says GoCompare’s home insurance expert, Ryan Fulthorpe.

The market value of your home is usually more than the rebuild cost, so don’t rely on that figure.

Rebuild costs for listed and non-standard construction buildings

The rebuild cost of properties made from non-standard materials, such as brick or tile, might be more expensive to rebuild than a regular property.

This is due to the costs associated with replacing materials such as thatched roofs and the costs of hiring a specialist professional to construct them.

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