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Some helpful hints to help you know your value: Costings Part II: guest post by Sarah O’Brien

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In order to determine the value of major items in your home, which will assist you in establishing a fair value when it comes to negotiating with your insurer, here are some tips and suggestions:

You will need a floor plan drawing of your house. The insurer will have these, with your floor levels recorded on them. These will often be found in your Engineers reports, or on EQC supplied assessment reports (if you do not have a copy of your house plans already).

Windows:window measurement

Calculate the reveal measurement (i.e. the wood around your window unit), from one side to the other, and top to bottom of the whole unit. Make sure you note these in millimetres. Note how many panes you have in total in each unit, and which ones open. Draw a simple diagram of the window (see diagram). The arrows point to the window hinges.  (This shows the supplier whether windows are top hung or side hung). Identify where each window unit is in the house e.g. Bedroom 1 North wall. Add a photo of the existing window to your measurements if you are not comfortable sketching your windows. Identify your reveal (the wood around the whole unit) e.g. Rimu, painted Custom-wood (MDF) or pine? You may have to scratch a little paint off one of the window-sills in order to establish what it is. Once you have identified and drawn or photographed and measured all of your units, send this information to a supplier and ask for a supply and install quote. (If aluminium, measure your front and back door units also).

Tap ware and door handles:

Different makes of tap ware and door handles may look the same from the outside, but the internal mechanisms are vastly different in quality and durability, and it is these unseen elements which add to the value & cost of your replacement products. The settlement agreements that I have seen do not seem to take into account variations in product quality, ultimately resulting in a lower dollar replacement value being offered to the policyholder.

  • Tap-ware, shower roses and mixers, heated towel rails, vanity basins, toilets, kitchen taps (mixers), toilet roll holders, soap holders: take photos of these and count and measure the units. Identify e.g. Bath tap, and vanity taps. Take the photographs in to a plumbing supplier and request a quote to supply replacement equivalents.
  • Your tap ware, will usually have a trade-name on it e.g. ‘Methven’ , ‘Dorf’ or ‘Aquatica’. Take note of these brand names and source prices for replacement equivalents.
  • Door hardware will often have a trade name on the door strike-plate. Take photos and bring into a hardware dealer and they will often recognize trademarks.

Light fittings:

Again, often the cost of light fittings is in the quality and unseen design elements. Again, take photographs; count the number of each style of fitting, and its placement within / around the house. Bring this information into a lighting supplier, who will be able to properly identify and cost to supply your new fittings. Don’t forget to count your exterior lights (bulkheads and security lights), and lights in garages and sheds.

Kitchen appliances:

The average ‘Fisher & Paykel / Westinghouse’ under bench oven, extractor, dishwasher and hob combination will be approximately $5,000 to $6,000 replacement per household. If you have any out of the ordinary items or heating devices again take photos, count and itemise these products, and get quotes to supply from retailers. The settlement agreements YTD do not itemise these and give a $4000. to $5000. standard allowance.

Doors and door frames:

Again, all of the settlement agreements and the majority of Insurance Quantity Surveyors’ prices I have seen, allow for ‘hollow MDF doors’ (custom-wood), Pine door frames and painted MDF (custom-wood) architraves (i.e. the dressing around the door frames). The costs allowed for are in the region of $200 per door which is a cost they allocate inclusive of the frame, and the hardware (handles and hinges). The reality is that a solid Rimu door without its frame will cost in the vicinity of $800. retail. A hollow-core Rimu ply door and Rimu frame is likely to cost $1200 per unit!

In addition I am finding that many assessments understate the number of internal doors required. Count your doors and compare with the number allowed for in the insurer’s costing.

Homes built before the 1990s, are most likely to have Rimu ply hollow core doors or Solid Kauri doors and Rimu reveals. Again, if you are not sure, scratch a little paint off to identify the wood type (native or custom-wood). Tap the door to see if it is hollow or not. Take photos, and bring into a retailer and ask for a supply quote.

If you own an old villa, and have hand carved scrolls and ornate architraves around doors, take a photograph with a ruler next to the feature, and bring this into a joiner, who will give you a cost to supply. This also applies to wooden or iron filigree (the frilly bits) often found around villa roof edges (between veranda posts). These are all expensive features, and you need to ensure these are all allowed for in your costings.

Carpets and tiles:

  • Take your 1:100 house floor-plans into a flooring supplier with a sample of carpet and request a quote to supply and install inclusive of the underlay and carpet edge. Carpets fall under your house policy or your content policy depending on whether or not they are glued to the floor (house policy).
  • Tiles: again, take in samples or photographs, along with your 1:100 scale floor plans. (A corner of a broken tile will suffice). This will enable the retailer / service provider to properly evaluate the quality / type of tile and estimate the amount of product required to supply. Installation will be an added cost. A tiler may give you an estimated m2 cost to install.

This may seem like a lot of work – but the outcome of your settlement being fair and reasonable is dependent upon you protecting your own interests – no one else will do it for you.


Author: Sarah-Alice Miles

Love to write, create and watch the clouds move across the sky - these days in the Netherlands. 'Art allows us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time'.

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