Standard Virginia homeowners insurance policies are written on a replacement cost valuation. So why do insurance companies sometimes use deprecation when it comes to filing a homeowners claim?
When you file a homeowners claim your insurance carrier will make an initial assessment of the damage to determine how much it will cost to repair or replace the damaged property. Since this estimate is only an estimate, your carrier may withhold a portion of that claim settlement until the actual replacement cost has been determined.
An insurer will never pay more than you are owed for a loss and if damaged property is not repaired, you may only receive the actual cash value.
Sometimes your claim settlement depends on the type of loss that occurred. For example, your insurance carrier may not pay anything until all the work has been performed on your roof after it has been damaged and no payment may be made until the roofing contractor has completed their work.
In another example, after a lightning strike your insurance carrier may pay a portion of the claim settlement up front so you can begin to replace the damaged property. With appliances (like heat pumps), it can be difficult to determine the exact value of an item that is several years old, so carriers tend to withhold a greater amount of the settlement for depreciation (depreciation holdback). After submitting receipts showing the cost and installment of the new replaced items you will be reimbursed for the difference (minus any deductible).
Depreciation holdback does not happen in every instance, but is one of the ways your claim can be processed.
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