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House: Sum Insured Explained



What is Sum Insured? 

When you purchase house insurance you need to tell us how much it would cost to rebuild your house. We call this rebuild amount the sum insured. This is the most we would pay to rebuild your house in the event of a total loss.

It’s your responsibility to tell us how much the sum insured should be. Here’s some information and tools to help you make that decision.

Calculating and changing your sum insured:

Use the Cordell Sum Sure calculator

Simply enter your address and check the property details listed. Let the calculator do the work for you.

Ask a professional

Have a chat with a valuer, quantity surveyor, architect or builder. Ask for an insurance valuation for rebuild purposes and ensure that they include council fees, professional fees and demolition costs. 

Check out your house plans

Find the square metres of your house in your house plans. Then multiply the square metres by a rebuild dollar amount per square metre to give you an estimate of the total rebuild cost.

Trade Me Insurance Tip: Add in the demolition costs, and professional fees, council fees and costs to remove debris plus any other things that may increase the price to rebuild your house.

Doing it yourself?

Things to consider when calculating your sum insured:

  • The square metres of the house
  • Land slope and access
  • Construction materials
  • Quality level of the materials, the finish and fixtures and fittings
  • Number of levels in the house
  • Design style – villa, bungalow, contemporary, one-off architectural
  • Detached garages or carports
  • Special or recreational features like swimming pools, solar panels, outbuildings and retaining walls
  • Demolition costs
  • Council fees
  • Professional fees – architecture, quantity surveyor, engineer
  • Labour costs.


Need to make changes during the year?

You can change your sum insured through My Insurance at any time online. Your rebuilding cost will change over time. This might happen because construction costs change or because you’ve completed a renovation or added an extension to your house. To ensure your sum insured stays accurate, you should review it before your policy renews or after major work.

What happens when your House Insurance renews?

We’ll adjust the sum insured before we renew your policy each year. To do this we’ll either use the Cordell Sum Sure calculator, or we’ll use the building components of the Consumer Price Index.

An email will be sent a couple weeks before your renewal with the automatic sum insured adjustment. Please review the new sum insured and use the Cordell Sum Sure Calculator to help if needed.

Full Replacement for Fire

If you have selected the Full replacement for fire benefit we will repair or replace your house in the event of a fire (not following natural disaster) - regardless of your sum insured. This benefit provides you with the assurance that your home is fully protected. You can add this benefit to your house policy during the online quote process, or through My Insurance. 

Present Day Value 

We may insure some houses for Present day value rather than sum insured. Typically houses that are built pre 1950's and have not been fully re-lined, re-wired or re-roofed are insured for present day value with us. You can find this information on our online quote immediately after you enter the year your house is built as well as on your certificate of insurance. 




Still unsure? Fire up a live chat or contact us, we are here to help.

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