Insurance company adjusters often leave off the reasonably expected acquisition costs when determining replacement cost. While the actual pricing can become theoretical, the bottom line is that these acquisition costs can be a material cost and every adjuster should include them when determining the top line replacement cost value.

One accounting site lists acquisition costs as follows:

Acquisition cost refers to the all-in cost to purchase an asset. These costs include shipping, sales taxes, and customs fees, as well as the costs of site preparation, installation, and testing. When acquiring property, acquisition costs can include surveying, closing fees, and paying off liens. This amount is considered to be the book value of an asset.

Another accounting site noted:

The correct amount of cost to allocate to a productive asset is based on those expenditures that are ordinary and necessary to get the item in place and in condition for its intended use. Such amounts include the purchase price (less any negotiated discounts), permits, freight, ordinary installation, initial setup/calibration/programming, and other normal costs associated with getting the item ready to use. These costs are termed capital expenditures and are assigned to an asset account.

Insurance adjusters doing their job properly will try to determine what these costs are when determining loss for contents and business property. For example, for some residential and commercial properties, the costs of interior decorators should be included and always considered as an acquisition costs. I noted this before in Hurricane Sandy Personal Property Claims–Include All Acquisition and Setup Costs to Determine Value, but have recently come across some insurance company estimates without any of these costs.

Thought For The Day

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
—Henry Thoreau

  • Scott deLuise, CCIM, SPPA

    Could also include RE broker fees if under a buyer’s broker contract!

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Chip:

    You write “Insurance Adjusters doing their job properly will try to determine what these costs are…” What about the Insured that does not have a clue if they’re doing their job “properly” and are merely relying upon their insurance company to make them whole again following a covered loss?

    I know, I know, they can seek legal recourse and (maybe) be made whole after a year or more of legal wrangling. That’s hardly solace to someone that’s paid a lot of money for a product they cannot rely upon.

    Respectfully,
    SHIRLEY HEFLIN
    Tampa, FL

    • Chip Merlin

      Shirley,
      Maybe they will get lucky and read my blog!!

      Seriously, the reason why adjusters have ethics is so they will voluntarily do this and
      not rip off their own customers.

      It is pretty basic honesty and doing the right thing even when others might not
      notice.