Not worth the full price and light on detail. That’s what our two mystery shoppers thought about the valuation reports they got from Sum Insured Associates, one of five companies we got to provide sum-insured valuations. Our homeowners felt they could have been left severely underinsured if they relied on the company’s figures.

The shift to sum-insured house insurance puts the responsibility for working out a home’s rebuild costs on the homeowner. Insurance companies provide online calculators, but they’re a guide only and the companies take no responsibility for the accuracy of the estimates they produce.

The alternative is to employ a professional to do the job. But our mystery shop of companies that offer this service revealed big differences in rebuild estimates.

We checked out five companies offering insurance valuations nationwide. We asked each company to provide valuations for two houses – a 160 square metre renovated 1911 villa in Grey Lynn, Auckland, and a 230 square metre renovated 1950’s family home in Karori, Wellington.

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Rebuild costs

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Mystery shop results

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Who can you trust?

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Passing the buck

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Industry views

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Where to from here

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Our view

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