Actual Cash Value (ACV)

The DP-1 and HO-8 policy forms do not define ACV and that can leave it to case lawSome courts have interpreted ACV to mean fair market value, i.e., the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction. Other courts have upheld the insurance industry’s traditional definition: the cost to replace with “like kind and quality” less depreciation. The courts have varied in their rulings as to whether or not depreciation includes obsolescence, e.g., loss of usefulness as a result of outmoded design or construction.

So how do you determine ACV? There is no single correct answer but a useful method is to use the average of:

  1. Current market value (the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction)
  2. Assessed value (from the County Assessor)
  3. Depreciated value (the current replacement cost less depreciation)

If there is a wide variance in the values using the highest value is the only way to be sure there is adequate coverage.

Producers and consumers must work together to in the important process of determining the correct amount of coverage needed.