You’ve probably seen these terms before and already know that your lender requires your home policy to have coverage on an RCV basis.
To understand these terms, it is also important for you to understand the concept of indemnification. The principle of any home insurance policy is to indemnify you, which means to repair or replace your home/personal belongings to the same condition as it was before (with no upgrades or downgrades).
RCV (Replacement Cost Value) is full coverage, with no depreciation based on use or lifespan. For example, if your roof is damaged from a hail storm, you will be covered for the complete replacement of a new roof, no matter how long ago your roof was installed.
ACV (Actual Cash Value) is depreciated coverage based on the age and use. If your roof was installed 15 years ago and is covered on an ACV basis, then you would only be covered after a certain percentage of your roof is deducted by the insurance company.
Most home insurance policies* today offer coverage on an RCV basis, but if a portion of that policy is covered only on an ACV basis, it would be clearly outlined on the declarations page.
*Some policies will only cover your roof on an ACV basis if it is older than 15 years. This does not mean that the rest of your dwelling is also on an ACV basis - the rest of your home and its contents would still be covered on an RCV basis. If you have an older roof, it’s good practice to ask your provider to make sure.