How much would ‘Home Alone’ damages cost now?

The high price of Kevin’s chaos in 1990 vs. 2023

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    deserted residential road during the winter holidays

    “Home Alone” is a classic holiday slapstick comedy many of us have rewatched for 33 years now. The movie lets us indulge our own mischievous childhood impulses: guiltless pranks, absurd theatrics, petty revenge against adults.

    It’s hilarious to watch, but in reality, the kid would have caused some major destruction to his parents’ wallets. Let's break down what those repairs would cost in today's dollars versus when “Home Alone” came out in 1990.

    Key insights

    • The estimated median cost to fix the McCallisters’ house would have been $3,408.13 in 1990. That price is $7,930.08 in 2023 — a 132.7% increase over 33 years.
    • The McCallisters’ neighbors, the Murphys, endured flood damage that would’ve cost approximately $124,027.54 in 1990. A similar incident would cost $288,589.56 today.
    • The McCallisters’ house, which sits about 20 miles north of downtown Chicago, sold for $875,000 in 1989. It’s worth an estimated $2,236,000 now — a 155.5% increase over 34 years.
    home alone total damage costs

    Most expensive “Home Alone” damages, ranked

    Inflation affects everything, from raw materials to labor costs, gas and food. In the 1990s, the McCallisters fed 15 people with 10 pizzas for just $122.50. That order would cost at least $225 today (not counting the delivery fee and tip). It would probably be much more, though — Kevin complains about not enough plain cheese pizza, so you know they ordered a lot of extra toppings.

    5. Blowtorch to the doorknob

    how much is a new doorknob graphic

    An unsupervised Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) heats up a metal doorknob with a blowtorch. From the other side, it’s burning red-hot as Marv (Daniel Stern) tries to open the door. The same blowtorch also lights the top of Harry’s (Joe Pesci) head on fire.

    How much is a new doorknob?

    • 1990 median cost: $139.78
    • 2023 median cost: $325.25

    4. Tar on the basement stairs

    how much is it to clean the mccallisters' stairs

    Kevin spreads a dark goo on the basement stairs to stop the burglars. His plan is temporarily successful. But what a mess to clean up. Tar is extremely difficult to remove, so the labor is really expensive.

    How much to clean the McCallisters’ stairs?

    • 1990 median cost: $501.45
    • 2023 median cost: $1,166.77

    A sticky situation

    We asked Carol Alexander, a home improvement expert at Fixr, for some perspective. She said the McCallisters probably would've had to replace the whole staircase because tar is so hard to remove. She pointed out that the burglars also track tar through the house, meaning they’d probably have to refinish the hardwood floors.

    “Since the home is a whopping 4,243 [square feet], this job could add up [to] quite a sum,” she explained. Realistically, refinishing all that hardwood could cost as much as $13,230 in 1990 — up to $31,127 in 2023.

    3. Shelves in Buzz's room

    how much is it to fix buzz's shelves

    Early in the movie — before Kevin is aware of the burglars’ plan — he climbs his brother Buzz’s shelves looking for cash. He knocks the shelves down, and all of Buzz’s stuff crashes to the floor. The whole shelf and everything on it breaks. It looks like there’s some wall damage, too.

    How much to fix Buzz’s shelves?

    • 1990 median cost: $881.38
    • 2023 median cost: $2,050.80

    2. Firecracker in a pot

    how much is soot damage repair

    Where there’s smoke, there’s smoke damage. Kevin lights off firecrackers in a kitchen pot to scare away the intruders. They think it’s a gun and run away, but only for a little bit. Now there’s soot all over the walls.

    How much to repair soot damage?

    • 1990 median cost: $1,885.52
    • 2023 median cost: $4,387.26

    1. Flooding

    how much is flood damage repair

    For once, something isn’t Kevin’s fault. Toward the end of the movie, we see water rising in the Murphy family's basement. The Murphys, Kevin’s neighbors, were apparently one of Marv and Harry’s successful jobs before they decided to target the McCallister house.

    Many insurance companies have limits or caps on mold coverage.

    It’s well established that Harry and Marv like to burglarize houses. What’s less obvious is why Marv also likes to clog the sinks and leave the faucets running when they’re done — a signature that earns the two the nickname the “Wet Bandits.”

    Flood damage is expensive because it ruins buildings, electrical systems and personal property. It can also lead to mold problems and increase insurance costs.

    How much does flood damage cost?

    • 1990 median cost: $124,027.54
    • 2023 median cost: $288,589.56

    Would insurance cover the “Home Alone” damage?

    “If he was just playing around to amuse himself, there would be no coverage under a standard homeowner policy,” Anthony Verreos, a strategic insurance advisor at Real Estate Bees, which assists real estate professionals, told us. “But he was defending himself and the home, so it would all be covered on a replacement cost basis.”

    Aside from flooding, Kevin causes the property damages that we see in "Home Alone.” It’s more than just adolescent mischief. He sets traps to stop the burglars and protect his family's home. And it works.

    This is my house. I have to defend it. ”
    — Kevin McCallister, “Home Alone”

    In theory, home insurance should cover whatever it would take to get the home back to how it was before the McCallisters’ Paris trip.

    In reality, though, some homeowners we talk to have a hard time getting reimbursed for damages caused during a burglary. For example, when Heidi in Michigan filed a claim after a burglar kicked her door in during a home invasion, her insurance company said the damage was “preexisting.” There wasn’t much she could do but leave a bad review on our site.

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      What are the most common types of property damage in burglaries?

      Basically, door damage is the most common. Burglars often destroy front doors, back doors, side doors, exterior garage doors, interior garage doors leading to the house, windows, sliding glass doors and locks, Verreos told us.

      » COMPARE: Best home security companies

      How often do burglaries actually cause significant property damage?

      Burglars cause property damage about 75% of the time, according to Verreos. For the other 25%, a window or door is likely already unlocked, making entry a breeze.

      » MORE: Home security statistics

      How has home insurance coverage for burglary-related damages changed since the 1990s?

      Almost anything can be a “collectible” these days, even if it’s not super expensive. For instance, in the 1990s, an expensive bike might have been $800 to $2,000. The same (now vintage) bike could be worth $3,000 to $8,000 today.

      Different insurers put very different internal limits on specific types of property, including:

      • Cash
      • Coins
      • Stamps
      • Watches
      • Jewelry
      • Stocks
      • Manuscripts
      • Carpets
      • Golf equipment
      • Bicycles
      • Baseball cards
      • Other collector items

      “People pay big money for their toys and phones, and don't think much about them being a target theft item,” Verreos said. “If your coverage is not up, then your pants are down!”

      Keep the change, ya filthy animal

      All the “Home Alone” damages (including flooding) would’ve cost an estimated $127.435.67 in 1990. In 2023, the total estimated bill equals $296,519.64 — a 132.7% increase over 33 years. Some kids don’t understand how destructive they are until they become homeowners themselves.

      McCallister home damage repair costs: 1990 vs. 2023

      Theoretically, Kevin could be a homeowner now. He’s in his early 40s and from a well-off family. The house his parents owned, worth $875,000 in 1989, is worth an estimated $2,236,000 today — more than a 155.5% increase over three decades. Even with a perfect credit score, to get a conventional mortgage on the same house today, he’d need a salary of around $475,000  — and that’s with a 20% down payment and no debt. On a 30-year fixed-rate loan with a rate of 7%, he would be making monthly payments of about $13,500.

      Let's just hope he invests in a good home security system to keep away the Marvs and Harrys of today.

      » NEXT: A $1,000 repair would wreck most drivers' savings


      To estimate what Kevin McCallister's damages would cost in 1990 and today, we used two sources — Performance Adjusting and Bustle — with price range estimates for damage from “Home Alone” in 2015 and 2020 dollars. We converted both to 1990 dollars using consumer price index (CPI) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. After averaging them together, we converted the figures to 2023 dollars. In the conversion calculation from 1990 to 2023, we used average CPI figures for each year based on monthly data.

      Please note that these figures represent reasonable approximations for the damages incurred by Kevin’s pranks, given the limited information provided in the film. Actual costs could vary depending on factors such as local market rates for labor and materials.

      Article sources
      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Bustle, “How Much Would It Cost To Fix 'Home Alone' Home?” Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
      2. Performance Adjusting, “Assessing Property Damage in Home Alone.” Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
      3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index. Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
      4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “CPI Inflation Calculator.” Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
      5., “671 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka, IL 60093.” Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
      6. Slice, “Slice of the Union.” Accessed Dec. 6, 2023.
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