Arranging proper insurance for your hall is one of the most important responsibilities for trustees. For many halls their insurance premium is their biggest single annual cost. As a consequence it is important to get it right by making sure that insurable risks are covered but that expensive, unnecessary protection is not purchased. There are a number of insurance brokers and companies which offer services to village halls where various types of insurance cover (buildings, content, public liability etc.) are packaged together often giving good value. Whilst it is important to obtain a competitive premium, it is vital that the policy you buy includes everything you need it to cover and will respond promptly if you need to make a claim.
We need to emphasise that the Consortium does not favour, recommend or endorse any particular company for the insurance needs of your venue.
It is always good practice to test the market by regularly seeking quotes from several suppliers. Below is a list of seven companies offering specialist village hall insurance cover. They are in alphabetical order. We strongly advise you to visit their websites and then talk to them about what they offer.
Allied Westminster https://www.villageguard.com Tel: 01937 845245
Came & Company http://parishinsurance.co.uk/community-buildings/ Tel 01483 462860
Insure Your Village hall http://www.insureyourvillagehall.co.uk/insurance Tel: 0330 123 5990
Markel Insurance https://www.markeluk.com/charity-insurance/community-centre-village-hall-insurance tel: 0800 640 6600
Norris & Fisher https://www.villagehallinsurance.co.uk Tel: 023 8026 9009
Third Sector Protect https://www.thirdsectorprotect.co.uk/who-we-cover/village-hall/ Tel: 0800 877 8277
Village Hall Plus Group https://www.villagehallinsurance.com Tel: 0845 478 6386
Most companies offer a variety of discounts (see list below) and they are always worth enquiring about. Please bear in mind that a high percentage discount on a high initial quote might not be such good value as a smaller discount on a lower quote. In the past NNVHC has negotiated discounts for members and some still offer them. But we now believe this can be misleading for the reason above. Nevertheless, always make sure you let them know you are members of the Consortium.
Range of Discounts offered
- Membership of the North Northumberland Village Halls Consortium
- Attainment of Hallmark quality standard 1, 2 and 3
- Long term undertaking (3 years plus)
- No claims
- Buildings and Contents Excess
- Minimum 5 yearly electrical circuit inspection
- Alarm and/or CCTV
Some companies offer free cover for defibrillators, or free or low cost revaluation services to make sure you are not underinsured in the event of a claim.
It has long been recommended to obtain a rebuild valuation every 5 years to protect trustees from unnecessary risk. It is important that management committees recognise the danger of underinsuring their halls. If you are unfortunate enough to make a claim and the insurance company calculates that you are currently underinsured by say 30%, it will only pay out 70% of your claim for loss. Until recently, halls needed to instruct professional surveyors to undertake a re-build valuation for insurance purposes to make sure they were adequately covered. Many found the fees charged prohibitive. Over the last few years a number of insurance companies have introduced their own re-valuation services. Some appear to be particularly good value. The usual condition is that you will have to be insured through the company to take advantage of this service.
Listed below are some of the questions you could consider asking potential providers (and yourself) when seeking insurance cover
Are they a specialist in village hall insurance, with a number of years’ experience in the field?
Are the staff easy to deal with and provide informative answers to your questions?
Are the staff knowledgeable about their policy and the other aspects of running a village hall?
Does the insurance provider offer a rebuild valuation service? …if so, how much does that cost? Does it require much input from the venue?
Does the insurance provider use a well-known, reputable insurance underwriter?
Have the insurance supplier used one insurer for a long time, or do they frequently change insurer? This could suggest they have a poor relationship with the insurers, and is unsustainable in the long term.
Is the insurance provider able and willing to negotiate with the insurer on behalf of the client?
Does the provider have links with other organisations that are involved with the support of village halls, such as a local consortium, rural community councils and ACRE?
Have a look at the insurer and insurance provider online – do they have positive or negative reviews and/or feedback?
Is the policy tailored to village halls and community buildings?
Does it offer all the covers you would require?
What is the evidence that the policy continually being improved?
Are there any onerous or unreasonable terms or conditions which you would need to meet for a claim to be paid? Pay particular attention to warranties. NB A warranty is an insurance term or condition which requires exact compliance in order for any claim to be paid. If you deviate even slightly, you will not be covered and the Trustees may become personally liable. The key point of a warranty is that the breach can be unrelated to the claim it voids, for example if you have a claim for a fire but the burglar alarm wasn’t set correctly, the claim may not be paid. These have become less common, less harsh, and less restrictive since the Insurance Act 2015 came into force, but they can still be found occasionally.
Does the provider offer policies for other public buildings as well as village halls? If so, this may mean that village hall premiums are being used to subsidise the other policies.
Is it obvious what is and is not covered, and what terms you will have to meet to ensure a claim is paid?
Does the company have delegated claims authority? This means that certain claims will be dealt with in-house which tends to be faster.
Does the provider have dedicated claims handlers?
Will the insurance provider be actively involved with the claim?Photograph: Norham Village hall