Solving a long-standing problem for village halls

Published on 14th January 2019
We're pleased to share this article on behalf of Allied Westminster:

What’s the biggest concern for Village Hall trustees? Recruitment? Stability of hirers? Building maintenance? Compliance with new legislation?

The one we hear about most at Allied Westminster is whether the Hall and its assets are under-insured, potentially leaving Trustees liable to personal loss in the event of catastrophe.

Here’s a typical question: ‘Will I really have to make good the shortfall if the Hall is underinsured and burns to the ground?’

It’s a valid question, particularly since our records show that two-thirds of Halls are underinsured. And questions like this have increased since the Charity Commission published the following:

‘If the trustees ought to have bought more extensive cover, they may be liable to make good the shortfall out of their own pockets. To reduce the risk of a shortfall, the Commission recommends that trustees initially obtain advice from a professionally qualified building surveyor about what the sum insured should be… perhaps every two years.’

For many smaller Halls, the huge expense of a full on-site survey is something that they can’t meet easily, and certainly not as regularly as every two years! So, an accurate figure for insurance cover may not be easy for them to obtain.

An alternative is to turn to cheaper ‘internet rebuild valuations’, but these often supply no more than a gross figure, with no indication of accuracy nor any breakdown of how the figure was arrived at. For Halls which may have liability for a car park, for example, but not for the boundary walls nor the Scout Hut, a single gross figure gives them little control over managing finances and settling uncertainty.

It hardly seems productive that Trustees should be distracted by such concerns when they’ve other key duties to perform. And it’s certainly no surprise when we hear that recruitment of new Trustees is becoming harder, in part because prospective Trustees don’t want to leave themselves vulnerable to financial loss.

At Allied Westminster we’ve long thought it unfortunate that Trustees fulfilling a voluntary, altruistic role to support their local communities may also be asked to meet financial obligations if they fail to protect the Hall properly.

Finally, we’re now able to solve all these issues once and for all!

To celebrate the Centenary of Village Halls and the amazing work and dedication of volunteers across thousands of village communities, we are launching our Free Rebuild Cost Assessment Report for those clients who use our VillageGuard® policy. The survey is done by a RICS registered surveyor and is stunningly comprehensive. Instead of a single gross figure it comes as a report that itemises buildings, car parks, boundary walls, fences, tennis courts, bowling greens, etc, providing rebuild costs for each, both with and without VAT. It also itemises all professional fees. This allows Hall committees to value their insurable assets with great accuracy.

But what if the surveyor makes a mistake and misses an out-building? We’ve thought of that too. In partnership with Aviva, the underwriter for VillageGuard®, these free rebuild valuations are indemnified!

Call us for more details - 01937 845245 or email