Building insurance valuation services
If your property is undervalued, it could be underinsured.
BCH is a RICS-regulated company that provides rebuilding valuations via desk-based e-valuations or site-based Reinstatement Cost Assessments (RCA). Building valuations help you work out how much it would cost to rebuild your property in the event of a loss and understand the value you need to declare to arrange the correct level of insurance cover.
How do I make sure I’m not underinsured?
A building valuation will provide an accurate reinstatement cost for your property giving you the information you need to request the right amount of cover from your broker. If your property has not been valued within the past 12 months, your reinstatement cost may be incorrect and your building underinsured leaving you at risk. Building insurance surveyors, Barrett Corp & Harrington (BCH) offer two valuation services:
Benchmark is a fast and cost-effective desk-based e-valuation service which is offered to Endsleigh customers at a discounted flat fee of £99+VAT. It’s suitable for properties with reinstatement costs of up to £5m for commercial properties and up to £2m for residential properties. It’s strictly a first-step valuation service, does not guarantee subsequent insurance cover and estimates the true reinstatement sum insured.
Site-based Reinstatement Cost Assessment (RCA)
A site-based RCA which represents industry best practice, is RICS-compliant and has no limitation on suitable properties (commercial, residential and flats). It’s a traditional valuation service which involves a physical visit to your site and is supported by major insurers for average waiver guarantee.
What is a building valuation for insurance?
A building valuation is an assessment of what it would cost to rebuild your property in the event of total loss. The assessment can be done via different methods, for example BCH’s desk-based survey or Reinstatement Cost Assessment.
Once you receive the property valuation report, you can discuss with your insurance broker if you would like to amend the sum insured on your policy. This will give you peace of mind that you have an accurate amount of insurance cover so that you are not underinsured.
Reinstatement Cost Assessment FAQs
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about RCAs and desktop surveys.
Why might my property be underinsured?
Covid-19, Brexit, the shortage of HGV drivers and rising fuel costs have significantly increased the cost of building materials in the UK. This means if your property hasn’t had a Reinstatement Cost Assessment in the past 12 months, it’s highly likely that it’s undervalued and you could be at risk of being underinsured.
A recent report completed by BCH for Aston Lark, a Howden Company, based on a large number of valuations carried out, revealed that 80% of buildings were found to be underinsured with an average increase required of 61%. So, it’s important to ask yourself, when was the last time you had your building valued?
What is a reinstatement cost?
A reinstatement cost is the amount of money it would take to rebuild your property from scratch.
To make sure your property is as protected as possible, it's crucial to ensure that your reinstatement cost is accurate.
A RICS-compliant Reinstatement Cost Assessment, or desktop survey (for buildings with a reinstatement value of under £5m) can help with this.
How could underinsurance affect me?
If your building is underinsured and you need to make a claim, the insurer is likely to apply a Condition of Average clause where the claim is reduced proportionally to the value of underinsurance.
So, if you need to make a claim on your policy, your claim could be reduced, leaving you to cover the remaining costs of repair or reinstatement yourself.
Here’s an example of the Condition of Average:
- You make a claim of £200,000 on a building insured for £480,000.
- The building should be insured for £600,000.
- The insurers are only liable to pay 80% of the £200,000 claim.
- You receive £160,000.
Is my property incorrectly valued?
Here are some questions to ask yourself to work out whether you might be underinsured.
- Has a professional Reinstatement Cost Assessment (RCA) been carried out in the past 12 months?
- Is the market value of my property being used as the reinstatement value?
- Is the location of the premises difficult to access (town centres, terraced buildings)?
- What is the age of the property? Older buildings often cost more to rebuild.
- Is the property listed?
- Has the property been built with new eco-friendly features or designs?
- Does the building have extensive external features (yards, car parks, gardens)?
- Has the building recently been altered or extended?
- Have changing building regulations been accounted for?
What is a desk-based e-valuation?
Benchmark is Barrett Corp & Harrington (BCH)’s online valuation service for properties with reinstatement costs of up to £5m.
This desk-based e-valuation service utilises BCH’s extensive and growing dataset of site-based valuations in addition to other recognised databases, including the Building Cost Information Services (BCIS) provided by RICS.
Your property could be suitable for this service if it:
- has a current declared value of up to £5m for commercial property and £2m for residential property.
- is listed up to Grade II (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
BCH offers this service to Endsleigh customers at a discounted flat fee of £99+VAT.
Following your survey, you will receive a valuation for your property. You can then provide this declared value to your insurance broker who will arrange the correct sum insured on your policy.
Please note that this service is now accepted by many insurers, however, is not compliant with RICS guidance.
How much does a desk-based e-valuation cost?
A desktop survey via Barrett Corp & Harrington (BCH)’s online valuation service, Benchmark, is offered to Endsleigh customers at a discounted flat fee of £99+VAT.
What is a Reinstatement Cost Assessment?
A Reinstatement Cost Assessment is a site-based survey which represents industry best practice. RCAs are RICS-compliant and have no limitation on suitable properties (commercial, residential and flats).
There is a physical property visit to measure and assess the reinstatement costs. Following this, you will receive a final reinstatement figure which represents the total cost required to re-build your property, for demolition and debris removal and for professional and statutory fees.
How much does a BCH RICS-compliant Reinstatement Cost Assessment cost?
For commercial/residential properties, your RCA cost will depend on your current declared value.
For a site-based Reinstatement Cost Assessment quote, click here.
How often do you need to review your declared value/sum insured?
You should check the sum insured on your insurance policy every year to make sure it is accurate.
For site-based Reinstatement Cost Assessments, RICS guidance and many policy wordings recommend a “Major Review” at the three-year anniversary of the RCA. BCH’s desktop Major Review service satisfies the criteria and has proven to be acceptable to insurers for the purposes of extending average waiver. It should be noted that annual indexation should also be applied between surveys.
The combined cost of the original survey and Major Review typically provides better value to customers over a six year period, whilst ensuring your property remains suitably insured providing you undertake annual indexation in between times. A six-year revisit will also be discounted should you come back to BCH for this service.
For Benchmark desk-based e-valuations, whilst there is no guidance on the regularity of review, it would be prudent to ensure reviews are conducted, including annual indexation, to meet the criteria of the policy wording or the advice of your insurers.
Interested in a building Reinstatement Cost Assessment?
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