FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long will the assessment take?
High levels of demand mean that desktop assessments are currently taking around 15 working days from acknowledgment of order. However, this is a guide only and some assessments may be completed sooner. If it appears an assessment may take longer than stipulated, we will contact you and advise you accordingly.
Is VAT charged on the transaction?
Yes. Like most commercial arrangements HMRC set specific rules and guidance with regard to VAT and how it is charged (what products and services VAT will apply to and what rate).
The service with respect to HMRC rules is regarded as a VATable supply and therefore all invoices for this service will have VAT added. We do appreciate that many of our customers will not have the ability to reclaim the VAT back based on their VAT status. However, this has been addressed when reviewing the pricing arrangements across our customer base i.e. it is still more cost effective to order an assessment via the broker online portal taking into account the cost of the assessment and the VAT (combined) than a policyholder (property owner) ordering direct and having the ability to claim back VAT.
There are specific schemes available to brokers with respect to ‘inspection’ services where there are special arrangements allowing for the broker to order the service and in certain circumstances, the policyholder will still have the ability to reclaim the VAT. We have taken guidance from specialist tax advisors with respect to this matter and their guidance is that the arrangements are different with respect to inspection services which are normally ‘wrapped up’ with the supply of insurance (in many cases a mandatory provision), but with respect to a rebuild cost assessment it is not mandatory and therefore out of scope. We would always recommend that our customers speak directly to HMRC if they require further clarity as the rules are complicated.
Guidance on VAT is available on www.gov.uk/hmrc or call the VAT Helpline 0300 200 3700.
Does the assessment take all units/outbuildings into account or are these considered as separate properties?
Yes, the assessment will include all units/outbuildings within the boundaries of the property, they will be separately recorded. If on receipt of the report a unit/outbuilding has not been recorded, please notify us immediately.
Google street maps does not show an up-to-date image of the property, will this affect the assessment?
We use a number of different sources to gather the information required to complete the Rebuild Cost Assessment report. Our assessment does not rely on any one piece of information.
The property is currently having building works completed. Can you complete the assessment to indicate rebuild costs for completed works?
Part of the assessment is a review of planning applications and these will be taken into consideration. However, we are aware that not all building work is subject to planning. If your client has had any recent development of this nature, you should contact us and make us aware of this prior to the Rebuild Cost Assessment.
Will I need to supply any further information?
From time to time there may be a need for further information and if so one of our Advisers will contact you.
Is the information on my clients’ property shared with anyone else?
What happens if I input the wrong address details?
It is important you take the time to enter the full address of the property you wish to be assessed correctly, including the postcode. However, if we believe the details provided are incorrect in any way, one of our Advisers will attempt to contact you to clarify. Unfortunately, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors made by you when inputting your details.
How can I be sure that the information you use to complete the Rebuild Cost Assessment is up-to-date?
All our Rebuild Cost Assessment reports are quality assured prior to release by a member of our experienced team. The team have access to up to date rebuilding cost data available to guide them such as that of the Building Cost Information Service compiled and maintained by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
How much does a face-to-face survey cost?
The cost of an on-site Rebuild Cost Assessment depends on several factors, including the location and type of property involved. This means we only offer individual quotations per property for site assessments. Should you request a site assessment, or should we be unable to complete a desktop assessment without visiting the property, we will contact you to discuss your needs and provide a quotation.
What exactly do I get for my money? Is there a report?
The whole purpose of our service is to supply you with a comprehensive Rebuild Cost Assessment report, which you can then use to help your client determine an adequate level of insurance cover for their property. Our report provides a full breakdown of all calculations leading to our Rebuild Cost Assessment of the property and will also include building measurements, pictures and maps.
How long is your Rebuild Cost Assessment valid for? What about inflation, for example?
Our Rebuild Cost Assessment is valid at the time of the assessment. Making provision for inflation or the Retail Price Index (RPI), will normally be part of your clients’ insurance arrangements. However the inflation provision can take many forms, you will need to check this with the insurance underwriter. It is your responsibility to ensure you arrange adequate levels of cover for your clients’ buildings on an ongoing basis. Should they make any significant changes to their property that you believe could affect the Rebuild Cost, e.g. an extension, mezzanine floor or new outbuilding then again you should contact the insurance underwriter, who may recommend you obtain a revised Rebuild Cost Assessment. Within the assessment, we make recommendations with respect to the frequency of the assessment which will often depend on the complexity of the property.
How will the Rebuild Cost Assessment affect your clients’ insurance premium?
This all depends upon the findings of our Rebuild Cost Assessment and the subsequent action the policyholder chooses to take. For example, if our Rebuild Cost Assessment indicates your client has insured their property by too much, you may be able to reduce the sums insured on the property, which in turn could lead to a lower premium. Conversely, if the Rebuild Cost Assessment indicates your client has not insured their property for enough, you may need to increase the sums insured on the property, which in turn could lead to a higher premium. It is important to remember that the potential financial impact of being underinsured could be severe in the event of a claim. We always recommend you discuss the findings of our Rebuild Cost Assessment with the insurance underwriter.
Does the online survey take into account the materials a building is made from?
The notes within the report clearly set out what is and isn’t included, you can check these in advance by reviewing the ‘Assessment notes’ here.
Is there any kind of guarantee offered with your Rebuild Cost Assessment?
Some insurers are prepared to offer specific terms to modify the wording of their policy if the policyholder has taken proactive steps to ascertain the Rebuild Cost from a reputable provider. You will need to discuss this directly with the insurance underwriter.
Has RebuildCostASSESSMENT.com tested and validated the findings of its desktop assessments to provide some assurance of accuracy?
Yes we have and we continue to do so as part of our in-house Quality Assurance (QA) system and through other services we provide to the insurance industry:
a) As part of the initial development of our online desktop Rebuild Cost Assessments (RCAs) service, we carried out more than 100 on-site RCAs to facilitate comparison with the findings of our desktop RCAs. RICS surveyors were deployed, independent of those producing our desktop assessments. Whilst we are unable to publish the findings of this exercise without breaching data security and client confidentiality obligations, we can confirm that no significant variants between the desktop and site reports were identified through this process. We have subsequently developed an internal QA system to ensure ongoing and regular validation of our desktop RCAs using similar techniques.
b) As may be expected, a small proportion of home and business owners have raised questions when there has been a significant difference between existing Building Sums Insured (BSI) and our desktop RCA findings. Here we have responded to provide reassurance and have been willing to undertake site visits in a small number of cases. Where this has been necessary, we have not (as yet) found it necessary to alter our original desktop RCA following any site visit.
c) RebuildCostASSESSMENT.com has been built on an existing service that our owning organisation Rebuild Cost Assessment Ltd has been providing directly to insurance underwriters since March 2016 through the RiskSTOP Group. Here, a desktop RCA is produced in advance of an on-site Risk Management Site Survey with RiskSTOP’s Risk Management Consultant arriving on site with the building data (dimensions, construction, etc) to validate. Again no major discrepancies have been found since this service was first launched.