Menu

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to these FAQs you may also wish to consult the Church Scheme Policy Summary

Q.1. Cafe/Restaurant – what cover do I need to arrange if we have cafe or restaurant facilities or we are planning to start one.

Q.2. Change of Congregational Contact Details – what should we do?

Q.3.Charity Shop - what cover do I need to arrange if we have a charity shop?

Q.4. Church of Scotland Insurance Services Ltd - Why do Church of Scotland Congregations have to insure through the company?

Q.5. First Loss Cover: does the company consider any alternative basis for settlement of claims?

Q.6. Health & Safety Advice – where can we obtain health and safety advice?

Q.7.Instalments – can we pay our insurance premiums by instalments?

Q.8.Member to Member Liability: what is this all about?

Q.9. Presbytery – are the activities of the presbytery covered under our scheme policy?

Q.10. Property in Bank Custody: do we receive a discount for this?

Q.11. Rebuilding the Church; As a Congregation we wouldn’t rebuild the church as it is if it burnt down so why do we need to insure it for full reinstatement value?

Q.12.Reinstatement Values:  I can’t understand how the reinstatement value of our building can have increased so markedly so how can I be sure that the valuation is accurate?

Q.13 Revaluation: How often should we have our buildings revalued for insurance purposes?

Q.14. Revaluation: Why should the Church of Scotland Insurance Services Limited apply the new sums insured after the revaluation without waiting for the renewal date?

Q.15.Theft of Metals – what cover is available under the scheme?

Q.16.Vacant Manses and Dwelling Houses: what should we do if the manse becomes vacant?

Q.17.Valuations: what do we need know about valuations?

Q.18.Volunteers - do we need to make any special insurance arrangements for volunteers at the church?


Q.1. Cafe/Restaurant – what cover do I need to arrange if we have cafe or restaurant facilities or we are planning to start one.

Answer: Liability cover in respect of the operation of a café or restaurant within your church or church hall is included automatically in your Church Scheme policy. You simply need to let us know the value of any cafe stock or fixtures that you have and we can arrange for them to be added to your policy. An optional extension of goods in transit is also available should they be required. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Back to the top

Q.2. Change of Congregational Contact Details – what should we do?

Answer: Our usual contact with Congregations is through the Treasurer, we would be most grateful if you would please advise us in writing of any changes, including a contact telephone number and e-mail address. You may wish to use the Contact Us option on this site to let us know of any changes.

Back to the top


Q.3.Charity Shop - what cover do I need to arrange if we have a charity shop?

Answer: Liability cover in respect of the operation of a charity shop within your church or church hall is included automatically in your scheme policy. You simply need to let us know the value of any charity shop stock or fixtures that you have and we can arrange for them to be added to your policy. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Back to the top


Q.4. Church of Scotland Insurance company Ltd - Why do Church of Scotland Congregations have to insure through the company?

Answer: The Church of Scotland General Trustees are the owners of most ecclesiastical buildings that belong to the Church of Scotland and are therefore entitled to direct the placing of cover and they require that such buildings are insured under the Scheme. Moreover the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2013 also instructed all Financial Boards and Courts to insure all ecclesiastical buildings, contents and liabilities through the Scheme. 

tBack to the top


Q.5. First Loss Cover: does the company consider any alternative basis for settlement of claims?

Answer: This may also be known as either "Agreed Value" or "Special Basis of Valuation". It is not our normal practice to provide cover on this basis. In exceptional circumstances requests may be considered provided that they have the written support of the General Trustees, involve massive buildings reinstatement sums insured of at least £20,000,000 and are not "Listed" buildings.

Back to the top


Q.6.  Health & Safety Advice – where can we obtain health and safety advice?

Answer: We are able to offer some health and safety advice and guidance to congregations so please give us a call. Information is also provided on our website, so please visit our Guidelines page. We have also further risk management informnation available with the permission of our partner insurers at (http://www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions/cosic/). Furthermore, the Church of Scotland Safe Buildings Consultant (Brian Auld) can provide you wish guidance, the Church of Scotland also provide general health and safety guidance on their website, please click here  to review it.

Back to the top


Q.7.Instalments – can we pay our insurance premiums by instalments?

Answer: Premiums can be paid by Direct Debit. They are normally collected by 10 equal monthly instalments that begin on either your renewal date or the policy inception date. If the collection date is not a normal working day, the amount will be collected on the next working day. There is no credit charge applied.

Where you find it necessary to cancel your direct debit instruction, please do not do so until you have received all relevant paperwork from us - this includes circumstances such as churches falling into disuse and/or unification with other churches.

Back to the top


Q.8.Member to Member Liability: what is this all about?

Answer: Many Congregational Boards permit the use of their halls by congregation members for non-hazardous club activities. Examples may include flower arranging, badminton, carpet bowls etc. Provided that the club is conducted on a "not for profit" basis, within the church premises and does not have its own constitution, the Public Liability section of the policy will provide this cover. It will, however, be necessary to ascertain also that the club concerned is not affiliated to a national association and that it does not involve hazardous activities.

Back to the top


Q.9. Presbytery – are the activities of the presbytery covered under our scheme policy?

Answer: Presbyteries are deemed to be separate legal entities and therefore do not benefit from the protection afforded by the main insurance scheme arrangements. Separate arrangements that insure the liabilities and property belonging to presbyteries or for which they are legally responsible are available through us. Please contact us for details.

Back to the top


Q.10. Property in Bank Custody: do we receive a discount for this?

Answer: Some congregations make arrangements with their Bank for the safekeeping of their valuables, such as Communion Plate, other precious metals, works of art, and collections when not in use. Where such items are insured under the All Risks Section of the Church Scheme policy (being more than £15,000 in value any one item) they benefit from reduced premiums that reflect the reduced insurance exposure. The insurance that is provided includes items being transported by congregational board members between the Bank and the church.

Back to the top


Q.11. Rebuilding the Church; As a Congregation we wouldn’t rebuild the church as it is if it burnt down so why do we need to insure it for full reinstatement value?

Answer: The majority of losses that occur are partial in nature and the major portion of premiums paid go to fund these types of losses. Partial losses will generally require replacement or repair using traditional materials and this can be very costly. Insurance premiums are calculated upon the full reinstatement value (including fees) of the building so it is important this figure is selected as your sum insured. Moreover in our experience several factors such as listed building status and/or the desire of the congregation to replace a cherished asset means the outcome of a major fire is generally to rebuild very much as before. 

Back to the top


Q.12.Reinstatement Values:  I can’t understand how the reinstatement value of our building can have increased so markedly so how can I be sure that the valuation is accurate?

Answer: Many ecclesiastical buildings are of traditional design and construction and also tend to have special features such as towers, spires, ornamentation, internal galleries and the like. Many are remotely located or do not have easy access being situated in churchyards. These and other factors must be taken into account when assessing the likely reinstatement costs which makes revaluation considerably more complex than applying a simple multiplier taken from an index suitable for modern buildings. The complexities of design, construction and location mentioned above together with the cost and sometimes scarcity of materials and skilled tradesmen may mean that inflationary factors over the years can have a disproportionate impact upon church reinstatement valuations. If it has been several years since your last valuation it would not be surprising to experience a sizeable uplift. The valuers who have been involved in the revaluation exercise have many years’ experience in this field and are acknowledged as skilled professionals. In at least one case involving a very large increase, an independent valuation instructed by a Presbytery corroborated the original figure.

Back to the top


Q.13.Revaluation: How often should we have our buildings revalued for insurance purposes?

Answer: Ideally, Financial Boards should be reviewing the level of reinstatement cover regularly and as a minimum every five years. This should naturally take into account any changes or alterations or disposals to the buildings and contents that have been made during the period under review. On the assumption that all ecclesiastical buildings have been revalued as a result of the programme, it should be possible for future revaluations to be undertaken largely on a desktop basis except where there have been major alterations or a new build. A desktop revaluation should cost significantly less and would largely avoid the situation where a Financial Board has to play ‘catch-up’. In addition further protection is provided by the application of an index linking factor to the sums insured, adjusted annually to take into account the anticipated trends in the relevant reinstatement costs.

Back to the top


Q.14. Revaluation: Why should the Church of Scotland Insurance Services Limited apply the new sums insured after the revaluation without waiting for the renewal date?

Answer:  The company is seeking to ensure that the interests of the Congregations and Trustees are properly protected by acting speedily to update the reinstatement value of the buildings. As explained previously it is important that insurance of church buildings is undertaken on the basis of the reinstatement value. To insure on any other basis means that Congregations may have to find from their own resources potentially significant amounts in the event of underinsurance being present should a large loss occur. Further, once a revised level of reinstatement value has been notified to the Congregation, the charity trustees for the Congregation (members of the Board and/or Session) would be acting negligently by failing to implement the outcome of the revaluation as soon as possible.

Back to the top


Q.15.Theft of Metals – what cover is available under the scheme?

Answer: The Church Scheme Policy was amended to include a limited form of cover for Theft of Metals from the 1st January 2012. Cover included theft damage to buildings including lanadords' fixtures and fittings and non ferrous metals including subsequent damage up to £25,000 for any one claim and in any one period of insurance. The limit was extended to £50,000 on the 1st January 2016. In order for cover to operate the insured contingency of riot civil commotion and malicious damage must also be in force.

The excess in respect of theft of metals and any subsequent damage is increased to £500. In addition unless the premises are protected by SmartWater, the signage displayed and the use registered with SmartWater Technology Limited a 50% co-insurance clause applies to claims involving theft of non-ferrous metals and any ensuing damage. This means if you fail to comply with this you will be responsible for 50% of any claim from you own resources. Should this amount be less than £500 then the increased excess will apply. Please contact us for more information regarding SmartWater as an initial starter kit is provided free of charge.

Back to the top


Q.16.Vacant Manses and Dwelling Houses: what should we do if the manse becomes vacant?

Answer: It is important and a condition of the scheme policy that when any building becomes unoccupied you advise us immediately. We will be able to provide you with advice as to how the building can be best protected during the period of unoccupancy. It is important to note that when the building is unoccupied for a period of 45 days or more, cover in respect of certain risks is withdrawn, and conditions are applied to the policy which you must comply with. For full information please refer to the Empty Buildings Section.

Back to the top


Q.17.Valuations: what do we need know about valuations?

Answer: We are not qualified to provide professional valuations for insurance purposes and you should seek independent professional advice from companies that are experienced in the valuation of ecclesiastical property. You should also seek confirmation that they have valid Professional Indemnity insurance in place since that will protect your position should they fail in their professional duty to you. Please also provide us with a copy of your valuation as soon as is practicable to ensure your sum insured remains adequate to protect you in the event of a loss.

Back to the top


Q.18.Volunteers - do we need to make any special insurance arrangements for volunteers at the church?

Answer: Volunteers whilst working with you or for you on church business would generally be considered to be employees for the purposes of the relevant Employers Liability legislation. They are carrying out work for the church and, even although they may be unpaid, they are entitled to expect that you exercise the same duty of care towards them under Health and Safety legislation as if they were paid employees.  If in doubt regarding any activities your volunteers are undertaking please contact us.

Back to the top