Many people dream of owning a lovely thatched cottage in a quaint village, perhaps with roses growing around the door and a smashing country pub just across the green, but this kind of property isn't always easy to insure.
Lots of insurers refuse to offer cover for thatched homes at all, because they are considered non-standard and are at much greater risk of significant fire damage than a normal tiled roof. Those mainstream insurers which do offer cover for this kind of property usually charge very high premiums.
The good news is that there are several specialist providers which offer thatched roof home insurance which often charge lower premiums. As they are specialists, they can often provide homeowners with valuable information about how a thatched roof should be maintained, as well as offering tips on fire safety.
Why thatched roof home insurance premiums are expensive
The amount of buildings insurance you need is based on the re-build cost of your property, rather than its market value.
The re-build cost is how much it would set you back to re-construct your property brick by brick in the event it was completely destroyed. Thatched properties are often constructed using specialist techniques and materials, which is why their re-build cost is typically higher than it would be for a tiled property.
If a thatched property catches fire, the damage caused is often substantial as the fire can spread very quickly.
Lots of thatched properties are also listed, which means they are of special architectural or historic interest. This can again bump up the cost of premiums, as if your property is damaged, it will have to be repaired using the method it was originally constructed, which may not be straightforward.
Make sure you get specialist advice about the actual re-build cost of your thatched property before buying cover, so that you can be certain you don't end up under or over-insured.
You may be able to reduce the cost of premiums for your thatched property by ensuring you are properly protected against fire.
Many sure you check your chimney regularly and have it swept at least twice a year. The vast majority of thatched property fires are causes by faults in the chimney flue, so maintenance is essential.
You should also install smoke detectors all around your property, including in the roof space, so that you will be alerted straight away if a fire has started. If possible, use a fire resistant barrier to separate the roof void from the thatch and spray the thatch with a fire retardant coating to reduce the risk of fire – this might result in a discount in premiums.
It might actually be a requirement with some policies.
Compare thatched roof home insurance quotes
Before buying home insurance for your thatched property, always compare quotes from several different insurers, as premiums can vary widely & as can the level of cover offered.
There are several specialist providers which offer thatched roof home insurance
Bear in mind that certain insurers may insist on certain safety measures before they will provide cover. They might also send out someone to 'survey' your property to get a true assessment of the risks involved. This will help them set an accurate price.
If you find that premiums are much higher than you expected, one way you might be able to reduce the cost of cover is by raising the voluntary excess on your policy.
The excess is the portion of any claim you must pay yourself. Home insurance policies usually come with a mandatory excess and a voluntary excess. While you can't alter the mandatory excess which is set by the insurer, you can usually opt to pay a low or high voluntary excess. The higher you set this, the lower your premiums will be, but remember not to set it so high that you wouldn't be able to afford to make a claim.