Thatched property insurance is specifically designed for homes with a thatched roof. It is an alternative to traditional buildings or home contents insurance policies that may either refuse to cover a thatched property or charge extremely high premiums. Options for choosing the best thatched property insurance include comparing mainstream insurers, searching for specialists, or taking out insurance deals offered by thatched property owner associations.
The main reason why thatched property insurance may be needed is the obvious one: the roof is more flammable than some other types of roofing materials. This not only increases the potential for a fire, but also the likely extent of the damage if a fire breaks out. There are several other reasons why thatched properties may need specialist or more expensive insurance, however. These include the fact that thatched properties are normally older, that they are made of unconventional structures, and that they are more likely to have timber frames that are at risk both of fire, damp or even insect damage.
When choosing thatched property insurance, it's often worth going to a specialist. This is because the specialist will have the expertise to price your policy based on your specific home rather than simply adding a fixed amount because it happens to be thatched. Some insurers will even cover the cost of carrying out a full survey of the property.
Having a survey will not only assess the true risk of damage. It will also give a more accurate assessment of the costs of rebuilding the property. While it may be impossible to rebuild an exact replica, it could turn out that the rebuild costs are lower than with a traditional property, meaning the premiums are lower.
Many thatched properties are rented out to tenants, either as long-term rentals or as a vacation property. If this is the case for your home, you must mention this to the insurer. This may mean higher premiums because of the added risk of accidental damage caused by temporary residents, but not mentioning it may result in a future rejected claim.
There are several organizations and associations aimed at thatched property owners, offering advice, support and networking opportunities. If you are a member of such a group, you may be able to access a specialist thatched property insurance at a lower rate. Don't automatically assume this will be the best deal — instead, use it as a basis for shopping around.