A thatched cottage is a type of house that is primarily found in the United Kingdom. The term “cottage” in this sense does not refer to a small dwelling, but to any country house or residence with a certain kind of roof; the steep sides upturned at the eaves being the identifying feature of the thatched cottage.
If you are thinking of buying (or renting) this kind of beautiful property for the first time, you will likely be wondering if it’s insurable and how astronomical any premium may be.
Here’s the essentials of what you need to know about insuring your thatched cottage.
Can You Insure A Thatched Cottage?
First of all, can you even insure a thatched cottage? Yes, you can insure a thatched cottage because it is considered a valid dwelling.
Legally speaking, a dwelling is defined as “a house or any building or part of a building…occupied either permanently or temporarily.”
So, you can legally insure your thatched cottage, and there are insurers underwriting these picture-perfect locations.
Are Thatched Cottages Expensive To Insure?
There’s always a ‘but’. Thatched cottages are more expensive to insure. The figures on the thatched cottage insurance premium will depend on a number of factors and there are a number of smart things you can do to reduce these figures.
Bear in mind that both your buildings and contents will be higher, not just your buildings, because of the fire risk.
Average Cost of Thatched Roof Insurance
Unfortunately it’s impossible to give an average cost for thatched property insurance as there are so many factors that go into how much you pay.
The cost of thatched roof insurance in the UK can vary significantly depending on factors such as the age and location of the property, the construction materials used, the level of coverage required and so much more.
Let’s look at some of the factors that influence this cost.
Insurance For Thatched Houses – What Factors Affect the Cost?
The first major thing that influences the cost of thatched cottages is the age of the building. The older it is, the more likely there are to be problems with structural damage and maintenance, which means you’ll have higher thatched cottage insurance rates.
As many thatched cottages are listed buildings, this will drive up the premium yet again because of the rebuild/restoration costs and the price of any specified materials.
However, it is the fire risk that is the biggest driver: though statistically thatched houses do not have fires any more often than normal houses, when they burn, they burn quickly and often with devastating consequences.
Thatched cottage chimneys and roofs are also designed to repel water, which although great insulation and protection from the weather is not helpful when the fire brigade are trying to extinguish a fire.
The fire risk means your contents will be more expensive to insure too.
There are things you can do to reduce the insurance premiums and the risk of fire such as getting your chimney swept regularly or getting Thatchbatts® installed. In fact, some insurers will make it a prerequisite of your thatch insurance that you do this.
Do I Need To Go To A Specialist Insurance Broker?
Some insurers will not touch thatched cottages. However, the web makes it easy to find an insurance company and/or broker who will insure your house. A specialist broker should be able to help get you better insurance rates and/or terms on thatched cottages.
It is not just how much you pay in the premium but what you are covered for you should concern yourself with. Specialist brokers can help advise on what you need to look out for in the policy’s T & Cs.
What Do I Need To Keep My Thatched Roof Insurance Not Being Voided?
You must always read your insurance policy’s small print. Everybody knows that if an insurer can wiggle out of paying a claim (or reducing it), they will.
Make sure you know what your insurer demands of you as a homeowner and ignore it at your risk.
For instance, the small print may very often say that if you have a fire or wood burner, you must get the chimney swept twice a year. If you don’t do this and you have a house fire, you may not be covered at all.
Thatched Property Insurance
Thatched cottages are desirable properties. They have a remarkable look and feel to them and a unique charm and character that many people are immediately smitten by.
However, they also come with specific risks that need to be understood and addressed and thus a higher cost than the norm for thatch insurance for both buildings and contents.