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Thatched roof home insurance

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What is a thatched roof?

A thatched roof is made from plant material – typically straw, combed wheat reed or water reed. The material is layered in a way that keeps the inner roof dry and well-insulated.

Straw is preferred for its looks but reed can last much longer, with a lifespan of up to 40 years versus a maximum life of 20 years for straw. Good, regular maintenance helps you get the most out of your thatched roof.

Insurers view thatched roofs as riskier than standard roofs. This is mainly due to the increased fire risk posed by a roof made from plant material. A fire can engulf a straw or reed thatch at frightening speed, and soon rip through the entire building.

Thatched roofs are also more vulnerable to damage from birds and vermin. Holes caused by animals could make the inner roof of a thatched building liable to water damage.

What insurance is available for thatched roof homes?

Thatched roof insurance is a type of non-standard home insurance. There are 2 types of thatched roof insurance to choose from depending on your needs: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance protects the actual structure of your home, as well as any fixtures and including the thatched roof itself.

Contents insurance covers all of your personal possessions inside the house.

You can also choose to combine both buildings and contents insurance into a single policy.

Thatched roof insurance is tailored to the increased risk of fire damage and the specialist skills needed to fix or replace such a roof. This insurance will usually cover:

  • Fire
  • Flood and storm damage
  • Theft

But it is always important to check your policy for the exact level of cover.

Are thatched roof houses more expensive to insure?

Thated roof houses do tend to be more expensive to insure. This is mainly due to the increased fire risk that comes with thatch versus a tile or slate roof.

There are some ways to reduce your fire risk and save money on your thatched roof insurance policy:

Install smoke alarms on all floors and in the roof space

Fit heat monitors for wood burners so you’ll get a warning if your flue is overheating

Look after your chimney with regular maintenance and make sure it’s swept frequently

Book regular wiring inspections for your electrical fittings with a qualified electrician

Fit a fire barrier coated with fire-resistant chemicals under the thatch

Professionally treat your thatch with fire retardant spray

As with all home insurance, other ways to lower your premiums include:

  • Choosing a higher excess
  • Paying annually

What do I need to get a quote?

You can get quotes on thatched roof insurance from a range of insurers through Confused.com. But to make sure you're fully covered, it's really important you give us all the right details when you get a quote.

Here are some of the key things we’ll need to know about your house when you get a quote on thatched cottage insurance:

  • Details about your thatched roof
  • When your house was built
  • Whether your house is a listed building
  • What materials the exterior walls are made of
  • The condition of the building
  • Whether the house is underpinned or has reinforced foundations
  • Any signs or history of subsidence
  • Any history of flooding
  • Rebuild costs

Details about your thatched roof should include what it's made of, when it was last re-thatched, when it was last inspected and what condition it's currently in. Insurers generally want to know that your thatched roof is well-maintained, with fire risk being kept to a minimum.

When your house was built is important to know as if your house is particularly old, your thatched roof insurance quotes might be a little higher.

If your house is a listed building due to special or historic interest your insurer will need to know as they can be harder to repair.

What the exterior walls are made of, such as wattle and daub, can also affect your insurance costs as this is also considered non-standard construction.

The condition of the building is needed as your insurer will want to know if there are any structural problems like damp or faulty wiring.

Whether your house been underpinned or had the foundations reinforced should be detailed in your mortgage valuation or HomeBuyer Report

Signs or a history of subsidence are more common in older homes as their foundations are often shallower than modern homes.

History of flooding refers to flooding from natural sources like rivers rather than burst pipes.

The rebuild cost of your home can determine how much you can claim should your home suffer serious damage. Find out how to calculate your rebuild cost with our guide or use the free rebuild cost calculator from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) could help with your estimate.

Compare thatched roof home insurance quotes

Tips to help maintain your thatched roof

Good thatched roof maintenance should help prolong its life and reduce fire risk.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Fire safety checks
  • Work with experienced, highly-rated thatchers
  • Trim surrounding trees
  • Control algae and moss
  • Regular maintenance checks

Insurers typically require a certain level of ongoing maintenance – if damage occurs due to poor maintenance your policy might not pay out.

Pros and cons of owning a thatched cottage

There are pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking of buying a thatched roof cottage.

The pros of owning a thatched roof home include:

  • Thatched roofs look good and add character and novelty value to your home.
  • Using plant materials for roofing is environmentally friendly.
  • Thatched roofs have strong insulation properties, helping you keep warm in winter and cool in summer.

But of course there are cons to consider too:

  • Thatched roofs can be expensive to install .
  • They need more maintenance and regular inspections.
  • Their increased fire risks mean you’ll need to consider safety measures.

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What our home insurance expert says

Thatched roof homes are more complicated to cover as they pose a higher risk for insurers. Regular repair, maintenance and fire precautions can help with getting a quote. Insurers will want to know your roof is in good condition before they offer cover.
Jessica Willock home insurance expert signature

Jessica Willock

Home insurance product manager

After buying home insurance, 96% of Confused.com customers would recommend us (based on 28304 Reviews.co.uk respondents - as of 17/10/22). Read our reviews