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Thatched roof home insurance


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What is a thatched roof?

Instead of typical roof coverings like slates or tiles, thatched roofs are made using natural materials like straw, reeds, or rushes that are tightly woven together.

You’ll typically find thatched roofs on homes in rural areas, where they’re made and maintained by professional thatchers using centuries-old methods.

Thatching can add plenty of charm and character, but it can also be a great way to insulate a home. And if properly looked after, a thatched roof can last for 40 years or more

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What home insurance do you need?

A home with a thatched roof is considered non-standard and many thatched properties are listed buildings, so it’s important to have the right cover.

Thatched roofs cost more to maintain, can come with a greater risk of fire damage, and are more expensive to replace than regular roofs, so you’ll need specialist home insurance.

Thatched roof home insurance is specifically designed for properties with a complete or partially-thatched roof.

Just like standard home insurance, it covers unexpected events like floods, storms and fires.

But it also provides specific cover for the extra risks involved with having a thatched roof and the expertise needed to repair or replace them.

Home insurance for a thatched house

Buildings insurance

This covers the structure of your thatched home, as well as all its permanent fixtures and fittings. You can get buildings insurance and contents cover as a combined home insurance policy

Contents insurance

Contents insurance covers the belongings in your home and possibly the items in your garden, shed and outbuildings, depending on the policy

Cover for fires, storms and floods

Your buildings, contents or combined policy will cover your thatched home and/or belongings for fire, storm and flood damage, and theft

Optional extras

You can usually add extras to your policy if they aren’t already included, like legal expenses and accidental damage cover

Benefits of a thatched roof

As well as adding plenty of charm, thatched roofs have a number of benefits:

  • They’re hard-wearing and can last up to 40 years or more with the right care
  • They provide excellent insulation, which can help you save on your heating bills
  • Thatch materials are sustainable and environmentally friendly
  • Thatching is very versatile and can be shaped to cover unusual roof shapes
  • It’s naturally waterproof and water will just run off with the right roof pitch
  • Thatch is light so it doesn’t need as much timber in the roof to support it
  • A thatched roof can add value and character to your home

What are the risks of owning a thatched roof property?

There are some disadvantages to owning a thatched home that you should consider:

  • Thatch materials can cause a fire to spread more quickly
  • Thatched roofs are more expensive to repair and replace
  • Thatch doesn’t typically last as long as slate or tiled roofs
  • You’ll need to keep on top of regular roof maintenance
  • Your insurer may require your thatched roof to be inspected regularly
  • Thatched roofs can be more prone to pest infestation
  • Most thatched homes are listed and come with strict regulations

If your home’s less of a fire risk, it could save you money on your insurance

For more information about thatched roofs and how they should be maintained, take a look at the Thatching Advisory Services website.

Are thatched roofs more expensive to insure?

Yes. This is partly because the materials and skills needed for thatched roofs are more unusual and specialist than those used for standard homes.

This means any maintenance work needed to repair or replace them will be more expensive.

And although a thatched roof doesn’t increase the risk of a fire, its natural materials can make it much more likely to cause severe damage if one does start in your home.

Your thatched cottage could also be a listed building which means rules could restrict repairs or construction and make it more expensive to get work done.

So, overall, if you had to make a claim for a thatched roof, it’s likely to cost more which bumps up your premiums.

Are there any other factors to consider?

Yes, depending on the insurer, cover for your thatched home might be dependent on you agreeing to certain conditions. These could include:

  • Your home’s electrical wiring being inspected by a qualified electrician every ten years
  • Your thatched roof being inspected by a qualified thatcher once every five years
  • Your chimney being cleaned twice a year and inspected every five years
  • Keeping at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of your home

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How to reduce the cost of thatch insurance premiums

If you own a thatched property, there are a few things you can do to help lower the cost of home insurance:

  1. Fit smoke detectors

    These should be mains operated and fitted on each floor level, including in the loft space

  2. Check your wiring

    Get your electrics checked every five years by a qualified electrician

  3. Clean and line your chimney

    Have your chimney swept and its brickwork checked regularly. Lining the chimney will prevent heat transfer

  4. Install a fire barrier

    When it’s time for re-thatching, install a fire-resistant barrier underneath the thatch

  5. Use a fire-retardant spray

    Another way to make your thatched roof more fire resistant is to have it professionally sprayed

  6. Increase your voluntary excess

    This can lower your premiums, but you’ll need to balance this with what you’d be able to afford if you had to make a claim

  7. Compare quotes

    Get thatch insurance quotes here at GoCompare

Compare thatch roof insurance to get the right cover for your thatched property

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Frequently asked questions

You can get home insurance for all types of thatched roofs, including long straw, water reed, and wheat reed.

However, if yours is constructed from a material that falls outside these categories, check the small print of your policy to make sure your roof is covered.

Yes, if your home will be empty for a period it’s usually still possible for it to be insured. The type of cover you’ll need will depend on how long your home will be unoccupied.

Standard policies will usually cover homes if they’re unoccupied for less than 60 days.

But if your home’s likely to be unoccupied for longer, you’ll need to take out unoccupied property insurance.

Yes, thatched homes are often listed, but you should still be able to get a quote for your listed property.

However, owning a listed building usually means your home will have a higher rebuild cost which will increase your home insurance premiums.

No, while most thatched properties are more than a hundred years old, it’s also possible to get new build homes with thatched roofs.

If you’ve got a newer thatched property, you may be able to get buildings insurance with a standard insurance provider. But as your roof is non-standard, you might still need a specialist thatched policy to get the right level of cover.

Thatching is a flexible and soft material so it can be shaped to fit almost any shape of building, new or old. However, thatch does need a pitched roof to allow the water to run off.

Thatched roofs are no more likely to cause a fire than other types of roof. However, if there is a fire, the natural thatch materials mean it can spread more quickly.

So a fire can cause more extensive damage than if you had a home with a standard slate or tile roof.

Fires generally start in the chimney and can spread to the roof if the brickwork hasn’t been properly maintained. To reduce the risk, make sure your chimneys are lined, regularly swept, and the chimney stacks are inspected periodically.

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Page last reviewed: 02 February 2023

Page reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury