Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Insurance for Thatched Properties

Thatched properties were once considered a symbol of poverty. However, things have changed today and these thatched properties now serve as classic showpieces of history as well as an integral part of rural lifestyle in the UK. Given the unique requirements of home insurance for thatched properties, very few insurance providers come forward to offer household insurance schemes for such structures.

Thatched roof structures, simple holiday homes or comfortable cottages set in an idyllic and picturesque rural setting may seem very inviting to the city dweller. However, there is a slight difficulty in obtaining an affordable insurance cover for these properties, primarily because of the inflammable nature of thatch. Contrary to common belief, thatched roofs may not really go up in flames immediately but tend to smoulder causing a different kind of damage to the underlying structure – once the fire starts to spread the destruction is extensive.

Thatched properties are, in fact, exposed to the very same risks faced by standard homes. With quality electrical installation and safety systems in place, fire accidents are easily preventable. 

Home Insurance Costs for Thatched Properties

Inexperienced insurance providers or those who do not wish to handle additional risks may quote exorbitantly high rates to secure thatched structures. Though the costs may be slightly higher than house insurance cover for standard homes, they can get reasonable depending on the insurance provider.

Why exactly is it expensive to obtain home insurance and house contents insurance for thatched structures? 
  • Thatch has now become a scarce resource, given the popularity of mechanised farming. It is, therefore, costly to repair or replace damaged roofs. Further, the task also requires hiring expert craftsmen skilled in thatching roofs. This makes it expensive to hunt for and employ the services of experienced thatchers.
  • The durability of a repaired or replaced thatched roof depends on the quality of a thatch used for the purpose and how well it is packed to reconstruct the structure. Local weather conditions also determine the life span of thatched roofs.
Given these unique requirements, thatched structures are relatively expensive to insure. 
Yet another important factor that influences insurance cost is the age of the structure. Listed properties need additional care to maintain the structure intact and, hence, quality of material or craftsmanship cannot be compromised for cost.

Saving on Home Insurance Costs for Thatched Structures

It is possible to save up on home insurance costs for thatched structures by adopting prescribed precautionary measures that help reduce risks associated with these properties. Some of these preventive measures are:
  • Fire proofing chimneys and flues, especially if woodstoves are used in the fireplace and kitchens in thatched properties
  • Regular inspection and cleaning of chimneys to ensure the safety of these structures
  • Using prescribed electrical fittings and wiring to reduce the risk of electrical faults that may trigger a fire.
  • Fire proofing thatched roofing with prescribed flame retardants 
  • Securing the empty space below the roof with a fire-resistant plank or board to prevent damage to home interiors.
  • Installing fire alarm or smoke detectors within home interiors as well as vantage points on the roof to detect fires before they get visible.
In addition to implementing these safety mechanisms, having a powder fire extinguisher handy will help to immediately douse any suspicious flare in the structure.

Home insurance providers usually include these safety measures as a part of their policy, making them mandatory to stake a claim. They also offer advisory services on safety measures and help assess the value of property, risks, rebuild costs, and accordingly decide on the cover.

1 comment:

  1. Thatched houses are really so nice and picturesque... and can suggest a romantic setting! But, it is a fire hazard!


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