Thatched Roof Insurance

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What is a thatched roof?

Unlike ordinary brick-and-tile homes, thatched houses use dried reeds and grass to form a waterproof roof. Other common materials used to construct thatched roofs include wheat, barley, straw and heather. Thatched roofs built with water reed will usually last around 60 years, whereas roofs made out of other grasses will only last 30 years before being replaced. Thatched roofs have many advantages, such as being especially warm in winter and cool in the summer, creating savings on energy bills.

thatched roof insurance

Many people assume that only older homes have thatched roofs; this is untrue. Many new build homes throughout the UK are being built using thatched roofs, partially for their effectiveness against weather and also for aesthetic purposes. Thatched roofs are commonly used in the west country.

Common types of thatch include:

  • Water ('Norfolk') reed thatch
  • Longstraw ('yealm') thatch
  • Combed wheat reed ('Devon') thatch
  • Heather thatch

Why use thatched roof insurance?

It is important to point out that thatched roof insurance covers not only the roof, but also the whole property, including, if required, your home contents as well.

A common assumption among homeowners is that thatched roofs are more likely to catch fire than a regular roof. This is not always correct. New regulations and improved training have ensured that the safety of thatched roofs has improved dramatically over the years. Statistically, thatched roofs are no more likely to catch fire; however, the implications can be much more severe when they do. Due to the materials used, fires will spread much quicker and are far more difficult to extinguish.

Not only can this be a risk for your home and family, but it can also create a substantial financial loss if a fire was to occur due to the hefty price associated with thatched roofs. Unfortunately, most insurance brokers will not insure your thatched roof, so finding adequate thatched roof insurance through a specialist broker is vital.

For obvious reasons therefore, owners of thatched properties should ensure that their homes are fully equipped to deal with a fire, including having available at least a couple of fire extinguishers - just in case.

You should also ensure that the thatch itself is properly maintained and to an agreed standard. Relevant maintenance might include:

  • Regular inspection and survey by an approved thatcher
  • The roof must be treated with a suitable fire retardent
  • If open fires are used, any chimneys must be swept and maintained
  • The property's electrics must meet current building and electrical standards

What does thatched roof insurance cover?

Common types of cover included with thatched roof insurance include:

  • Buildings insurance: This covers damage to your thatched roof home’s physical structure, its fixtures and often its fittings, commonly including roofs, chimneys, walls and windows.
  • Contents insurance: This covers your possessions, such as furniture, clothing and electricals. It is common for each item to have a maximum claimable value, typically £1,000. If you have any items worth more than £1,000, please discuss this with your thatched roof building insurance provider.

Additionally, thatched roof home insurance can also include:

  • Fire cover
  • Storm damage
  • Flood damage
  • Legal expenses
  • Accidental damage
  • All-risks cover for personal belongings

How can we help?

Fortunately, QuoteRack works closely with insurance brokers who can offer you access to specialised schemes offered by niche insurance companies looking to provide thatched roof home insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Will a standard home insurance policy cover a thatched roof?

Unlike regular home insurance, thatched roof home insurance is more specialised in terms of the lower number of insurers prepared to offer cover. All insurers will ask you about the construction of your home, so you will need to declare that you have a thatched roof. Failure to do so might, in the event of a fire, render your insurance invalid.

Is thatched roof insurance expensive?

Properties with thatched roofs can often be more expensive to insure than regular slate and tiled roofs due to the increased fire risk and rebuild costs. You can keep your thatched roof insurance cost down by ensuring:

  • You have well-maintained chimneys
  • You have fire barriers
  • A smoke alarm is installed
  • You have fire extinguisers available
  • Your home's wiring is regularly safety checked

Enquire through QuoteRack for thatched roof insurance

If you have explored other avenues of enquiry in your search for thatched roof insurance, then you are welcome to submit your details through the QuoteRack website, without cost or obligation to proceed when you receive your insurance quote.

English Heritage - a guide to Thatch and Thatching

With due acknowledgement to English Heritage and all relevant copyrights, you can download their excellent Guide to Thatch and Thatching.

A useful video called 'How to Thatch a Roof'.


"Getting the right insurance for a thatched property is critical, especially when your mortgage provider needs to see evidence that there is relevant cover in force for a thatched roof."

"Depending on the type of straw you use, a good thatched roof can last 20 years before it requires rethatching. From a fire hazard point of view, however, insurers will always take into account the increased fire risk for a thatched property."

Thatched Roof Home Insurance