Insurance costs for this type of property skyrocket – and it's all thanks to wet weather

February 18, 2024
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Historic thatched cottages that make a pretty addition to many British towns and villages could become too costly to maintain as insurance premiums are being sent through the roof by extreme wet weather.

Owners of the beautiful properties are facing increases of 56 percent to ensure their roofs, with a cost now around £2,000 compared to a national average of £208.

Britain has increasingly been battered by large named storms in recent years which bring with them high winds and a deluge of wet weather.

The Telegraph reports some insurers have become so concerned with the weather events that some have stopped offering cover for thatched homes altogether.

According to the newspaper, the average insurance premium for a thatched roof in the last three months of 2023 was £1,985, compared to £1,272 for the same period in 2022.

There are around 60,000 thatched homes in the UK, with two thirds listed under conservation legislation. Despite the protections on the properties there are already signs some owners are being forced to get rid of their thatch because of insurance costs.

The Eastern Daily Press reported last month that Fenland council, near Wisbech, Cambs, had approved a planning application from one owner to change their roof from thatch to slate because of the price of their premiums.

Price comparison site, Compare the Market, shows average costs for insuring slate or tile roofs as being around £200, a tenth of the cost to cover thatch.

Darryl Dhoffer, of broker group The Mortgage Expert, told the Telegraph thatch is more prone to storm and weather damage.

He said: “Location also plays a role, with higher lightning strike risks or prone to wildfires, all add to higher insurance premiums. Climate change and extreme weather conditions, certainly for 2023, could be a factor for higher insurance costs.”

In December, the Irish Independent reported that over half of more than 2,000 thatch cottage owners in the Republic were finding it hard to afford insurance.

Brian Hanley, chief executive of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, told a committee looking into insurance premiums that “the situation thatch owners find themselves in did not occur in a vacuum and many of the issues they are experiencing resonate with other people and organisations, sharing common hardships such as unaffordable premiums and an absence of adequate underwriting cover.”

Back in Britain, Martin Anslow, director of Listed Building Owners Property Club, told the Telegraph many homeowners were considering selling up in the face of soaring premiums and high maintenance costs.

He said: “The energy bills in a listed building are a lot higher because they can’t be insulated to the same standard as other buildings.”



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