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Howden Insurance Ways to manage your thatch home insurance premium

By Steve Moores Dip CII, Client Director

There are a combination of factors affecting home insurance premiums, and towards the end of last year we advised that premium increases of 10% to 25% would unfortunately become more frequent. However, for thatched property owners the increases are particularly high. The reasons for this can be found in our article: Why Thatch Home Insurance premiums are increasing.

Despite the market, there are ways to manage your thatch home insurance premiums. Read our tips to find out more:

  1. Fire safety

Insurers will have a list of requirements that must be met before they will accept cover or pay a claim. However, you can go above these minimum conditions which can help with premiums and lower the risk of a fire in your home:

  • Solid fuel stoves significantly increase thatched home insurance premiums, and some insurers won’t insure a thatched property with a woodburner. This is something to consider should you be installing one. If you already have a stove, then ask your insurers for a ‘dormant clause’ whereby you promise not to use it. This can make a real difference to the premium.
  • Likewise, if you have an open fire, declaring it dormant can also save on premium.
  • Install radio interlinked or mains wired smoke detectors instead, or as well as, battery-operated ones.
  • Add a heat detector in the kitchen, though note that this may already be a policy requirement.
  • Identify your nearest fire hydrant.
  • Contact your nearest fire station and ask if they will undertake an Operational Risk Assessment or Familarisation Visit.
  • Ensure the electrics have been checked recently. Most insurers will need a certificate dated within the last five years. Make sure all recommendations (not just the urgent ones) have been carried out.
  1. Do you have optional extras?

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend cutting out Legal Expenses cover, you may wish to review other optional extras.

  1. Manage your cash flow

When it comes to paying your premium, rather than releasing all your capital in one lump, consider spreading the cost of your insurance over ten instalments. We charge a competitive rate for this service and adhere to fair pricing guidelines.

  1. Shop around

Take the time to shop around. For many clients, this is the main reason to use a broker like Howden. We work with multiple thatch insurers and have our own specialist thatch policy underwritten by Aviva.

  1. Choose a voluntary excess

A policy excess is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim. Excesses are applied to a policy as a way of you accepting a small responsibility for the risk yourself. A higher voluntary excess may give you a lower premium. This is usually via an insurer discount – for example a set percentage off the premium. For thatched homes, we would recommend a minimum excess of £500.

  1. Protect your excess

For a very small premium, our clients can choose to ‘protect’ their excess, so that in the event of a claim, they receive the full excess figure back. The excess protection policy will even work if there is a voluntary excess on top of any compulsory excess. Though note that the claim must still be more than the insurer’s excess.

  1. Use a broker

Insuring a thatched home is more complicated than insuring a standard home. Insurers will ask a lot more questions. We’re not afraid to have difficult conversations if it helps our clients and with the support of our strong market foothold, we can help shape cover and challenge an insurer’s interpretation of the risk – ensuring a policy is truly tailormade. Thatch home policies also contain more policy conditions than standard policies. If you don’t comply with these, you may find yourself facing difficulties in the event of a claim. We’ll help you with this and we always check the small print so will offer you guidance on any limits and exclusions.

Our experience in dealing with thatched properties means that we understand the distinct needs, maintenance issues and concerns that you’ll have. To speak to us about your thatched home insurance, call 020 8256 4908 or email [email protected]