Many long-term owners of thatched cottages or listed buildings may be under insured
Owners of thatched cottages are being warned to regularly check their insurance policies to ensure their rebuilding cost valuations are up to date.
Specialist thatched property insurers, Thatch Shield Ltd, are frequently finding that long-term owners, who sought the correct advice 20 years ago, are being shocked to discover that if their surveyor was slightly wrong or the insurance company has not index linked their policy correctly, it can result in a big gap between their insured and actual valuation.
As many thatched homes are listed properties, there are a number of other issues to consider when renewing an existing insurance policy, many of which are ‘non-standard’ to many building surveyors, who may be comfortable with modern properties but are often not qualified or experienced enough to give an accurate insurance valuation on a 16-century thatched house.
In the event of a thatch burn, it is very rare to get a ‘total loss’ situation, more often than not the thatch goes completely, you have fire damage upstairs and water damage throughout, but it is repairable.
Because of the listing, the local council will stipulate that you must reinstate the house in a similar style and construction, which escalates the cost of the claim. Steve Graham, the Managing Director of Thatch Shield Ltd has 40 years’ experience of thatched properties, “There is an argument that says, if the house was a total loss it’s more cost effective to de-list the site and replace with a beautiful modern house, but that rarely happens. It’s usually a partial loss, and if the insurance company’s loss adjuster says the client was under insured or the property was undervalued, they then recommend to the insurance company that the full claim isn’t paid – they will deduct from the claim the percentage amount that the client was under insured by, and that’s a nightmare for the property owner.”
Arranging a Thatch Shield appraisal can prevent this unpleasant scenario from happening. An appraisal is a personal assessment of your property by Steve Graham, who will visit your property and offer his experienced assessment of your specialist insurance needs. Whilst a Thatch Shield assessment does not guarantee a problem free claim, and it should be stressed that Thatch Shield is NOT a building surveyor, after 40 years in the thatched industry, our recommended appraisals have never given any loss adjuster cause to suggest our clients have ever been under insured. Steve is extremely conscientious, “I always have to stress, I am not a building surveyor, but I know how loss adjusters look at the situation after the event, so for a very small fee, I can share that knowledge with my clients, making them more aware of the potential pitfalls.”
Make sure your thatched or period home is properly insured – if the worst was to happen, losses typically start at £100K, the average being closer to £500K, but with some claims closer to £1M, it really does pay to ensure your home insurance is arranged by Thatch Shield Ltd, your thatched and period home specialists.
Date added: 16 January 2019