Thatched House Insurance Ireland

Insurance Ireland
Owners of Thatched Houses in Ireland are special people.  They are also under-appreciated by many, but not by all.  In Ireland, we pay a lot of lip service to Heritage, and Conservation, but when it comes down to basics we fall short on the support we give to owners of thatched houses, particulary when it comes to the area of house insurance.  Most older thatched houses are now listed as Protected Structures, and woe betide any owner who defies the relevant local authority and replaces the thatched roof with a modern slate roof.  Fortunately, because owners of thatched houses are the ones who are really passionate about heritage and conservation,  some older thatched houses still remain, but the cost of retaining and maintaining can be prohibitive.
Among the many problems faced by owners of Thatched Houses are the need for regular repairs, the requirement to comply with Protected Structure listing, and of course, the one that really concerns us here - insurance for thatched houses.

Irish Insurance Companies
Insurance companies in Ireland seem to be reluctant to take on  insurance for thatched houses.  They cite many reasons for this, and owners can help themselves in this regard by considering having their roofs treated with a suitable  retardant.  The  retardant treatment usually lasts for several years at which time it should be treated again.   Some advise having the roof inspected after five years with a view to respraying. Advise your insurance company if you have this done as it may help. You should also make sure you have a clean and, preferably, a lined chimney.   If you are re-thatching or having a totally new build with thatched roof, do ask your thatcher about having a foil  membrane placed on the roof beneath the thatch. Your  Insurance Company may look more favourably on your request if you have such a membrane fitted. Two companies that offer insurance for thatched houses are  obf.ie  and simplyinsure.ie.   If you are a farmer and already have insurance with FBD then you should ask them to include your thatched property with your farm insurance.

 

 

 

Holiday Homes
Another problem for the  insurance companies in Ireland is that many thatched houses in Ireland are used as holiday homes and as such, are vacant for many months of the year. So, one has to consider the options here. You could let the house for many months, but that is probably impractical.  You could give the house free to a family member for those months when you are away.  The very least you should do is have an alarm connected to a reputable alarm monitoring company in Ireland. At the time of writing, there are new regulations coming into force in Ireland regarding house alarms, so we advise familiarising yourself with those requirements.  In short, the measure is being introduced to reduce noise pollution, and alarms now have to turn off after 15 minutes rather than ringing all night as heretofore. On the face of it, this seems to be a good idea, but will possibly have implications for owners of rural houses with alarms.  Insurance companies may well insist on having an alarm in any house that they are asked to cover.

Local Authorities and Thatched House Insurance
One would expect that local authorities would have an obligation to maintain a list of thatched house insurance providers.  However this is not always the case.  Some County Councils are more proactive in this area than others but it is always a good idea to contact them and ask if they have such a list.  Don't be afraid to get your local County Councillor to make representations for you.  After all, if they have listed the house, then you should expect some help in finding an insurance company.  Many County Councils now have Conservation Officers and/or Heritage Officers.  You will usually find such officers to be more than helpful and well worth contacting.  The Department of Environment in Dublin should also have information regarding insurance companies.

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