Thatch home insurance - managing the winter months

1 minute

Insuring a thatched home is more complicated than insuring a standard home, and a thatch insurance policy comes with more conditions than a standard home insurance policy. Policy conditions are not just small print. If you don’t comply with them, you could invalidate your policy, leaving you in a difficult position in the event of a claim.

Some policy conditions are particularly important to remember around wintertime. Here are some examples:

  • You must tell your broker or insurer if you start to use a stove, woodburner or open fire which has previously been unused or dormant
  • When open fires are in the property, the chimneys must be:
    • Kept in a good state of repair
    • Professionally cleaned along the entire length at least once a year before winter use.
  • When stoves or wood burners are in the property, the chimneys must be:
    • Kept in a good state of repair
    • Professionally lined and insulated
    • Professionally cleaned along the entire length at least twice a year, once before and once during winter use
    • Inspected by a HETAS registered company at least once every three years and a copy provided to your insurer.
  • If you have a spark arrester fitted, it must be thoroughly cleaned at the same time as the chimney.


Some people like to have a bonfire at this time of year (especially on 5th November). You need to check your policy before doing this, as most policies have a requirement in respect of the burning of any materials. For example:

  • You must ensure that no bonfires/incinerators within your control are lit within 100 metres of the private residence.

Maintaining your thatch

It’s important to ensure that your thatch is in good condition and any necessary repairs are carried out. Most policies have a condition for the thatch to be inspected by a qualified thatcher at least once every 10 years and, if this is not carried out, they will restrict or exclude cover for storm, ingress of water or weight of snow.

Additional policy requirements

Here are some examples of other policy conditions:

  • Smoke detection requirements
  • Fire extinguisher requirements
  • Electrical inspections – these are usually required every five years. Insurers will often restrict or exclude fire cover if this is not complied with. 

You can go above an insurer’s minimum conditions. This may help with premiums and lower the risk of a fire in your home. 

Next steps

Understanding the specific requirements of a thatched home insurance policy is vital. Our experience in dealing with thatched property insurance means that we understand the distinct needs, maintenance issues and concerns that thatched owners may have. We can also help if you’re buying a thatched home for the first time and give you advice.

If you’re thinking of buying a thatched home or need some thatched home insurance advice, then give us a call on 020 8256 4908 or email

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