Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

For discussions about topics related to Period Property in the UK

Moderators: Simon Wright, RobT

Post Reply
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TudorCottage » Sun 27th Feb, 2022 9:19 am

The time is fast approaching for us to take on the risk of our new home.
Thatched and listed render the comparison sites redundant and I’ve filled in so many proposal forms I could probably do it blindfolded. Quotes have varied between pricey but acceptable, to plain extortion!!

I should caveat these quotes with the fact that the chimney flue has been professionally sealed, due to rental requirements. It can be opened back up but we’ve decided to wait until next winter to see how we get on. But quotes do drop dramatically when the chimney is decommissioned.

More research over the last few days led me to Admiral who have an online system for these sort of properties. They have quoted a very competitive quote of around £550, this also included Plumbing and Heating breakdown cover :D

I double checked my proposal form and the T&C’s look more than acceptable.

I appreciate any insurance policy is only as good as the claims procedure but would be interested to hear if anyone insures their property through Admiral and what their experience has been like.

Posts: 306
Joined: Tue 25th Jan, 2011 4:37 pm
Location: Somerset

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TheForge » Sun 27th Feb, 2022 10:21 pm

My property is thatched with complex outbuildings which make it tricky to insure.

Obviously it depends on the property size and location but £550 is very low for comprehensive thatch cover.

We’re insured with the NFU who are competitively priced but include a lot of additional cover within the policy and have exceptional claims procedures.

We recently lost power for 4 days after the storms and NFU paid a cash settlement for our freezer and fridge food loses without needing to fill in a single form and without losing our no claims discount.

Cheapest isn’t necessarily best value.

Posts: 13
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TudorCottage » Mon 28th Feb, 2022 1:25 pm

I appreciate the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option. But reading through the policy document it looks very comprehensive. I’m mindful that it wouldn’t be the first time an insurance company would have failed to live up to their promises in the event of a claim :roll:

Whilst Admiral is only the trading name and I’ve not looked into who the underwriter’s are, Admiral must still have a reputation to maintain :?

Posts: 1166
Joined: Wed 18th Sep, 2013 6:21 pm
Location: Bedford UK

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by malcolm » Tue 1st Mar, 2022 8:17 pm

I can't comment on thatched properties, but during my own cost-down prompted by 2020 I switched to an insanely cheap company I had never heard of. I'm only really worried about total loss and the terms seem to cover that. Hasn't happened in 400 years and I'm being really careful.

I should imagine Admiral are respectable enough. Really bad things are rare so it's difficult to get feedback on the policies.

Posts: 389
Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by Cubist » Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 1:09 pm

Any discussion concerning Home Insurance brings a sense of gloom to my days and an air of depression can soon settle over me. Sadly, it is a fact of life that, like death and taxes, few of us are either able, or perhaps willing, to avoid. Unfortunately, thatch owners are among those few groups that have been cut out of the general herd for special treatment by the exigencies of the underwriters in their unending quest to make Insurance 'Risk Free' to the insurer.

Sorry Tudorcottage, but your post was bound to produce a rant and, despite the fact that our renewal is still a few months off, the temptation was too great.

Unfortunately, despite much thrashing about, I have failed, yet again, to come up with much that is positive to say on the topic and sadly I have only potentially grim forebodings to record here. Ho hum.

The premium proposed to you by Admiral does indeed seem very, very low. Certainly when I compare it to the the quotations I received last year in my annual hunt for the best deal. All of which produced numbers at least twice that amount. However, the outliers in that search did include one that was close to that supplied to you by Admiral and, another at the other end of the spectrum, from NFUM which was over £3000!!!!! The comparable quotation was from Saga and seemed very attractive at the time but I chose to dismiss their quotation on the basis that I could not find specific wording to confirm that their policy indeed covered thatch properties.

Can I ask - have you been able to confirm in writing that Admirals policy does indeed cover thatch?

The reason I ask is that many policies will include the weasel-words that permit them to decline any claim if the customer has failed to provide any/all relevant information.

My next question is regarding the Re-Build Value of the house - were you asked to provide this and if so how did you calculate it?

It may be that you have been offered a very low introductory premium but, call me a cynic, I think that really unlikely.

Posts: 13
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TudorCottage » Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 2:54 pm

I hear your pain Cubist.

I’ve not claimed on any insurance since the 80’s. But having heard many a gloomy tale of friends experiences with insurance companies over the years, I’m as cynical as the next person when talking insurance.

Regarding Admiral, it was an online form that gave me a drop down menu regarding what the roof was made of, I ticked the Thatched box and when double checking everything it clearly showed that I had chosen that option. Before I hit the ‘buy it now’ button I shall double check that they are indeed covering a Thatched Cottage.

I’ve listed the value at the cost I’ve paid for the Cottage. I’m sure lots of folk will tell me that’s not enough. But in these parts (south east) where house prices are ridiculous I’m sure even using the correct materials for rebuilding a Period Property it should cover a total loss.

The decommissioned chimney was a significant saving, including a working chimney in the quotation to several companies ranged between a 50 and 75% increase in premium :shock:

Posts: 389
Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by Cubist » Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 5:22 pm

Cynics of the world unite - we need to stick together, particularly when dealing with the Insurance con artists.

Speaking of which.... too many years ago, as the following tale may imply, I had occasion to visit the NFUM head office in Stratford. On entry, I was astonished to find what to my unpracticed eye appeared to be an Olympic sized swimming pool just behind the main reception area :shock:

Puzzled, and not a little bemused given the 'Mutual' status of the organisation I asked the people I was meeting, who explained that - the swimming pool was built directly alongside the Data Centre and was used as a convenient source of cooling as a heat sink for the computing equipment. No mention was made of any Legionnaires risk though :roll: .

Posts: 13
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TudorCottage » Sun 6th Mar, 2022 11:32 am

Whilst in serious danger of showing my age, I decided to try and interpret the T&C’s of my potential insurance purchase.
How else does someone spend their Saturday night’s :oops:

If I’ve read it correctly (there’s a pretty good chance I quite possibly haven’t :?)
It indicates to me that the cost of repair/total loss is unlimited. As in, they will pay whatever it takes to put it all back together again. It doesn’t stipulate who’d they get to put it back together again, whether they would use someone with a deep understanding of very old listed thatched cottages is probably doubtful. But one likes to think something that resembled the original structure would be constructed.

2 vagaries (read as get out clauses) seemed obvious to me.

Repair of the roof after storm damage would only be carried out if it was a ‘storm’
Does that mean if it was just windy they wouldn’t cover it?
When does wind become a storm?

Also, the plumbing/heating cover only covers complete breakdown. Does that indicate that if water is coming out of the taps but just happens to be cold, I have to sort that myself?

All in all I’m giving it serious consideration. I’m not brave or rich enough to self-insure, so something will have to be done.

Posts: 872
Joined: Tue 22nd Feb, 2011 8:53 am
Location: South Suffolk

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by tobydog » Mon 7th Mar, 2022 9:39 am

From March 2009, and up until March 2021, we insured our 1640 grade II listed timber frame and thatched cottage with NFU. Over the years the premium increased from just under £400 a year to £1,600.

We had a wood burner but the flue wasn't lined or insulated. Whilst this didn't make a huge difference with NFU, we did find that other insurers put a bigger emphasis on it. We approached Lloyd & Whyte and asked them for alternative pricing for lined / insulated, and non-lined / non-insulated. We also asked them to provide pricing for no wood burner at all.

In the end we decided to go with Lloyd & Whyte on the basis of keeping the wood burner but making a declaration that we wouldn't use it until we had the flue lined and insulated (no cover if a loss resulted from the burner). The premium, based on a rebuild value of £500,000, was £600 for the year. We had the work done (including a new wood burner) later in the year and paid a small pro-rata premium for the remainder of the policy period. The renewal premium from March 2022 came in at £1,100. This was slightly higher that expected but, like many people, we were victims of the new legislation whereby insurers can no longer provide discounts at the expense of existing customers. As expected, the end result being that everyone pays more!.

Out of interest I contacted NFU to check what their 2022 pricing would be. I nearly fell off my chair when they said it would be over £2,000.

So, TudorCottage, your quotation for insurance without a wood burner is cheaper that most but possibly not massively (unless you go with NFU!!).

Lloyd & Whyte are a broker who specialise (along with other things) in older and listed properties. I certainly wouldn't have had Admiral on my list. The fact that they are offering unlimited rebuild cost on a house of this nature would immediately start alarm bells ringing for me. Admittedly, sealing the chimney removes a significant amount of risk but not all.

Also, with NFU we needed to have a full rebuild cost survey carried out in 2019, and with Lloyd & Whyte we needed a full electrical report.

In the event of a loss, partial or total, you would be obligated to reinstate the property on like for like basis. This would involve your local Conservation Officer and therefore Admiral could not just bring in any old Bodge It, Fix It, and Scarper Limited type of company.

If you decide to open the chimney and fit a wood burner, you might find that Admiral are no longer interested and you will be at the mercy of the specialist insurers who will be far more detailed.

For peace of mind, why don't you give Lloyd & Whyte a call and go through the options.

Posts: 13
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: Insurance Quote Too Cheap??

Post by TudorCottage » Tue 15th Mar, 2022 3:37 pm

Don’t you just love conveyance solicitors :roll:

Chains don’t get much easier, 1st time buyers buying our place and we’re going to an empty property.
How on earth can they take 3 months plus to get that to completion :?

My Admiral quote expires in 7 days :(

Found a site with some interesting stats regarding thatched properties.
I can’t guarantee the numbers but one assumes they’re reasonably accurate.

Apparently there are 60000 thatched properties left in the UK. Of those an average of 70 are lost to fires every year.
64% of the 70(45) are a caused by chimney fires.

So I make that a 1 in 2,400 chance of losing a thatched cottage to fire if it doesn’t have a working chimney.

I’ll use ‘man maths’ all day long to get cheap house insurance :D

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests