If you reside in a region with a winter season, you are probably aware of the fact that when the weather becomes chilly, heating costs can become one of your major outgoings. In order to warm their houses without increasing their costly heating expenses, individuals frequently use alternative or supplemental heating sources, such as space heaters and wood burners. However, while space heaters, wood stoves, and other supplemental heating sources can assist warm a home, they can also pose a fire risk if used incorrectly and may also cause other problems, such as electrical shock or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Heating equipment is a major contributor to home fires in the United States, according to a 2021 report from the National Fire Protection Agency. The NFPA estimates that between 2014 and 2018, municipal fire departments responded to 48,530 fires annually on average. Hundreds of people perished in these fires, as well as thousands of others, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. Furthermore, 81 percent of home heating fire fatalities were attributable to stationary or portable space heaters. If you decide to use a space heater, you might want to double-check your homeowners insurance policy’s provisions regarding these appliances to see if you are protected from any fires they might start.
Do space heaters go under homeowners insurance?
Being aware of what your homes insurance policy does and does not cover as a homeowner will help you to be more prepared in case of an emergency. Three categories of coverage are typical in a home insurance policy, among others:
- Dwelling coverage, which covers for losses to your home and pays for personal injury and property damage to others for whom you are held accountable
- Personal property insurance provides coverage in the event that household possessions are lost.
House fires are covered under both personal property and dwelling insurance. However, the amount you receive for a claim may be influenced by your coverage limits. If your space heater started the fire and the damages exceed the policy’s coverage limit, you might be responsible for the remaining costs unless you have extended or guaranteed replacement coverage. Your insurance provider will look into the fire’s circumstances, negligence’s role in the catastrophe, and any violations of fire safety regulations once you file a claim.
Insurance for homes and space heaters
In order to keep the house warm throughout the winter and save high heating costs, a supplemental heating system is helpful. However, space heaters are a recognized cause of residential fires that result in insurance company claims every year, and the following errors could cause a fire:
- using a plug-in extension
- utilizing a heater that is faulty, outmoded, or antiquated
- Putting the cord beneath a carpet or rug
- Leaving kids or pets alone in the room
- putting the heater close to or on top of fabrics or furnishings
- exposing the gadget to water
- lighting up the heater all night
As a result, you are required to notify your insurance provider when you intend to install a heater or wood burner and to make sure the apparatus complies with all safety regulations, has an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek label, and is subject to routine checks and inspections. Space heaters should only be used on the floor, connected into a wall outlet, and never left unattended, according to the NFPA. You may need to look for a different company because not all house insurance providers will continue to provide coverage for homes with wood burning stoves.
Do space heaters raise the cost of homeowners insurance?
The price of home insurance may directly be impacted by heating systems. Your rates will normally be impacted by the type of heating equipment you use, though the precise effect may vary from company to company. The explanation for this is straightforward: You will likely pay higher insurance premiums if your heating system poses a bigger fire risk.
Because these systems have a lesser chance of starting a fire, using a central heating system that is fueled by electricity or natural gas may not have a significant impact on your insurance premiums. However, your insurance rates may increase if you use an oil-based furnace, a wood stove, or a space heater due to the elevated danger of a house fire. Insurance companies are constantly cautious of such dangers and the potential damages. Speaking with your insurer or a local agent is the best method to learn about the effect on your home insurance rate because prices vary across the industry.
Discounts on home insurance for fire protection
By utilizing specific discounts, it can be possible for homeowners to reduce their insurance costs. You are more likely to be approved for specific safety discounts the safer the insurance company deems your home to be. Additionally, because fires frequently result in property damage, certain insurers may give homeowners who strengthen their home’s fire safety measures discounts.
Certain insurance companies may give you discounts for fire protection if you install the following in your home:
- Sprinklers: Installing a sprinkler system in your home may qualify you for a reduction on your homeowners insurance.
- Fire alarms: Even in states where they are not required, installing fire alarms in your home may result in insurance company discounts.
- Extinguishers: In addition to being put around the house for safety reasons, installing extinguishers on your property might result in a reduction in your insurance cost.
- A house composed of fire-resistant materials, such as concrete, brick, or gypsum, is considered to be safer than one with a wood frame or a log structure and may qualify for a home insurance discount.
How to stop flames caused by space heaters
Space heaters are less likely to start a fire when utilized properly. When utilizing a portable heating unit, the following safety precautions should be followed to avoid accidents:
- Never position the heater on top of any furniture where it could fall, dislodge, or break; always place it on the floor.
- Watch over kids and pets: Never leave kids or animals alone near a wood stove or space heater as any touch with the device could result in burns, and playing with the cord could start a fire.
- Avoid flammable materials: Keep the heater away from anything that could catch fire or catch on, such as bedding, paper, and fragrances and sprays.
- only connect the heater to a wall outlet: Never use an extension cable for a space heater, and if you must, be sure the cord is appropriate for the appliance.
- Look for automatic shut-off functions: Automatically shutting off heaters reduce the risk of fire as well as overheating.
- Maintaining the equipment in good shape Never utilize an outdated heater that hasn’t been used in a while. Make sure the heater is placed in a cool, dry location before putting it away for the season.
- Follow product instructions: To prevent unnecessary dangers to your property or family, it’s crucial to use the header in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
By taking precautions, you’ll be able to use your space heater without endangering people or property. You’ll also be able to avoid filing an insurance claim, which will save you money.