You might be tempted to install a wood burning stove in your home as an additional source of heat if you’re trying to fend off the chilly winter weather. Wood stoves might be a good method to heat your house, but they can also be hazardous. According to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wood stoves are to blame for roughly 4,000 house fires per year. You can pay more for homeowners insurance than your neighbors who solely use an HVAC system if you heat your home with a wood burner every winter. Understanding the hazards involved with your home’s heating sources and what insurance factors should be kept in mind is crucial.
Wood stoves are they covered by home insurance?
According to the EPA, there are 10.1 million wood stoves in use in the United States, and 65% of them are outdated, inefficient, and probably dangerous due to fume leaks and contained fires inside chimneys and flues. For anyone utilizing a wood stove as their primary source of heat, homeowners insurance companies may make appropriate rate adjustments due to this risk.
Most providers will not automatically deny you coverage if you have a wood stove. Your provider, however, very likely wants to make sure it is set up correctly. Fortunately, to ensure that your acceptance for a policy is not delayed, this process may be as simple as taking a picture of your wood fire. Insurance providers might check the following:
- The brand and model of your wood stove
- The chimney’s connection to the stove
- There are enough fire guards in place (such as a fire safety rug)
Your provider could demand a wood stove inspector to visit your house in order to check it out if it is unable to verify any of the aforementioned facts in a photo or if a more thorough examination is necessary.
What are the wood-burning stove insurance requirements?
It is best to let your insurance know in advance if you intend to build a wood stove in the future. The conditions for coverage, which may differ depending on the carrier but often include professional installation and a safety assessment by an authorized inspector, can then be discussed.
Depending on how old and how long the wood stove has been in use, your supplier can have specific criteria. It can involve having the wood stove inspected by a licensed specialist to make sure it complies with local code requirements. Fire regulations are subject to regular change, thus the old stove might not be up to par.
It is typically advisable to hire a licensed contractor to install your wood stove if you intend to install one in your house. Wood stoves place homes at a high danger of fire and significant damage when improperly installed. Carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke can spread swiftly throughout the home, and chimney fires can quickly turn into full-house fires. For comparison, the EPA estimated that house fires caused billions of dollars in damages, 1,520 injuries, and 400 fatalities in just 2011 alone.
An inspection is very important because you could not be eligible for a reimbursement if it turns out during a claim that a house fire was started by a wood burner that was incorrectly installed. In the worst-case situation, if your home burns down, the financial repercussions could be catastrophic.
Do wood stoves raise the cost of homeowners insurance?
A wood stove can frequently result in a rise in the cost of homes insurance. This is due to the fact that having a wood stove considerably increases the risk of your home suffering fire damage.
The risk associated with using a wood stove is significantly higher than that of other heating systems. For instance, a gas or electric fireplace lacks:
- Creosote/soot buildup
Gas and electric fireplaces are much safer because they don’t need matches or other fire starters to start.
How wood stoves are turned on differs greatly from other types of stoves. In order to minimize smoke buildup, you must first create or permit a draft inside the fireplace before lighting a wood stove. Kindling is burned underneath larger stacks of wood with the wood stove door open once the draft is started. This action alone has two dangers: embers that explode onto the floor and smoke buildup within the house.
Aside from the dangers associated with lighting a wood stove, they also pose a long-term risk due to the buildup of the highly combustible and carcinogenic creosote within the chimney. Creosote can catch fire inside the chimney over time, endangering the entire house unless a steel liner is correctly placed.
Overall, compared to other home heating options, there are more dangers associated with using a wood burner.
What impact does a wood stove have on the cost of your homeowners insurance?
First, the very fact that your home has a wood stove might raise your insurance costs because it is thought to pose a higher fire risk than a home without one. If you have a wood stove, your home insurance provider will view you as being a greater risk. In order to protect your home in the event of a fire, your insurance company would probably charge you a higher premium.
A WETT inspection (to make sure the wood stove complies with safety and building criteria) or verification proving the stove is up to code may be requested by your insurance provider if you have a wood stove, in addition to the possibility of an increase in your homeowners insurance premium. You may have a lower chance of getting compensated for damages in the event that your wood stove starts a fire if your insurance discovers that you haven’t done routine maintenance on it or that it wasn’t installed correctly to begin with.
Even if your insurance provider covers a wood stove due to the elevated danger, you might want to think twice about whether the cost of insurance is worthwhile. It might not be in every instance.
Pellet stoves versus wood stoves
Both a wood stove and a pellet stove burn wood, however the amount of (man-made) wood burned by the pellet stove is less. Compared to wood stoves, pellet stoves often require less “tending to.” An integrated computer system monitors the burning of the pellets and determines when additional pellets are required, adding them to the fire automatically. As a result, a pellet stove is more heat-efficient than most wood stoves since it’s simpler to control how hot you want it to get.
Both a pellet stove and a wood stove must be installed by a qualified professional since they must be properly sealed and linked to a chimney or vent. A pellet stove can be linked to either a vent or a chimney, in contrast to a wood stove, which needs a chimney. Consequently, there is more positioning flexibility with a pellet stove. It can be put almost anyplace in your house as long as there is adequate clearance and ventilation around it. However, your woodstove must be placed wherever your chimney is. When setting up a homes policy, be sure to examine the consequences or requirements involved since they may differ depending on the insurance provider and the influence a pellet stove will have on your coverage.
Different dangers apply to wood and pellet stoves, and there are additional useful factors to bear in mind:
Wood costs less than pellets.
does not require a power source to function
endures for years
Low operating expenses if close to a source of locally sourced wood
ineffective compared to a pellet stove
If it’s your major source of heat, it needs frequent upkeep all year round.
seen as being more hazardous to use than a pellet stove
Woodpile in or close to home may draw pests (such as termites or rodents that hide) that could harm your house.
more costly to install and purchase than a pellet stove
Heat is more effective and simpler to control.
It is less expensive to maintain and run Installation is quick and affordable.
more secure to use than a wood stove
greater environmental benefit
need a source of electricity
not as durable as a wood stove
Pellets must be stored indoors out of reach of vermin.
Pellets can be more difficult to find than conventional firewood.
What insurance differences exist between wood-burning and pellet stoves?
Obtaining insurance with a wood or pellet stove has particular restrictions. If your wood or pellet stove was properly built or it complies with local fire rules, the majority of insurance companies will only provide you with coverage. Before the insurance would agree to cover you, you could be required to show proof that your stove is secure if you installed it yourself or if it was installed before you purchased the house.
You could also need to submit continuous paperwork or inspections, according to the insurance. For instance, the insurance provider can require you to show documentation that your wood-burning stove has undergone an annual professional inspection. Liability may no longer be covered if your wood stove or pellet stove is discovered to be in bad condition.